MIDDLETOWN — Town Council on Monday night unanimously adopted several changes to the town’s floodplain ordinance to bring it into compliance with new regulations and into accordance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
Middletown Planning and Zoning Administrator Eric Bittner has said the changes will keep the town in the National Floodplain Insurance Program, allowing residents who live on the floodplain to qualify for various forms of flood assistance.
Fifteen residences are either partially or completely within the roughly 30-acre floodplain, but the changes will primarily affect new development, not current residents.
Last month, council approved first and second readings of the floodplain ordinance amendment. The third and final reading was Monday night.
The amendment changes all references to 100-year-floodplains (areas where there is a one in 100% chance of a flood occurring at an equal or greater level in any given year) to “1% annual chance” floodplains. It also adds provisions for new construction located on floodplains.
The amendment appoints the town’s planning and zoning administrator as the floodplain administrator. The floodplain administrator reviews applications for permits related to activities on the floodplain, inspects buildings to ensure compliance with regulations, issues public service announcements and enforces regulations.
Also at the meeting, council member Carole Snyder Jones said she will work with Diane Newman-Frye — who ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign for a council seat in the November election — to draft a letter encouraging banks to consider opening a branch in Middletown.
Last week, council members discussed a desire to attract a bank and a grocery store to the town. Middletown does not have either, yet new houses continue to be built there.
Council member Scott Fink said a resident reached out to him and suggested town officials contact Ephrata, Pennsylvania-based Sharp Shopper about opening a location in Middletown. Sharp Shopper, which sells closeout grocery items, has six locations in Pennsylvania and three in Virginia, including one in Winchester on Berryville Avenue. It is a family-owned chain.
“If they want to keep it local, you might want to reach out to them,” Fink said.
Also at the meeting, former council member George Smith was presented a plaque recognizing his eight years of public service to Middletown.