Northwest NEWS

April 1, 2002

Front Page

Council studies flood mapping, fireworks ban

by Karen Waddington
   Contributing Writer
   CARNATIONAt the March 19 City Council meeting several important topics were addressed, including the Snoqualmie Section 205 Hazard Reduction Plan, the 2001 FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps, the proposed ban on fireworks and issues concerning the sewer plan.
   Concerns were raised that a phased installation of the current sewer plan causes a financial conflict of interest because three council members live outside of the proposed area. The council agreed to further discussion at a later date.
   The first issue was the 2001 FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
   The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reassessed a 1994 study done that designated a number of areas in Carnation to be "A-zone" and in the 100-year flood plain.
   Homeowners in this designation are required to carry flood insurance. After FEMA's reassessment it was determined that certain areas should be re-designated to show them in a 500-year flood plain. While the banks and other institutions will still use the old maps a letter of map revision (LOMR) should be ready for publication in about 30 days which will show areas in the 500-year flood plain designated as "shaded X."
   Mayor Stuart Lisk recommended that the council discuss how to get the LOMR out to the public. FEMA did say that a physical revision will be done at a later date, but the cost is prohibitive to change and get new maps out to everyone at this time.
   A letter was read from King County Natural Resources and Parks that concurs with FEMA on the changes to the map and stated that "King County supports the 'Shaded Zone X' and removal of the A-Zone classification."
   A question about what options the city has to improve the Tolt was asked by a citizen. The Army Corps of Engineers responded by saying that very little has been done as far as studies specific to the Tolt and city of Carnation. A representative also addressed questions about dredging and stated that it is a very short term fix.
   The issue of gravel harvesting was brought up and a King County representative said that the county is looking into the issue of gravel removal for flood reduction. The study area does include Carnation. They will be wrapping up the study in the next few months and asked to come back and address the council with their findings. They were invited back by the mayor.
   The next issue discussed was the proposed ban on fireworks.
   The Public Health and Safety Committee met and heard testimony from citizens both for and against the ban. Chairperson and Councilmember Joan Sharp said they looked at what other cities have done and discussed the enforceability of a ban.
   At this time they are not recommending a ban, but have concerns about safety issues.
   The council has decided to work with other jurisdictions in Eastside cities that have already banned fireworks and promote a county-wide ban. The council will work in conjunction with the King County Council and Eastside Fire and Rescue to implement an educational program on the danger of fireworks and what citizens can do to protect themselves and their property. A campaign will get underway this spring that will culminate around July 4 and focus around young people.
   To implement a ban now would not take effect until 2003, so the council agreed that beginning with education is a good start.
   Eastside Fire and Rescue Chief Lee Soptich spoke to the council regarding the ban. He stated that last year, two families were displaced in Carnation because of fireworks that someone else set off. He also said that due to cutbacks, this year they will not have a large presence with extra overtime and volunteers as they have in the past.
   Soptich listed 11 cities in King County that have already banned fireworks and said there are three others that are seriously considering it. He also said that across the nation 10 states have banned fireworks all together, six states only allow sparklers, and 34 states have restrictions.
   Soptich said that he was sympathetic to groups who use the sale of fireworks as a primary fundraiser, but that most find other means of fundraising.
   Lisk thanked the committee for working on a tough project. He also addressed the issue of enforcement stating that education "is a fantasy, to think that this alone will work. Since it takes a year to implement, now is the time to take an active role."
   The city of Carnation contributes in excess of $3,000 to provide the yearly display. He also went on to say that he is in favor of the ban and that he would like to see 2002 be the last year for Carnation city fireworks.
   The mayor also said he has received a number of letters from citizens who support the ban, and went on to say that the council will continue discussion on this matter and have an official stance before July 4.
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