The State Legislature is considering tightening the restrictions on building in a flood plain and that has some communities concerned. Vicky Stoller is the administrator for Two River Levee and Drainage Association, covering flood plain land in Des Moines and Louisa Counties. She calls the proposed restrictions “an over reaction to the 2008 floods.” Stoller says no amount of regulations could have stopped that disaster.
“Maybe (floods) could happen again this year. We don’t know. But for the last 60 to 70 years, we have only flooded in certain areas twice,” Stoller said. “I think those kinds of statistics need to be taken into consideration before we make a blanket law that tries to fit everyone.”
Opponents say the restrictions will hamper development efforts. But the bill’s proponents say development is still possible if builders use better practices. Susan Judkins, Intergovernmental Affairs Director of the Rebuild Iowa Office, says there are many misperceptions about the proposal.
“Many communities are concerned this would restrict all development. They don’t realize there is an effort to still allow development, so long as some mitigation precautions are taken,” Judkins said. Those precautions include requiring contractors to comply with mandates on soil runoff and implementing new stormwater standards on cities and counties.
Opponents of the bill say that’s enough to discourage some developers. They also say the maps for the 500 year flood plain are not accurate. Stoller and Judkins made their comments on the Iowa Public Radio program “The Exchange.”