What Your Need to Know About Flood Plain Management
The Village of French Settlement is dedicated to minimizing the loss of life and property that is associated with flooding events. Education and prevention are valuable and proven tools that help communities become resistant to these natural disasters. The Village of French Settlement recognizes that its entire community is susceptible to flooding, not just those structures located within Flood Hazard Areas (FHA’s). The following information has been provided to help inform property owners located within the FHA, flood prone areas and also all property owners within the Village of French Settlement.
The Village of French Settlement is located in the southwestern portion of Livingston Parish.
In its earliest years, French Settlement residents depended heavily on the Amite River not only as their sole means of Transportation to other areas, but as a vital source of fish. The area consists mainly of low coastal marshes with ridges of higher alluvial land along the rivers and bayous.
Although ponding of runoff produced by rainstorms and hurricanes causes occasional localized flooding the most severe flooding is caused by backwater flooding from the Amite River and Colyell Bayou. Southeast winds also have a substantial impact during flood events. It is estimated that a sustained southeast wind of 30 mph will rise the water surface at the mouth of the Amite River by 5 feet. Significant flooding events in recent years occurred in 1957, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1994, and 2001. The flood of record occurred in 1983, and it has been categorized as a 45 year flood event.
Learn the safest route from your home or business to higher, safer ground, but stay tuned to reports of changing flood conditions.
If emergency officials tell you to evacuate or leave your home, go immediately to a safe shelter, hotel or relative’s house.
Turn off all utilities, gas and electricity at the main switch.
Stay away from power lines and electrical lines.
Be alert for gas leaks.
Do not walk through flowing water.
Drowning is the number one cause of flood related deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than in any other location. Vehicles also push water into homes and cause additional property damage.
The purchase federal flood insurance is highly recommended. Basic homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage from floods. The Village of French Settlement participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which means that federally subsidized flood insurance is available to everyone in the City. Remember there is a 30-day waiting period before a policy becomes effective. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank or loan company when they obtained a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. Remember that a flood insurance policy must be renewed each year.
Mandatory Purchase Requirement: The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in a Flood Hazard Area (FHA). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in the FHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures and furnishings contained in such buildings. If a building is located in a FHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building.
For more information about flood insurance contact:
● FEMA Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM)
● The Livingston Parish Library.
● Contact your insurance agent.
● Contact Ms Ferguson at the Village of French Settlement Permit Department.
Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Various alternatives are available to help minimize flooding. If the floor level of your property or structure is lower than the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) located on the Village’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), consider ways to prevent flooding from occurring such as retrofitting your building. “Retrofitting” means altering your building to eliminate or reduce flood damage.
Retrofitting measures include:
● Elevating the building so that flood waters do not enter or reach any damageable portions of it,
● Constructing barriers out of fill or concrete between the building and flood waters,
● “Dry flood proofing” to make the building walls and floor watertight so water does not enter,
● “Wet flood proofing” to modify the structure and relocate the contents so that when flood waters enter the building there is little or no damage, and
● Preventing basement flooding from sewer backup or sump pump failure.
FLOOD WARNING SYSTEM
If flooding is imminent and evacuation of the Village is advised, Mayor Guitrau or Chief Brignac of the Village of French Settlement will notify you through local radio, TV and the FSPD. The local contact number is (225) 698-6100 or the Village of French Settlement Police Department at (225) 698-3484. Please call in reference to evacuation notices, procedures and shelters.
DEVELOPMENT PERMIT REQUIREMENTS
All development in the Village of French Settlement needs local permits. Contact Ms. Ferguson at the Village of French Settlement’s Permit Office at (225)698-6100 for advice before you build, fill, place a manufactured home or otherwise develop. The flood control ordinance and the Building Codes Ordinance have special provisions regulating construction and other developments within floodplains. Without these provisions, flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would not be available to property owners in the Village of French Settlement. Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal; such activity can be reported to Ms. Ferguson or Mayor Guitrau at the Permit Department at (225) 698-6100.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT REQUIREMENTS
What is substantial improvement? The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement, must conform or meet the same construction requirements as a new building and be constructed above the minimum Base Flood Elevation (BFE) listed on the Village of French Settlement’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
What is substantial damage? Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a building or structure when the cost of restoring the building to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the building before the damage occurred. Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual repair work performed.
The Village of French Settlement requires by ordinance that any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement must have a building permit. Permit information can be obtained at the town hall from Ms. Ferguson at (225) 698-6100.
DRAINAGE SYSTEM MAINTENANCE
It is illegal in the Village of French Settlement to dump any type of debris into a canal, stream, river or drainage ditch. This debris can become entangled impede drainage causing the flow of water to back up. Citizens of French Settlement should also keep drainage ditches on their property free of debris, foliage and vegetation that would impede the flow of water. Debris dumping should be reported to Mayor Guitrau at the Village of French Settlement Town Hall or Chief Brignac at the Police Dept.(225) 698-6100 or (225) 698-3484.
Citizens of the Village of French Settlement can obtain flood information concerning flooding, flood maps, mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements, flood insurance requirements and inquiries, and flood zone determinations from the Village of French Settlement’s Town Hall, or by calling Ms. Ferguson at (225) 698-6100.
Elevation Certificates of all properties in the Flood Hazard Areas (FHA’s) are available and on file at the French Settlement Town Hall and copies are available upon request from Ms. Ferguson.
Real time river gauge information can obtained through the following websites: www.frenchsettlement-la.gov
or www.amitebasin.org or through
FLOOD PROTECTION ASSISTANCE
Concerned citizens and the general public can obtain information on flood protection assistance from Mayor Guitrau at the Village of French Settlement Town Hall at (225) 698-6100.
List of Services Provided:
● Provide a list of names of professional land surveyors.
● Make site visits to review flooding, and drainage problems.
IMPORTANT USEFUL WEBSITES
Special thanks to the City of Morgan City for providing written flood information contained in this site.