Property owners in Woodbridge and west Lodi will have to wait until April to find out whether they will be required by the federal government to purchase costly flood insurance.
But it appears that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will remove all but about a dozen homes from the insurance requirement, according to Steve Winkler, San Joaquin County's deputy public works director.
"These are preliminary, and they're not final until they're final," Winkler said.
FEMA was scheduled to make a final determination of which areas are flood-prone enough to require insurance last October, but the process has been pushed back six months, said Kathy Schaefer, a regional engineer in FEMA's Oakland office.
The news that FEMA may require flood insurance alarmed residents in Woodbridge and in the Bridgetowne, Towne Ranch and a portion of the Park West neighborhoods of Lodi when FEMA made the announcement about a year ago.
However, FEMA released a new map in May that tentatively removed about 900 homes in the Lodi city limits from the flood insurance requirement. Lodi city spokesman Jeff Hood said that city officials haven't heard anything new since May, except that a final decision had been postponed from last October until April of this year.
And in a recent update from FEMA's Oakland office, Woodbridge residents and other property owners are likely off the hook except for a dozen homes or less in the community's Windwood subdivision, north of Woodbridge Road toward the Mokelumne River.
A year ago, the entire Woodbridge community south of the river were considered a high-risk flood area, and FEMA was ready to require property owners to purchase flood insurance.
The cost of flood insurance depends on when you buy it. Those in an area FEMA describes as "high risk" will pay $317 per year provided that the insurance is purchased before FEMA renders its final decision. That would cover a $250,000 house and $100,000 worth of contents. The premium would go up to $769 after the first year, according to FEMA.
But if you wait until after FEMA approves its final flood map, it will cost $1,390 annually and $856 for contents.
The new flood maps are scheduled to take effect in October, Schaefer said.