Wakulla County, FL - September 13, 2012
A nationwide effort for FEMA to reevaluate flood zones has made its way into Wakulla County.
Wakulla County is being rezoned and for some residents, like those in Hunters Glen, that means higher insurance premiums.
When Ralph Thomas heard flood zones were being revamped, he called his insurance company. He had a surveyor send him an elevation report on his property and the insurance company used that to determine the cost of flood insurance.
"I've got a written insurance quote. Nine thousand five hundred and ninety-one dollars is what my flood insurance premium will be alone," said Thomas.
The base flood level is going up three and a half feet. Commissioners say they knew the changes were coming but say they didn't know so many people would be affected. Anyone in a flood zone that has a mortgage will have to purchase flood insurance.
"They need to understand that this is important. This is not just impacting people on the coast anymore. This is going well inland," said Mike Stewart, County Commissioner for District Three.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Northwest Florida Water Management District are allowing residents to weigh-in on the changes. On Thursday they held an open house to answer questions and concerns. People can appeal the changes if they think their home does not fall within the new guidelines.
"Foreclosures will go through the roof, values will go down. If that happens, this will not only affect those living in a flood zone but it's gonna effect the entire county," said Thomas.
Thomas has lived in his home for ten years. He says he's never had an issue with flooding, even after the heavy rains Wakulla has experienced the past few months.
"I think this is just another one of those examples where the government is overreaching and its going to be devastating to our local economy," said Thomas.
The appeals process is set to open sometime in October. The new zoning will go into effect in the fall of 2013.
For more information and to view the proposed maps, please visit:
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