Auburn flood maps prompt action from home owners

April 1, 2009

By Chris Vessell bio | email

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The City of Auburn has new data that could save property owners money.

New flood plain maps show more than 800 Auburn properties now lie in a flood plain. Those properties were not on the city's prior flood plain map that was printed over fifteen years ago. Engineers say the difference is due to the combination of better data and newly developed land.

Brett Peterson, Asst. City Engineer, says his office making the added homeowners aware that they might want to go ahead and get flood insurance. "If they wait until after the maps become effective, then they are in the flood zone, so their insurance sky rockets," Brett Peterson, Auburn Public Works said.

The new maps will take effect in February of 2010. A FEMA grand-fathering clause states that insurance companies can't increase premiums if a home owner's flood insurance takes effect before February. "So even if you're status changes of going into a flood plain versus not going into a flood plain," said Peterson.  "Your insurance can't say now your in a flood plain so we're going to go from this $300 per-year premium to this $1800 per-year premium," he added.

"The creek really starts to rise very quickly, and the water comes right up to the foundation of our house," said Carol Hartwig, an Auburn Resident. Hartwig lives near a flood plain that was recently zoned. She says she plans on taking the city's advice about flood insurance especially after recent rains.

"It was quite dramatic during the storm events we had during the last month. With these 5 inches of rain, occuring within a very short space of time in one or two days," Hartwig added.