Meetings on Wednesday, September 2 will give businesses and residents a chance to view Flood Insurance Rate Maps that are newly revised to reflect the risk of flood in areas affected by the City of Santa Barbara’s creek tributary system. The risk is one of the disclosure elements required in property sales, and holding insurance against damage from flood events, both along creeks and slip-prone hillsides, can be a crucial homeowner tool.
Through mapping high water and flood-related events over the past several years and then modeling the risk, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and city building and county flood control departments worked out a more accurate picture of the potential for flooding in city and nearby county areas, explained Andrew Stuffler, chief building official for the city. One of the changes the city discovered, which affected a line of properties, was that the movement of creeks required fixing the designated flood areas in places like upper Mission and Sycamore creeks, he said. Individual property owners have the ability to challenge a flood designation, which involves a review by officials of the circumstances and a survey.
The new maps become effective November 4, and the meetings give real estate and insurance professionals, the general public, and property owners an opportunity to talk to officials and flood insurance experts as the maps are unveiled. The meeting is Wednesday, September 2 at two times in two locations. The afternoon forum, 2-3 p.m., meets at City Council Chambers, 735 Anacapa Street. The evening session runs 6-8 p.m. at the David Gebhard Public Meeting Room, 630 Garden Street. Those unable to attend can get information by calling (800) 427-2419 or visiting FloodSmart.gov where a “cost of flooding” tool can give a damage estimate of flooding.