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Ordinance will regulate development, minimize danger because of flooding

By Bill Short

Flag City LogoThe Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on final reading to minimize the danger to life and property caused by flooding.
Board members took the action during their Aug. 8 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Mike Caruthers and seconded by Alderman Bethany Huffman.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has required the new ordinance as a replacement for Chapter 10 of the Millington Zoning Ordinance, which deals with flood damage prevention.
The Municipal Floodplain Zoning Ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading at the board’s July 11 meeting.
It states that its adoption is necessary for Millington to conform to the current laws and requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. And it notes that it will provide the city’s residents and property owners “continued eligibility” under the NFIP.
Charles Goforth, planning consultant for the city, said during discussion shortly before the vote that TDEC is the agent for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“They tell you that, if you don’t revise your ordinance in accordance with this, you have the potential for losing your flood program,” he noted. “So, we want to make sure that we’re up to date with all the new federal rules.”
Goforth said FEMA is “starting to discourage filling” the floodplain, not just the floodway. And he noted that many of the floodplain cases will now have to go to the Millington Board of Zoning Appeals in addition to the Planning Commission before they can be filled.
The new ordinance acknowledges that areas of the city are subject to “periodic inundation.”
It states that this could result in loss of life and property, health and safety hazards, “disruption” of commerce and governmental services and “extraordinary public expenditures” for flood protection and relief, as well as “impairment” of the tax base.
It also notes that all these things adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.
The ordinance is designed to:
(1) Restrict or prohibit uses that are vulnerable to flooding or erosion hazards, or that result in damaging increases in erosion, flood heights or velocities.
(2) Require that uses vulnerable to floods, including community facilities, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction.
(3) Control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels and natural protective barriers that are involved in the accommodation of floodwaters.
(4) Control filling, grading, dredging and other development that may increase flood damage or erosion.
(5) Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers that will unnaturally divert flood waters or that may increase flood hazards to other lands.

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