Pacific City-Woods Citizen Advisory Committee

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Building Moratorium Lifted

June 4, 2015 – The Tillamook County Department of Community Development is pleased to announce the end of the permit moratorium in the Nestucca River’s Special Flood Hazard Area in Pacific City. A permit moratorium was enacted in April, 2014, on both the Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers as a result of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) audit of Tillamook County’s floodplain administration. FEMA required that Tillamook County re-examine the floodway boundaries on these rivers. The Tillamook County Department of Community Development, the County’s designated agency for administering the development regulations contained in the National Flood Insurance Program, contracted with Portland-based WEST Consultants to perform hydrologic studies of both the Nehalem and Nestucca Rivers. Both studies were finished in the fall of 2014, and the Nehalem River moratorium was ended on February 11, 2015.

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Building Moratorium End in Sight

May 14, 2015

Well, it looks like after a long, tough year, the end is in sight. The appeal period for the new FIRM is now over, and the moratorium could be lifted as soon as early June!

Moratorium on Building Permits

On April 19, 2014 Christine Shirley, National Flood Insurance Coordinator in the State of Oregon and Bryan Pohl, Director of Tillamook County Community Development gave a presentation on the Moratorium of Building Permits along the Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers.

Over 70 folks attended to hear about this issue and they learned a lot about Base Flood Elevations and Floodways and the reason for the moratorium.    In summary, during a CAV or “Community Assistance Visit”  it was discovered that incorrectly permitted development was found in the floodways of the Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers.  This development was not reflected in the modeling associated with the new flood maps.   As a result,  FEMA is requiring the County to remodel the floodways and they will be included in the new flood maps.

Until the new modeling is completed,  FEMA contends that Tillamook County does not have enough information to verify that development will be “reasonably safe from flooding” and that the lowest floor elevations will be above base flood elevation.   As a result,  Tillamook County has imposed a development moratorium until the modeling is complete.

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Is your property in a Flood Plain – you should be aware of this!!!

Your input regarding FLOOD PLAIN regulations may be needed in the future.    A summary of the issues is noted below.   Attached is a letter and presentation explaining the issue in more detail.
Issue:   FEMA is currently proposing to impose the Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance on local jurisdictions.   This would mean that with each flood plain permit  application, the property owner, would need to provide a habitat assessment determination that the proposed project would have no adverse affect on Endangered  Species or their habitat.   This would have a major impact on local development permits for folks in flood plains.

Purpose:  FEMA apparently did not consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) when establishing the National Flood Insurance Program.   To remedy this,  FEMA  is proposing to place the burden of the ESA on local jurisdictions.

Process:  FEMA and NMFS is going through a consultation process now.  Ms Christine Shirley, Nat’l Flood Insurance Coordinator,  has come up with a pragmatic approach that would allow certain development activities in the Special Flood Hazard Area as long as they complied with certain best practices.

Endangered Species Act FEB2012

Flood Plain ESA Ruling Letter