GOSHEN — Goshen Plan Commission members Tuesday gave their initial nod of approval to a proposed update to the city’s flood control regulations.
At the meeting, commission members were asked to consider an amendment to the city’s Flood Control District (Overlay) Regulations, which are included in the Goshen Zoning Ordinance. The general intent of the regulations are to guide development in areas where potential for damage from floodwater exists.
According to Rhonda Yoder, planning and zoning administrator for the city, the update is needed in order for the city to continue participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, which is required in order to make flood insurance available to property owners within the city.
“In 1968, the National Flood Insurance Act was enacted, and in 1973 the Goshen Common Council through Resolution 73-3, indicated Goshen’s ‘intent to qualify and participate in the National Flood Insurance Program,’” Yoder said of the program. “On July 31, 1979, Ordinance 2618 was adopted by Goshen Common Council, which amended the zoning ordinance to establish flood control requirements. The flood control requirements have been updated a number of times since 1979, in accordance with changes required by federal and state standards.”
Since the last update to Goshen’s flood control regulations in 2011, Yoder noted that there have been additional changes to the state’s Model Ordinance for Flood Hazard Areas and, on March 17, the plan commission authorized city staff to review the model ordinance and prepare updates to bring Goshen’s regulations in line with the model ordinance.
Of the changes proposed Tuesday, she noted that a majority involve a minor updating and clarification of the document’s existing wording and terminology.
However, she noted that the update does include one substantive change, which, if approved, would remove the provision that restricts property owners with structures, such as homes, located within a floodway from making more than one non-substantial addition or improvement to that structure.
“The model ordinance no longer requires that,” she said of the restriction, noting that a non-substantial improvement is defined as something costing less than 50% of the market value of the overall structure. “So, this update would remove our restriction and allow successive, non-substantial improvements or additions.”
Yoder noted that a final decision on the proposed update must come from the Goshen City Council. As such, a motion was put forward and passed unanimously to forward the proposed ordinance update to the council with a favorable recommendation from the commission.