Smith County floodplain maps redrawn, could affect insurance
Officials in Smith County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are asking for public participation in a 90-day comment period regarding newly drawn floodplain maps.
The maps affect property owner participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, which enables property owners in participating communities to purchase insurance protection from the government against losses from flooding.
Homeowners, renters and businesses in Hideaway, Lindale, New Chapel Hill, Noonday, Tyler, Whitehouse, Winona and unincorporated areas in Smith County are encouraged to view the preliminary flood maps to see where flood risks have been identified.
Residents with comments or who would like to file an appeal can do so between Thursday and Dec. 25.
An appeal is a formal objection to proposed base flood evaluation or flood depths, Special Flood Hazard Area boundaries and zones or floodways. Appeals must be based on technical data that shows proposed maps to be scientifically incorrect and include the method, data and analysis used to support the claim.
Keir Orr, an insurance agent with Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, said the new maps likely will require some homeowners who were previously not required to have flood insurance to purchase coverage. The maps will raise the rates for others. He was personally affected by redrawn maps a few years ago, he said.
"The government redraws maps and suddenly some homes that weren't in the floodplain are now in it," he said. "You don't often see homes drop out of the floodplain, the maps just get bigger."
Comments or appeals should be sent to FEMA through the local floodplain administrator. For more information call 1-877-336-2627 or email FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com