WAILUKU - A preliminary revision of Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Maui County may affect property owners along the Waikapu and Iao steams and along the Kamaole Gulch in Kihei, Maui County officials reported Wednesday.
An informational meeting on the updated flood maps will be held from 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center. Landowners in the affected areas should be receiving a notification of the program by mail.
Current flood insurance maps were completed in 1981. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating maps nationwide to reflect changes in flood risks in areas where there has been growth, with the new maps to be finalized by October 2009.
Updated digital maps are available to provide online information on a property's flood risk and to allow planners, engineers and builders to determine where and how new structures and developments should be built, the county said in its announcement.
The proposed revised maps may be viewed online at gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat/.
Property owners in affected areas may appeal the boundaries of the revised flood maps, but the deadline to appeal is Dec. 29. Owners are also advised to learn about the possibility of paying lower insurance premiums by purchasing flood insurance prior to their property's reclassification to a higher flood risk.
"Water flow and drainage patterns have changed dramatically in Maui County over the last 20 years, which affects the likelihood of flooding in certain areas," said Francis Cerizo, county floodplain manager. "The proposed FEMA map revisions will provide homeowners and potential home buyers with a more accurate and realistic view of a property's flood risk."
For the meeting Dec. 11, county staff will be joined by representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
"We're concerned that property owners in these areas may not have noticed earlier published announcements issued by FEMA," said county spokeswoman Mahina Martin. "The drop-in informational session is intended to help property owners understand the situation and take steps early."
Information also is available by calling Cerizo or Carolyn Cortez at the county Department of Planning at 270-7735.