Some Jeff Parish residents upset they are worse off under new flood maps

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Some Jefferson Parish property owners are discovering they are worse off due to the newly released flood maps. Tens of thousands of properties did not move to Zone-X, the lower risk flood zone.

"We're kind of wondering why in raised houses why we're all of sudden going to be out of the preferred rate and it's going to cost us more money," said homeowner Larry George.

He and his wife live on a street near East Jefferson High School in Metairie.

Jefferson Parish's Director of Flood Plain Management Michelle Gonzales said recently released Jefferson Parish flood maps have benefited 40,000 structures that are moved from the higher risk AE zone to the low risk Zone X.

Gonzales said another 40,000 properties have improved base flood elevation as a result of the new flood maps.

George believes FEMA misjudged his street.

"I do, I do and I think you know something needs to be done, they need to look at it, you know, I understand that we may be the few that are going to suffer for the better good but these are old properties and these houses for over 80 years or more and we've never had these problems," he said.

"It's more about 5,000 structures that are having  somewhat of a negative benefit where you used to be in a Zone X, not required to carry flood insurance by a mortgage company and now  you're moving to a Zone AE."

Gonzales urges property in that category to act on a process FEMA offers.

"It's called Newly Mapped Procedures and I've talked to several homeowners who have given that name to their agent because it allows you to keep that Zone X rate, you have to have flood insurance now but you wouldn't have to go in with a really high cost premium, it's a kind of this phasing in's only eligible for a 12-month period from February 2 of 2018 to February 2 of '19," said Gonzales.

And some other residents on George's street said they have not had a chance to check the new flood maps or check with an insurance agent so they're nervous about what they will learn.

"You know if our homes are going to flood raise them. I mean, there's 40,000 structures are going to get better but we're getting worse on a street here we've got a hundred, or two," George continued.

Gonzales said getting an elevation certificate may help some residents dissatisfied with their flood zone.

"The maps are not always perfect, they don't always have the best available data for the ground around your house," she said.

"We're going to have to do something to fight. I wrote an email to you to see what help we could get," said George.

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