The Planning Commission on Tuesday approved new Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplain maps that will affect more than 500 properties in Ashland.

The Planning Commission on Tuesday approved new Federal Emergency Management Agency floodplain maps that will affect more than 500 properties in Ashland.

The maps use newer data and technology to more accurately predict where flooding is likely to occur. The commission approved them 5-3.

Vice Chairman Michael Dawkins and commissioners Mike Morris and Debbie Miller dissented out of concern that the maps don't correctly reflect the topography of some properties, said Brandon Goldman, a senior planner with the city.

The City Council will address the maps on July 20 and vote on them at a later meeting, he said.

City officials said 511 Ashland properties will be affected by the new maps, part of FEMA's nationwide effort to revise outdated flood maps.

The map changes could mean higher insurance rates and lower property values for some Ashland parcels.

Properties inside a 100-year flood zone have a 1 percent chance of flooding every year.

As a whole, the new maps will shift flood zones slightly to the west and reduce the number of high-risk floodplain areas in Ashland, said Amy Gunter, city assistant planner. The maps were last updated in 1981, she said.

At least two dozen properties that were previously outside of a flood zone soon will be in the 100-year zone.

Homeowners who obtain flood insurance before the map changes take effect in September can lock in the lower rates under the National Flood Insurance Program's grandfathering rules.

To view the new FEMA map, visit the city's Community Development Building, 51 Winburn Way, or see ashland.or.us/femaupdate. For more information contact Gunter at 541-552-2044 or guntera@ashland.or.us. To send comments to FEMA, call 1-877-336-2627 or visit www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm.

In other business, the commission decided to continue to allow people to submit letters in response to more than 300 pages of comments it received on AT&T's proposal to place antennas on the roof of the Ashland Street Cinemas movie theater. The public record will remain open until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The commission is scheduled to vote on the antennas at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, in the City Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 541-482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@dailytidings.com.