Iowa DNR, FEMA hosting open house to discuss new flood plain maps with HC residents

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Residents of Henry County will be able to view preliminary flood plain maps during an open house at the Henry County Emergency Management Building at 900 W. Washington St. in Mt. Pleasant on Monday, June 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hosting the open house to provide property owners the opportunity to view the maps and learn how their flood risk may have changed over the past few years. Representatives will be in attendance to answer questions.

While most of the flood plain is in open fields next to rivers and creeks, Henry County Planning and Zoning Administrator Joe Buffington said it reaches into parts of Mt. Pleasant, Rome and Westwood.

?Most of the flood plain is in low lying areas,? Buffington said during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 22. ?(These maps) aren?t like the old flood maps where they had a bluff in a flood plain. I didn?t find anything I disagreed with,? he said, adding there are still opportunities for revisions before the flood plain map is made official.

Buffington mentioned there are one or two lots in Linden Heights that are in the flood plain, but it doesn?t touch any of the houses.

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the U.S. Property owners should understand their risk and take advantage of tools or programs available to them, including flood insurance, according to a news release from county officials. Flood maps are an important tool for communicating flood risk to property owners and are the basis for local communities? flood plain management measures.

Flood plain maps are also used by insurance companies to determine flood insurance rates for buildings and contents. As a result, some buildings throughout Henry County may for the first time be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area, according to the news release. This may result in affected homeowners being required to purchase flood insurance.

Residents with questions can contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at 515-725-8333 or

In other news, Henry County Supervisors approved a resolution to the Master Matrix expanding Heron Prairie Pork, LLC?s operations at 2010 195th St. in section 23 of Marion Township from 992 animal units to 1,984 animal units.

Two members of the public objected to the resolution citing environmental concerns not covered by Master Matrix. Owners of the facility were present at the meeting and said they were planning on planting trees on three sides of the site to help disperse odor and use pit additive all the time.

Letters were sent to every house within one mile of the facility. Under the Master Matrix, houses, public use areas, churches and schools must be set back from the facility by 875 feet. Water sources must be set back by 500 feet. There is nothing within those distances, Buffington said.

Supervisors also approved a contract with Calhoun-Burns Associates, Inc. for the final design of Bridge 198 on Salem Rd. County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss said the bridge would have a fall letting and construction would take place next year.

The construction will widen the bridge to 30 feet.

Aside from the approval of that contract, Hotchkiss updated Supervisors on road maintenance last week.

After heavy rains last week led to a culvert needing to be replaced, 160th between Kentucky and Lexington was closed. Crews repacked dirt around one end of the culvert and reopened the road after the temporary fix. Once a new pipe is ordered, the road will once again be closed so crews can replace the culvert.

Cross road pipe on Benton Ave. was installed. Territory operators continued contract rock hauling in Jefferson Township and started mowing shoulders on paved roads.