SF 2136 floodplain management bill passes Senate
by Gary Taylor
On a 26-20 vote SF 2316 (formerly SSB 3098, the companion of HSB 573 which I reviewed here) passed the Iowa Senate late last Thursday and was referred to the House. SF 2316 contains several minor amendments from the original version, but also differs from its original version in two significant respects. First, it does not make the 0.02 percent (aka 500-year) floodplain the new regulated floodplain. Instead it directs the DNR, in consultation with the Rebuild Iowa Office, Iowa Homeland Security, the League of Cities, the State Association of Counties and the conservation districts to cooperate to develop a model ordinance “for the regulation of the two-tenths percent floodplain by political subdivisions.” The bill does not state that cities and counties would then be required to adopt the model ordinance (if anyone has any insights on the discussion surrounding this issue please comment below). In the model ordinance the DNR shall consider including requirements for the purchase of flood insurance, requirements for new development or retrofitting existing development, the effect of levees, the use of fill and offsets required for the use of fill, and categories of development that should be prohibited.
Second, it tasks the Water Resources Coordinating Council with developing recommendations for “watershed governance including but not limited to assigning responsibility for assessment of flood risk, assessment and prioritization of options for reducing flood risk, allocation of flood reduction resources, operation of controlled water retention structures, and the purchase of land or easements by cities pursuant to section 364.4.” The council would be required to submit its recommendations to the governor and the general assembly no later than November 15, 2010.