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June 17, 2008
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Flood map disputed in Eagle-Vail

EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado " When Eagle-Vail resident Valerie Wilkinson looks out her window, she sees the golf course and a four-plex home " not a potential flood plain.

However, according to county and Federal Emergency Management Agency's maps of the neighborhood, Wilkinson and other homeowners on Elk Lane, are in "Flood Zone A," and are required to purchase almost $2,500 in flood plain insurance.

"I got a call in January from my mortgage lender saying that FEMA had re-mapped the area, and based on a December 2007 study, we're now in a flood plain," Wilkinson said. "But the maps are totally wrong."

The flood plain maps, which may be inaccurate, outdated or incomplete, affect about 60 properties on Elk Lane.

The county is helping to investigate the problem, and FEMA officials told residents that to get the problem resolved, the community would have to pay to get the area re-mapped.

"Residents feel like they're being asked to pay for something the developer should have paid for originally," said Karl Krueger, an Eagle-Vail resident helping organize the re-mapping effort. "Whether that's the case, I don't know, but they feel like they're clearly not in the flood plain."

Mapping the area would cost an estimated $50,000. Half of the cost would be covered by a grant from the Colorado River Water Conservation Board. Eagle County agreed to pay a third of the remaining amount, and a group of residents will pitch in $200 each.

Residents hope the Eagle-Vail Property Owners Association and the Metro District will split the rest of the cost.

Krueger said the re-mapping could take some homes out of the flood plain area, but it could also put other homes in a flood plain that are currently not. Residents will present their case to the Eagle-Vail Metro District at a meeting on Thursday.

The maps might be inaccurate because of the technology used to map the area in the 1960s and 70s, Krueger said.

Another possibility is that Stone Creek, which runs through parts of Eagle-Vail, used to have a section that ran past Elk Lane. When the golf course was built, the stream might have been re-routed or eliminated, Krueger said.

Some residents have also said the area used to be the site of lettuce fields and an irrigation ditch ran down the middle of the street, Wilkinson said.

Besides having to pay what she feels is unnecessary insurance, Wilkinson said she also worries that the flood plain label will bring down home values.

"It's just a mess. It's all really unfair," she said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at (970) 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Jun 17, 2008 07:11PM Published Jun 17, 2008 07:11PM Copyright 2008 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.