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Zoning Board of Appeals looks at resident’s ability to build retention wall

Published: Friday, May 2, 2014 9:34 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 2, 2014 9:35 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Morris resident Tom Mickelson may have the state permits he needs, but a stipulation within the city’s flood plain ordinances is preventing him from building a much-needed retention wall on his property.

During the April 2013 record-setting flood, the basement of Mickelson’s home sustained major flood damage. In a effort to reduce future problems, he wants to a build a small wall to protect his home, which is located in a floodway near Nettle Creek.

He discussed his plan Wednesday at a meeting of the Morris Zoning Board of Appeals.

Per the city’s flood plain ordinances, Mickelson would be obligated to commission a $10,000 or more study before building the wall to determine if the structure would cause any issues with backing up water.

“Some of those regulations can be pretty stringent,” Morris Building and Zoning Officer Bill Cheshareck said Wednesday after the meeting.

Mickelson said the state approved his project plans long ago, but the project has been stalled due to the city’s regulations.

“I know I’m not the only one having problems, but I’m just trying to protect my house,” Mickelson told the board. “I’m just asking to be treated like everybody else.”

Mickelson said he has since purchased flood insurance on his home, but would prefer to have the wall as well since the structure would provide a more permanent and cost-effective way to mitigate flood damages.

Bradley Nolden, from the city attorney’s office, said they would need to investigate the ordinance further to determine whether Mickelson could build the wall without the study, but most members on the board supported Mickelson in getting the issue resolved quickly.

Mickelson said he will do what he needs to avoid paying the substantial fee for a study.

“I’ve waited this long so I’m not going to rush you guys along with anything,” he said to the board.

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