Why Taxpayers Will Bail Out the Rich When the Next Storm Hits US

@SusanWBrooks @GovPenceIN @BallardforIndy @SenDonnelly @SenDanCoats PLEASE prioritize and fund Indianapolis White River (North) Flood Damage Reduction Project .   #savewarfleigh

Warfleigh neighborhood needs the support of our elected officials to finish the stalled and underfunded North Flood Damage Reduction Project and get us removed from the FEMA 100-year flood plain.  By 2018 the 5-year respite from  the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 will be over and our neighborhood will FAIL!  We supported you in the election, it’s time you support us!

Original article posted HERE
(Part 1 of 3 articles)

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — The builder of the most luxurious condominiums on this sugar-white sand beach had a problem. One of the twin towers of Turquoise Place was just inside a line on a federal flood map, a small difference that could cost the condo owners more than half a million dollars a year for flood insurance.

Three engineers told owner Larry Wireman there was no way the flood map qualified for a change, not on this stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, not in a hurricane-prone community where dozens of buildings were destroyed by the most recent of many storms to blow through the area. “There’s no way in hell that’s going to happen,” one of those engineers, Vince Lucido, said he was told by a firm specializing in coastal engineering.

But a fourth company saw it differently, persuading the Federal Emergency Management Agency to move the line on its flood maps. Turquoise Place Tower I, which had been in the highest-risk flood zone, was now in a low-risk zone, where flood insurance was optional.

“It smelled pretty bad to me,” said Lucido, the developer’s engineer. “It was too easy.”

Image: The Turquoise Place condominium buildings rise above Orange Beach, Ala. John Brecher / NBC News
The Turquoise Place condominium buildings rise above Orange Beach, Ala. One was moved out of the highest-risk flood zone, and then the other was being moved back in.

The condo owners still have insurance through the national flood program, because they buy it voluntarily. But now they pay a much lower annual premium. The building has all the finest amenities, with hot tubs on the 400 balconies that ring the curved towers like striations on a conch shell. The owners have saved more than 90 percent on the premiums they pay into the National Flood Insurance Program, meaning less money to cover losses nationwide.

This map change was engineered by a South Florida company called Flood Zone Correction, Inc. It engineered the map change for Turquoise Palace in 2011, and changes for more than 60 other buildings just in two towns on the Gulf of Mexico. Its founder and president, Dan Freudenthal, says the firm is able to get buildings remapped from the highest-risk flood zones by using newer surveys to counter errors on FEMA’s flood maps.

“We’re the ones saving property owners money. We’re Robin Hood!” he said. “We’re helping people correct errors on the flood map where it’s appropriate. If FEMA just fixed the problems in their flood mapping and their rates, we’d be out of business. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to advocate for the people.”

Image: Dan Freudenthal, right, is president of Flood Zone Correction.
Linda Reineke / Riverviewphotography.com
Dan Freudenthal, right, is president of Flood Zone Correction, which has successfully applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rezone about 100 coastal commercial developments out of the highest-risk flood zones. Freudenthal’s insurance agency, CRIO Inc., received the 2010 Agency of the Year Award from FEMA. Freudenthal is pictured in 2011 with Edward L. Connor, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator, who oversees FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA says it doesn’t take into account claims paid out on property by the insurance side of the National Flood Insurance Program, when the mapping side of FEMA considers an application to remove a property from the highest-risk flood zone.

Freudenthal (pronounced FROOD-en-thal) told NBC News that he has filed successful applications for flood map changes for about 100 coastal condo projects in Florida, Alabama, Texas, South Carolina and Georgia, in addition to hundreds of inland properties. The condo projects are among more than 500 coastal properties (see the map) identified by NBC in FEMA records as having been remapped out of the highest-risk flood zones.

Freudenthal’s West Palm Beach company, which also does business as Flood Risk Solutions, LLC, does not work for owners of single-family homes, only for commercial real estate companies.

In some cases, Flood Zone Correction has been able to win appeals despite the objections of local officials in charge of reducing flood damage. In Orange Beach and its neighbor Gulf Shores, for example, FEMA asked city flood officials for their support of the map changes, then approved the changes without it.

“These changes are absurd,” said Landon K. “Lannie” Smith, the floodplain administrator for the city of Orange Beach, who wouldn’t sign off on the Turquoise Place application and others. “It’s shifting the burden to single-family homeowners.”

The condo owners save up to 97 percent on their annual insurance premiums, according to the company’s website. Depending on its size, a single building could cut as much as $500,000 a year off its payments into the National Flood Insurance Program.

The flood program is running a deficit of $24 billion, a rising tide of red ink that prompted Congress to pass a law called the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The law, which is currently being phased in, requires owners of properties in flood zones to pay their “fair share” according to their risk of flooding, resulting in sharply higher premiums for many property owners. Congress is considering whether or not to yield to the pleas of property owners by forestalling the Biggert-Waters changes.

At the same time, new flood maps in many states have raised the estimation of flood risks along rivers, streams and oceans, adding many properties to flood zones for the first time.

Yet in the more than 500 instances documented by NBC News, FEMA has quietly moved the map lines to benefit properties that were once considered at highest risk of flooding.

A damaging history

There’s no dispute that Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are prone to high-velocity waves. The last big storm to make a direct hit, Hurricane Ivan in 2004, unleashed a 14-foot wall of water that destroyed dozens of buildings. The gulf highway was torn up, and floodwaters surged a mile inland.

This resort area rebuilt, bigger and better. When the first Turquoise Place tower opened in 2008, the price of a condo — with a 10-foot floor-to-ceiling view — started at $1.3 million. The 400 units in two towers sit right in the middle of a beach where Ivan caused the destruction or condemnation of The View, Sapphire Beach, Crown Princess and Crown Pointe – four of 16 condo towers in Orange Beach devastated by the hurricane.

DAMAGE AT CONDO FROM HURRICANE IVAN JOE CAVARETTA / AP
The remains of a swimming pool located between the Crown Point and Crown Princess condominiums destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in Orange Beach, Ala., in September 2004. More than 60 condo buildings along this beach in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores have been rezoned out of the highest-risk flood zones by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Flood Zone Correction arrived in 2010, signing up gulf front condo associations to apply to FEMA for change to the flood maps. The condos pay nothing up front for the service. Freudenthal says his company is paid on commission, receiving half of the amount that it saves the property owner in the first year. FEMA allows owners to receive a refund of premiums for not only the current year but also the previous year. Insurance agents said a single building in a high-risk zone can pay $4 million a year, depending on elevation and design.

Freudenthal, who has a venture capital background but now is a licensed insurance agent and insurance company owner, said he got into the flood business in 2001 in South Florida, after he and a friend with family real estate investments discovered that FEMA’s maps for his properties were wrong. They saved so much money that they saw a business opportunity. He’s not the only one in this business — FEMA has a list of companies.

Although he wouldn’t discuss the Turquoise Place case specifically, Freudenthal said his applications for map changes are based on fresh data and surveys, instead of the broad-brush approach that FEMA uses in making national flood maps. “The flood maps are old, outdated, based on old crappy data,” he said. “We found, based on more accurate recent data, that the map should look different.”

“Go over his head”

In about half of the 100 map changes he’s gotten approved, Freudenthal told NBC News, the floodplain administrator for the city or town refused to sign FEMA’s concurrence form. Sometimes, he said, he has to “go over his head to the mayor” to get local approval.

Many floodplain administrators in city halls around the U.S., when interviewed by NBC News, said they didn’t believe that FEMA would approve a map change without their OK. But FEMA confirmed that it has done so. While it asks the community’s administrator to sign a concurrence form, a FEMA spokesman said it considers the application just the same with or without that sign-off.

Image: A map shows 530 waterfront properties that have been moved out of the highest-risk flood zones. NBC News

An engineer with connections

In emails to clients and city officials, Freudenthal has touted his company’s connections to FEMA. In 2011, Freudenthal’s flood insurance company, CRIO, was chosen by FEMA as the national insurance agency of the year. When he encounters resistance from a local official, Freudenthal calls Washington. “I just got off the phone with the head of the insurance side of NFIP and one of the head mapping people at FEMA,” he said in one email to a town official.

Freudenthal has also touted the connections of the man who worked for him as the engineer on the Gulf Coast map changes.

“As you can see this is all pretty detailed stuff and a bunch of red-tape to work through,” he told a client in a 2011 email. “We are extremely lucky that the head of our Coastal Department is the ex-director for FEMA’s Coastal Mapping Department so we are able to leverage his relationships to overcome many of the obstacles that pop up as he has managed to keep his relationships within the current FEMA infrastructure very friendly.”

That engineer, Nader Mahmoudpour, told NBC News that “Mr. Freudenthal was exaggerating a bit.” He did work for a contractor, Dewberry, that makes FEMA flood maps, but only as a group leader, not the head of all coastal mapping. Still, there are a small number of coastal engineering experts, Mahmoudpour said, so connections do matter, at least to help with getting answers when a request is stalled. After he worked making FEMA flood maps, Mahmoudpour went to work as consultant for Flood Zone Correction in 2011, petitioning to change flood maps. Until he left in 2013, his applications were evaluated by another FEMA contractor, Michael Baker Corp., which handles the Southeast region.

Freudenthal said there’s nothing unusual about this sort of connection. “I think having a basic professional relationship with people you’re going to interact with is a positive thing. He can get a call back. Those people at FEMA aren’t going to do anything sketchy. You’re blaming us for being smart and hiring someone who knows what he’s doing.”

FEMA relied on Mahmoudpour’s engineering certification on the Gulf Coast applications, although he acknowledges he has never seen the properties or even visited these cities. Mahmoudpour, who lives and works in Maryland, is licensed in Alabama as well, and regulations from the state and from FEMA allow an engineer to certify data collected by others. Freudenthal explained, “There is no requirement to actually go to the site or do anything like that.”

Will fresh sand protect the buildings?

In Ocean Beach and Gulf Shores, Flood Zone Correction staked its engineering claims partly on protection by dunes. After Hurricane Ivan was finished, there were no dunes left on the beach. The cities spent money on a “beach nourishment” program, putting sand back on the beach and forming a thin barrier between the beach and the condos, standing about 6 feet to 12 feet above sea level.

But Smith, the Orange Beach floodplain administrator, said the sandy berm would provide scant protection during a big storm.

“Those aren’t dunes,” Smith said. “This is beach nourishment. After Ivan, we dredged sand out of the Gulf. The next storm will put it right back into the Gulf. The next storm will tell us that these map changes are not a good idea. Katrina brought 30-foot waves. And we’re telling people, as long as you’re behind this berm, you’re OK. That’s ludicrous!”

For many years, FEMA’s rules said that beach nourishment couldn’t be counted as a protective dune unless it had well-established vegetation to hold it in place. The sand on the Orange Beach and Gulf Shores beaches has only a sparse sprinkling of sea oats.

In 2013, after it approved the changes for these beachfront condos, FEMA issued new guidance, saying that from now on it can consider beach nourishment as protection in some cases.

Image: A map shows condominium projects on the Gulf Coast. NBC News

See a map from NBC News with details of the condominium projects in Gulf Shores and Ocean Beach. Some of the condo projects have multiple buildings, making more than 60 buildings in all.

FEMA responds

Although FEMA would not make any official available for an interview on the record, and would not comment on specific map changes, spokesman Dan Watson issued this statement: “In order to ensure the public knows their flood risk and insurance is priced accurately, FEMA works with communities and property owners to incorporate the best available data into the nation’s flood maps. Individuals can request amendments and changes to the maps, but those requests must meet regulatory as well as scientifically established, technical requirements. … FEMA has no tolerance for fraud and we refer any allegations or suspicions of fraud to the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General.”

Property owners send their applications for map changes along with measurements and elevation data certified by an engineer or surveyor. These are evaluated by contractors for FEMA, which then issues the letter approving or denying the changes. Although the contractors do most of the work, FEMA said it has auditing procedures to check a random sample of the work done by its contractors.

“FEMA takes its responsibility for administering the National Flood Insurance Program seriously and is reviewing the cases presented by NBC to ensure they were properly processed,” Watson said in the statement. “FEMA strives to ensure that administrative actions are properly executed and meet all statutory and regulatory mandates. The data provided by applicants for LOMAs (letters of map amendment) and LOMRs (letters of map revision) are reviewed based on scientific, technical standards and approved or denied based on those standards. FEMA has monitoring, oversight, and audit processes in place to ensure the work performed by contractors follows proper procedures.”

One big question in regard to the map changes is this: Will FEMA, when it issues new flood maps in the future, override these one-at-a-time map changes — perhaps creating new work for companies like Flood Zone Correction — or will the map changes be “grandfathered in”? The FEMA spokesman said these will be decided one case at a time.

Image: The Phoenix West II condominium building, right, is one of dozens of buildings on the Gulf Coast beach in Orange Beach, Ala., that was moved from the highest-risk flood zone. Now insurance is optional for the owners of Phoenix West condos. John Brecher / NBC News
Steve McNew from Fort Wayne, Ind., reels in his bait at the end of a day’s fishing on the beach in front of the Phoenix West II condominium in Orange Beach, one of dozens remapped so condo owners pay less into the National Flood Insurance Program.

Freudenthal, the president of Flood Zone Correction, said FEMA sometimes gives the company more than it asked for. For instance, Freudenthal said he filed an appeal on behalf of certain condo buildings in Gulf Shores, with vacant spots in between, but FEMA responded by remapping an entire mile of the oceanfront in March 2013. Now, he said, any future development of those properties can be done without meeting the stricter building rules of a high-velocity wave zone, such as breakaway walls on the ground floor and pilings sunk deep to anchor a foundation.

“FEMA comes in and says we want our maps to look pretty, so we’ll combine your cases and take this vacant land, and they include it in our case — something we think is atrocious,” Freudenthal said. “We haven’t analyzed that area. Now a developer can buy this land and not put posts and pilings in the ground.”

A surprise

The owner of Turquoise Place, Wireman, said he was pleasantly surprised when FEMA removed his tower one from the high-risk flood zone. “If FEMA is going to approve it, then it must be within FEMA’s rules,” he said.

A bigger surprise, he said, came when FEMA in 2011 sent a letter about his second tower, which had always been shown on surveys as five feet outside the high-risk zone. FEMA said that in considering his application for tower one it had found that tower two was actually in the high-risk zone all along. After an exchange of letters, and after the office of the state’s senior U.S. senator, Richard Shelby, got involved, FEMA withdrew the threat, saying tower two was also out of the high-risk zone. (Read the documents for Turquoise tower one and tower two.)

Wireman said it reminded him of a classic Abbott and Costello vaudeville skit about miscommunication.

“Who’s on first?” Wireman asked. “If they’re moving one building out of the zone, why would that cause them to put the other building in the zone?

“What did I think? You sure you want to know what I think? I think someone at FEMA was trying to drum up more business for Flood Zone Correction.”

FEMA and Flood Zone Correction said nothing untoward had happened. Freudenthal said, “Nobody at FEMA, their subcontractors or the community did us any favors.”

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Block Captain Volunteers Needed!

Save Warfleigh

Thanks to all the volunteer Warfleigh block captains !!

We have identified 17 different districts within the Warfleigh neighborhood boundaries that need a  “block captain.” The reason for dividing the neighborhood into districts  is so that it will be more
manageable once we begin to knock on doors asking for signatures on the petition etc.

The good news is we have filled 12 of the 17 districts!  Thanks to all our awesome volunteers.  We are looking for five more volunteers to fill the remaining  districts.  See the attached map HERE for the districts that still need a block captain. (Districts 10,12,14,16,17)

map of districts

If you love living in Warfleigh like we do and want to help your neighborhood, please consider volunteering!  If you want to sign up for a block captain OR anything to help us with our mission to #savewarfleigh, please contact us at info@savewarfleigh.org.  There are lots of volunteer duties…

View original post 8 more words

How April 2015 Program Changes Will Affect Flood Insurance Premiums

(Article reposted from FEMA website HERE

FEMA Fact Sheet
Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration

How April 2015 Program Changes Will Affect Flood Insurance Premiums

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is in the process of implementing Congressionally mandated reforms required by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) that repeal and modify the Biggert- Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters). The new law slows some flood insurance rate increases and offers relief to some policyholders who experienced steep flood insurance premium increases in 2013 and early 2014. Flood insurance rates and other charges will be revised for new or existing policies beginning on April 1, 2015. In addition to insurance rates, other changes resulting from Biggert-Waters and HFIAA will be implemented that will affect the total amount a policyholder pays for a flood insurance policy. Highlights of some of those changes follow. For full explanations and guidance, see WYO Bulletin (W-14053) and the Flood Insurance Manual.

The changes taking place in April include an increase in the Reserve Fund Assessment, the implementation of an annual surcharge on all new and renewed policies, an additional deductible option, an increase in the Federal Policy Fee, and rate increases for most policies. Key changes include:

  • Implementing annual rate changes that set rates using rate-increase limitations set by HFIAA for individual premiums and rate classes:

○ Limiting increases for individual premiums to 18 percent of premium.

○ Limiting increases for average rate classes to 15 percent.

○ Mandatory increases for certain subsidized policyholders under Biggert-Waters and HFIAA.

  • Increasing the Reserve Fund assessments required by Biggert-Waters.
  • Implementing annual surcharges required by HFIAA.
  • Guidance on substantially damaged and substantially improved structures, and additional rating guidance on buildings constructed before their communities’ first Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) became effective (known as pre-FIRM structures).
  • Implementing a new procedure for properties newly mapped into the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and existing Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension (PRP EE), a cost-saving flood insurance coverage option for property owners whose buildings were newly mapped into an SFHA. The premiums will be the same as the PRP, which offers low-cost flood insurance to owners and tenants of eligible residential and non-residential buildings located in moderate- to low-risk areas for the first year (calculated before fees and assessments) to comply with provisions of HFIAA.
  • Reformulating expense loading on premiums, reducing the expense load on the highest-risk policies as an interim step while investigating expenses on policies as required by Biggert-Waters.

The changes will take effect on April 1, 2015.

Reserve Fun Assessment Increasing

  • Biggert-Waters required the establishment of a Reserve Fund to help cover costs when claims exceed the annual premium collected by the NFIP. FEMA began collecting an assessment in 2013 to add money to the Reserve Fund.
  • The Reserve Fund assessment initially applied to all policies other than PRPs in 2013. The assessment on those policies will increase in 2015.
  • Starting in 2015, PRPs will begin contributing to the Reserve Fund.
Policy 2014 Fee

(as a percent of premium)

2015 Fee

(as a percent of premium)

Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs) 0% 10%
Property Newly Mapped into the SFHA (Previous Preferred Risk Policies Eligibility Extension [PRP EE]) 0% 15%
All Other Policies 5% 15%

HFIAA Surcharge Begins

  • HFIAA slowed the elimination of subsidies provided for in Biggert-Waters and amended most of the provisions mandating that certain policies transition immediately to full-risk rates.
  • To compensate for the decrease in revenue, the new law calls for the addition of a surcharge on all policies that will be collected until, with limited exceptions, all subsidies are eliminated.
  • The surcharge is a flat fee applied to all policies based on the occupancy type of the insured building and is not associated with the flood zone in which the building is located or the construction date of the building (e.g., pre- or post-FIRM).
  • The surcharge also applies to a renter’s contents-only policy based on the policyholder’s occupancy of the building or unit.
Occupancy Type                                                                               Annual Surcharge
Primary Residential: single-family and individual condominium units $25
Non-Primary Residential: single-family and individual condominium units $250
Multifamily Residential: condominium and other buildings $250
Non-Residential $250

When a Map Change Occurs

  • Current PRP EE policies and policies for insured buildings that are newly mapped into high-risk areas from moderate- to low-risk areas will be eligible to receive PRP rates for 1 year after the maps become effective. The Federal Policy Feefor these and existing PRP EE policies will increase to $45 to ensure the solvency and sustainability of the program.
  • For these policies, the rates at renewal will increase no more than 18 percent each year.
  • Grandfathering remains a cost-saving option for policyholders when new maps show their buildings in a higher-risk area (e.g., Zone A to Zone V; increase in Base Flood Elevation).

What Is Grandfathering?

When FIRM changes occur, the NFIP provides a lower-cost flood insurance rating option known as “grandfathering,” which is available for property owners who:

  • Have flood insurance policies in effect when the new flood maps become effective and then maintain continuous coverage; or
  • Have built in compliance with the FIRM in effect at the time of construction.

To learn more, visit the NFIP’s Grandfathering Fact Sheet at floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pdfs/ Grandfathering+Fact+Sheet+for+Agents-2010.pdf.

Other Changes Coming in April

  • As required by HFIAA, the maximum deductible for a flood insurance policy will increase to $10,000 for single- family and two- to four-family dwellings. If used, the deductible must apply to both building and contents. For single-family homes, choosing the maximum deductible will result in up to a 40 percent discount from the base premium. It is important to remember that using the maximum deductible may not be appropriate in every financial circumstance and may not be allowed by lenders to meet mandatory purchase requirements.
  • The Federal Policy Fee will increase by $1 for most policies other than the PRP, which remains $22. The exception is policies rated using the map change table, which will increase to $45 to ensure the solvency and sustainability of the program.
  • A new rate table showing annual rate increases of 25 percent will be created for pre-FIRM buildings that have been substantially damaged or improved. However, repairs made to these structures typically must meet current building codes and, therefore, will usually receive a better rate using post-FIRM rate tables.
  • In most cases, average rate increases for each rating class are capped at 15 percent; the annual surcharge and Federal Policy Fee are not included in the rate calculation and could result in the total amount charged a policyholder increasing by more than 18 percent.

For full explanations and guidance, see WYO Bulletin (W-14053) and the Flood Insurance Manual. Read the latest WYO Bulletins for complete rate-change information at NFIPiService.com

Block Captain Volunteers Needed!

Thanks to all the volunteer Warfleigh block captains !!

We have identified 17 different districts within the Warfleigh neighborhood boundaries that need a  “block captain.” The reason for dividing the neighborhood into districts  is so that it will be more
manageable once we begin to knock on doors asking for signatures on the petition etc.

The good news is we have filled 12 of the 17 districts!  Thanks to all our awesome volunteers.  We are looking for five more volunteers to fill the remaining  districts.  See the attached map HERE for the districts that still need a block captain. (Districts 10,12,14,16,17)

map of districts

If you love living in Warfleigh like we do and want to help your neighborhood, please consider volunteering!  If you want to sign up for a block captain OR anything to help us with our mission to #savewarfleigh, please contact us at info@savewarfleigh.org.  There are lots of volunteer duties you can do from home!

Thank you!
Cathy

WARFLEIGH HOME VALUES are AT RISK!

If you haven’t yet signed our petition, please consider doing so by clicking HERE

I have been actively following the comments on the redevelopment issue on Broadway. From what I can tell, the majority of Warfleigh who have commented are against this development. Many of the negative comments refer to all the rentals in our neighborhood and the concern for more rentals. EXACTLY!

How can this happen?

  1. Although the some of the ill-effects of the Biggert Waters Act of 2012 have been repealed temporarily by the Homeowner Flood Affordability Act of 2014. As it stands now, the new premium flood insurance rates will be phased in over 5 years, by 20 percent a year, to reflect the current risk of flood to a property.  You should have already experienced your first increase in 2014.
  2. As we approach 2018 and our flood insurance becomes more and more costly, there will be homeowners that cannot afford the annual cost of the required flood insurance. Based on conversations that I have had with current and prospective homeowners in Warfleigh, who are not “grandfathered” in to the old plan, we can expect to pay $8,000 – $10,000+/year.
  3. If you are not able to afford the new rates and you still have a mortgage, you are either going to have to sell or abandon your home. And again, based on everything I have heard, current selling prices are already going for less than market rate.
  4. Who is going to buy your home? Yes, individuals or companies looking for a cheap investment to turn into a rental. Most likely they don’t care HOW they will keep up the neighborhood homes that they buy. Look around Wafleigh now …. Although there are some rentals that are kept up, many are not.
  5. Warfleigh will turn into another unstable and transient neighborhood in Indianapolis.
  6. If you have not been to the moveon.org website to view our petition, here are some of the comments we have received.

“Please get the levee completed or watch Warfleigh die a slow and painful death as we drown under outrageous flood insurance premiums. “

”This entire project has been in the works for almost 20 years with the final goal of removing Warfleigh from the flood plain. It would be a shame to not finish the project and relieve the residents from the onerous flood insurance which serves as a deterrent when trying to sell a property. ”

“As a Residential Mortgage Banker with 25 yrs experience, I’ve seen a detrimental impact on the salability of Single Family homes in the Warfleigh and Meridian Kessler neighborhoods due to Biggert-Waters. Home values are being impacted and lives disrupted. ”

“I’m a Real Estate Broker and this action impacts my ability to effectively represent my Warfleigh clients as the promise was made and now needs to be fulfilled. I’m embarrassed that this is still being talked about and has not been properly resolved as homeowners were told that this would come to fruition. “

So I urge you Warfleigh neighbors, PLEASE GET INVOLVED with this issue. Sign our petition, ask your friends and family to sign, come to our next meeting and see how you can help!

Cathy

Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

Make no mistake about it.  Although the most recent legislation the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 gives those of us who pay flood insurance some relief, it is only temporary.  Within 4 years we will be paying full rates with NO subsidies from the government.  This means for a typical home in Warfleigh, you could be paying $8,000 – $10,000 or more for flood insurance per year! This will be devastating to individual homeowners and the neighborhood as a whole. Can you(we) afford this to happen?  Read more about the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act HERE and HERE

Indianapolis White River (North) Flood Damage Reduction Project Update

January 22, 2015​ – Study ​Will Briefly Close Canal Towpath

In working to complete the southern reach of the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (DPW) has initiated a feasibility analysis of the proposed Canal West Bank levee alignment alternative. This is a part of the ongoing project to complete the line of flood protection in north Indianapolis.

The analysis will include topographic survey, geotechnical analysis, wetland delineation and structural analysis to determine the feasibility for the proposed alignment. The study is expected to be complete by summer 2015, and it will be coordinated by the Army Corps of Engineers, DPW and Citizens Energy Group.

The analysis will also require the closure of the Central Canal Towpath beginning in February for the completion of soil borings along the trail. The City estimates that the towpath could be closed for as many as 30 days, depending on weather.

Residents should use the following designated detour during the closure, which will be clearly marked with signs:

Use the sidewalk on Michigan Road to 42nd Street.

–  42nd Street to Haughey Avenue

–  Haughey Avenue turns into W. Hampton Drive

–  W. Hampton to Illinois Street

–  Illinois Street to Westfield Boulevard, where the towpath can be accessed

See a map of the detour HERE.

The Canal West Bank alignment was identified as a popular local alternative to the original alignment along Westfield Boulevard proposed by the Corps.  Stakeholders and the local water utility expressed the need to complete a feasibility analysis.  DPW coordinated with the Corps through 2014 to determine the best approach for such an assessment.

Jim Polito, Jeff Bates and Cathy Babcock met with Brooke Klejnot, Executive Director of the BRVA on January 21. Here is a list of subjects discussed during the meeting. If you would like more information, please get involved ~ volunteer, come to our meetings, become a block captain!  For a printable and complete PDF of these talking points, click HERE

Who we are:

A grassroots effort consisting of Warfleigh neighbors and other concerned citizens working together to compel the City of Indianapolis to work with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and devote the resources required to complete expeditiously the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project.

Our mission:

Our mission is to raise awareness of the benefits of completing the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project in an effort to preserve life, the stability of Warfleigh, and property values in Warfleigh and surrounding neighborhoods.

Why we exist:

Warfleigh and surrounding areas lie in a 100-year flood plain. The Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project (“Project”) seeks to remove Warfleigh and surrounding areas from the flood plain. Most recently, the City of Indianapolis began to oppose the Corps’ plan to complete the project and now seeks to set the project back approximately 20-years by pursuing an infeasible plan that the Corps has already studied and rejected (see Corps’6/27/14 comment on proposed “West Bank” plan, following page). Meanwhile, while the lives and homes of residents remain at risk, Congress acted in 2012 to impose additional hardship upon affected residents by passing the Biggert-Waters Act. The Act sharply increases premiums and rates charged to homeowners for flood insurance.

We are concerned about the impact of the Project’s delay on life, public safety, property values and the quality of life in Warfleigh and surrounding area. We feel the City has put the interests of every Project stakeholder except those who live in the flood plain before the interests of those who actually live in the flood plain. We are emerging as an independent action coalition and watchdog because we are concerned neither the BRVA nor the WNA is adequately representing and pursuing our interest on this matter.

< The early success of our efforts demonstrates residents need and support our initiative >

What we hope to accomplish:

We wish to establish Save Wafleigh as a respected and vocal participant in dialogue concerning the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project. We hope our unity, mass and future activities compel the City of Indianapolis to work with United States Army Corps of Engineers to complete the Indianapolis North Flood Damage Reduction Project in an expeditious manner.

What we have done so far:

• Light Up Broad Ripple Parade
• Web site (www.savewarfleigh.org) and social media presence
• Flyers and other print material for distribution
• Neighborhood districting: maps, addresses, district volunteers
• Petition drive (boots on ground beginning mid-Feb)
• Signage effort
• City-Council representative (tentatively) to attend February meeting

What is the BRVA role?

If the BRVA is the community organization on record with the City of Indianapolis, and if the role of the BRVA is to investigate issues and advocate for improvements on behalf of both the Warfleigh and Broad Ripple areas, then the BRVA should not be silent on the flood plain issue. If the BRVA has stewardship over Warfleigh development and redevelopment matters, then the BRVA should consider addressing actively and aggressively the most fundamental development issue the Warfleigh neighborhood faces – finishing the Indianapolis North Flood Reduction Project.

Our questions include:

(1) does the BRVA have a position on this matter?
(2) does the BRVA have any plan to promote aggressively Project completion?
(3) is the BRVA interested in supporting the Save Warfleigh initiative?
(4) how can the BRVA support our initiative?
(5) what recommendations does the BRVA have for our initiative?