Ventura County to discuss flood levees

LOS ANGELES In April, the board learned nine levees owned by the Ventura County Watershed Protection District were not up to federal code.

Levees that don't meet standards could be decertified, meaning homeowners living behind them would have to buy flood insurance by January 2010.

That adds up to more than $1,700 per property each year. Area lawmakers are encouraging residents to buy flood insurance before the deadline to get a discounted rate.

According to the Ventura County Star, last year, Federal Emergency Management Agency released a preliminary flood-zone map indicating what areas would be required to obtain insurance coverage. It later revised the tentative map cutting in half the number of homes included in the floodplain.

According to the revised version, 1,500 Fillmore homeowners will be required to purchase flood insurance, and so will 1,700 homeowners in Oxnard. Other areas are still being assessed, including the site of a proposed development for some 1,500 homes and businesses.

Some residents are concerned about their home losing value after being included in the floodplain. Some suggest that instead of being forced to buy flood insurance, the funds should be directed toward shoring up the levees.

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors recently hired a contractor to assess the cost, estimated to be about $30 million.

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