Dougherty County - - The county is looking at updating its Flood Plain Ordinance. It could mean more businesses and economic development, with property owners being able to build along the water. But County leaders want to see if they can help make that happen without endangering lives in the event of a flood.
Imagine relaxing along the lake and then walking home just a few feet away. At Marsh Landing Apartments, residents can do that. The apartment's owners want to extend that privilege by adding some additional 40 to 60 units there.
"Part of that property was in the floodway and the federal government does allow development in the floodway," says Developer Pace Burt.
So he followed the federal governments instructions.
"We jumped through over all of the hurdles and when we presented our plans to the Planning Commission. They said we had a problem."
That's because a Dougherty County ordinance says property owners can not build in a flood way.
"It's been since 1999 since it was last revised. It originated in 1978," says County Administrator Richard Crowdis.
After studying other cities like Columbus, Rome, and Augusta who have water sources and do allow development in a flood way, Crowdis wants Dougherty County to take another look.
If the county makes the change, there will be guidelines in place to make sure Dougherty keeps its good flood insurance rating. Crowdis wants to make sure the development would be safe if there is a severe flood.
"All of those things will be looked at by FEMA and the consultant to make recommendations back and through a pubic hearing," Crowdis says.
Burt is excited.
"You can develop along these river basins and be able to put a neat product close to the water like people want to have and also keep people safe," he says.
The county is expected to move forward with studying the issue at it's next meeting Monday. It would take about three months for the new ordinance to take effect.