Growth plan affected by FEMA maps

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Federal flood maps have affected Marshall County's proposed 20-year growth plan, a document with maps to show where towns may annex land, the county's building official says.

Marshall County commissioners rejected the proposed 20-year growth plan earlier this spring when the commission chairman explained that the proposal includes too much land available for annexation.

And while Chapel Hill leaders have said they don't intend to annex land without agreement from property owners, the leaders of Petersburg have met with the county building official who's explained that much of the territory they selected for an urban growth area doesn't make sense.

That's because a great deal of the area that would be defined as suitable for annexation, and presumably good for development with new homes, is in a federal flood plain, County Building Official Don Nelson said.

Petersburg Mayor John Cowden was very understanding of the situation, Nelson said.

The building official went to Petersburg, showed the town officials the proposed flood plain maps as prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and together the town and county officials compared the maps on where land floods and the area that the town would be allowed to annex.

"If you're a businessman coming to this area……," Nelson asked, "which side of U.S. 431 would you build?"

Since some of the area that could be in the town's urban growth area is going to be declared prone to flooding, Petersburg officials have been, "to their credit," reviewing their part of the county's proposed 20-year plan, Nelson said.

Nelson hopes to have a more complete report for county commissioners by mid June, he said.