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More property owners may have to buy flood insurance

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New floodplains map proposed; Residents encouraged to report concerns

By Stephen Lega

The floodplains map for Marion County is being updated, and the changes could mean more property owners will be required to purchase federal flood insurance.

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The proposed changes are part of the Kentucky Division of Water's statewide map modernization effort. The preliminary revised floodplains map for Marion County was presented Dec. 18 at the David R. Hourigan Government Center by Carey Johnson of the Division of Water.

Johnson said the current Marion County floodplains maps were approved in the mid-1980s. The revised maps are scheduled to take effect in January of 2010.

Using available engineering data, the new maps identified the areas of the county that are considered to be in a 100-year floodplain, although Johnson explained that "100-year-flood" is a bit of a misnomer.

"It's a large flood and that is the national standard that FEMA has adopted," he said.

It does not mean that area will flood once every 100 years; instead, it means there is a 1 percent chance of flooding in that area annually. This includes areas where the contributing drainage area (such as a river or stream) is 680 acres or one square mile, Johnson said. 

Flood insurance

Map modernization will allow the public to better assess their flood risk, which means people will be able to make a more informed decision about flood insurance, according to FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Property owners should be aware that any structures in 100-year floodplains that have federally-backed loans are required to be covered by flood insurance, Johnson said.

Property owners also should remember that flood insurance is not part of homeowners insurance, and flood insurance can only be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program in communities that participate in the NFIP.

In Marion County, Lebanon, Bradfordsville and the unincorporated areas of the county are eligible for flood insurance through NFIP. At this time, Loretto and Raywick are not NFIP participating communities.

Based on the preliminary map, one property in the Raywick city limits is considered to be near the floodplain that runs through that community, while no properties in Loretto are considered to be in a floodplain on either the existing map or the preliminary revised map.

The revised maps presented last week are still subject to change. Johnson said the maps from the mid-1980s will continue to be used until the revised maps are officially adopted.

Who is affected

Unfortunately, it's not 100 percent clear who is affected.

The floodplain mapping was based on 20-foot contour, Johnson said, and that means it's not as precise as it could be.

He added that the Division of Water would like to do more precise mapping (based on a two-foot counter), but that would require another $6 million.

Based on the existing floodplains map, there are 59 structures within 100-year floodplains in Marion County. Using the preliminary revised maps, county officials identified 171 properties that may be considered within a 100-year floodplain.

Marion County Judge-Executive John G. Mattingly said county officials used existing GIS maps and aerial photographs to try to identify those residences that are in or near the floodplains.

He added that the county attempted to mail letters to the owners of each of the properties in question, but after looking again at the floodplains maps last week, there may be other properties that were not included in that initial list.

Protest deadline is Jan. 17

Anyone with property at or near the addresses identified by the county is encouraged to visit the county judge-executive's office as soon as possible to take a closer look at the maps.

Judge Mattingly and the mayors of the towns that are NFIP participants (Lebanon and Bradfordsville) have until Jan. 17 to send protest letters to Johnson disputing the floodplains zoning for specific properties.

Johnson said even though a property may be identified as being in a floodplain, it can be exempted if a property owner has better information than the Division of Water regarding the lowest point of a particular structure.

Johnson said that filing a protest does not mean the Division of Water will change the classification, only that the division will consider the request. The final decision will be based on the facts of each situation.

For property owners who are considering purchasing flood insurance, they may be better off purchasing the insurance before the new floodplains maps take effect.

Insurance purchased before the new maps are approved (in January of 2010) will be based on the current floodplains map, which will mean lower rates for many people, since the premiums for properties in low risk zones are less than the premiums for high risk zones.

As long as the insurance policy on a piece of property does not lapse, the insurance rates will be grandfathered based on the current classification, according to Johnson.

To learn more about federal flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart or www.water.ky.gov/floodplainmanagement.

Property list

What follows is a list of properties identified by Marion County officials that are in or near the 100-year floodplains in the preliminary maps by the Division of Water as part of its map modernization effort.

Some properties were identified by mailing addresses. P.O. Boxes and known out of county addresses are not listed below.

Lebanon addresses: 2125 Arbuckle Creek Road 845 Bradfordsville Hwy. 1005 Bradfordsville Hwy. 3360 Bradfordsville Hwy. 3540 Bradfordsville Hwy. 4365 Bradfordsville Road 6160 Bradfordsville Road 8100 Bradfordsville Highway 610 Golfview Terrace 132 Hamilton Heights 312 Hancock Avenue 313 Hancock Avenue 3740 Hwy. 208 3920 Hwy. 289 450 Jacobs Trail 835 John Cox Road 70 Josh Cox Road 1485 Lick Run Road 2790 McElroy Pike 678 Metts Drive 404 North Street 4665 Pope's Creek Road 349 S. Proctor Knott Avenue 353 S. Spalding Avenue 354 S. Woodlawn Avenue 364 S. Woodlawn Avenue 1580 Sportsmans Lake Road 851 Three Pines Road 365 W. Woodlawn Ave.   Bradfordsville addresses: 695 Buffalo Road 60 Burchell Road 1990 Hwy. 337 4355 Hwy. 337 1626 Liberty Road 2825 Liberty Road 7350 Liberty Road 100 Mannsville Road 495 Minor Road 565 Mullins Branch Road 207 N. Third Street 580 Old Lick Creek Road 1060 Old Lick Creek Road 635 Pleasant Valley Road 995 Pleasant Valley Road 1070 Pleasant Valley Road 560 River Road 710 River Road 155 Rush Branch Road 270 Scuffle Creek Road 344 Scuffle Creek Road 1080 Scuffle Creek Road 375 Siloam Road 1130 Siloam Road 20 White Oak Creek Road 415 White Oak Creek Road   Gravel Switch addresses: 550 Beech Fork Road 660 Beechfork Road 1930 Beech Fork Road 2775 Beech Fork Road 3250 Beech Fork Road 7150 Hwy. 337 540 Landers Creek Road 2694 McElroy Pike 200 Riley Road   Campbellsville address: 901 Hamilton Road 955 Jessietown Road 701 Lebanon Avenue 889 Miller Road 112 Old Elkhorn Road 365 Paul Shewmaker Road 1009 Pittman Valley Road   New Hope addresses: 610 Homestead Valley Road 325 Homestead Valley Road 391 Homestead Valley Road   Raywick addresses: 1630 Clear Creek Road 2254 Gene Hunt Road 1425 Frank Lee Road 1350 High View Pike 60 JC Detherage Road 304 Main Street 4465 Raywick Road 4790 Raywick Road   Loretto addresses: 365 Country View Estate 5245 Holy Cross Road 2295 Manton Road 2075 Nerinx Road   Finley addresses: 8321 Calvary Road 10576 Calvary Road 1857 E. Calvary Road 4845 St. Joe Road 795 Paul Shewmaker Road   Springfield addresses: 104 College Street 1390 St. Rose-Lebanon Road