A federal project to update maps of properties at risk of flooding has been restarted, and hundreds of homes and businesses could be included.
The city of Franklin recently sent letters to more than 600 property owners who would be impacted by the changes to the federal flood maps. What that would mean for those home, business and land owners could range from paying for flood insurance every month to facing restrictions when building.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency first unveiled the changes late in 2015. But the agency ran out of funding for the project and had to delay the process to update the maps until now, Franklin senior planner Joanna Myers said.
Now, that process is moving forward, and the city wants to make sure property owners know how they will be impacted and what they can do if they want to challenge the change, Myers said.
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Changes were made nationwide. In Johnson County, a few minor tweaks were made in Greenwood and other parts of the county, but the most significant changes were in Franklin, where Canary Ditch was added as a new waterway.
That means properties nearby — which includes homes on both sides of U.S. 31, industrial land along Commerce Drive and commercial properties along U.S. 31 — are now included in the floodplain and 100-year flood area, and owners could face additional requirements.
That waterway stretches from just south of Earlywood Drive, goes under U.S. 31 north of Northwood Plaza and connects to Youngs Creek near State Road 144. The new areas in the flood plain include homes along Schoolhouse Road, Crescent Street, Churchill Road, Roberts Road, Washington Street, Parkview Court and Fourteenth Street, according to the preliminary flood maps.
A large section of Franklin’s industrially zoned area near Commerce Drive, Graham Road and parts of Earlywood Drive also is included in the updated maps. And future commercial development along some parts of U.S. 31 also would be included.
One of the requirements is buying flood insurance. Property owners with a mortgage on their property are required to get flood insurance, under federal rules, Myers said. The cost of that coverage varies significantly, but is usually more pricey for those properties that are in the areas where they are required to pay for flood insurance, she said.
Owners also face additional requirements if they build on their property. They could be required to elevate the structure by 2 feet, or could face restrictions that don’t allow them to build on certain areas of the land, Myers said.
What each property owner faces depends on multiple factors, including what they are building and where, and the location in relation to the floodplain, she said.
That’s a key reason why the city is hosting a meeting on Thursday, and sent letters to all the property owners impacted by the changes. Stations will be set up inside Beeson Hall, where property owners can talk with officials about their specific property and how it is impacted, Myers said.
They also can ask if appealing the change would be worthwhile, she said.
Property owners can go through a process to ask the map to be changed, and their property removed if they are at or above the base flood elevation, Myers said. But in order to do that, they must hire a land surveyor to prepare an elevation certificate and send paperwork to FEMA in order to have their property removed from the flood maps, and the restrictions and requirements lifted, she said.
But that process, which the owners pay for, is not always worthwhile, Myers said.
City officials also can talk with property owners about whether they would want to consider the process, based on where their property is and any data they have on neighboring properties, she said.
The city also is considering appealing the changes, Myers said, and has hired a consultant to review the changes.
Greenwood appealed changes to its flood maps in 2007 so that about 100 of about 200 homes would not be included in the floodplain.
The city of Franklin is hosting a meeting to share information about the proposed changes in federal flood maps, with the addition of the Canary Ditch.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Beeson Hall, 396 Branigin Blvd., Franklin