More Homes May Fall In High-Risk Flood Areas

Dec 3, 2008

New digitized mapping may increase number of homeowners who need flood insurance.

Staff Writer

Charlotte Sun and Weekly Herald–December 2, 2008

NORTH PORT – With property values declining and homeowners insurance and property taxes increasingly a burden, now homeowners have something else to contemplate.

Even though their properties may have survived major flood events in the past – such as in 1992 and 2003 – some area residents may be required to purchase federal flood insurance, beginning sometime in 2010.

That’s because of a joint federal, state and local project currently under way to digitize the maps agencies use to show which properties are in high-risk flood zones.

In North Port, mostly homes adjacent to the Myakkahatchee Creek are designated as located in high-risk flood zones. The new maps will more accurately show areas of the city where flooding could occur during major storms.

The decision to require flood insurance would be made by lenders. Meanwhile, the digitized mapping, which is funded by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, may also show potential high-risk flood zones in future large-scale developments in the northeast quadrant of North Port, for which FEMA maps never before have been produced. The most recent FEMA maps were produced in 1981.

Developers of new communities will be watching how the digitization project progresses. Representatives of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Sarasota County and the city of North Port answered questions about the project’s impact for more than two dozen stakeholders Tuesday at North Port City Hall. Representatives of the district and the county also are meeting with stakeholders in Venice (earlier Tuesday) and Sarasota (Thursday and Friday).