An Ashland City Council majority reluctantly adopted new flood zone maps, despite misgivings that some properties have been mistakenly placed inside flood zones on the maps.

An Ashland City Council majority reluctantly adopted new flood zone maps, despite misgivings that some properties have been mistakenly placed inside flood zones on the maps.

The maps go into effect on May 3.

If councilors did not adopt the new Federal Emergency Management Agency maps, Ashlanders would lose a 15 percent flood insurance rate reduction they now receive and the federal government would not give financial assistance to help the town recover from a flood.

"We're kind of in a position where we have to do this for an overall good, but it's kind of galling," said Councilor Dennis Slattery, who voted with councilors Carol Voisin, Russ Silbiger and Greg Lemhouse to adopt the new FEMA maps on Tuesday night.

Councilors Mike Morris and David Chapman voted against adopting the flood zone maps.

"A half-dozen properties were included and they shouldn't be. They are required to get flood insurance and they don't need it," Morris said.

A total of 12 properties were added to the 100-year flood zones, and another 12 could be added after more survey work, according to city staff members.

In most cases, property owners who feel their land was mistakenly included in the flood zones will have to hire a licensed land surveyor or a registered professional engineer to get an elevation certificate for the land. That certificate can be used to get a map amendment letter from FEMA which removes the property from a flood zone.

The city of Ashland doesn't provide evaluations of flood insurance needs for specific parcels, but property owners can visit www.floodsmart.gov to see how flood zone classifications may impact their insurance coverage and rates.

Ultimately, city officials advise residents to contact their insurance agents about how new FEMA flood zone maps may affect their coverage needs and rates.

The city could hold a flood insurance fair on March 29 where property owners can talk to insurance agents about requirements and insurance needs. The date, time and location have yet to be finalized, but an update will be posted on the city's Web site at www.ashland.or.us.

Residents and business owners who want to know whether their property has been included in flood zones, or has been removed from previously designated flood zones, can visit www.ashland.or.us/femaupdates.

The flood maps are broken down by neighborhood, such as the downtown area or the neighborhood between Oak and Helman Streets.

The maps also have red lines that indicate the city government's designation of flood plains. Those flood plain designations have been in effect for many years and new development is precluded there. The new FEMA maps do not change the Ashland flood plain designations, city staff said.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.