Marana residents who received letters from the town regarding the modernization of its Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) should mark their calendars with two important dates: May 5, the day the town will host a workshop detailing changes and what they mean to Maranans; and June 16, the day the new maps will take effect in Pima County.
The latter date is also important to residents’ pocketbooks because the Federal Emergency Management Agency offers policies, known as preferred-risk policies, to cover structures that are not in the flood-plain at drastically reduced rates.
This means residents who reside in areas that are scheduled to be re-designated as flood-plain areas will save money by purchasing flood-plain insurance before the new maps take effect.
Marana’s last FIRM was in 1999, though there have been many map amendments since, according to a letter sent from the town to residents mid-March. More recently, FEMA allowed Marana to conduct an extensive drainage study of the Tortolita Fan, which is represented in the new maps that will take effect on June 16.
Areas of town that can be affected include the Tortolita Fan immediately south and west of Dove Mountain to the railroad, areas east of the Central Arizona Project Canal north of Tangerine Road, and areas of far northwest Marana, north of Barnett Road.
Areas outside of the limits of the Tortolita Fan will see little change in the new maps. They include the communities of Continental Ranch/Reserve, Dove Mountain and Gladden Farms.
If a structure will be coming out of the flood plain after the new maps are effective, its property owners will no longer be required by FEMA to have flood insurance. The ultimate decision on whether a property owner can their drop flood insurance is determined by the lending institution, which may continue to require flood insurance to protect its investment.
If a structure will be remaining in the flood plain but move into a more favorable flood zone after the maps become effective, property owners should seek a new flood insurance policy that reflects the better flood zone rate.
If a structure is going into a flood plain or into a less favorable flood zone, things get complicated, admits town officials. FEMA has a process to “grandfather” a flood insurance policy and continue at that rate as long as there is no lapse in coverage.
To learn more, residents can attend a public workshop (see dates), visit www.marana.com/index.aspx?nid=592 or call 382-2600.
May 3, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Udall Center, 7290 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson
May 3, 4-7 p.m.: Oro Valley Public Library, 1305 W. Naranja
May 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Public Works Basement, 201 N. Stone, Tucson
May 5, 4-7 p.m.: Estes Elementary School Cafeteria, 11279 W. Grier, Marana
Pima County and FEMA will staff all workshops. For more information, visit www.marana.com/index.aspx?nid=592 or call 382-2600.