Rocher still optimistic despite FEMA’s letter

“It just puts one more roadblock out there,” said Prairie du Rocher Village President Ray Cole last week in discussing the latest update in the village’s ongoing battle with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “But it can be overcome and has in the past.”

On Feb. 5, FEMA sent the village a letter that while expected, they didn’t want to receive. It stated that the new flood insurance rate maps would be going into effect on Aug. 5 of this year. The problem is that the levee protecting the town is no longer being certified by FEMA, and thus a significant portion of the town will now be classified as being in the flood plain, which will result in much higher flood insurance rates.

Cole discussed this letter with the North County News, and despite the seemingly bad news, all hope is not lost.

“It’s a huge change, but it’s not new news,” Cole commented. “This has been going on since 2006. It’s a multiyear process and unfortunately, we’re down to the last six months. They had to generate the maps and told us it was coming.”

Cole noted that following Hurricane Katrina, FEMA had changed their policies, and the accreditation for the levee surrounding Prairie du Rocher was changed to provisional. In an effort to get it re-accredited, the village invested a significant amount of time and money. Studies were done, requests submitted and all possible options investigated.

For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.