Flood plain map revision to affect some insurance costs

Friday, April 1, 2005

They conferred quietly with Cape Girardeau city staff and looked over color-coded flood-flood plain maps to see if they no longer would have to pay federal flood insurance.

Most property owners who attended the open-house-style meeting Thursday night at the Osage Community Centre departed happy after being assured they would no longer be saddled with paying costly flood insurance and should receive refunds.

Nearly 20 people attended the meeting over the course of an hour.

City and state flood-plain management officials said they don't know the exact number of property owners affected by the flood-plain maps revised by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to FEMA, there are 292 federal flood insurance policies in effect in Cape Girardeau with coverage totaling more than $43.2 million on commercial and residential properties.

City planner Kent Bratton estimated that most of those insurance policies won't be needed because the flood plain is much smaller. City officials have said the flood plain along Cape LaCroix and Walker creeks is largely confined to the drainage channels, thanks to a federal flood control project completed within the past couple of years.

Applying for refund

Shannon Fornkohl welcomed the meeting. He showed up to check the flood-plain map and learn how to apply for a flood insurance refund.

"It's great," he said of the meeting organized by city staff. "It is going to be helpful," said Fornkohl who estimated he will save $400 to $500 annually by not having to pay flood insurance premiums.

Fornkohl owns a house at the corner of Terry Lane and Kingsway Drive. "I just bought this house three years ago," he said.

Even then, he said he was confident that federal flood-control improvements along the creek bordering his property would keep his house from being flooded in heavy rains.

Fornkohl said he hasn't experienced any flooding problems since buying the house. But he still had to pay for flood insurance because the maps hadn't been changed.

The new flood-plain maps take effect Monday, city officials said.

Mayor Jay Knudtson, who had pushed for city staff to hold the informational meeting, liked what he saw. "When I first got here, there were smiling people on the parking lot," he said.

The news wasn't as good for John Hubert. He owns a rental house on Hemlock Court near Arena Park. The house is still in the flood plain although other nearby houses aren't, he said.

Hubert said he hopes, with the help of city staff, to convince FEMA that he no longer needs to pay for flood insurance, which is costing him $530 a year.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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