Muncy moves to enforce flood laws

MUNCY — Threatened with losing their federal flood insurance, the borough council put forward measures to ensure residents keep their properties in compliance with national standards.

If Muncy were to lose their federal flood insurance, all homes would default on their mortgage, among other things. To stay in the program, Muncy Borough would have to pay the cost to bring every home up to code.

Muncy Borough uses Codes Inspection Incorporated to survey and manage their municipality. Vic Marquardt, of the inspection agency, attended the meeting to extend their services the flood ordinances.

Permits must be attained for nearly everything that is done to homes in the floodplain, according to Marquardt. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given Pennsylvania a bad grade in terms of its adherence to national floodplain regulations.

In fact, many municipalities have ignored the laws, which have existed since the 1970s, said Marquardt.

“The only thing you can do without a permit, would be mow your grass, paint your house, change a light bulb,” he said.

Additionally, if a house undergoes renovations that are over 50 percent of its assessed value, then it must be brought up to floodplain codes, including raising the home, or filling the basement.

With 40 percent of the borough residing in the floodplain, Edward Feigles, chairman, said the borough has no choice but to be much more vigilant with their codes enforcement.

“We have to make a concerted effort,” he said.

As such, Feigles said the cheapest way to ensure Muncy complies with federal code is to contract Codes Inspection Inc. to survey the municipality.

The borough voted unanimously to have the inspection agency survey Muncy Borough once a month for two hours at a cost of $80 for each visit. Every property seen to be violating the federal flood plain laws will receive a door tag and a list will be compiled and given to the borough.

To aid the vigilance initiative, the borough directed the police department to report any findings of construction activity without a permit, as well as borough employees.

Members present: Dana Bertin, Elaine McAleer, Richard Umpstead, Richard Baker, Edward Feigles and Linda Stein.

Scott Delany was not present.

The next Muncy Borough Council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 7, in the Borough office at 14 N. Washington St., Muncy.


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