Denham Springs residents can appeal home elevation requirements

Denham Springs residents can appeal home elevation requirements

DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - The City of Denham Springs reports more than 1,200 buildings, mostly homes, were deemed "substantially damaged" following an initial inspection by FEMA. That means the cost of the repairs for the building is more than half its value.

Under national regulations, those homes will have to be raised to base flood elevation before they are granted a building permit. However, this is only the first step in the process.

Homeowners can get a second opinion from a licensed contractor or appraiser, which could lower the cost of their repairs and prevent elevation.

Mayor Gerard Landry expects almost everyone to take advantage of this.

"It takes away the entire feel of the community," Landry said. "You may be elevated and your next door neighbor may not be. But most importantly, it's the cost or the potential cost that's involved. And that's one of the things that I don't think is appropriate in a one in a thousand year rain event."

However, those are not the only concerns that people have with home elevation. For one resident on Connie Drive, it hits on a more personal level.

Robert Creech has lived on Connie Drive for 12 years. His wife is disabled, and if he were forced to elevate his home, it could mean a whole lot of pain for her.

"She's not gonna be able to climb steps, you know," he said. "She has real bad knees. We'd have to put in some kind of elevator."

FEMA inspected his home, but they haven't told him whether or not he'll be required to elevate. If they do, he said he's going to appeal.

Landry testified before Congress about a month ago, trying to convince them to ease regulations. He hopes that will lead to a change.

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