Archive for Thursday, February 22, 2007

Kill Creek floodplain map moves closer to adoption

February 22, 2007

New flood plain maps that will place about 40 De Soto homes below the 100-year floodplain are a step closer to being adopted.

The city received a preliminary flood insurance rate map and flood insurance study last week from the Federal Emergency Management Administration, De Soto city engineer Mike Brungardt said. The documents are FEMA's first step to revising the flood plain in light of the Johnson County Stormwater Management's revision of Kill Creek's watershed map.

Brungardt said he would send letters this week informing home and business owners of the arrival of the preliminary maps.

Forty-three homeowners and businesses learned in September 2004 that their properties would be placed in the floodplain on the new maps. That number included 38 homes -- most in De Meadows -- not in the floodplain map adopted in the 1970s.

A home is considered to be in the floodplain if any section of its foundation is at lower elevations than the floodplain.

At a meeting in October 2004, Brungardt told homeowners many of their homes were barely in the floodplain and that it was possible to take action that would remove them from the list. In some cases, an action as simple as moving a little dirt could make the difference, he said.

The first step toward that action was a survey of those homes and businesses in the floodplain and those near that level, which was done in 2005.

Since that time, few homeowners have followed up on any mitigation efforts, Brungardt said.

Another survey would have to confirm mitigation removed a home from the floodplain, Brungardt said. He and the De Soto City Council were looking for funding to help homeowners with that expense, he said.

Should FEMA adopt the maps, mortgage lenders would require borrowers to get flood insurance on those homes in the floodplain. In addition, there would be language on the deed stating the home was in the floodplain.

With the release of the maps, cities affected will be given 30 days to comment on them. After that time expires, a public notice will be published twice in The De Soto Explorer, giving the public 90 days to comment after the second publication.

Information from the 2005 survey was shared with homeowners in the floodplain or nearly so. Brungardt said the information was shared so homeowners near the floodplain could protect themselves from the risk of flooding even if they weren't in the new floodplain.

The letter from Brungardt will explain to homeowners how they can protest the finding during the 90-day public protest period. Those protests must be supported with data supporting an argument the maps are wrong.

The FEMA letter to the city indicated it would take the agency a year to 18 months to work through the processes needed to formally ado

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