Flood heights could rise

Would mean insurance costs to quadruple for some

March 05, 2008 at 9:53 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Residents in St. Charles Parish will soon find out if the Federal Emergency Management Agency will change the base flood elevations for the area.

Though it is not certain if the height will increase or decrease until March 22, a jump in the elevation could mean a spike in insurance for those that will loose their X Zone status. X Zones are areas where the flood hazard is less than that in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Right now, most of the X Zone properties are located in Des Allemands, Paradis and Bayou Gauche.

For example, a resident in Bayou Gauche may be paying $300 a year in flood insurance because living in an X Zone gives them a preferred rate. However, if their area is reclassified, the price of flood insurance could jump to $1,250 a year, according to Earl Matherne, who serves as planning and zoning’s coastal zone administrator.

“They haven’t officially told us anything yet, but if the height goes up, it will be a problem,” St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said. “The subdivision in Bayou Gauche is dead because of the last time the elevation increased, and if they raise it again, I would assume it would increase the same or more.”

If the base flood elevation increases, it will affect new construction in the area. This would include both new homes and detached structures on existing units. Also, any new additions more than half the size of the current property will be affected.

“This is the third date we’ve gotten from them and I understand that the draft on March 22 will just be a working plan,” Matherne said. “We can make technical arguments against the draft, and those are fairly successful.
“However, we won’t know anything about the draft until it is released.”

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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