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FEMA meeting to discuss Bridge City flood map appeal

Updated: Thursday, August 28 2014, 01:14 AM CDT
BRIDGE CITY - by Lauren Huet

Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives met with consultants hired by Bridge City to help with its appeal of FEMA's proposed flood map.

Bridge City Council voted unanimously to contract with civil engineering and land surveying consultants, Lonnie G. Harper & Associates, Inc., in December of 2013.

"This is the first chance we've had to sit down with FEMA and go over the technical material that was in the report," said Joe Suhayda, a consultant with Lonnie G. Harper & Associates.

"The purpose of this meeting was to meet with them, go over some of the data with the appeal, clarify a few things and make sure we both know what we need to do moving forward to resolve this appeal," said Larry Voice, an engineer and project manager with FEMA.

FEMA'S map would place about 80 percent of the city in a flood zone.

"Being in a flood zone is not death, it can be worked out," said Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, "but for some of these areas out here it would just kill the property."

Consultants from Lonnie G. Harper & Associates conducted their own flood plain research.

"We think we found some discrepancies from what FEMA did to what is actually out there," said Suhayda. "So, that's what we submitted as a correction to what FEMA did and updated it."

Suhayda says they found several differences from FEMA's findings.

"Areas that are mapped on their preliminary maps as being subject to flooding which we think are what are called x zones, and  not subject to hurricane flooding," said Suhayda. "And there are areas where we think the amount of flooding is lower."

Mayor Roccaforte says the meeting went well.

"There was a lot of points given by FEMA, there was a lot of points given by our engineers as to what way they're looking at things and I think it opened up some avenues," said Roccaforte. "I think FEMA agreed to some things and I think we agreed to some things."

FEMA requested more data from the city.

"There are places where we have requested some additional data, some additional documentation of things, some explanations," said Voice. "There are other areas where we have determined we need to do some additional work."

Suhayda says Lonnie G. Harper & Associates will resolve any technical issues and probably submit a revised appeal report to FEMA.
FEMA meeting to discuss Bridge City flood map appeal

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