A smaller Cameron Parish emerges 10 years after Hurricane Rita’s devastation _lowres

DSC_0235 Advocate staff photo by Mark Saltz. Photo shot on 9/25/05. Hurricane Rita coverage from lafayette, la. Cameron Parish, Creole, La., Intracoastal City, Abbeyville, Delcambre. Henry Gas Processing Plant in Henry, La. covered in flood waters from Hurricane Rita.

Residents have one final chance to appeal proposed flood maps for Lafayette Parish, the first major revision in two decades for documents used to set home elevations and insurance rates in flood zones.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency unveiled drafts of the new maps in 2007, and city-parish government and the smaller municipalities in the parish have spent years challenging some of the more objectionable changes.

“We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on reviews and modeling,” said City-Parish Public Works engineer Larry Broussard.

Any additional appeals from residents or business owners are due by Nov. 17, he said.

The new maps don’t shift any large areas into or out of flood zones, but some zone boundaries will change.

Broussard said the new maps will offer more detailed information for many flood zones, allowing for a better understanding of how new developments will impact flooding. The maps also will offer more reliable guidelines on how high homes and businesses should be elevated in flood zones.

When the maps were introduced eight years ago, the most alarming change was in the amount of property designated as a floodway along the Vermilion River in north Lafayette and along Coulee Ile des Cannes in the Scott area.

The floodway designation brings more stringent development guidelines than the more common flood zone designation.

The proposed maps still include some big swaths of floodway, but appeals in recent years have reduced the extent.

For information on the maps and the adoption process, visit riskmap6.com.

For more specific information on appeals in the city of Lafayette and unincorporated area of the parish, contact the Lafayette floodplain administration office at (337) 291-8468.