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Flood map changes correcting errors
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Forsyth County News

A proposed change to the flood map aims to correct errors affecting properties on Settingdown Creek in northwest Forsyth.

Forsyth County recently sent a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise the base flood elevations along the creek from the western boundary with Cherokee County to about 3,200 feet from John Burruss Road.

Renee Hoge, a county engineer, said a recent review of the Flood Insurance Rate Map showed a clear error in the boundaries of the special flood hazard area along the creek.

“When we were looking at the FIRM map that showed flood elevations that were so much higher than the ground elevations, we knew something was not right,” Hoge said.

FEMA recently completed revisions to the Chattahoochee basin map, which went into effect in March, but hasn’t undertaken a comprehensive review of the Etowah basin in several years, she said.

Since it’s unknown when FEMA will next make an official update to the Etowah basin, the county submitted a letter of map revision, or LOMR, for the agency to review, she said.

The request was made fee-exempt because “we’re correcting an error,” Hoge said, which is why the county is the applicant.

She said it’s not known when or how the errors were made.

Hoge estimated the changes would affect about 200 or more properties, though the revisions likely will remove structures that may appear to be in the high-risk flood zone on the map, but in reality are not.

“The purpose behind it is to correct an error and prevent someone from having to buy an expensive flood insurance policy when they don’t need it,” she said.

Hoge added that some properties may no longer show flood zones, while others may have areas added to them, to “correspond to the actual elevations.”

A review of if and how the changes could impact structures on the affected properties is ongoing, she said, but the process for revising the map remains in the early stages.

Those interested in viewing maps and analysis of the proposed floodplain revision can do so in the engineering department office at the county administration building.