FEMA contractors conducting substantial damage assessments in Calcasieu

FEMA contractors conducting substantial damage assessments in Calcasieu
Calcasieu Parish Police Jury. (Source: Calcasieu Parish Police Jury)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - FEMA contractors with Compass Production and Technical Services are now conducting substantial damage assessments in Calcasieu Parish’s unincorporated areas on structures within FEMA-designated special flood hazard areas. Therefore, the damage being assessed may be from flooding or wind.

FEMA contractors will have identification showing they are employees of Compass and will provide homeowners a “Letter of Intent” from Dana Watkins, Calcasieu Parish’s Floodplain Manager. Homeowners wishing to verify contractor credentials may call 337-721-3600 with the contractor name.

Assessments that were previously completed by Calcasieu Parish Police Jury staff will not be repeated by Compass. All assessments will take place outside of the structure. At the assessment sites, Compass will make contact with residents upon arrival, at which point residents can either grant outside access for contractors to take photos of damage and measure structures, or they can request that an assessment not be conducted at that time. If a resident is not available upon arrival, photos will be taken from the public right-of-way and contact may be made at a later date, as needed.

These assessments, funded entirely by FEMA, will ensure that Calcasieu Parish remains compliant with the National Flood Insurance Program and will help make the permitting and recovery process more effective and efficient.

If a building is found to be substantially damaged – the cost of restoring the structure to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of its market value prior to the damage – federal regulations require compliance with local floodplain ordinances prior to permitting. In some cases, that may require repairs that include elevating or flood-proofing the structure to reduce the potential for future damage.

Permits for repairs are required by the Federal Government as part of Calcasieu Parish’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides eligibility for flood insurance, disaster assistance, state and federal grants and loans, and buyout funds for flood-prone properties.

Since Compass began assessments in the parish’s unincorporated areas on Dec. 2, nearly 4,300 have been completed in the Lake Charles area.

Compass is now working on assessments in the Carlyss area and will continue into Moss Bluff and other rural areas. Assessments are estimated to wrap up by Jan. 16, 2021. Once completed, a total of 7,200 structures will have been assessed.

Residents who have questions on the assessments may contact the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Permit Office at 337-721-3610 or at planning@calcasieuparish.gov. To apply for permits, visit CPPJ’s Citizen Self Service portal at www.calcasieuparish.gov/permits or the temporary office location in the Harbor’s Edge Pavilion at Prien Lake Park, 3700 West Prien Lake Road, Lake Charles.

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