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Legislative committee reaches compromise on flood maps bill before sending it to the governor

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Environment, Government, Politics, Weather
Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) said the current version of the bill puts property owners in the driver’s seat. (User: Me/Wikimedia Commons)

A bill that originally aimed to allow local floodplain administrators to use outdated flood maps is headed to the governor’s desk. But it’s changed a lot since last week. Now it’s something both sides can agree on.

Rural homeowners and developers in favor of the original bill said that maps from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources are more restrictive than federal ones — creating confusion and lowering property values.

But groups representing Indiana surveyors, floodplain managers and environmentalists said FEMA’s maps are too outdated to protect residents and that most floodplain managers need more education.

READ MORE: Counties could use outdated flood maps when issuing construction permits under bill

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The current version of Senate Bill 242 is a compromise between the two. Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) said it puts property owners in the driver’s seat.

“Allowing them the choice if they want to use the DNR floodplain mapping data or if they want to have their own survey,” he said.

Two years from now, all local floodplain administrators would also have to go through training. And sellers would have to disclose to buyers if part of the property is in the floodplain.

“It addresses everyone’s concern and DNR is supportive of the bill. So I appreciate everyone’s support,” said Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis).

Floodplain administrators also couldn’t grant a permit if it would violate requirements from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.