Phillips explains ‘floodway fringe’ building ordinance for Freeport property sale

By Zach Jensen,

Winneshiek County Planning, Zoning and Floodplain Administrator Tony Phillips educated the County Board of Supervisors Jan. 22 on how the new floodplain ordinance applies to the property the county lopes to sell in Freeport. 

“That is ‘approximate floodplain.’ That’s what they call it,” Phillips said. “It can be divided into two things — floodway or floodway fringe. Moving water is floodway. Predominantly-stagnant water is floodway fringe. This is floodway fringe. The question I was told you want answered is ‘What can be built there?’ … you basically have to build it floodproof.”

“All new or substantially improved residential structures shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated a minimum of one (1) foot above the base flood elevation,” reads Section 107 of the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Approved Floodplain Ordinance, which Phillips shared with the supervisors. According to the DNR’s ordinance, if solar panels are installed on the Freeport property, all utilities, junction boxes and any other part of the structure needs to be one foot above the floodplain, and the solar panels’ posts must be engineered so they stay in the ground and won’t float away.

Supervisor Steve Kelsay asked Phillips what a property owner would need to do in order to follow all relevant ordinances. 

“The first thing we’re going to do is the floodplain permit,” Phillips said. “When they apply for the permit, they would have to declare what it is they’re building — whether it’s a residential structure, solar panels or whatnot – and from there, the criteria is added on.”

Full article in the January 25 Decorah Public Opinion Newspaper.

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