Town Board deals with flood zoning

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Brett KenCairn's three-home affordable housing project at the corner of Arthur Avenue and Wiliams Street in Oak Creek has hit another administrative hitch, but his may not be the only new development that will run into problems with some of the town's outdated standards if they aren't reconsidered, he said.

KenCairn will come before the Oak Creek Town Board tonight to request a variance on the town's 25-foot-high building height restriction. The town's standard makes it almost impossible to build a two-story house that properly sheds snow, KenCairn said.

His new house is designed to be 29 feet tall.

"It's a comedy of errors. I feel like I'm walking around in a mine field," KenCairn said. But he also said he realizes that resolving some of these issues will be good for everyone in the long run because Oak Creek hasn't had much new development in a while.

KenCairn is trying to resolve his property's "A" zone flood designation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

At the Town Board meeting June 24, KenCairn said that he found out about the flood zone designation when he went to get a construction loan for his house. Anyone who wants to build in such a zone has to prove it won't flood with a flood engineering survey and an ensuing "letter of map amendment" from FEMA.

Oak Creek was not supposed to allow building in its designated flood zones, according to the town's code.

KenCairn is waiting for the preliminary results from the engineers for his flood engineering survey, though no one expects it to be much of a problem, he said.

After the 1984 flood, FEMA made new flood maps of Oak Creek, and the town was certified to join the National Flood Insurance Program. At that time, the town agreed not to approve new building in the flood zones without a flood engineering survey. If FEMA finds that Oak Creek is not complying with their flood restrictions, the town could lose its certification for the National Flood Insurance Program, which would cost homeowners such as KenCairn an estimated $3,000 per year for flood insurance.

This prompted the town to take action on a flood engineering survey for the Arthur Avenue area that is in the "A" zone, Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman said. The town got a reduced price because KenCairn had a survey under way in the area.

Unfortunately, this wasn't in Oak Creek's budget this year, Rodeman said.

"For those lot owners who are willing to throw in $100, we're positively thrilled," Rodeman said. She said Oak Creek plans to include new flood engineering surveys for all flood zones designated "A" in next year's budget.

The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. today at Oak Creek Town Hall.

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