Proposed boundaries impact 25 percent more structures in Onslow

RALEIGH | Area leaders will be headed to Raleigh this week to meet with state officials regarding concerns over the new floodplain maps and the methodology used in developing the new maps.

The Floodplain Mapping program under the North Carolina Emergency Management is hosting a stakeholders meeting Wednesday at the request of state Reps. George Cleveland of Onslow County and Pat McElraft of Carteret County, McElraft said.

“There are some concerns about the flood maps in both counties and specifically the modeling protocol used in establishing the flood zones,” McElraft said. “Some folks have been placed in a flood zone that haven’t flooded in over 100 years or more. Many of the new flood zones are in some areas where folks are barely able to pay their wind insurance.”

New maps were released in June by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the N.C. Floodplain Mapping Office. 

The number of structures in Jacksonville’s 100-year floodplain more than doubled: from 509 to 1,366, state documents said.

In Onslow County, the proposed maps put 25 percent more structures in the proposed floodplain and increase the total from 9,133 structures to 11,409.

According to information presented to Carteret County leaders, more than 2,200 properties in Carteret County could be moved to higher risk designations.

Carteret County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mark Mansfield said he plans to attend the meeting in Raleigh along with Vice Chairman Robin Comer and Commissioners Jimmy Farrington and Bob Cavanaugh.

“We want to go up there and express the concerns from the residents and learn more about their processes used (in developing the new maps),” Mansfield said.

Mansfield said there are concerns that more hypothetical data has been factored into modeling for the maps than historical data.

In Carteret County, property owners in Emerald Isle on Bogue Banks fared well, with many being moved out of a more restrictive zone to a less restrictive zone, while waterfront areas in some areas of Morehead City would move into a flood zone when they haven’t historically seen flooding.

The flood map designations could mean higher flood insurance rates for some and impact building codes.

Ryan King, the planning and permitting administrator with the City of Jacksonville, who has headed the flood map project for the city, will be among those in attendance at the meeting.

Onslow County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jack Bright said Monday he would be talking to fellow board members to determine if they’ll be attending as well. Whether or not they are in attendance, Bright said the maps have raised concerns, particularly over the possibility of flood insurance hikes.

Or the additional cost of flood insurance for families who have never had to pay it.

“If they are approved, a lot of properties are going to be impacted. A lot of people are going to be put in a flood zone who haven’t been in one before,” Bright said.

The preliminary maps, if approved, could take effect by 2018, but concerns may cause delays.

Mansfield said the county has joined with Morehead City and possibly other municipalities to retain the engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol, which has an office in Raleigh, review technical data needed to appeal the map according to particular areas impacted.