BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - More than 1,200 Livingston Parish property owners are now facing costly upgrades after parish leaders failed to meet requirements for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Property owners received a letter from the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness alerting them they would have to make costly fixes to their homes or businesses to lift them away from any potential floods after the parish failed to survey their flood-damaged properties after 2016. Only properties that received substantial damage from the August 2016 flood are having to make the fix, which means costs that were more than 50% of the property’s value. It only applies to properties in flood zones prior to the 2016 flood.
The requirement to raise a property would be triggered if the owner seeks a construction permit to make improvements. When applying for the permit the owner must show intent to “mitigate” the structure. That includes raising its elevation to a foot above the base flood elevation or to demolish the property.
Grants are available to help mitigate any costs. According to Brandi Janes, the Director of Livingston Parish’s Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said FEMA will cover at least 75% of the costs to elevate the property. She said the parish may also offer grants to help cover any remaining costs. If the owner elects to demolish the property, the parish will buy it at at least 75% market value.
Homeowners who are not planning any changes or to sell are not required to make the changes, though Janes said that could change at the discretion of FEMA.
Property owners who believe they received a letter by mistake can appeal the decision. They are urged to call the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security at (225) 686-3066. You can also call the grants office for questions on funding assistance at 225-686-3018.
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