PicturePhoto Credit: Larry Williams
The 20th anniversary of the Great Flood of '93 is getting some attention this month, including this editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on the current state of development in floodplains.

Our favorite snippet from the article is this: '“We said, if you don’t need to develop in a flood plain, don’t do it,” retired Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway told the Post-Dispatch in 2005, when, more than a decade after the Great Flood, it was clear his report was being ignored.'  Read the full Galloway report, written by 30 of the nation's top authorities on floodplain management, to see how close we came to common sense and how far we've strayed.

Developers and politicians still yearn to develop floodplain land into taxable commercial property. Look no further than the Maryland Heights Comprehensive Plan, which envisions almost every kind of development except single family homes -- although apartments and nursing homes are welcome -- in the floodplain between the Missouri River and Creve Coeur Park.

We need a different vision for how floodplains can be used productively to benefit the surrounding natural and human communities.  Rather than chasing tax dollars on new commercial properties, cities should be protecting taxpayer dollars from future bailouts of properties that are doomed to flood again and again.

Rather than wait for developers to submit their own self-serving ideas, the Maryland Heights City Council members and the Planning Commission should be leading the charge on how to sustainably develop this unique land resource.