Flood insurance premiums could rise for hundreds of Clark County landowners under a federal plan to modernize flood plain maps, and county officials want local residents to know about it.
In a presentation to the Fiscal Court on Wednesday, Stephen Berry, director of Clark County Geographic Information Systems, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in the process of updating decades-old maps that determine which structures are located in flood hazard areas.
The changes will affect about 600 properties in Clark County, he said, and most landowners are probably not aware that the changes are scheduled to take effect soon.
About 400 properties that were in the flood plain are now outside the hazard areas, according to Berry’s research. But about 200 properties will now be counted in flood areas for the first time.
Berry said the Kentucky Division of Water is managing the project. Clark County entered the process in 2007, and a public meeting was held at the Extension Office in 2009 so officials could gather information and concerns from landowners. About 100 people attended the meeting.
Berry said schedules were pushed back, and state officials didn’t run a formal notice in The Winchester Sun until this month.
“You probably didn’t even see it,” he said. “If you read it, you probably didn’t know what it was saying. This means the flood elevation has been determined for your structure in the county, and if you have a problem with it, you better start working hard to resolve the issue because you only have 90 days.”
The appeals period ends on May 17 and the changes become law in March 2012. To appeal, Berry said landowners will likely need to have an engineer to study their property and submit documents to local officials, who will forward them to FEMA for consideration.
In Estill County, Berry said the deadline expired before property owners began work on appeals.
“Now they are locked,” he said. “Now they are getting a letter of final determination saying this is going to become law, and no one feels like they have had a chance to appeal that.”
Court members determined that a public information meeting would help educate landowners about the changes. A date and time has not yet been scheduled.
“I honestly feel that a meeting is the best way to do it,” said County Commissioner Vanessa Oaks Rogers. “I think our duty as officials is to help them.”
Contact Mike Wynn at email@example.com.