FEMA Expands Flood Hazard Zone Along Floyd River

(SIOUX CITY, IA) - Some residents and businesses in the Leeds neighborhood may have to pay for flood insurance because of a ruling by FEMA.

Some businesses in Leeds say they were aware of the FEMA changes while others say they didn't get that paperwork.

Bob Roe's North End Zone just opened up a few months ago in the Leeds neighborhood. "I think it's just more of a precaution to make sure if anything did happen you're still covered. Whether it's necessary, I mean, I don't really know," said Kitchen Manager Jason Houser. Bob Roe's is part of FEMA's new flood plain. Houser said that could cost him a pretty penny. "It's not good for us because it's not good for the customer if they have to pay for their food because we are going to have to make up the cost there as opposed to now where we can keep our costs down," said Houser. Nearby St. Michael's School agrees. "It's an added expense that we really don't need right now," said Terry Hegarty, a member of St. Michael's School Building & Oversight Committee. The city addressed concerns to business owners and homeowners showing where FEMA mapped out the new flood zone. "It's more of a ponding issue. The city's not worried about the Floyd actually coming out of its banks and flooding. It's more of the inability for the rainwater to get into the Floyd should the water level be high enough that the gates would not allow it in," said Hegarty. The city can fix that ponding issue, but it's going to take time. "Make sure that there's not a limitation capacity as to larger storm pipes, redirection into different areas that relieve some of the issue off property owners. So there are a variety of things we can do," said Jade Dundas, Public Works Director. FEMA gives the process 18 months until the flood zone becomes official. The city says that's not enough time to improve drainage along the Floyd, meaning businesses and homeowners could be on the hook for more insurance next year.
There will be more public meetings on this issue before the end of that 18 month period. People who have a mortgage on their property will most likely be forced by their lender to buy the flood insurance. People who own their property outright can decide whether to buy.