To the Editor:
I need your help getting the word out about a petition circulating in Wheelock. Unlike most petitions which ask for more taxes to be raised, this petition is about saving costs to the town. The petition asks that the town hold a meeting and a vote of the citizens on whether or not to adopt flood hazard bylaws.
The recommendation to adopt minimal land use measures for the FEMA Hazard Zone (about 12 properties in our town) has been a part of the Wheelock Town Plan since 2014. Town adoption of these bylaws is required for enrollment in the National Flood Insurance Program which provides affordable flood insurance for property owners. The benefits to the town include an increase in the rate of state funded reimbursement should there be a ‘disaster event’ from 7.5% to 12.5% ; eligibility for FEMA grants for bridge and road projects that would lessen the risk of damage from flooding; eligibility for a FEMA grant to purchase land so we can move the town garage out of the FEMA Hazard Zone; not to mention lessening the risk of harm or damage from flooding. Yes, the dozen or so property owners in the identified Hazard Zone would have to comply with the terms of the bylaws should they want to develop or build on their property in the future.
Does the benefit of affordable flood insurance for the property owner and the potential benefit in cost savings for the town outweigh the dislike citizens have for bylaws/ land use measures? The petition, which can be found at the Town Clerk’s Office, asks that we have an opportunity to decide on town meeting day whether or not we want to bring this issue before the people and let the people make the decision sometime within the next year. I appreciate the opportunity your newspaper provides to get information out to the people. I encourage everyone to stop by during regular town clerk office hours and read the exact wording of the petition.