Shady Cove council receives update on FEMA and flood insurance issues

FEMA and issues concerning flood insurance for Shady Cove residents was the only item on the agenda for the Shady Cove City Council during their Sept. 6 workshop.
Representatives from FEMA were in Shady Cove on Aug. 29 to meet with the city administrator and representatives from the council regarding the probation, which will begin Nov. 2 unless certain remedial measures are taken.

City Administrator Elise Smurzynski said staff and volunteers have
spent literally hundreds of hours in recent months trying to obtain the
historical data requested and answering numerous calls and letters back
and forth with FEMA.
A FEMA letter dated Aug. 16 said "to
avoid probation, your community must correct one or more deficiencies
in its floodplain management program and/or remedy one or more
violations of its floodplain management regulations before the date
above" (Nov. 2)
Smurzynski submitted a summary of FEMA issues from 1995 forward to the council. Following is a summary of the data she provided:

  • 1995- Hwy. 62 and potential for fill dirt going into the flooplain.
    FEMA was satisfied with corrections. A similar response came in 1999
    from FEMA.


  • 2001- 26
    inspections were conducted. FEMA advised Shady Cove to wait until all
    inspections were received before proceeding with any action. FEMA gave
    a report in 2002. At that time, two properties had no violations, one
    was outside the city and 12 were making significant improvements below
    base flood elevation. The remaining properties had minor violations,
    according to Smurzynski’s summary report.


  • 2002-2005 – SC provided plans to resolve issues with receipt of
    inspection reports. FEMA staff changes delayed plans from 2002 to 2005,
    according to the summary report.


  • March 2005- City started working with new FEMA people on outstanding
    issues. Staffing in SC delayed progress through the end of 2005,
    according to Smurzynski. She reported a new plan was submitted in
    November 2005.


  • Dec.05 through Nov. 2006 SC staff was occupied with flood issues and damage to wastewater and Aunt Caroline’s Park.


  • Sept. 06- City received notice probation could be avoided if all violations were corrected.


  • Oct. 06- FEMA called and said they had not received response to a July
    06 letter. City said it had not received a letter. FEMA provided the


  • Smurzynski’s summary continued, noting over 100 communications have occurred since October 06.


  • March 07 and July 07- FEMA told city it would not pursue probation if
    the 12 "egregious violations" were corrected. Drafts plans were
    submitted to FEMA in April, May and August.


  • August
    07- City’s summary to FEMA showed 3 properties in compliance, 5 waiting
    for engineering studies and 4 of those had corrected some violations.
    Requests were submitted asking for a 1316 (exclusion).


  • Smurzynski said when FEMA visited on Aug. 29, they said probation would
    be implemented in November unless the remaining 19 (she verbally
    corrected that number to 21) properties came into compliance before
    that date.


  • And, FEMA requested the council adopt a compliance plan with a funding mechanism.


  • Probation will mean all National Flood Insurance Program insured will
    pay $50 more annually. At the end of a year FEMA could continue
    probation, end it or consider placing Shady Cove on suspension.

suspension occurred, there would no grants, loans or guarantees to buy
or construct in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Federal disaster
assistance would be suspended.
Spread sheets were provided
showing a variety of items that could be cause for FEMA concern. The
major issue is venting but it could be such things as freezers, water
heater, carpeting and wiring  among other items found below base flood
The city administrator said most of the
problems seem to have occurred in the 1980s. It was also noted that
once a property is occupied and/or sold it is difficult for the city to
know if there have been violations.
The city continues to work with property owners as the Nov. 2 deadline moves closer.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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