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Getting the Flood Zone
Resurveyed and Removed
by Ed Rast, Gary Jansen, Lisa Passal and others
February 2005

North Willow Glen
passes a resolution
urging the City to
research the flood
mitigation opportunity
at Hervey Lane.

The opportunity for flood redirection at Hervey Lane, summarized by Ed Rast for San Jose Planning.

Opportunity at Hervey Lane to improve the flood zone situation... Neighbors propose a letter to Councilmember Yeager.

Now that the Guadalupe River Project is largely complete, will your flood insurance go down (or go away) anytime soon?
Er, no. Here's why


Water District
resurvey issue,
March 18, 2003

Progress Update
by Ed Rast,
March 12, 2003

History and In-Depth
Look at the Problem

Some homeowners may be able to reduce their insurance burden by filing an Elevation Certificate. This won't work, however, ifyou have a basement (and your insurance company knows it) or your home construction occurred after August 2, 1982.
You can contact the City's Development Services Division for more information:

You can find the Elevation Certificate online at FEMA:

The Problem
The eastern two-thirds of North Willow Glen is in a federal flood zone, and residents in the zone must pay flood insurance (to the tune of $800 -$1800 a year). Homes in the flood zone also come under federal regulations that seek to fill in basements and raise floor levels, changes that are both unduly expensive and destroy the historic nature of the home. These regulations kick in if a homeowner undertakes any construction project costing $55,000 or more. It's clear that the flood zone designation is burdensome, yet it's _not_ clear that homeowners in our area derive any benefit from the burden. The flood zone designation is old and almost certainly obsolete, since it does not reflect recent alterations (such as the construction of Highway 87!). The Powers That Be acknowledge this, but are content to wait for _all_ river channel work to be done before resurveying - which means homeowners will continue to bear the flood zone burden for ten more years at least.

Our problem may be increased by the old railroad embankment at Hervey Lane. Since this embankment is no longer needed or even wanted, we have an opportunity now to remove it... but we must act now, because a developer is now proposing to build homes on the embankment.

The Solution
First, we need to put pressure on the city to do the right thing at Hervey Lane, before homes are built and it is too late. (Read the NWGNA resolution)

Second, we must organize and apply political pressure to get the flood zone resurveyed now. We're currently researching the best ways to do this, based on other cases like ours. We've started the snowball rolling by persuading the Willow Glen Neighborhood Association to send a letter to our elected representatives supporting the resurvey.

We may have an option to pool our resources and fund a resurvey privately - possibly in collaboration with the many Willow Glen homeowners south of us who are located in the same flood zone (approximately 4000 homes in all).

In the meantime, homeowners can file for an Elevation Certificate and take other steps that may reduce their insurance burden. But the true solution is to have our area resurveyed for flood hazard.

Take Action
First step: email us to get on our email list for bulletins and information. Second step: come to our next NWGNA meeting - held the fourth Tuesday of every month, at 7 p.m., at the Word of Faith Church on the corner of Fuller and Delmas. Third step: check back here for updates - and get ready to help take our case to the City and the Santa Clara Valley Water District...

Copyright 2003