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City challenging flood zones
Changes to FEMA maps to affect 1,600; info meeting set for Feb. 28
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The federal government has recently proposed new flood maps for Pembroke and North Bryan County, but Pembroke is contesting the changes that would spike insurance rates for some residents.
An informational meeting is from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 28 at the J. Dixie Harn Community Center in Pembroke and will give the 1,600 residents affected by the new maps the chance to learn about the changes.
According Pembroke flood plain administrator Sharroll Fanslau, the Federal Emergency Management Agency for two years has been in the process of revamping the city and North Bryan County’s 100-year flood maps, which haven’t been updated since 2008.
The most recent proposal of the maps changes the flood zone status of 1,600 properties in North Bryan and Pembroke, which could increase the flood insurance rates for homeowners.
“Flood insurance can cost you a lot and you have no choice — you have to buy it,” Fanslau said. “If you have a mortgage on your property with a home or a barn or anything, you are required by that mortgage company to have full flood insurance. And if you don’t, they will put it on there for you.”
Property owners affected by this should have received a detailed letter notifying them of the changes along with information about the meeting.
According to Bryan County Administrator Ray Pittman, only Pembroke and North Bryan areas are affected by these proposed flood maps.
“They’re (Pembroke) indicating that FEMA has identified flood prone areas and folks in Pembroke say they haven’t seen flooding there, so they’re challenging that,” Pittman said. “We’re going to have a lot of folks for the first time in flood zones because of the new remapping.”
He said although Pembroke has decided to challenge the flood maps, the fact that these homes are now in a flood zone isn’t really a problem.  
“It’s really not a problem per se, it’s just making sure the most accurate information is out there so people know they if are truly in a flood plain, so they have FEMA flood insurance,” Pittman said.
But Fanslau believes the flood zone changes could pose a problem financially for some residents.
She said mandatory flood insurance can cost $1,500 a year or more — in addition to homeowner’s insurance. The informational meeting, she said, is not only to correct any errors in the flood maps, but also to protect residents’ wallets.
“Anything that we can do that will help the citizens here and the homeowners here — not only to protect their home the right way, but to make sure that if they shouldn’t be in a flood zone that they do not have to pay this outrageous price for flood insurance,” she said. “They can still keep it if they’re worried. It’s just going to be way lower than if it was mandatory and the risk is going to be greatly reduced.”

Read more in the Feb. 20 edition of the News.

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