MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 6, 2013

Sports complex delayed by floodplain concerns


— By Chesley Oxendine

Times Correspondent

Concessions may have to be made concerning the Fort Gibson Sports Complex, officials said.

A potential flooding issue with the proposed construction site has caused some concern, said Joe Roark, the town’s building inspector and code enforcement officer.

A planned concession stand would end up below the land’s base flood elevation as dictated by data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Oklahoma Water Resources Board.

The BFE is defined as “the level of floodwater expected to occur once every 100 years,” according to FEMA’s website.

“FEMA supplies the floodplain maps and who is and isn’t in a floodplain,” Roark said. “The OWRB provides the floodplain ordinances and enforces them.”

Local engineers also contribute to defining the BFE, which in turn guides aspects of floodplain management such as building ordinances to prevent construction in dangerous areas or elevations.

The OWRB also helps dictate eligibility for the National Flood Insurance Plan, which wouldn’t be granted to a building in violation of local and state code.

As a result, Roark said he couldn’t accept the building plans for the Sports Complex concession stand as they were — at least not right away.

“I have to deny it,” he said. “We’re asking the Board of Adjustments for a variance.”

A variance allows for leeway in constructing below the floodplain, but while Roark hopes for one in this particular case, he worries what it might mean for future projects, he said.

“I don’t want to set a precedent,” Roark said. “Every situation is going to be different, so the board may not issue another variance down the line.”

The Board of Trustees tabled the issue at its last regular meeting Feb. 25, and tabled other issues related to the Sports Complex (such as fencing) until more information is available.

Discussion of extending the Georgetown Road water project to River Road and a portion of Morgan Road continued at the board meeting. The Board agreed to see a new engineering proposal which includes those new areas in the water line extension.

Other agenda items discussed or approved:

• Sue Groover and Jackson Dale were both appointed to the Fort Gibson Board of Adjustments.

• The board hired David Olvera as a public works laborer at $9 an hour.

• Speed limit fines were raised by $.50, bringing the penalty for 01-20 miles-per-hour over the speed limit to $189 and for 21-25 mph over the speed limit to $282.

• The cemetery water tower will be drained, sandblasted and painted over the course of a month beginning this week. Residents in Rural Water District 7 may be affected.