FEMA will host public meeting on St. Charles flood maps

LULING – Proposed new Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for St. Charles Parish will be available for review by the public during an upcoming open house to be held from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. March 25 at the R.K. Smith Middle School Cafetorium, 281 Judge Edward Dufresne Parkway.

FEMA representatives, including engineers and insurance specialists, will be available to answer any questions or concerns and explain side-by-side comparisons of current and eventual flood zone changes at any given address. Using interactive online maps, representatives from the state, parish and various insurance companies will also be available to answer floodplain and flood insurance questions. The open house will also serve as an opportunity for community members to make public comments on the maps.

The changes, on average, will equate to flood insurance rate decreases for those on the East Bank of St. Charles Parish that are protected by the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity levee. This includes properties in the communities of St. Rose, Destrehan, New Sarpy and Norco. On the West Bank, flood insurance rates are set to increase in certain areas of Mimosa Park in Luling, parts of Boutte and large sections of the communities of Paradis, Des Allemands and Bayou Gauche.

FEMA issued its new preliminary FIRMs to St. Charles Parish on Dec. 6, 2012. The proposed maps indicate flood-prone areas within the parish, and insurance companies use them to determine flood insurance rates for buildings and contents.

The proposed maps are an update of the existing FIRM, which dates back to 1992. The FIRM and the associated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) are the basis for the floodplain management measures St. Charles Parish is required to have in effect in order for its residents to remain eligible for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

As a result of these map changes, some buildings in St. Charles Parish may, for the first time, be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area. This may result in those affected homeowners being required to purchase flood insurance.

Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States, and it is vital that property owners understand their risk and take advantage of tools or programs available to them, including flood insurance.

Additional information and an interactive map is available on the parish’s website at www.stcharlesparish-la.gov by clicking on ‘FEMA Flood Map Information.’ There residents can find links to the interactive mapping website, which can be found alternatively at www.RiskMAP6.com.

Residents with additional questions can contact St. Charles Parish Coastal Zone Manager Earl Matherne at (985) 783-5060 or ematherne@stcharlesgov.net.


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