Council OKs hazard plan|Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan outlines natural disaster response

Published 10:07 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contributing Editor

Washington’s City Council signed off on Beaufort County’s Multi-jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan during the council’s Jan. 24 meeting.
The council’s approval came after minor changes were made to the plan by the panel that drafted it.
The plan outlines responses, responsibilities and resources associated with dealing with natural disasters and minimizing their effects on the county and its municipalities.
Without the plan being adopted and approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the county and its participating municipalities would not be able to receive federal mitigation money in the wake of a disaster.
In early January, Councilman Doug Mercer, who serves as chairman of the county’s Planning Board, said the plan “needs more specificity.”
“There are a number of errors in the document that need to be corrected,” said Mercer during a brief interview on Jan. 3.
“It is a very generalized approach to the concepts of how you mitigate natural hazards. There is very little in there in regard to man-made hazards,” Mercer said then. “I would like to see a whole lot more specific information. … It doesn’t really tell you what you need to do to reduce the hazard.”
His concerns and concerns of other council members were addressed with the revised plan they approved Jan. 24.
The plan is two-fold, according to John Pack, the county’s emergency-management coordinator.
First, it deals with the day-to-day efforts needed to prepare the county and its municipalities so their exposure to damage from a disaster is minimal, Pack noted. Second, the plan outlines procedures to follow during the recovery phase of a disaster.
The plan addresses the need to prohibit or restrict building in areas prone to major flooding, high winds or other similar damaging elements of natural disaster, in part to minimize losses caused by repeated natural disasters.
The plan will be implemented when adopted by the county and the participating jurisdictions.
In other business, the council approved an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation regarding the widening of U.S. Highway 17 from near Cherry Run Road to just north of N.C. Highway 171. Basically, the agreement makes the city responsible for relocating city-owned utilities within the existing DOT right of way in the project area.
The preliminary estimate for relocating a city-owned water line in that right of way is $131,120.