Flood plain maps prove a bit murky

Accurate flood plain maps can impact the home-buying process as well as determine whether flood insurance is necessary.

But, as a result of a flood plain mapping and ordinance update undertaken by the state in 2010, multiple sets of maps are floating out there.

The problem? Any revised maps have yet to be approved and should not be considered when addressing flood plain related issues.

County Planner Dan Glotz said that the state has repeatedly pushed back the deadline for implementation of the new maps. There was some hope the project would be completed last year. Then another date was set for implementation this July. That date has been scratched and Glotz said “now maybe August” would be the earliest a new set of flood plain maps could be approved.

Part of the problem is the sheer volume of ordinances that must be reviewed statewide.

In Warren County, 12 of 27 municipalities are covered by the flood plain ordinance included in the county zoning ordinance. The other 15 are required to implement, and now update, their own ordinances.

Many counties do not have any type of a centralized ordinance with each township left to develop their own. That means the state has a lot more to review. Glotz said the delay is likely a result of the project ultimately being much larger than the state originally anticipated.

Each municipality must review its ordinance and send a draft to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for review. Municipalities will also be tasked with reviewing the updated digital maps for accuracy.

Glotz said that he and Zoning Officer Aaron Kalkbrenner are currently reviewing the county’s ordinance in advance of submission to the state. While some amendments will likely be required, Glotz said he “can’t see any major changes.”