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Louisville Council Members to Propose Relaxing MSD Flood Plan Rule

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MSD sewer

Louisville Metro Council members Steve Magre and James Peden announced Thursday they will propose an ordinance that would relax a rule within the 2006 MSD Flood Plain Management Plan that has left some residents homeless.

The 2006 plan currently has a rule that prohibits homeowners from spending more than 50 percent of a home's value on repairs over the span of a decade.

The rule is meant to keep a good community rating with the National Flood Insurance program, which translates into more affordable flood insurance in the area.

But, right now there are about 30 people in Louisville who hit that limit— without knowing about past repairs or the rule—following a flood in March and another one in April.

This has left those Louisville residents with unlivable flood-damaged homes they are not allowed to repair.

That's why Peden and Magre want to change that 50-percent rule over 10 years to "50 percent per incident," Magre said.

Magre and Peden originally wanted to remove the 50-percent rule language altogether, but Magre said that the county attorney's office warned that would remove the city from the National Flood Insurance program.

This week, a workforce was formed with local leaders—including the enforcers of this rule, MSD.

MSD Executive Director Greg Heitzman said the group is going to look at a way to maybe change that equation, as well as create a way to disclose that information to homeowners.

But he said completely removing the rules in place could have some negative effects.

“If we relax all the rules, our community rating number and everyone will have to pay a higher insurance level,” Heitzman explained.

That’s why Heitzman said the group will take about 30 days to look at options and see what the best way to serve both these homeowners and the community as a whole would be.

Magre, a Democrat from District 10, said relying on a work group would take too long.

“If my home had been flooded and I’m having to wait, I don’t think I’d want to depend on a taskforce,” he said.

Magre said the workgroup would be good for long term plans, but the Metro Council could solve this problem quickly for these couple dozen homeowners.
When asked if he was worried about rising flood insurance rates as a result, Margre said rates are already too high.

“Flood insurance is hard to purchase and pretty expensive the way it is,” he said.

Magre said the council could likely have an emergency ordinance passed by May 14.

Heitzman said the workgroup would likely start meeting next week.