Floodplain Boundaries Surprise -- and Cost -- Homeowners

New maps designate more Plano homes in floodplains

By Randy McIlwain
|  Wednesday, Mar 24, 2010  |  Updated 7:41 AM CDT
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Floodplain Boundaries Surprise -- and Cost -- Homeowners

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Redrawn floodplain maps mean extra insurance costs for some residents.

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New federal boundary lines for floodplains are forcing homeowners in Collin County to purchase costly flood insurance.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been redrawing flood insurance rate maps. In some cases, floodplains have been expanded to include homes that for years never had that geographic distinction.

Plano homeowner Juan Mapua's home off Hilltop Drive is one of them. Part of the property borders a small creek, but it was not listed as being in a floodplain when he bought it five years ago.

But five months ago, his bank notified him that he needed to get flood-hazard insurance.

Mapua said his normal homeowners insurance is only $800 per year. But the first estimates he got for flood insurance would tack on an extra $1,200 to $1,500.

FEMA said the changes to the floodplain maps are necessary. The most recent maps were from 1996, and communities such as Collin County have experienced explosive growth since then. Experts say the development has altered the land's natural drainage system, creating new floodplains.

Charles Davis, a Plano cit y engineer, said the city told residents they could seek an amendment to their floodplain classification by personally paying for an elevation survey that could show insurers how much risk they have.

Mapua’s entire neighborhood contracted a surveyor who cut a deal for his street, but it still cost residents several hundred dollars each.

Of all the surveys that have been completed, no homes on the new maps were at risk for flooding, although some of the land the homes sit on could be, Davis said.

Mapua said the survey lowered his mandated flood insurance costs from an estimated $1,500 per year to $390. But he said he doesn't feel he or his neighbors will ever need to file a claim.

"None of our neighbors feel that. We feel like it's never going to flood,” he said.

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