Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Relief granted to Woodside floodplain residents

Sweetwater challenges FEMA


Due to changes in mapping methods at a federal level, about 300 Woodside residents were sent shopping for flood insurance last spring. Now, thanks to an effort by Sweetwater Community representatives, about 150 of those residents could soon be reimbursed for their flood insurance expenses.

"We are trying to get the word out to property owners so they can contact their lenders and request a letter indicating that insurance is no longer required," said Hailey Floodplain Administrator Jim Zarubica.

The new insurance requirements, which could have cost $300 to several thousand dollars per year, stemmed from a floodplain map change based on a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood insurance study conducted last year for Blaine County.

The study updated a map of the floodplain in Woodside subdivision, through which Quigley Creek flows, affecting insurance requirements there.

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Zarubica said Sweetwater representatives took issue with the map changes and sent a letter to FEMA pointing out errors in the new digital maps.

On July 27, the agency reverted to an original map from 1981, relieving about half the Woodside residents from new insurance costs.

Zarubica said the map reversion affects an area from about 200 feet north of Winterhaven Drive, just south of Countyside Boulevard, to about 900 feet north of Baldy View Drive on Blue Lake Drive. He said property owners in this area who recently were placed in the floodplain and required by their lenders to acquire flood insurance are now eligible for a refund.

Zarubica said Hailey has applied to FEMA for a similar map reversion for the remainder of Woodside, but that effort could take as long as three months.

Woodside residents needing documentation for insurance agents to get refunds can contact Zarubica at 788-9830, ext. 17.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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