Daily Herald
East Dundee residents question FEMA's flood line
By Larissa Chinwah | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 11/1/2009 12:01 AM

A group of East Dundee residents that united to take on the Federal Emergency Management Agency over redrawn floodplain maps might prove the agency's updated charts are incorrect.

Homeowners in the Flats neighborhood disputed FEMA maps that added about 60 homes to the designated floodplain. Mortgage companies require homeowners to carry flood insurance on houses within the area, ranging from $1,200 to $1,500 a year with a $5,000 deductible.

These homes were outside of the flood zone, according to FEMA's 2002 maps, residents said. And they say they now have proof their homes should remain outside of the area.

"We found out that a number of homes are above the flood line," resident Peter Piet said. "I think only eight or so were still in it."

The homeowners who chose to appeal the maps received a $100 reimbursement from the village to cover the costs of hiring a surveyor who agreed to charge affected homeowners a bulk rate for the surveys and paperwork.

Chuck Hill, president of Alan J. Coulson land surveyors in East Dundee, said 55 homeowners completed land surveys with more than 75 percent of the results showing the house was higher than the flood line.

Hill said a number of residents had submitted documentation to FEMA requesting a map amendment showing their property is not within a floodplain but had yet to receive an official determination from the agency.

Mike Bryant, a FEMA natural hazards programs specialist, said the average turnaround time for the agency to respond is about six weeks.

On a blog that was set up to help homeowners complete their appeals, some residents reported that their homes were less than one to two feet above the floodplain. Others, though, were not successful.

Paula Lauer, a resident of Wenholz Avenue, said because her attached garage was about half an inch below the flood line, her property will likely remain in the floodplain.

Line: Flood insurance ranges from $1,200 to $1.500 a year