JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WALA) - Some families in South Eastern Mississippi, cleaning out flood damaged homes, learned they need to file a permit with the County before repairing their homes.
Tuesday, Robert and Robin Poppenhouse gutted their home, after flash flooding from Isaac rose to about four feet on their property.
"We were dumping debris, and the planning commission drove in and said they would like to take pictures of the house," said Robert Poppenhouse.
The Jackson County Planning Commission said it sent out teams to Helena, where just last week roads were impassable by car.
County officials said they wanted to see how much flooding and damage there was and to get information to people, who could not get out.
"Then they presented us with a letter that stated before we do any restoration, we would be required to get a permit, which will be free," said Robert Poppenhouse.
"Well, first of all, it's state law, so we really didn't have a choice. In addition to that, it's in the flood plane regulation, which is part of the Jackson County zoning ordinance," said Michele Coates, Director, Jackson County Planning Commission.
The letter, from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, states you may be fined if you don't file a permit.
"That's part of the zoning ordinance it becomes a zoning violation and at that point. We don't see it very often, but we'll just charge you double for the permit, which in this case the permit is free. The zoning ordinance says you can be fined up to $200 a day if found guilty," said Coates.
The Poppenhouse's cleaned their floors with bleach and prepared for an inspection.
"Pulling everything out is what you want to do, but don't put anything back until we look at the permit. We're really looking for two things. First of all is there any evidence of mold and to make sure you're compliant with flood plane regulations," said Coates.
Poppenhouse worried that the commission may require him to tear down his home.
"They said as far as the elevation, I'm grandfathered in so there's no issue there as long as I get the permit to restore the house. They didn't see any reason for me to destroy the structure or rebuild the house in another location unless I get more than 50 percent damage," said Robert Poppenhouse.
Coates said the planning commission returns to properties, performs an inspection, and then issues the repair permit.
At that point, families can start the slow road to restoration.
More information about the Jackson County Planning Commission can be found here .
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