Floodplains to be discussed at open house

New flood-risk maps will be available soon online

KINGMAN - While the Federal Emergency Management Agency is creating digital floodplain maps, the Mohave County Flood Control District will hold an open house workshop.

The April 28 workshop will allow for discussion of the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, their potential effects on individual properties, the National Flood Insurance Program's flood insurance requirements, the grandfathering rules and other related issues.

"Mohave County's main role in the process will be serving and notifying our citizens and property owners as well as providing assistance and all available information," said Nick Hont, Public Works assistant director, in a news release.

Letters were mailed April 4 to affected property owners, according to Senior Engineering Technician Brian Anderson. The 90-day appeal and protest period started Monday and ends July 13. There will be a review and adoption period beginning Aug. 19.

"We believe the final status will be decided upon and a mailing should go out to affected property owners in the spring of 2009, with the new maps being adopted and insurance requirements taking effect in summer of 2009," Anderson said.

According to a Mohave County Public Works official, the county and the Mohave County Flood Control District are working with the incorporated cities, the state and FEMA to update the flood hazard maps.

"It is a FEMA-mandated, nationwide program, and FEMA and the FEMA engineering consultants are in the final stages of map preparation," Hont said. "Residents and businesses will soon have updated, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis."

This information will be very important to many residents and businesses, Hont said.

"Many flood designations will change with the new flood maps," he added. "It is important that residents and business owners know their flood risk and understand how these map changes will affect their flood insurance requirements."

If a building on a property is mapped from a low- or moderate-risk zone to a high-risk zone, federal law requires flood insurance for most mortgage holders, Hont said.

"We want to make sure each one of those property owners will get notified and understand that the National Flood Insurance Program has grandfather rules that provide savings to policy-holders who have either built in compliance with the flood map in effect at the time of construction or who maintain continuous coverage," Hont added.

Not all of the digital maps will be updated, said Mohave County Senior Engineering Technician Shannon Summers. The new format will allow updates faster, she added.

"Mohave County has several Letters Of Map Revisions in the works; the largest being for the Mohave Channel project in the Kingman area," Summers said.

The workshop, which runs from noon to 4 p.m., will be held in the Saguaro Room at the Mohave County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.

For more information, call (928) 757-0925 or (888) 435-6637 or visit www.floodsmart.gov.