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Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2008 10:00 pm

Officials from the city of Lodi and San Joaquin County will talk on a regular basis during the next year to see if federal authorities can trim some of the area where property owners would be required to purchase expensive flood-control insurance.

County officials will do some survey work in Woodbridge and adjoining areas to check elevations, to see if homeowners can be relieved of having to pay more than $1,000 for flood insurance every year, said Steve Winkler, the county's deputy public works director.

Winkler and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency explained FEMA's proposed flood plain designation to nearly 200 people at a special Woodbridge Municipal Advisory Council meeting Thursday night.

FEMA released a preliminary map that places almost all of Woodbridge, the northwest corner of Lodi and acres of farmland west of Lodi that is generally between Turner and Peltier roads, on a flood plain.

Flood insurance is such a hot issue because of the devastation flooding can bring to property, said Jonathan Bartlett, a FEMA map modernization specialist.

"They're a lot worse than fires," Bartlett said. "(Floods) destroy a whole community."

Steve Winkler, the county's deputy public works director, told residents that the map designating Woodbridge and northwest Lodi as a high-risk flood area doesn't actually show who is really in danger of being a flood victim.

"These are insurance rate maps," Winkler said.

Property owners within the proposed new flood plain area could end up paying $2,462 annually for flood insurance if they buy their policy after the final FEMA map is adopted in April 2009, Winkler said. They can pay approximately half that amount if insurance is purchased before the final FEMA map is adopted next year, he said. And for one year, people who purchase insurance early can pay only $317 for the first year.

FEMA and county officials came up with some information that residents didn't know before Thursday's MAC meeting. They include:

• That the Del Rio neighborhood off Woodbridge Road is exempt from the high-risk area on the preliminary map. That's because the developer of the Del Rio subdivision hired a licensed engineer to certify that the levees would protect the homes, Winkler said.

• That the proposed flood plain extends far beyond Woodbridge and the northern section of the Park West neighborhood of Lodi. The map shows the high-risk flood zone extending generally through farmland west to Interstate 5.

• The entire community of Woodbridge, except for the Del Rio subdivision and the areas north of the Mokelumne River.
• Lodi west of Lodi Lake and south to about White Oak Way in Park West.
• West of Lodi to roughly Interstate 5, between Turner Road north to the Mokelumne River.
• A narrow stretch north to Kile Road between I-5 and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, just east of the freeway.
Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Woodbridge area is projected to be in the high-risk flood zone, if for no other reason than that the levees along the south bank of the Mokelumne River were not certified by a licensed engineer or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to county and FEMA officials.

Woodbridge resident Aaron Devencenzi said that Del Rio is probably 10 feet lower in elevation than anywhere else in Woodbridge, making it a greater flood risk than other neighborhoods.

It could be cheaper in the long run for property owners to tax themselves so that the county could shore up levees and have them certified by FEMA, Winkler said. While it would cost property owners to have the levees improved and certified, he said, it would probably be cheaper than high-risk flood insurance.

Lodi insurance agent Kevin Dejong said after the meeting adjourned that he is confused as ever.

"They keep changing their mind," Dejong said of the county and FEMA. "We can't even guess what the price will be (for insurance)."

Local insurance agents advised property owners to ask their agent if their insurance company sells flood insurance.

Winkler said he is willing to speak to local service clubs about the preliminary flood zone designations. He can be reached at 468-3031.

For a complete map of the proposed high-risk flood plain boundaries, visit http://www.sjgov.org/pubworks.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 2:22 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    I do not plan to move. But, I do hope that the people that are running our county and city look into all avenues that help those that may not be able to afford these costs. I also want to say it is due to Camanche that the cubic feet flow was reduced 3 times, because of property taxes that we all paid.

  • posted at 2:11 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    commonsense1, I did not ask for a new dam, I asked for Lodi and the County to pay to repair the levees. Stockton just received federal money to dreg the channel. Lodi needs to apply for the federal money, instead of putting the onus on the property owner that purchased their property in non flood hazard zone.

  • posted at 2:06 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    commonsense1, Yes any agent can sell you the insurance up to the $250K level, then add a rider to meet the property needs cost value. The first policy is through FEMA. All loans should be federally insured if you have a mortage that is going to withstand the test of time, or be out in the dark like many current homeowners are finding out.

  • posted at 1:57 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    Commonsense1, yes the first year is $317,but after the map is created then if you have had, is the operative word, you will pay only 1/2 of what is the new decided premium. If you trust that info. My point is that FEMA sells the insurance and decides the map. Sound like a conflict!!!The solution is to fix the problem. Though I have property in Stockton, I pay $26 a year for assess, because the county and Stockton went after federal money to repair the levees.LVery much a savings. What has Lodi done?

  • posted at 12:18 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    River flows in 1986, 1996, 2006 were just over 5000 cubic ft. per sec. which were 50 year flood events. 1955 flows were over 16,000 cubic ft. per sec! No Camanche at that time. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know 3 times the flow of '86 & '96 could cause a few problems. New dam won't help. We are talking "sheet flooding" which is water that may be a few inches deep in most areas. If paying $317 per yr to live in this beautiful area is outrageous, don't pay or consider moving. Pretty simple.

  • posted at 12:02 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    Any agent can sell you the flood insurance. Cost will be the same $317. Pretty simple, if you don't a have a federally insured mtg., you don't have to buy the insurance. It's your lender that will demand it, not the govt or insurance company. If you want to build a house on the west side of the Mokelumne or any other river, you might need insurance. Makes sense to me.

  • posted at 7:17 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    Lodi Today is correct. The insurance you buy is through FEMA, that is creating the maps. Does this sound fair? Where is the competitive market? Oh the excess about the maximum that FEMA will allow you to cover! So, City of Lodi, San Joaquin County look at fixing our levees before there are not property owners that can afford there houses. Values down, foreclosures up, more people losing homes, etc. Flooding in Lodi happpened in 1955, except for the fears that happened in 1986, which was in the Rivergate area, right near the River, that I believe sits in alowelevation.

  • posted at 7:07 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    Yes,education is needed. Get the facts. I called today only to find out that insurance I was to buy would be bought through FEMA. The maximum purchase would be $250,000 for $317 which includes $100,000 for content. That is because I currently am in the "X zone", or preferred area for the 500 years flood protection. But due to the shape in the levees per the SJCounty, my property will be changed to another zone, though 100 feet away will be still the "X zone".

  • posted at 5:58 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    Woodbridge homeowners need to educate themselves quickly regarding flood insurance requirements. Get familiar with the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR's). First RULE- It is illegal to permit and build a home in a FLOOD PLAN. Only the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can sell you flood-insurance, and you can deal with them directly and not with a middleman, like Allstate, State Farm, or Farmers, cuz they are only brokers at best! The County should be of great help, but it will take time to survey everything properly. I use to pay $4,000 a year in flood insurance.

  • posted at 3:41 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    This is just the proposed flood area. It won't be finally decided until next year when the final mapping comes out. It's just a scare right now to run out and buy something you don't need until the facts are resolved. There are only three companies you can buy it from here in Lodi, one being Mr. DeJong's company. There's no shopping around and you have to buy it from one of these three businesses. Talk about a monopoly. I can purchase mine through Hartford, and I suggest you check with your present insurer also, not these locals.

  • posted at 2:56 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    What is the city and county going to do to fix the problem? Are they going to help fix the levees on the Mokelumne or clear the debris? We built Commanche and Woodbridge Dam to help this problem, or is this just more money that is going to go to insurance companies? A small accessment to property owners for repair would make more sense than, shelling out huge annual costs to insurance companies. Visit the website, go to the FEMA maps, and just try to figure out how to use the site. I say FEMA needs a webdesigner!!!!

  • posted at 2:35 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2008.


    Once FEMA gets their hooks into you-you will be on an inflationary ride subsidizing their "Losses" all over the US. Since the Katrina debacle my premium here in Woodland has jacked from less than 500 bucks a year in 2004 to $750. this Spring. Nothing one can do about it. Hasn't flooded here since Noah. FEMA is a trojan horse at best.



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