Flood remapping may cause increases, decreases in flood insurance

About a dozen East Carson City property owners may be looking at an increase in flood insurance.

The state is constructing $36 million worth of drainage improvements in the first phase of the Carson City freeway, and state and city officials have applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revise Carson flood plain maps to reflect attempts at controlling flood water.

However, in the middle of that process, which likely will remove hundreds of acres in north Carson from A-level flood zones, city engineers discovered a portion of Carson off Hells Bells Road had been incorrectly designated during the last FEMA remapping in the 1970s, said John Givlin, storm drainage project manager.

Because the 1970s-era flood maps didn't take into account the Mexican Ditch, Butti Way and Edmonds Drive, it left about 12 lots on the south side of Hells Bells Road around Parkhill Drive and Riparian Way in a B-flood zone. But those roads and the ditch create a block which when severe flood waters hit, cause waters to back up, which likely could affect all or part of the properties. The difference between A and B flood zone could mean "dramatic" differences in insurance, Givlin said.

One local insurance agent said while B-level flood zone is preferred for flood coverage, the difference between that an A-level insurance depends on particular FEMA designations.

"It gets really complicated," she said. "It could vary by several hundred dollars, but it depends on what they are rated. There are so many designations, it just depends."

City property around the sewer plant would also be moved into the A-level flood plain by the remapping. The particular zone isn't affected by freeway drainage.

Givlin said the good news is if the remapping is successful, property ranging roughly from Canyon Road south to the areas around the freeway to the east would be removed from an A-level flood zone because of the drainage improvements. Essentially, all of University Heights, much of Silver Oak and a significant amount of commercial property along Carson Street -- including Kmart -- will come out of the flood zone, Givlin said.

However, the FEMA questions about plans for the Timberline Coombs drainage system are holding up the remapping approval, which in turn has delayed progress on the freeway.

The city recently started a $1 million project to complete drainage work which will carry water from basins constructed on the Silver Oaks Golf Course driving range and 18th hole into culverts under Arrowhead Drive and Broadleaf Lane. Nighttime construction under Highway 395 should start next week. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., but both lanes will be repaved and open for morning traffic.


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