Map changes release 1,781 from flood insurance

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 21, 2011

Calling to attention the fact that St. Clair Shores is not on the banks of a gulf or ocean prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters, city officials praised a move by the federal government to remove nearly half the properties required to carry flood insurance after a successful appeal.

“We have, for some time, lobbied the federal government to say that is a mandate that is not fair to our community,” said City Manager Ben Hughes at the June 20 City Council meeting where the change was announced. “We are an inland lake community and this is an unnecessary mandate.”

He said they worked closely with U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, D-Roseville, and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to get the change made to the 2006 map, and “as of today (June 20), we learned that we were successful in getting the federal government to release 1,600-1,700 homes from that mandate.”

The chunk of the city that was released is south of Nine Mile Road, from Jefferson to the city limits.

“They can’t see the water and they want to know why” they are forced to buy federal flood insurance, said Community Services Director Chris Rayes. He said the 2006 map included about 2,633 parcels that were required to carry flood insurance. The new appeal reduces that number to 1,852.

“This is great news for the residents,” he said. “Our department will be sending notices to these folks (but) we wanted to get this out as soon as possible.”

Rayes said he’s still trying to investigate whether those who had paid for the insurance in the past would be able to be reimbursed now that they’ve been removed. But he added that this change affected only one part of the city. Because the city was allowed to have only one map revised at a time, they submitted the section that would impact the most residents.

A new flood plain map revision for the city will come from the federal government sometime around December 2012.

And some places in the city, “like Eagle Point, they’re just not going to get out, they’re too low,” Rayes said. “This map is going to be about the best we can do on a city basis.”

“This was not an easy task,” added Mayor Robert Hison. “We are going to benefit many of these homeowners.”