A Cedar Rapids lawmaker is asking state agencies to consider denying state grants for construction projects in the 500-year flood plain. The 2010 Iowa Legislature failed to adopt a bill that would have restricted new development in the 500-year flood plain. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says state agencies could try to prevent the practice.
Hogg says evaluating a potential project’s flood risk could be part of the application process for the community development block grants that are handed out by the Iowa Department of Economic Development. “When the state is providing assistance, we shouldn’t be providing it to projects that are in jeopardy of future disaster damage,” Hogg says.
But an official in the Iowa Department of Economic Development says the agency would likely experience push back from community leaders who don’t trust the accuracy of the 500-year flood plain maps. Senator Hogg argues the state should err on the side of public safety and protect its future investments.
“We can build along rivers, but you just have to do it knowing that it’s going to flood in the future, so make sure that development is flood-safe,” Hogg says. The state needs to be “more proactive” when it comes to flood zones, according to Hogg, who says scarce state resources should be reserved for projects that are outside of the 500-year flood zone.