MOUNT PLEASANT — Roughly 120 Mount Pleasant property owners will soon be getting the approval necessary to stop paying for costly flood insurance.
Technically the move is due to updates to federal flood plain maps, but the topographical changes reflected in the maps came more than five years ago when phases 1-3 of the village’s ongoing Pike River project were completed, according to Mount Pleasant Water Systems Engineer Tony Beyer.
During those phases, which were completed between 2001 and 2006, the village spent more than $3.3 million — about half it grant money — on construction work designed to reduce the flood plain along the northern reaches of the Pike River, create a recreation corridor and perform habitat restoration.
The changes to the flood plain maps will be final on May 2. At that point the property owners whose homes were removed from the flood plain due to the village’s work will no longer be required to be required to pay for federal flood insurance.
Julie Bronenkant’s Daniel Court house, which she currently rents out, is one of the properties that will be coming out of the flood plain. Although she has owned the property outright for sometime, if she ever wanted to refinance it her bank and the federal government would have required that she pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 a month in flood insurance.
“That is $2,400 a year. I am happy that this is finally happening. It is ridiculous that it took so long,” Bronenkant said. “I never had a flooded basement once since I bought it in 1990.”
While Beyer is happy that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which determines where floodplains lie, is finally recognizing the work the village did, he’s frustrated that it took so long. The Pike River project is ongoing, but the construction that reduced the floodplain was completed in 2006, he said.
“We got calls for four years,” Beyer said, “And continuously, all we could tell these people is: ‘It’s in FEMA’s hands. It’s in FEMA’s hands. We are waiting on FEMA.’ And when that drags on for four years — that’s a long time.”
Still, Beyer said he is glad to see that FEMA has produced new maps. The last time the maps were updated was 1982.
“The new maps show aerial photos where you can see people’s homes and the scale is much smaller, whereas the old maps it was just a huge tract of land,” Beyer said. “You might have known where a home was and you might have known that it was kind of near a flood plain, but they were very inaccurate and not very useful.”