Area homeowners dispute FEMA's redefinition of floodplains



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Posted on July 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 23 at 6:26 PM

MIDLOTHIAN –– At first glance it’s a nice neighborhood in Midlothian. But it didn’t look so good recently from inside the mailbox of resident Janet Allen who received a notice from her mortgage company that she was in a “Zone A Special Flood Hazard Area."

Allen says she thought, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? I don’t have the money to pay for this insurance and it is just devastating to me.”

Allen was told FEMA had re-evaluated her property and it was now designated as being in the flood plain with no real explanation why. 

“It makes me mad,” she said. “It makes me very angry.”  

Allen says what makes it so hard to digest is that she has lived in her home for almost nine years and her property has never flooded –– not even a close call. She says the same goes for her neighbors up and down her street, many of whose parcels have also been re-characterized as a risk.  

A Midlothian city official explained there has been a veritable flood of properties newly listed as flood prone in maps just put out by the feds. There are hundreds of new additions from several Midlothian subdivisions--each of them going through what Janet Allen is experiencing, “It’s been real depressing”.

She says worse than the news that her home sits too low is the flood insurance quote she got that sits way too high: $4,000. Allen says that’s enough to put her under water all right, as it would make her home too expensive to stay in and too undesirable to sell to someone else.

Allen and some of her neighbors are now in the process of spending hundreds of dollars each to get a new elevation survey done on their properties so they can try to appeal the flood zone characterization.  

The reason for the increase in properties in the floodplain in Ellis County is that the area was recently re-mapped by FEMA. The agency says better mapping technology and changes in runoff because of new development is driving many of the increases. FEMA also says new maps are currently in the works for Dallas County.

To find your property’s flood risk assessment, click here and fill out the information fields in the red box on the website.

If you are in Midlothian or Ellis County and have an issue with your floodplain designation, FEMA suggests you contact your Floodplain Administrator: