County OKs deal on map lawsuit | RecordCourier.com

County OKs deal on map lawsuit

Staff Reports

Two years after Douglas County sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency, county commissioners agreed on Thursday to allow an independent scientific panel to determine the floodplain in Carson Valley.

The county filed suit in federal court on Sept. 17, 2009, claiming that new flood maps for the Valley weren’t based on scientific data.

Under the settlement, the agency agrees to convene a scientific resolution panel to consider material submitted by the county that shows that areas having special flood hazards are “scientifically or technically incorrect.”

When the new maps were unveiled, county officials estimated flood map inaccuracies would force 1,400 Douglas County property owners covering 4,000 acres to purchase flood insurance for their homes which could add $800-900 to their annual premiums.

Douglas officials and their representatives also protested the use of hydrologic information that they said overestimated the amount of precipitation which falls in the mountains above Carson Valley.

The maps, which were part of the agency’s nationwide modernization initiative, went into effect in January 2010.

Property owners in a special flood hazard area with federally-backed mortgages are required to purchase flood insurance.

The settlement doesn’t mean those homeowners who had to purchase flood insurance due to the new maps are off the hook.

They will have to wait until the scientific panel makes its recommendation to the associate administrator for federal insurance and mitigation who will make the final determination.

Information can also be found at http://www.fema.gov, or http://www.floodsmart.gov.