If you go
What: Collier County’s public meetings to review the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 and Thursday, Jan. 12
Where: The Tuesday meeting will be held at the Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway. The Thursday meeting will be held at the IFAS/UF Center, 14700 Immokalee Road.
To find out about your home’s flood plane designation on earlier maps go to www.colliergov.net/floodmaps. County officials said the maps would be online later this month.
GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — Collier County homeowners will have the opportunity to see if Collier's new flood plain maps mean more insurance for them.
The county staff will host two public meetings to give the public a chance to review the finalized flood insurance rate maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Those attending the meetings can view the maps and talk informally with officials present. County staff members won't be making a formal presentation.
"People can come in (to) see if there have been changes to the flood zone than previously were made," said Robert Wiley, the flood plain map project manager for county government. "We'll have people on computers who will show them whether their property is going to be in the new flood zone."
The meetings are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at these locations:
Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Golden Gate Community Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway.
Thursday, Jan. 12, at the IFAS/UF Center, 14700 Immokalee Road.
In November, the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent a letter to county officials alerting them that the flood maps had been finalized and a six-month compliance period was set to begin.
The new maps removed about 20,000 properties that would have needed flood insurance under the prior version of the maps after the county appealed the preliminary maps issued by FEMA in early 2011.
"The maps we showed to everyone in August 2010 were the preliminary maps," Wiley said. "But we filed the appeal for two of the basins that resulted in changes to the two basins."
FEMA's review of the maps, which began in 2004, used typography maps with data from 2001, Wiley said.
What's at stake
The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Nov. 16 sent a letter to county officials to tell them the maps are finalized and a six-month compliance period is to begin. The new maps remove about 20,000 properties that would have needed flood insurance under the prior version of the maps.
"There was a lot of development between 2001 and when they completed the study in 2010," he said. "There were massive changes in those two basins."
The new maps could mean as many as 30,000 additional structures will be required to carry flood insurance that now aren't required to do so. But that number is down from county officials' first estimate of 50,000.
Peter Gaddy, president of the Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Association, applauded the amended maps, which will require fewer people to purchase flood insurance, but said it will burden those homeowners who will have to add flood insurance to their policy.
"They face the prospect of purchasing flood insurance when they don't think their property is going to flood," he said. "It's a conundrum. They can get a letter of map amendment, which would get an individual property removed from the flood plain and solve their problem, but the problem with doing that is that it requires an elevation survey. ... It can be quite expensive."
Gaddy called it "another example of government overreaching and creating an unnecessary expense," but said the Golden Gate Estates Area Civic Association has been working to educate Estates residents about the flood maps.
Gaddy said Nick Casalanguida, deputy administrator of the Collier County Growth Management Division, is scheduled to speak to the civic group about the plans at its Jan. 18 meeting.
As a result of the county's appeal, major changes in the maps occurred in eastern Collier County, with most of the properties in Golden Gate Estates changing from a "D" zone, or an undetermined flood zone, to an "AH" zone.
Structures in an "AH" zone could experience flood depth up to 3 feet from rainfall-related flooding.
Portions of Golden Gate Estates also have been redesigned to an "X" zone, which means moderate to low risk, or an "AE" zone, which is high risk.
A similar change — from an "X" zone, which is a zone above the base of flood elevation, to an "AH" zone, which means a 1 percent annual chance of flooding — is expected to occur in a large portion of Golden Gate.
The maps will go into effect in stages. The Collier County Commission is scheduled to vote to approve the maps on Jan. 24 and will set an effective date on March 30. This date, however, will only affect the building plan review process.
The maps will formally go into effect May 16 for insurance purposes, effectively giving homeowners about four months from the date of adoption to get flood insurance in order.
__ Connect with Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.