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City taking residents to court over flood plain ordinance

MOSS POINT — Moss Point officials hope a city judge will set a court date in December to determine if 47 properties must comply with rules to elevate homes in flood plains.

Andrew R. Beamon, who became director of the city’s building inspection office in July, tells the Mississippi Press he expects Municipal Judge Maxine Conway would begin hearings in groups of 10 on the properties.

“The city is taking all of these homes to court to get a ruling to see if these houses are compliant or noncompliant with our flood plain ordinance,” Beamon said,

The city requires homes in flood plains, mostly along rivers and bayous, to elevate one foot above the base flood elevation in each designated zone.

Beamon said residents must bring the homes into compliance or the city of Moss Point could lose its flood insurance.

In 2009, the Moss Point Board of Aldermen adopted new federal guidelines for flood plains required by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Violators can be disconnected from water service.

Once service is disconnected, an inspector must determine if homes meet the new height guidelines before service will be restored. If not, the house must be elevated, though the city will work with residents on the requirement allowance, said Beamon.

He said about 400 homes previously subject to the new height requirements have been reduced to the 47 because homeowners demolished the structures, sold the property or moved away.

Still, others have complied, either elevating the homes or rebuilding at the proper height.

The elevation coverage includes homes on slabs.

“The city has been dealing with these structures since Katrina,” Beamon said. “Basically, however the judge rules the city is going to move forward on these properties.”

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