Where’s the beef or at least the flood plain at Branson Landing?

The number one question the Ole Seagull has been asked all week is, “What do you think about the bombshell allegations that Ruth Denham, the interim director of Planning and Development for the city of Branson, has alleged about the city of Branson? Allegations relating to it’s involvement with potential fraud and other issues concerning the city’s involvement with the Branson Landing flood plain Map revisions, information submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA,) and the issuing of final Certificates of Occupancy (CO) for certain buildings at Branson Landing?”

His answer is reminiscent of an old Wendy’s ad, “Where’s the beef?”

In her March 24 memo to the Mayor, city administrator, and board of aldermen, Denham states she has been working for the city for thirteen years, is currently employed as the interim director of Planning and Development for the city of Branson and prior to that time had worked as the Assistant Director of Planning and Development. Said another way, she has been either the number one or two position in the city’s Planning and Development Department during most, if not all the time the issues she alleges have been going on.

The memo goes to state, “It has been documented from the very beginning of the building plan review of the Branson Landing project that buildings 1-6 do not meet and most likely were never going to meet either the Branson Municipal Code (BMC) or NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) requirements.” The first thought that comes to an Ole Seagull’s mind is how much more potentially valuable to the city and its citizens it would have been if she had taken the action she is now taking back during the “building plan review of the Branson Landing Project” so the issues could have been addressed prior to building the Landing.

Her memo then goes on to say, “”Regardless, certain members of city government have chosen to cover up this fact from FEMA and our citizens,” alleges lying to the public, and goes on to say, “I as an employee am being pressured to go along and be part of what I believe to be illegalities, and will not do so.” Interestingly, the memo is devoid of the names of any “member of city government” that chose to cover up the flood plain issues she points out, is lying, or has allegedly pressured her “to go along and be part of what” she believes are illegal acts.

In the Sep. 5, 2007 edition of this paper in an article entitled, “Branson Landing flood plan map revisions not a life safety issue,” the Ole Seagull reported on the very public process that was taking place as HCW Development Company, LLC, was submitting a “Letter of Map Revision (LOMR),” to FEMA requesting a revision of the 100 year flood plain map for the area encompassing the Branson Landing project and other relevant information. News accounts since Denham’s allegations indicate that FEMA approved the LOMR in Feb. 2008 and the very buildings she is talking about are now out of the flood plain. That article is available on line at www.BransonCourier.Com by typing the term “LOMR” in the “Search Box” in the upper right hand corner.

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