City of Baker taking construction precautions for future flooding
BAKER - Like thousands of others, Baker resident Blackie Bell lost his home in the 2016 flood.
"We've always been in a flood zone but now I know that we will flood," said Bell.
Since it was the home he was born in, he decided to stay and rebuild.
"So I got my engineer to shoot me a grade on the proposed elevation and standing on the ground it was chest high and I said if I've got to go that high, I'm going to utilize underneath for parking," he said.
His home now stands on 10-foot stilts. Bell chose to make his home this tall, but now the City of Baker is making that choice for you.
"If you are in a flood zone or a flood plain we're telling you now, that when you rebuild, everything that's built is going to have to be two feet about that," said Mayor Darnell Waites.
The city enacted the new ordinance last week. It applies to all new residential and non residential construction.
"So what we do is that we put in in the ordinances and when they come down to get permits to build now, we're briefing them on this. You've got to be above this and we're checking for this," said Waites.
But if you've already rebuilt, even if it wasn't to the height of Bell's home, Mayor Waites says you should be okay as long as you listened to FEMA the first time.
"FEMA has already directed them that they had to build this far anyway and you're not going to be able to get your flood insurance license unless you are above base-flood elevation anyway."