Federal flood-control improvements along Cape LaCroix Creek and Walker Branch have greatly narrowed the flood plain to the point that most owners of residential and commercial property along Cape Girardeau's two major drainage channels no longer have to buy flood insurance, city officials said Wednesday.
In all, 874 structures are no longer in the flood plain, city planner Kent Bratton told the planning and zoning commission.
Along Cape LaCroix Creek and Walker Branch where channel improvements were made, Bratton estimated that only a handful of structures are in the revised flood-plain boundaries.
Flood insurance is required as a condition for mortgage loans. Those without such mortgages don't have to have flood insurance. Owners of many of the structures in the old flood-plain area didn't have flood insurance, officials said.
The map changes, engineered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, took effect last week.
Since the changes are considered a zoning matter, the city now has to approve the flood-plain changes.
The city took the first step in that process Wednesday night when the planning commission recommended the city council approve the revised flood-plain maps.
The council must hold a public hearing before giving final approval to the changes, city officials said.
In other action, the commission recommended approval of a special-use permit for construction of seven homes on a vacant lot at 1110 N. Cape Rock Drive. The seven homes would be built by Rhodes Properties on the site at the corner of Cape Rock and Lombardo Drive.
The entrance and exit would be from Cape Rock Drive.
Several neighboring homeowners living downhill of the site expressed concern that the development would create storm-drainage and sewer problems.
"There is not much room for error when it comes to water," said Truman Smith who lives at 1161 Landgraf Drive.
But city officials said the developer will have to submit a storm-water management plan and make any necessary drainage improvements as part of the construction project.
Commissioners said they believe that could ultimately lessen the chance of flooding problems in the residential neighborhood.
Commissioner R.J. McKinney said the development of $200,000 homes should improve the landscape of what currently is a vacant lot full of weeds.
The commission also recommended the council approve:
* A special-use permit for a child-care facility for up to 20 children at 411 S. Ellis St.
* A special-use permit for a telecommunications tower at 2007 Southern Expressway to serve the city's Public Works Department.
* The record plat of Rock Creek Meadow Townhouse Phase Three at Rock Creek Lane and Larkspur Court.
* The record plat of Orchard Park development on Pemiscot Street between Perry Avenue and Penny Avenue.