NEW IBERIA — The Iberia Parish Council on Wednesday unanimously tabled final acceptance of the updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps at the request of a Tete Bayou resident.
The deadline for the map’s final approval is Dec. 2, and failure to do so could affect flood insurance rates across the parish, said Carmen Judice, Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplain manager.
Stephen Minvielle, who lives in the Tete Bayou area east of New Iberia, said he and 100 other residents had their property designated as being in a flood plain, but added that data he gathered contradicts FEMA’s findings.
Minvielle said that in 2008 he asked FEMA to review the flood zone designation. After three years, he said he has never heard back.
He said he even measured water levels after Hurricane Gustav in 2009 and only five homes flooded, which he said contradicts FEMA data. He added that he’s gathered other flood information in that time to support his case.
Judice told Minvielle his case has merit, but the appeal period ended months ago. She said the Dec. 2 deadline is for final acceptance, but Minvielle can ask FEMA to amend the map after it is accepted.
She added each resident in the Tete Bayou area would have to file an amendment for FEMA to take action.
Council member Bernard Broussard asked if the parish could file a package of amendments on behalf of the 100 or so residents after reexamining the information.
Bryan Bartley, FEMA floodplain specialist, said he didn’t know if the council could act on their behalf, and he said there might be an associated cost. He asked them to get in touch with the FEMA regional director to find out if that is possible.
Parish President Ernest Freyou said he would call FEMA on Thursday and find out what steps can be taken.
Council member Naray Hulin said he is in favor of helping Tete Bayou area residents, but it needs to make sure it meets the deadline or 75,000 other residents in the parish will suffer.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT: The council also voted unanimously to table changes to the boundaries of Economic Development District No. 1, which is a Tax Increment Finance district that covers businesses along U.S. 90.
Broussard said the new map of the district has just been released, and they want the public to have a chance to see it before it is approved. The council meets Wednesday..