Politics

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer on Friday said all unintended consequences need to first be examined before Metro Council approves changes to the 2006 MSD Flood Plain Management Plan.

The current plan includes a provision that prohibits homeowners from spending more than 50 percent of a home’s value on flood-related repairs incurred over the span of a decade. The provision has left about 30 Louisville residents without homes after recent flooding,

Metro Council members James Peden and Steve Magre on Thursday announced that they want to change the rule to “50 percent per incident,” Magre said.

Fischer said a recently formed flood mitigation workgroup will begin examining the original rule on Monday. Their intent is to develop some “short term recommendations” to improve the situation.

“We need to understand what we are getting into,” he said.

He said the 2006 rule was enacted “some years ago,” and “one of the big changes since then, obviously, is we are having more weather events—large amounts of rain,” he said.

Louisville has gotten 21.74 inches of rain since January—about five inches more than usual, according to the National Weather Service. (The 27 inches of snow that fell in Louisville this winter is about 15 inches more than usual.)

“As the weather changes, we need to be adapting to that,” Fischer said.

He said the action taken by Peden and Magre is a step to “push the dialogue to make sure we end up in a good place.”

On Thursday, Magre said relying on the workgroup would take too long to help the affected residents.

“If my home had been flooded and I’m having to wait, I don’t think I’d want to depend on a taskforce,” he said.

But such a move raises concerns that Louisville flood insurance rates would increase.

On Friday, Council President David Tandy said the earliest an ordinance to relax the “50 percent” rule could be passed is Thursday during the next council meeting. At that meeting, the ordinance could be read just once and then approved through a majority vote.

If that’s doesn’t happen, it must first pass through committee.

“It speaks to everybody’s concern and desire to find a solution to those folks who have been displaced because the flooding,” he said. “At the same time, we want to have the opportunity to look at the situation and not have any unintended consequences.”

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.