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Juneau flood map changes underway

Posted: June 15, 2013 - 4:31pm  |  Updated: June 16, 2013 - 12:11am

Adopted changes to area flood maps will soon affect hundreds of residents and buildings.

Following a question posed by the city, the Federal Emergency Management Agency decided to update area flood ways and flood zones to reflect increased risk. Those changes go before the Assembly next month and must be adopted by Aug. 19.

“Obviously, we have to adopt the new map and the associated study along with any additional flood regulations by FEMA’s deadline,” community developer Eric Feldt said. “That’s the main discussion that we’ve been having with the public, Planning Commission and Assembly.

The changes will remove 272 buildings from current flood zones, allowing those property owners to drop flood insurance if they wanted.

There is a caveat.

While some buildings are no longer in designated flood areas, 226 buildings are now listed in high-risk areas that were not listed before.

Flood insurance for those property owners will likely be needed.

Insurance rates range anywhere from $400 to $4,000 with variables of the value of the building itself to current measures to decrease the chances of flooding.

First, the proposed changes need to be adopted or the city will no longer be eligible for national coverage.

“FEMA’s job is to make sure they have a decent product and the community approves and adopts the map and any pending regulations,” Feldt said. “We can make changes after the map is adopted.”

Once in place, residents can file letters of map amendment or map revision that would reconsider flood map assessments.

“You can do small changes, like remove a house or property, or a large change that removes a bunch of properties or a whole shoreline,” Feldt said.

The CBJ has been a participating community in the national flood insurance program since the 1970s.

The first maps that were submitted to CBJ date back to 1977.

New maps were issued in 1981 for the downtown area, and for the valley in 1990.

Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

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