City Says Floodway Building Permits Now Allowed, If Property Owners Comply With Floodway Management Regulations

FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — On October 3, 2019, the City of Freeport received confirmation from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that they are now able to issue building permits for the repair and replacement of furnaces, and other repairs that ensure the safe and code-compliant occupancy for properties in the floodway, while they await anticipated funding from the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant, expected to be awarded in 2020.

“According to FEMA Senior NFIP Specialist Frank Shockey, any building permits issued in this manner need to be issued on the condition that compliance with floodway management regulations is achieved eventually”, a press release from the city of Freeport states. It goes on to say that the City’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant aims to achieve compliance through the acquisition and demolition of properties in the floodway.

The press release states that the City may issue permits to allow these repairs in the floodway, because the State understands it may take years to get grants to buy them out, but the City needs to require the buildings to comply eventually, which is being done through residents signing-on to the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant through a notice of voluntary interest, according to Illinois Chief of Statewide Floodplain Programs Paul Osman.

Osman reportedly said that if the property owners don’t have any plan to participate in a grant or comply by any other means, then they shouldn’t be issued permits and the City shouldn’t allow the repairs until property owners show that they’re going to comply with all floodway management regulations.

Notice of Voluntary Interests for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant are available at City Hall, 314 W. Stephenson Street, or by calling Assistant to the City Manager, Kirstin Hinds, at 815-801-8008.

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