OCEANSIDE — After a 10-year push by the city, FEMA rezoned the Pilgrim Creek area from a 100-year flood zone to a 500-year flood zone. The rezoning will likely give more than 300 area homeowners the option — instead of the requirement — to hold flood insurance.
“It’s a long process,” Maryam Wagner, the city senior engineering assistant, said. During the 10-year rezoning process the problem was determined, a conditional letter of map revision was approved by FEMA, a concrete cannel was built, and as a final step a letter of map revision was approved by FEMA.
Time-consuming steps were gathering verified information for the letters of conditional and final map revision. Numerous hydrology and engineering studies, reports and calculations that show where water will be redirected had to be gathered. “Each study is like a folder,” Wagner said.
“A letter went out to 150 homeowners along the creek as soon as we got letter (from FEMA),” Wagner said. Notice was also published in local newspapers and information is posted on the city website.
Councilman Jerry Kern owns a home in the Pilgrim Creek area and has been adamant about getting the zoning changed. Kern went door-to-door Aug. 5 to inform more than 100 neighboring homeowners that the zoning change was granted.
Homeowners can notify their lenders that the zoning change was made. In many cases this will allow owners the option of discontinuing flood insurance, which costs about $1,000 a year, Kern said. “I’m going to as many homes as I can,” Kern said. “I’m giving out a couple hundred press releases in the area around me.”
Homeowners may now have an option to discontinue flood insurance, but the city cautions people to err on the side of home and family safety. “We never say anybody is completely safe,” Wagner said. “You never know what will happen.”
Oklahoma recently had the 500-year rain that brought floods that raised the water level 30 feet. “We never say anybody is out of it,” Wagner said.