Planners approve flood map

Published 10:58 pm Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Suffolk Planning Commission recommended approval Tuesday of new floodplain maps that could mean hundreds more Suffolk residents will have to obtain costly flood insurance.

The proposed new maps affect about 1,270 homeowners. Of those, about 554 are newly in the flood zone; more than 700 are being taken out of the flood zone.

A portion of Charles Jordan’s property lies in the flood zone in the new maps. He has been at every public meeting so far on the issue, and he spoke again on Tuesday.

Email newsletter signup

“I stand before you today not in favor of this ordinance, because the maps are wrong,” he said. “That map’s wrong, and I can prove it.”

He asked the Planning Commission to include a request to City Council for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to revisit the maps.

“I think the residents deserve that,” he said.

The flood maps changed because of better mapping technology and historical data, as well as topography changes because of development, storms and other factors, city officials said.

Most changes were along bodies of water, including minor creeks, streams and tributaries.

Owners of properties in high-risk flood zones usually are required to have flood insurance. Premiums can run as high as $1,600 per year.

Homeowners can have a surveyor inspect their property to prove that it is highly unlikely to flood, but that can be an expensive proposition.

About 60 homeowners showed up to a meeting in July to protest the changes. A dozen spoke at a public hearing before Planning Commission last month, after which planners delayed a decision on the issue until some concerns were addressed.

In other business at the meeting, planners recommended approval of a new tattoo shop at 881 N. Main St. The shop, to be called Tattoo Skills Too, is owned by Jason Fulford, who is moving the business from its current location on Portsmouth Boulevard. He said he hopes to draw more business with the more visible location and to become a more permanent part of the community.