Regional plan addresses ways to mitigate hazards

Published 11:32 am Sunday, May 10, 2015

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, is scheduled to conduct a public hearing on the Pamlico Sound Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Beaufort County received a request from N.C. Emergency Management to participate in a regional hazard mitigation plan that includes the county and its municipalities, along with Craven, Carteret and Pamlico counties. The plan, which cost the city no money to develop, received preliminary approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which recommends all jurisdictions covered by the plan adopt it.

Participation in a certified plan is required for the receipt of annual FEMA grants and public-assistance funding in the aftermath of a declared natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado.

The plan was prepared with assistance from Holland Consulting Planners, which works with many counties in eastern North Carolina.

Such plans are required to be updated every five years. The change to the regional approach is expected to reduce the cost and burden placed on communities in regard to the update process, according to a memorandum from John Rodman, the city’s cultural and community services director, to the mayor and City Council.

Hazard mitigation focuses on preventing, or at least minimizing, natural disasters.

Each county has a Local Emergency Planning Committee that works to enhance preparedness efforts related to natural disasters and similar emergencies.

After a five-year hiatus, Beaufort County’s LEPC was reformed in 2011.

In an email he wrote in November 2014, John Pack, Beaufort County’s emergency services director, discussed the importance of the plan.

“Maintains Beaufort County and all cities and towns are (eligible) to apply for and receive Hazard Mitigation Grants from FEMA for the Elevation and Acquisition of flood prone structures in Beaufort County,” Pack wrote. “In the past three years we have had 23 homes elevated utilizing Hazard Mitigation Grant program dollars at no cost to local government, other than processing and administrative time of county employees. We currently have eleven more homes scheduled to begin elevation in the next six months.

“The elevation of those structures should reduce or eliminate those homes from sustaining future losses as a result of flooding.

“It provides a document from which local planners, businesses and residents are made aware of potential hazards (natural and manmade) associated with living in the towns and County. We use this plan to help develop early warning plans for those hazards.

“Through this plan and analysis of the hazards we can prioritize the retrofitting of critical facilities and infrastructure which may have vulnerabilities to those hazards. This ensures our limited tax dollars are used efficiently and effectively to provide for the essential services to our County residents such as clean drinking water, electricity, sewer, police, fire and EMS services.”

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.






About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike