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Floodplain committee closing in on solutions

By Staff | Sep 14, 2016

The City of Sanibel’s FloodPlain Management Planning and Mitigation Advisory Committee continued its work to reduce flood insurance rates for its residents.

In the coming days, the city will send surveys to residents for their input on how to better get information to them about flood insurance.

The committee’s function is to make sure the residents’ and city’s flood insurance stays as low as possible. Anyone who has a mortgage on a home must have flood insurance because of the city’s close proximity to the water and low elevation.

Members of the committee, chaired by William Dalton, are working on subsections of the plan. Members of staff are on the committee as is the emergency manager, as is a building official, building director, a public works engineer and members of the community.

The federal government has programs where, if you participate, the entire community can get a discount on flood insurance.

“It’s very expensive anyway, the federal government has made the requirements more stringent in order to qualify,” City Manager Judie Zimomra said. “The committee is looking at the current flood plan and what adjustments could be made.”

Zimomra brought up the Louisiana flooding as an example, where many of those homes did not have flood insurance because standard insurance does not cover flooding. She said cities that have committees like this to review their flood plans and improve their situation.

So far, the meetings have been constructive. The committee has divided up the work and are reviewing each segment of the plan, Zimomra said.

“The end game will be recommendation on how to update our flood plan. We have a discount now, but we want to maintain the maximum we can qualify for,” Zimomra said.

The next meeting of the committee will be Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 11:30 a.m. at city hall.

At that meeting they are expected to set goals to address floodplain management and mitigation strategies, review potential activities, strategies, projects and planning to address floodplain management, and draft an action plan.

They will also bring in partners and ask them if they had input for the plan as well. Eight different partners are expected to come to the meetings in the coming months, Zimomra said.

A plan is expected to be presented by the end of the calendar year, which will come to city council for approval.

Sanibel City Council recently appointed the committee, which was established as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Floodplain Management Program to study, plan for, and advise City Council on ways in which the city of Sanibel and Sanibel City Council can organize and prepare its Floodplain Management Plan.

Participation in this program lowers flood insurance rates for island properties.