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New FEMA flood maps at least five years away
New Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps for the Green River Valley are at least five years away.
FEMA officials made clear at a meeting Wednesday in Kent in front of a crowd of about 120 that the likely scenario for flood-map adoption would be spring or summer of 2018 at the earliest, according to a King County media release.
How new federal flood maps could impact Green River Valley homes and businesses was a primary focus residents who met with the members of the King County Flood Control District Executive Committee and FEMA representatives at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
The update is of concern to residents and property owners because the maps help define special-risk areas that may affect insurance rates or building regulations.
“These types of meetings are vitally important to inform the public about potential flooding issues that may arise,” said Supervisor Reagan Dunn, Chair of the King County Flood Control District, in the media release. “It is great to see such a large turnout and be able to share the details of the flood mapping process and how we are still in the very early stages of this process.”
Supervisor Julia Patterson, vice chair of the King County Flood Control District, echoed Dunn's comments.
“I’m glad that we were able to convene a transparent and productive meeting between FEMA and members of the Green River Valley community, and I’d like to thank everyone that took the time to attend,” Patterson said. “Community members asked important questions that got to the bottom of why flood maps matter and how they affect the thousands of residents and businesses in the Green River Valley. I’m happy that FEMA provided direct answers to these questions, and I look forward to continue working with FEMA and the Green River Valley community moving forward.”
A number of years ago, FEMA issued draft flood area maps that indicated there were more areas of the valley within the floodplain. These draft maps left some in the valley under the impression that the adoption of the final maps by FEMA was imminent, which is not the case.
Other highlights of the meeting included a presentation by King County Water and Land Resources Division on projects either already constructed or planned in the valley that will reduce or eliminate potential flooding and serve to reduce the amount of areas that will be contained within the FEMA flood maps.
“We heard from FEMA that their ability to provide insurance maps for our region is complicated by a variety of technical, financial, and political constraints at the national level,” said Mark Isaacson, King County Water and Land Resources Division director. “While they work through these challenges over the next several years, the Flood Control District will continue to rebuild our aging levee system to exceed federal engineering safety requirements.
"Through the System-Wide Improvement Framework the Flood Control District and King County are working with a wide range of partners in the Green River Valley to develop a shared vision for sustainable flood risk reduction and capital investments that will protect people, property, our environment, and our region’s economy.”