SANBORN TOWNSHIP - On Sept. 6, Sanborn Township joined over 21,000 communities nationwide as a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, making residents eligible for federally backed flood insurance.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the NFIP, began reevaluating properties last year to update its maps of designated floodplains, including several in Sanborn Township. The township adopted ordinances two months ago to reduce flood losses and become eligible for the NFIP, and the program office in Chicago sent Township Supervisor Ken Gauthier a confirmation notice on Sept. 6, 30 days before it would take effect.
"It's kind of a preventative measure, mainly because they came through and redrew all the floodplains," Gauthier said. "They've expanded them, and it included a lot more people, and the mortgage companies now are pushing for it. They won't give you a mortgage unless you have flood insurance if you're in the floodplain. With that in mind, and the cost of private insurance, it almost made it prohibitive to own a piece of property (in designated floodplain zones)."
According to the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973, lenders cannot give borrowers in flood hazard areas a federally backed mortgage loan without requiring them to buy flood insurance, and Gauthier said had been previously unaffordable for most people. He recalled one property by the mouth of Devil River that would have cost about $7,800 a year to insure against flooding before the township's participation in the NFIP, and now the insurance will cost about $700. He said this will effect people throughout the township.
"We have some (floodplain designations) especially along the lake, and then mostly on our eastern boundaries and along the river bank where Devil River comes off the lake, up and through that area and several places along there," he said.
Residents will be able to buy flood insurance up to the NFIP's established limits; $250,000 for single-family dwellings, $100,000 for contents, and $500,000 for building and contents coverage for commercial properties.
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5693.