The Juneau Assembly has adopted new flood maps for the city and borough.

After about two years of study and some consternation from home owners, the maps indicate flood-prone areas, so residents can remain in the National Flood Insurance Program. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires flood insurance be carried for buildings in those areas if they are financed by a loan or mortgage.

When the agency first presented its version of Juneau flood zones, a number of citizens were surprised to find they lived in a zone.

CBJ Community Development staff has been working with the agency and the public to amend the maps.  And City Manager Kim Kiefer says the quest continues to map the entire property and not just the building.

“And if any of it touches the flood zone, then they consider that being part of the flood zone. But most properties around here aren’t level so we want to make sure that we look at the topography so that people can do map adjustments and say they is really where the house is and here is really where the flood line is, so it’s outside of it.”

Kiefer says the biggest change required by the new flood regulations is the requirement that new or renovated waterfront structures – called Velocity zones—be elevated on pilings instead of fill material.

During public hearing, two Juneau residents expressed concerns. Mayor Merrill Sanford instructed them to work directly with Community Development.

“There’s a list of properties who are in – some new properties; in fact most of the 220 properties – in the new flood zone areas and those we are dedicated to working with the property owners to try to figure out a way to make sure we delineate their properties properly for the flood insurance. That’s our goal.”

The city plans to utilize a hydrologist to further understand flood zone areas.

The 2013 Draft Flood Maps

Recent headlines