Denham Springs City Council updating ordinances to hopefully prevent future flooding

Denham Springs City Council updates ordinances to hopefully prevent future flooding
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 5:36 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:10 PM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Elevation will be a requirement for residential and non-residential properties if they are in a flood zone.

Alice Didier’s neighborhood, Beau Village, flooded in 2016. It’s one reason she, like many of her neighbors, were against a new 170 unit apartment complex on Rushing Road.

“Right now, they can barely handle our city, can barely handle the traffic, drainage, and utility services for us as it is,” explained Didier.

Denham Springs City Council voted down the apartment complex Monday, March 28. Didier worries a large development would cause her neighborhood to flood worse than what happened more than five years ago.

“It’s a real concern for anything that’s going to go there,” added Didier.

That’s why the City Council updated some of their ordinances for new developments, hopefully preventing future flooding.

“To participate in NFIP, The National Flood Insurance Program, minimum standards are when you adopt those ordinances from the NFIP, it says that you have to be at or above base flood elevation,” explained Denham Springs Building Officiant Rick Foster.

Foster explains the new ordinances will make new developments for residential and on residential projects build two feet above base flood elevation if in a flood zone, implementing what they are calling free board.

“So, free board would have helped out our community if we had free board in place a long time ago. A lot of the newer homes, that are up would not have flooded, or they wouldn’t have gotten much water in them. Especially, if we had two feet of free board,” said Foster.

However, residents still worry the elevation would cause water to flow down into other homes. Foster says he is working on another ordinance called Zero Net Fill to prevent that.

“If you are bringing in 50 yards of fill, you got to take that 50 yards out of the flood plain some other way. Whether it’s taking the soil or the fill from somewhere within the flood plain or the watershed, or taking it from with on that site,” added Foster.

The Zero Net Fill ordinance is still in the works, but Denham Springs leaders hope these ordinances changes will make a difference and make some neighbors feel more safe.

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