Metro Council discusses debris removal, votes on elevation requirements
BATON ROUGE – The East Baton Rouge Metro Council hosted a special meeting Wednesday evening at City Hall in downtown Baton Rouge to discuss parish elevation requirements after last month’s historic flooding.
The council voted to raise "substantial damage" to 50 percent of the homes value for those living in "A flood zones" and ignore base flood level from the August 2016 flood, according to the Mayor's CAO.
The council voted to strike certain requirements that would require residents to elevate their homes after devastating flooding. The vote will remove a section of the law that requires homes to be built one foot above the record flood event for a neighborhood.
Local officials also addressed the ongoing debris removal process. Debris removal contractors have received permission from FEMA to collect debris up to 30 feet from the curb on private properties. Those contractors have been in contact with the Mayor-President's office updating debris removal efforts.
Contractors say they are finding double the FEMA estimate of debris at some homes. One contractor estimated that debris totals will be four times what was originally projected, at more than 1 million total cubic yards.
Contractors are also working with parish school officials to avoid interfering with school bus traffic.
Mayor President Kip Holden's office is working with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to start "nighttime hauling" from the Sherwood temporary debris site to a landfill. Officials say the Sherwood site should remain open for at least 90 days.
Councilman John Delgado said he hopes their will be some federal assistance in the near future to help in this difficult time.
"This is a tragedy of epic proportions it's something that we've never experienced, never anticipated experiencing in Baton Rouge. I'm hoping that ultimately there will be some federal help down the road, but i know there's going to be a lot of people that will be hurting for a long time after this, my heart goes out to them."