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City corner column: FEMA working on new flood plain maps

Aug. 15, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.


By O.C. Garza

When will FEMA's new flood plain maps be finalized? Will the work the city did on Lone Tree Creek remove some homes from the Lone Tree Creek floodplain?

Flood maps are basically risk maps to determine the possibility of flooding on a river, creek or tidal surge zone.

The tentative schedule discussed with the FEMA mapping contractor for the new floodplain maps for Victoria County is from March until June 2011, preliminary floodplain maps will be released for review and public comments. In September 2011 final determinations of the maps will be issued. In March 2012, the final new floodplain maps will become effective. The new floodplain maps for Victoria include updated floodplain elevations for both the Guadalupe River and Lone Tree Creek, and storm surge elevations along Lavaca Bay.

The city floodplain administrator believes the work to improve drainage on Lone Tree Creek will remove homes from the floodplain. But we do not know how many or which homes will be taken out of the flood plain since we have not seen any of the preliminary FEMA maps for Lone Tree Creek. We will know more when the preliminary maps are released.

A person knocked on my door wanting to know if I wanted my address painted on the street curb. Are door- to-door vendors required to have a permit?

If any individual knocks on your door selling services or products, the first thing you should do is ask to see their city permit. This is especially true of individuals selling security alarms or other expensive services or products. Permits are required and issued after a background check on the individual representing that company.

The city does not get many complaints about individuals wanting to paint addresses on street curbs. Some local nonprofit groups have provided this service as a fund raiser for their organization in years past. However our engineering department provides the criteria for anyone painting addresses on curbs. These are a minimum of 4-inch tall black numerals on a white background, that the paint shall contain reflective material and that the applicant must obtain written permission from the property owner before addresses can be painted on the curb. The criteria letter must be attached to the permit issued by the city secretary.

I checked with our city secretary office and was told that no permit applications have been filed this year for painting addresses on curbs. There are a number of security alarm systems companies currently permitted, but it is a good idea to be wary of door-to-door venders. If you have any questions about vender permits or other permits required by the city, call the city secretary office at 361-485-3045.

I am confused by the changes in the mowing ordinance. What exactly am I suppose to mow?

We understand if you are confused. Since 1969 it has been the responsibility of the property owner to mow their entire "lot" as described in the city code. "Lot" as defined by the code, is all the property from the back of the curb, or to the edge of the pavement or the center of an alley, to the opposite property line. The city appreciates that most of our residents are already mowing their entire lot, including any right of ways or easements, and any grass between a back fence and the street or a side fence and the street.

For years our employees had a hard time saying "no" when asked if they could mow these spaces. With more than 24,000 properties in Victoria, we do not have the resources to cut all these spaces.

The city will continue to mow our flood buy-out properties, all city property holdings, major drainage ditches like Lone Tree Creek and Texas Department of Transportation rights-of-way, as often as we can. We thank you for doing your part of this partnership, to mow your property from the property line to the curb, street, pavement or alley. If you have any questions about mowing your property or about the actual ordinance, call development services at 361-485-3360.

Send your questions and comments for any city department or activity to City of Victoria, Public Information Office, P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902, or pio@victoriatx.org.

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