By Samantha Smith
Questions were raised at the last Buda city council meeting as city officials received a presentation on FEMA’s re-mapping of the 100-year flood plain.
But preliminary maps, which have not been approved by council, show potential trouble for many existing and future Buda structures.
The presentation, given by Rey Gonzalez from Binkley and Barfield consulting firm, revealed a few areas around Buda that would fall in the new floodplain.
Gonzalez assured council that the new floodplain map from FEMA was only preliminary. He said the map has not yet been released to the public. The reasoning was to gain feedback from council during a required 30-day comment period.
Council member Angela Kennedy, however, had questions regarding the new section of the Garlic Creek subdivision appearing within the re-drawn flood plain. Kennedy asked whether any homes had been built there yet.
“I see quite a few homes that are inundated in the hundred-year flood plain. What are we going to do about that?,” Kennedy said after assessing the map.
Buda’s Planning Director Chance Sparks said FEMA had access to an old aerial map of the area and used it to base its re-mapping of the flood plain.
City staff also had a chance to address any issues with outdated mapping information at a regional meeting, where FEMA presented its new one hundred year flood plain to municipalities.
Sparks assured council new aerial maps showed updated areas of development in Buda. Those maps were already given to FEMA at the regional meeting and would be used in revising the map.
Mayor Todd Ruge asked staff about the possibility of already platted land falling within the new flood plain and what could be done about it. He asked about the possibility of elevating new housing structures above the flood plain.
Sparks said for any platted lots that end up in the flood plain, a developer would have to use an elevated structure to bring it above the flood plain.
Council member Bobby Lane said if the site of a housing lot is not elevated, and it falls in a flood plain, a bank or any loan agency wouldn’t issue the owner of that lot any flood insurance.
While there were many issues stemming from the discussion about the new flood plain maps, city staff reiterated to council that it was still in the preliminary stages.
“The city and FEMA talked about places where the maps may need to be changed. FEMA is reviewing the data and will work with the city to determine the next steps in the flood study,” Earl Armstrong, Public Information Officer for FEMA, Region 6 said in an emailed response. “There won’t be new preliminary maps until these issues are worked out.”
Armstrong explained that after new flood maps are issued, there is another round of appeals and comment period where the city can make changes, which is followed by a resolution of all appeals.
“Once all appeals and comments have been addressed, the community is notified by a letter that FEMA is moving forward with a Letter of Final Determination (LFD),” Armstrong said. “Following the LFD issuance, the community has a six-month compliance period in which to adopt the maps before they are effective.”
Potential areas of Buda affected by new flood plain maps:
• South side of Goforth Road
• South side of Bradfield Park
• Bluff Street
• Garlic Creek Tributary at Remuda Trail