Bradford County residents will soon have an opportunity to see how changes to flood zone designations may affect their properties. Property owners, realtors, lenders and insurance agents are invited to attend an open house on Nov. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Bradford County Public Library, 456 W Pratt St., in Starke to review and comment on updated preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The maps were created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in partnership with Bradford County and the Suwannee River Water Management District (District), all of whom will have representatives at the open house to answer questions.
Following the open house, property owners who live in the areas of Lake Sampson, Lake Crosby and Lake Rowell are encouraged to listen to a presentation at 7 p.m. that will explain how elevations were set. Part of the process has involved setting flood elevations for areas in the county that are at risk for flooding. The maps will show some new areas considered to be at high risk of flooding while other parcels are now designated as low- to moderate-risk. The new data will also determine which property owners are required to purchase flood insurance. It could also affect homeowners’ insurance premiums.
“This means that some people will not be required to maintain flood insurance, while others will,” said Kevin Wright, of the District. “It may also result in higher or lower insurance premiums.”
In the first phase of the project, elevations were set for Lake Sampson, Lake Crosby and Lake Rowell. Flood elevations show the level water could rise during a flooding event. This information is important in determining how high a home must be built in relation to those levels.
“The new maps will provide better data than is currently available and the data will be easier to access because it is now in digital format,” Wright said.
Wright said that changes have been made to 3,300 parcels or about 20 percent of properties in Bradford County.
Before the maps are finalized in 2011, residents will be given 90 days to appeal or protest the proposed FIRMs.For more information call the District at 386-362-1001 or 800-226-1066 (FL only) or Bradford County at 904-966-6223.