An updated draft of a proposed floodplain map for Clay County and Spencer is expected to be available this month.
Spencer Planning Director Steve Hallgren told the city council at its meeting last week that he has been in touch with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, which is working on the map.
Once finished, the map will set flood boundaries for 100- and 500-year floods. A draft is available online.
Hallgren said he was told another draft of the new floodplain map is scheduled to come out soon.
Once the maps is released, there will be a series of public meetings where the maps will be shared and discussed.
“They’ll hold a meeting with city officials during the day time. They’re going to open it up for the general public, general community to offer input at an evening meeting,” Hallgren told the city council. “After that, it starts an appeals process for approximately four to six months. And then, after that, my understanding is they take all the public comment, they take it back and it rolls into a final map process, which can take anywhere from six to 18 months.
“I know that’s a large time frame, but that’s what we’re being told. So, it could be anywhere from 2021-2022 almost before they’re completely finalized.”
Ward 5 City Councilman Ron Hanson had asked Hallgren to provide the update. He said he’d heard about Dickinson County going through the process.
“I’ve seen a couple communities up at the lakes are concerned that with what’s going into effect up there,” Hanson said.
Hallgren said Dickinson County is ahead of Clay County in the map update process.
With the public comment portion coming soon, Hallgren said an opportunities for appealing floodplain updates also will be available.
Hallgren said appeals are more involved than just expressing an opinion or disagreement with a property being in the floodplain.
“It would involve probably hiring a consultant to come up with supporting documentation, supporting data to file that appeal through that process,” He said. “But it can come through an individual, business or (the city).”
The city has been working with McClure throughout the map update process to help look over proposed changes. However, Hallgren said any appeals the city may want to pursue could require a new agreement with McClure.
He mentioned one area the city has already pointed out to the DNR.
“The one area that’s of great concern to the city is the Green Industrial Center,” Hallgren said. “To not get into too much detail, the city is talking with the DNR about possibly a separate study into the Green Industrial Center and that would be coming forth down the line, as well.”