D'Iberville Leaders Discuss Changes, Concerns Over FEMA Flood Map Proposal

The neighborhood known as the Five-Points area of Old D'Iberville is not in a flood hazard zone now. But that could change, if the city council adopts FEMA's proposed Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

"The boundary that had been on the shoreline at one point, as a result of Camille, has now been pushed in, as a result of Katrina," said Hank Rogers, D'Iberville's Flood Plain Administrator.

Rogers says the new maps show the "A" and "V" flood zones, have stretched about a mile further inland. That's basically from the mouth of St. Martin Bayou to Lemoyne Boulevard. Rogers says the changes mean residents who want to build new homes in the updated flood zones, would have to build them higher.

"The original downtown area, the old part of D'Iberville, there will be some changes in the riverine areas," Rogers said. "Some areas will get a little higher. Some will get a little bit lower. But overall, we're looking at about a three to five foot change in elevation, depending on where you live in D'Iberville."

Rogers also told city leaders the maps FEMA provided may be confusing to the public, because they don't show the boundaries of the city.

"The flood insurance maps define the city of D'Iberville as stopping at the center line of the Tchoutacabouffa River and Cypress Creek.  We have almost a third more of the city, including north past Longwood subdivision, Riverwalk, and Cypress Creek," Rogers said. "When you don't have the city define its boundaries, it's hard to sell the product to someone when they don't see the product in its total."

A FEMA official says that's an easy fix.

"We have mapping specialists that are going to print the map boundaries for them, and that will give them an accurate picture," said Tim Russo, FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program Group Supervisor.

And D'Iberville residents will get to see those revised maps and offer input sometime next month.

"Educating the residents is the main thing," Russo said. "Once you educate the residents and explain it to them, I think they'll feel better about adopting these maps."

Once the public comment period ends at the end of April, FEMA will consider any protests or appeals. After that, the agency will give cities six months to adopt the maps.  If not, the cities could be suspended from the National Flood Insurance Program and face losing money for rebuilding, as well as disaster assistance.