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Kalispell floodplain policy ripe for update

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | February 21, 2022 12:00 AM

Updates to Kalispell’s floodplain ordinance are the only item on the city council agenda for a meeting to be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday due to the President’s Day holiday. The city’s floodplain ordinance was last updated in 2015.

The city council will look to set a public hearing for March 7 to review changes to the city’s floodplain ordinance.

“The City of Kalispell is required to comply with the Montana Floodplain and Floodway Management Act (Title 76, Chapter 5 MCA) to ensure compliance with its requirements in order to continue participation in the National Flood Insurance Program,” states the meeting agenda. “At this time, there are updates to the current floodplain management ordinance required to remain in good standing.”

The existing Floodplain Management Ordinance (Ordinance No. 1761) was based on the 2014 Department of Natural Resources and Conservation model floodplain regulations. In 2021, DNRC issued a revision to the 2014 model regulations.

The revisions include clarifying language and updates based on changes to the city limits that have resulted from annexations that have taken place since the floodplain ordinance was last updated in 2015. Because of annexation, the draft floodplain ordinance adds a new Flood Insurance Rate Map panel, which is used to calculate flood insurance rates, to the floodplain map for the city of Kalispell.

The draft ordinance also incorporates updates to maintenance requirements, FEMA procedures, language around exemptions for agricultural structures and a few other clarifications.

The city council on Tuesday will not take action on the new draft ordinance, but will vote to hold a public hearing on March 7 to get public input on the proposed ordinance.

The meeting agenda, which includes the draft floodplain ordinance, is available at: https://www.kalispell.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_02222022-770.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 201 First Avenue East.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 406-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.

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