CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County officials will now require a flood plain permit or exemption certificate before assigning an E-911 address.
Mississippi County commissioners decided during their regular meeting Thursday to put the new requirement into place.
Commissioner Martin Lucas said all new elevation certificates, which are required for buildings in flood plains, must now have a permit number.
Those who do not do not comply with the county's flood plain ordinance "jeopardize everybody's flood insurance in the county," Lucas said.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said noncompliance also jeopardizes all the federally-funded mortgages in the county. DeLay noted that commissioners are held responsible for any structures not in compliance with flood plain ordinances.
Lucas said there are several new, more stringent requirements for flood plain permits such as digital photographs of the front and rear of the structure. Also required now are vents for garages: one square inch of vents for every square foot of space, he said.
The vent requirement was put into place to equalize water pressure inside and outside structures in the event of a flood, according to Lucas. "They want it to move in and move out," he said.
Officials noted that flood plain permits are required based on location, not on whether the structures actually have a risk of flooding or not.
Putting structures on a foundation three blocks high usually gets the ground floor over base flood elevation, they noted. "Four, even in a flood zone, will take care of that," Lucas said.
Structures that are built above base flood elevation still must get an exemption certification to be in compliance, Lucas said.
In discussing options to ensure compliance, DeLay said the county can not require building permits unless it has a countywide planning and zoning ordinance. However, "the ordinance is in place to do development permits," he said.
Area lending institutions usually advise builders they need to have a flood plain permit but sometimes do not mention the requirement until closing loan agreements.
Commissioners also agreed to consult with Scott County commissioners to see how they established making a flood plain permit a requirement to get utility hookups.
"I just want to protect people," Lucas said.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said a bigger concern is protecting the entire county's flood insurance.
In other business Thursday:
* Commissioners granted an easement for the installation of an emergency storm siren at the county airport.
Bill Feezor, board member of the Mississippi County Ambulance District, said East Prairie officials have agreed to assume responsibility for setting the alarm off in bad weather and testing the alarm.
"They're going to set off Anniston's and Wyatt's as well," he said.
"East Prairie has always been good about watching out for tornadoes," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.
In related news, Sheriff Keith Moore said his deputies will attend the weather watcher training class scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the First United Methodist Church in Charleston.