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Muskogee County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith shows flood plain map revisions.

Muskogee residents living in flood hazard zones could renew or get new flood insurance policies now that the city and county have updated flood data.

The Muskogee Board of County Commissioners approved new county flood plain maps and regulations. The Muskogee Public Works Committee approved updates to its flood plain ordinance and map Tuesday and forwarded them to the city council, which meets Monday.

The city and county flood plans must meet National Flood Insurance Program requirements by Feb. 4. If the deadline is missed, property owners cannot obtain or renew flood insurance policies, said Muskogee City Planner Gary Garvin.

The new data shows fewer properties in flood hazard areas, city and county officials say.

Garvin estimated about 665 structures would be in the new flood hazard boundaries, 311 fewer than were counted under old boundaries. He said his staff studied an aerial view of properties in the flood hazard boundaries and “counted rooftops.”

“So the structure could be a detached garage, it could be a storage building,” Garvin said. Or it could be a vacant property, he said.

Flood hazard areas are “all over the city,” Garvin said. “They’re typically along creeks or areas which we refer to as backwaters. Coody Creek is definitely one of those areas.”

Garvin said there are about 104 flood policies in force within the city.

Muskogee County Emergency Management Director Jeff Smith said 100 county residents in unincorporated areas have flood insurance policies.  

Smith said the new maps show a smaller flood way and flood plain along Coody Creek. He said it could affect a one-eighth mile strip south of Peak Boulevard around York Street.

“By shrinking the flood way, it will allows people to develop in that area,” Smith said “You can develop in a flood plain area as long as you have a permit.”

The change in flood plain designation could enable property owners in the altered area to request lower insurance rates, Smith said. He said a lot of mortgage companies require people living in hazard areas to get flood insurance.

Property owners who qualify for flood insurance can buy a policy from a licensed insurance agent, according to a brochure from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The brochure said people can look at a FEMA map to see if their property is in a flood hazard area. Smith said the new maps may be viewed Online after Feb. 4.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928 or cspaulding @muskogeephoenix.com.

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