Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Central introduces stricter drainage code

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CENTRAL - Housing developments could soon be required to build drainage systems that can handle more rainwater in heavy storms. Currently developments are required to construct for 10-year storm events but an ordinance introduced at the city council meeting Tuesday would increase that to 25-year events.

East Baton Rouge Parish made the same change to its building code in 2017. Many governments in the Capital Region have increased drainage standards since the 2016 flood.

"There's a lot of houses that would not have flooded if they were built at the 25-year level," said Central Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Wade Evans who introduced the ordinance.

The proposal also requires developers to provide stormwater capacity studies that would show how their developments would affect drainage in fifty-year, one hundred-year, and five hundred-year events. The ordinance is scheduled to be voted on in May.

Evans also wants to limit how much fill dirt developers bring into flood prone areas to elevate houses. Livingston and Ascension Parishes are considering a three foot fill cap, while Evans said he would like to go even stricter with a two foot limit.

"There are alternative methods of building a house that we have to become more comfortable with like pier and beam style and chain wall foundations," he said.

Some are concerned fill limits will hurt property values in low-lying areas. Evans wants to hold a public workshop on the issue in May.


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