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Flood insurance to come before City Council

Bemidji residents could soon have the option to apply for flood insurance.

The possibility of flood insurance became a discussion point this past spring, when select areas of the city suffered flood damage due to snowmelt.

The Greater Bemidji Area Joint Planning Board, because it controls zoning in the city and Bemidji and Northern Townships, has taken over primary role for initializing the procedure to have area residents have the option to apply for insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

However, the JPB has asked the Bemidji City Council and Bemidji and Northern town boards to sign their support through a Memorandum of Understanding or resolution.

The City Council is posed to consider the MOU during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

If approved, the MOU would authorize the JPB to implement, administer and managed the NFIP requirements on behalf of the city and two townships.

The NFIP provides some relief for homeowners affected by flooding through federally subsidized flood insurance, which is authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.

The MOU assures to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the NFIP, that:

- Permits will be required in NFIP zones for all proposed construction and development to determine whether those activities would take occur in the floodplain.

- Development proposals would be reviewed to assure all necessary permits have been received from the appropriate governmental agencies.

- There will be a review of all permits to determine whether proposed building sites will be reasonably safe from flooding.

- There will be a review of all permits to ensure that any development activities are consistent with criteria in the NFIP regulations.

The MOU would empower the JPB with the responsibility, authority and means to:

- Work with FEMA to delineate the limits of the area having special flood or flood-erosion hazards.

- Respond to requests for information by FEMA.

- Cooperate with governmental agencies and private firms which are studying, mapping or identifying floodplain or flood-related erosion areas.

- Cooperate with neighboring communities to manage floodplain or flood-related erosion areas to prevent aggravation of the existing hazards.

- Submit each year an annual report to FEMA on the projects made in the community in the development and implementation of floodplain management measures.

- Contact FEMA whenever the boundaries of the community have been modified.

Also on the agenda

The City Council also is expected to consider the following:

- A resolution in support of a Contamination and Cleanup Grant application through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for funds to clean up the proposed location for the new, relocated Nymore Beach area in the Lake Bemidji south shore development area. The city plans to ask for $52,000, of which the city would be required to provide a $13,000 local match, which is included in the development budget.

- A resolution authorizing the implementation of administrative citations for select traffic offenses.

- A resolution in support of the MOU between the Bemidji Regional Airport Commission and the JPB for airport zoning.

- $123,817.25 worth of change orders for work associated with the Bemidji Regional Event Center.