County considers floodplain zoning ordinance change

The Lycoming County commissioners will consider amending the county zoning ordinance Thursday to allow property owners to put new mobile or manufactured homes on a floodplain pending they meet certain requirements.

Currently, mobile homes grandfathered into a floodplain have been allowed to remain there and may even be repaired or replaced, but no new mobile or manufactured homes can be added to a floodplain property.

There still are many regulations for mobile or manufactured homes to meet in order to lawfully exist on a floodplain, said Fran McJunkin, deputy director for GIS with the county planning department. The home must be elevated to the proper height, be secured, be placed on a permanent foundation and more, she said. Further, the home must be 50 feet or more from a stream bank or other water source.

“We don’t do this lightly — especially in light of what we’re experiencing,” said Commissioner Rick Mirabito, referring to the ongoing rain. “I don’t want the people to think the commissioners have lost their minds. This was vetted through FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), and FEMA said it met their regulatory standards.”

The proposal stemmed from a constituent who brought the commissioners’ attention to the fact that the county’s zoning ordinance used the strictest verbage of the three options compliant to FEMA, and perhaps another of those options would better suit the county, Mirabito said.

“This is part of our effort to try to recognize that we have people in different economic circumstances,” he said.

The proposed amendment went before the county Planning Commission in May and the commission voted to recommend it to the commissioners. A public hearing will give community members the opportunity to ask questions or offer comments before the commissioners vote.

Other items to be considered Thursday include a $21,795 professional service agreement with Larson Design Group for plans to repair a 300-foot bridge near Cedar Run, new tires for Resource Management Services for $15,400, several personnel actions and more.

Commissioner Jack McKernan also was present. Commissioner Tony Mussare was absent. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Executive Plaza.