FEMA Backs Off South L.A. Flood Zone

Suddenly the fictitious flood waters of South Los Angeles are receding: The Federal Emergency Management Agency has backed off its expanded flood zone map that added 876 homes to an area it said was prone to a "hundred-year flood." (Info and revised map). The flood-zone expansion meant that some of those homeowners were already paying higher, mandatory flood insurance premiums.

But after much controversy the federal agency has reverted to its older maps, "removing 876 parcels in the Park Mesa Heights area of Los Angeles from their new flood zones," said city Department of Public Works spokeswoman Cora Jackson Fossett. "As a result, these parcels are no longer required to purchase flood insurance."

It's a victory for the Park Mesa Heights Neighborhood Council and South L.A. homeowners in a David-versus-Goliath battle first highlighted by KCET's SoCal Connected. The city had challenged the federal maps. And the bizarre flood-zone designation had locals scratching their heads (the Weekly asked, "when's the last time you remember flooding in South Los Angeles?").

KNX 1070 Newsradio interviewed one South L.A. resident who noted that his property was above an elevated train yet was still deemed to be part of a flood-prone area.

While the ebb of the federal maps gets more than 800 homeowners off the hook for increased insurance premiums, there are older FEMA maps that still, strangely in our opinion, designate parts of South L.A. as a flood zone.

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