Some Tyler and Smith County residents saw concerns put to rest Monday after reviewing new flood plain maps released by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Others have new concerns to deal with.
Monday’s display gave residents the opportunity to review the new maps and ask questions about their effect Tyler spokeswoman Susan Guthrie said.
Tyler resident Barbara Caskey, who lives on Whittle Street, got some good news based on the new data.
Ms. Caskey’s home was located in the heart of her neighborhood’s flood zone, but now her it sits happily on the edge, she said.
Now that the zone has moved, she has the chance to slash an expensive flood insurance policy she was required to take once the maps are officially accepted, which could take about a year or more.
Ms. Caskey said her flood insurance policy was costing about $1,400 a year. Not having to pay that would be a huge benefit, she said.
“I’m single and that would be a raise for me,” she said, smiling. “It costs more than my regular policy.”
Dick Magner and Dave Kelly both came out to review the maps in the interest of their neighborhood, which is home to several “concerned citizens,” Kelly said.
“Our whole area, Holly Creek Village, was concerned,” Magner said.
Magner and Kelly applauded the city and administration’s presentation of the data at the Tyler Rose Garden Center.
Representatives from the city’s engineering department, the administration and insurance experts were on hand to work with residents, which Kelly said made the process of getting informed easier.
“We could find out immediately where our house was,” he said, referring to satellite images available to help the mapping. “I thought they did a really good job.”
Not all Smith County residents will be happy with the result studies, though. While 200 parcels of land and nearly 180 buildings were moved out of flood zones, 159 parcels and 88 structures were added to high-risk flood zones, according to officials.
It is recommended that even people whose homes are not mortgaged but are in high-risk flood areas purchase insurance.
Michael Martin, a customer service representative for the Billy R. Martin Insurance Agency in Tyler, said flood insurance can be expensive.
“It’s almost like another premium,” he said.
Ms. Caskey said she’ll have to wait to see how the changes will be taken by her mortgage company. While it’s recommended she keep the policy, she said that isn’t her plan.
“It’s a lot,” she said of the costs. “I’ll wait a year and see if they cancel it.”