LEWISBURG — Proposed changes to the 100-year flood plain along Limestone Run in East Buffalo Township and Lewisburg are pending with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a hotel project engineer.
Bud Schenck, project manager, Mid-Penn Engineering, said he expects FEMA to rule favorably on the proposal within 30 to 60 days. The agency has 90 days to make a decision, he said.
Schenck spoke to township supervisors and residents during a regularly scheduled board meeting Monday. He explained the proposed changes and answered a few questions from the crowd and elected officials.
No one expressed opposition to the plan.
Schenck made a similar presentation in Lewisburg in early May and as he did then, on Monday he explained that a proposed hotel development at Penn House Commons triggered the flood mapping proposal but isn’t the direct cause.
Schenck said that the proposal is based on existing conditions along Limestone Run following previous development of Penn House Commons along with improved mapping technology. It’s being pursued as part of the permitting and land development process for the hotel.
“The map revision is not to accommodate future projects or plans on that site,” Schenck said. “It’s to reflect what’s built on that land now.”
“The data in original flood studies was not as accurate as the topographic data we have now,” he said.
Twelve township properties near or along St. Mary Street are impacted by the changes, with the flood plain widening on three. However, the base flood elevation did not change, Schenck said.
Schenck encouraged property owners on the edge of the flood plain to obtain Certificates of Elevation to determine if their structures are in the flood plain.
It could determine whether the property owners need flood insurance, Supervisor Matt Schumacher said.
Timing is the only difference in whether or not the flood map changes would be made, Schenck explained. If the changes weren’t completed now, he said FEMA was expected to force the changes itself within two years.
“It makes our job to enforce your flood ordinance a lot easier,” Makenzie Stover, zoning officer, said of updated mapping.
True Story LLC, led by Matt Miller, hired Mid-Penn as a project engineer for its proposed three-story, 107-room Fairfield Inn & Suites at Penn House Commons.
Mid-Penn’s study found the 100-year flood plain narrowed or disappeared from a combined 31 properties in both East Buffalo Township and Lewisburg, widened or entered 13 others and both narrowed and widened on six more.
The affected properties are largely located north of St. Mary Street, between Route 15 and North 15th Street. The far majority are located in Lewisburg.