ADA — Pontotoc County Floodplain Management has been running a public awareness campaign since the April 1.

"Our main objectives of this campaign are to ensure the citizens of Pontotoc County are aware that the county is a member of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and to gain awareness and compliance with our county floodplain regulations." Pontotoc County Floodplain Administrator Chad Letellier said.

Beginning Aug. 1, the PCFB will begin full enforcement of their management program. "This enforcement will consist of the filing of required forms, and if you are developing in a floodplain, applying to the Floodplain Board for a permit," Letellier said. "Failure to comply with the floodplain regulations is a misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail for each violation."

Adherence to the Floodplain Regulations is as simple as obtaining a Notice of Intent (NOI) form, completing the necessary information and returning the form with $2 to the address on the form. "This NOI is required for all development within the unincorporated areas of Pontotoc County," he said. "And development does not mean just homes or businesses. FEMA broadly defines development as 'Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling operations and the storage of equipment and supplies, such as big round bales of hay.’”

According to Letellier, some of the types of development that will require a NOI are grading and paving roads where the road surface height changes, installing water and sewer service and related facilities, drilling water and oil wells, site preparation activities such as the placement of fill and excavation, construction of roads, bridges, tinhorns and dikes, mining operations for the extraction of natural resources, such as sand and gravel or other resources, and the storage of equipment, supplies or minerals.

"The purpose of the NOI is to ensure that the Pontotoc County Floodplain Administrator is aware of all development and potential hazards in the floodplain," he said. "It is used as the first step in floodplain management."

Letellier said that when a NOI is filed with the floodplain administrator, it is then reviewed to determine if the development is in a floodplain area and upon review, a letter from the administrator with additional instructions will be mailed to the person who filed.

"The letter should be retained by the owner or developer for future reference as required," he said. "If the development is not in the floodplain, no other action is required by the land owner or developer. If upon review of the NOI the development is found to be located within the floodplain, the land owner or developer is required to come to the Floodplain Administrator and get an application for permit. Once this application is filled out and brought back to the administrator, it will be reviewed for completeness and brought before the Board for a determination."

Letellier said the Floodplain Board has the authority to approve or deny the application based on hazard to the development or if the development will be detrimental to the floodplain and surrounding structures.

"If it is necessary for the development to get an application for permit, a charge of $15 will be required at the time the application is picked up from the administrator," he said. "If the application for permit is approved by the Board, a charge of $85 will be required for the permit. To total is all up, development that is not in the floodplain needs only file a NOI at a cost of $2, development that is in the floodplain will need to file an NOI, get an application for permit, then get a permit at a cost of $102."

With all that said, there are some permit exceptions.

According to FEMA, "functional dependent uses" are exempt from obtaining a floodplain development permit. A functional dependent use is defined as a use that cannot perform its purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity of water.

"In Oklahoma, in accordance with the Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act, the following exceptions and conditions apply:

1.) The regulations of a floodplain board shall not apply to the use of farm building for agriculture purposes, the planting of agricultural crops or the construction of farm ponds.

2.) Any use that exists prior to May 13, 1980, which does not meet the minimum standards set forth within the act, may continue. However, unless brought into compliance with the minimum standards set forth in regulations pursuant to the act, those uses may not be substantially altered, enlarged or added to.

3.) Floodplain boards, in preparing floodplain management regulations, shall give due consideration to the needs of an industry, including agriculture, whose business requires that it be located within a floodplain.

4.) Variances are allowed if compliance with the act would result in an arbitrary and unreasonable taking of property without sufficient benefit or advantage to the people. However, the issuance of a variance cannot unreasonably create flood hazards.

Structures such as basements and storm cellars are not exempt."



Notice of Intent forms can be obtained at the following locations:



J.B. Lumber

Ada Area Realtors

Pontotoc County Commissioners Office

Ada City Hall Reception Desk

Vision Bank Loan Department

PEC



Any questions relating to the floodplain management should be directed to Chad Letellier at (580) 436-8055.

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