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Flood repair work to break ground in Dry Creek

A groundbreaking and dedication ceremony for the rebuild of the homes destroyed by the August flood was scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, but not everyone in the Dry Creek Community is happy with the progress.
Floyd Carr, owner of the property at 377-379 Arnold Road, spoke during the public hearing held Oct. 22 at the beginning of the county commission meeting. Public comment was accepted regarding the upcoming vote on a resolution amending the zoning regulating development within the jurisdiction of Zone A to minimize danger to life and property due to flooding in the Dry Creek area.
Carr said no one has visited his property for a damage assessment, and he has spent more than $8,000 of his own money to repair the road.
“FEMA said they were coming, but they didn’t,” he said. “I called the county and never even got a return courtesy call.”
Carr wanted to know why the property owners had not been notified the county was considering a designation change, saying he had spoken to six individuals who were also unaware. He also asked what effect being included in a flood hazard area would have on his property tax.
Carr said he owns 150 feet of land and several trees at the mouth of Dry Creek, and asked commissioners to put off the decision until the area could be looked at, and his questions could be answered.
Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford told commissioners he met with Carr at the end of the prior week and plans to come look at his property.
“I had five men in the field the next day talking to property owners,” Rutherford said. “We ran a public notice 17 days in advance of this meeting so we met the state requirement for a public hearing.”
As far as property tax, Rutherford said he thinks the change will increase Carr’s property value.
Carr said he had a contractor in the next day, and 82 hours of heavy equipment work have still not repaired the damage. “There wouldn’t have been this much damage if they had cleaned out under the bridge,” he said.
According to Carr, his land received 3.5 inches of rain within an hour and a half. “Every bit of trash in Dry Creek came through my property, and I got nothing, not even a phone call,” he said.
Mayor Dan Eldridge said new footings have already been poured for the first homes, and there is a sense of urgency in making a decision on the designation change.
“Washington County has very little jurisdiction on the stream,” he said. “Everything is being done under NRC. We are being told what to do, when to do it, and what it will cost.”
Washington County contracted with USDA National Resources Conservation Service for the stream clean-up when it realized it did not have the ability to handle the job.
Commissioner David Shanks asked how the area was determined, and Rutherford said preliminary markings were made the day after the flood and staff followed up with satellite receivers.
“We have people who don’t understand we may save their lives by elevating their structures,” Rutherford said. “They don’t have to buy the flood insurance.”
Commissioner Pete Speropulos asked if the elevation requirements are for new builds only.
“The requirements are for new structures only,” Rutherford confirmed. “We can’t require retrofits of old buildings.”
Eldridge said the decision was made for the elevation to be a minimum of 3 feet. “I think what the Zoning Department has done is establish a grade that will keep everyone safe,” he said.
Commissioner George “Skip” Oldham made a motion to approve the resolution to amend Article III Section 3 of the County Flood Damage Prevention Resolution Flood Insurance Rate Map Community Panel No. 47179CO275D to include the Dry Creek Flood Hazard Area Map as a designated Flood Hazard Area in Zone A.
Speropulos seconded the motion, which passed unanimously with Commissioner Ben Bowman absent.