Plans to change the flood zone maps in Springfield, Mo. have several residents upset that they will have to buy flood insurance for property that they say has never flooded.
More than 100 homeowners attended a meeting on Oct. 31 with city officials to discuss the maps, which would make 340 parcels and 116 structures currently outside the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 100-year flood zone part of a revised flood area.
Owners who have mortgages on the property might be required to obtain flood insurance. And people whose land is in the new flood areas will have to disclose that to potential buyers.
Brenda MacLachlan said she didn’t think it was fair that she would have to pay about $600 a year for flood insurance on land that’s never flooded in the 13 years she’s owned it.
And Angela Brown said having her 40-year-old neighborhood in the flood plain would reduce home values. She said it’s the city’s fault that part of the area is prone to flooding because it allowed massive commercial development on South Creek. Brown said it would be unfair for her to have to pay flood insurance if the commercial development caused the new flood plain boundaries.
FEMA began revising its flood maps nationwide after the 1993 floods. After seeing FEMA’s proposed maps in 1997 and 1998, Springfield city officials said they weren’t accurate and did their own flood-map survey, at a cost of more than $100,000.
FEMA used the city’s maps to update its flood insurance rate maps, which show the expected boundaries for 100-year and 500-year floods. Properties in the 100-year flood zone might require flood insurance.
Many of those who attended Friday’s meeting said they plan to appeal the flood plain decision during the 90 days the public has to review the maps and work with the city and FEMA to clarify any technical issues.
“As we have meetings with the public, if they have something persuasive in terms of the accuracy of where floodwater actually gets to on their property, we’ll provide technical assistance to them,” Public Works Director Marc Thornsberry said.
Some residents are concerned about the cost of proving their land shouldn’t be in a flood plain.
“If you want to protest it, you’re going to have to survey your property,” said MacLachlan’s husband, Keith Taylor. “It’s a money generator for a bunch of people. They encourage you to do it but make it financially impossible.”
Gene Hawkins said he’s already paid $350 for a surveyor to determine if one of his properties is in a flood plain and he might have to do the same for a second parcel.
On the other side is Ken Reiss, president of the Computer Recycling Center, who is thrilled that the new maps remove his property from the flood plain. About 190 parcels and 72 structures will be removed from the 100-year flood zone under the new flood insurance rate maps.