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101 1st St NE
Box 12
Bowman, ND 58623-0012

City working on flood insurance map update

March 13, 2015

 

The process of revising and finalizing the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for the city of Bowman has been a long process, according to Bowman City Commission President Lyn James, but it’s nearly complete. Changes for the east side of the city's flood plain are reflected in an updated map, as seen here. Map Courtesy Federal Emergency Management Agency
The process of revising and finalizing the Flood Insurance Rate Map () for the city of has been a long process, according to City Commission President Lyn James, but it’s nearly complete. Changes for the east side of the city’s are reflected in an updated map, as seen here. Map Courtesy Federal Emergency Management Agency

By Bryce Martin | Pioneer Editor | bmartin@countrymedia.net

Revising the city of Bowman’s flood plain is a complicated, painstaking process, but with its changes this time around, residents will see a cost savings when it comes to buying flood insurance.

The city will appeal the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that was made effective in October. City of Bowman Planning and Zoning Administrator Cheryl Ryan said the appeal would be made on the basis of incorrect street names found on the map, which she said was critical.

“If I issue a permit for someone in the flood plain because I got it wrong, that’s a real problem for that person,” Ryan said.

The city has a 90-day period to appeal beginning March 20.

After that appeal period, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will issue its final map detailing the entire county and city’s flood plain.

The FIRM and the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report serve as the basis for flood plain management measures that the community is required to adopt or already have in effect in order to qualify for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

If a community meets standards that sets regarding flooding, then its area can receive a lower rate of insurance. To get that lower insurance, however, there are criteria that need to be met.

The NFIP allows a city to entertain lower insurance costs. But if a city is not in that program, it can get really expensive if living in a 100-year flood plain, said Jon Brosz of Brosz Engineering in Bowman.

Brosz and Ryan are in the process of working through the city’s zoning code and updating its flood plain regulations.

Bowman does meet criteria under the NFIP and residents will see a lower cost of flood insurance when they apply for a policy.

“(The) flood plain is a very time consuming, arduous process,” said Lyn James, president of the City of Bowman Board of Commissioners. “We’ve worked on it for several years.”

A flood plain, an area of land where it is prone to flooding, surrounds the city of Bowman. A floodway flows through the center portion of a flood plain and is a location where it is restricted by the state, city, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to build structures.

Ryan said there is a large gamut of rules if a person chooses to build in the flood plain.

Last summer the city worked on mitigation projects within the flood plain on the east side of the city. Two intersections were redone — at 1st Street and 3rd Avenue and at 3rd Street and 3rd Avenue — to take water that ran down the residential streets and divert that into an adjacent field and ultimately into a channel that runs through the field, which the city also extended as part of the project.

When that area was channelized, the flood plain was effectively lowered, Brosz said.

After those projects were completed, the city’s flood plain was updated and several residences in an area from 3rd Avenue to Main Street were removed from the zone effective Oct. 30, 2014.

Those residents were no longer mandated to have a standing flood insurance policy as part of their mortgage and subsequently saved thousands of dollars annually.

Updates to the zone on the west side of Bowman will soon be made official, which will then remove several residences from the flood plain in an area west of 11th Avenue.

The current flood plain on the west side of the city spans beyond 11th Avenue and west approximately to the Bowman Municipal Airport. That zone will be moved once the plain is updated. Homes in the area, according to Brosz, will no longer be included in the flood plain and a mandate for homeowners in that area to maintain flood insurance will be dropped.

“That’s a big thing; people don’t have to pay that insurance anymore,” James said.

Another area that will change extends from Highway 85 to the southeast side of Frontier Travel Center. A channel was established at that location, as well.

The updates to the flood plain are a result of new modeling software developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and improved survey data, completed by Brosz Engineering.

Bowman has experienced two “100-year” storms within the recent decade, according to Brosz. In 2011, rain fell at a fast enough rate to result in eight inches on the ground within a few hours.

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