Our Hearts are Heavy, But Questions to Government & Developers Remain

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KTBS supplied photo
KTBS file photo

by Marion Marks

This morning KTBS posted a follow up on the flooding in residential areas. The tragedy becomes even more apparent to the public that this broken record of flooding was all not necessary had the governing entities recognized the flood plain should never have been so recklessly developed.

Bossier engineer Butch Ford will certainly explain these facts soon, as he did at another recent meeting.  Yes, the developers made a boatload of money taking the low-lying areas, with flat lots along a picturesque view, and pouring slabs and selling homes when the water was not covering the area. But the knowledgable governing entities have known for years that this area was prone to flood.

Directly from Bossier warning!
Directly from Bossier warning!

On the Bossier City website, this file and maps seem to clearly indicate the parish knowledge and warning of the flood plain and the threat to developers. Yet, nothing stops the developers from proceeding with their lure to buyers. This is a clear case of responsible warnings, but why are new developers continuing to get permits?

From the report: “… in recent years with flooding on Fifi Bayou at Stockwell Place subdivision during and after periods of heavy rain. Tall Timbers subdivision has also experienced extensive flooding to the point that some homeowners may qualify for a federal buyout program. These subdivisions lie in the southern portion of this northern flood zone.

It then becomes a reckless and unsupportable position to demand the public’s assistance in re-engineering the natural flow of water to save these developed areas. Nature is only so kind to puppies and fools! We, the knowledgable public, expect natural disasters to affect the unprepared. Even the prepared get caught in some disasters, but too much tempting of fate should be insured at a reasonable rate.

first responders rescuing
first responders rescuing

There is a reason why homes built along the coast cannot get flood insurance from private carriers – guarantied at a low rate. This is when the public steps in and eats a loss. But, should the public always be expected to subsidize bad bets?

When KTBS ran their story, my posted response was as follow: “When will developers be required to post bonds or other guarantees (because buyers are never willing to accept responsibility of reading the fine print) to cover the cost to the public of salvaging homes and homeowners who live in natural flood plains?) Zoning and other boards should not allow developers to risk the public welfare so recklessly. Yes, it is a buyer “BEWARE” lesson, but one theory of government, that seems to hold sway, is that the public seems to always be there to pick up the pieces. The public should also expect developers to be responsible and accountable for endangering the lives, property and assets of the public. If the “TRUMP” theory of responsibility holds sway with Republicans, then the concept of accountability must also be to demand accountability of all parties who screw up. A board, a governing entity, an elected official who winks and says “it’s ok to live in a natural flood plain” should also be held accountable for more than just bad judgement or greed for developers. Good and responsible leaders have a moral responsibility to tell people who don’t know better or refuse to listen to logic, “You will not get our help when the water rises.” Obviously, no one plays beyond the first few moves of the chess game.

Why was construction allowed?
Why was construction allowed?

When people began to post photos of their flooded homes, I had great sympathy for those whose homes are flooded. But my question remains, do they have insurance for their decision to build or live in a flood plain? And, if there were man-made changes to the property that caused their damage, when there would have been none had the changes not been made, I would have more sympathy.

But when a person makes the conscious decision to build or move into an area known for flooding, they must insure or accept that they are risking their possessions and even their lives if the decision is a bad one.

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