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Update On
Flood Zone Resurvey
by Ed Rast et al
January 2005

We have to pay flood insurance due to the 100 year flood zoning for the Guadalupe River (people who live 3 doors down do not -- go figure). I read an article in the Merc that said now that the Guadalupe River Park project was complete, people could look for their flood insurance premiums to be lowered in the next few months. We just received our premium notice, due in Feb, and it has not been lowered.

Any suggestions on where we can find out when/how this re-zoning will impact premiums? -Joyce on Bird

Short Answer:
You will be paying flood insurance for at least 4 years and maybe until 2016 or longer unless WGNA continues to work on the issues as we have been for at least 2 years.

Long answer:
1) The recently completed downtown part of the Guadalupe River Flood Control project will not affect the flood area in Willow Glen per the Water District. This is an point that WGNA does not necessarily agree with since the completed section will potentially clear the flood waters faster from the flooded Upper Guadalupe River an potentially prevent flood water flowing west of the river. Ross Creek is primarily responsible for the flood that occurs on the west side of the Guadalupe River that flow north through Willow Glen to the Cal Train line ( parallel to Fuller Avenue ). We ( residents / property owner in the flood area ) would have to privately pay for a flood resurvey to prove or disprove our point unless we could convince the water district or someone else to pay for it in a time of government budget problems.( local / state government expenses growing faster than tax revenues ).

2) The next part of the Upper Guadalupe River Flood Control project will be from Interstate 280 to Alma / Minnesota then further south through Willow Glen to where Ross Creek joins to Guadalupe River. See this link.

3) Currently we are in the preconstruction engineering and design. stage with recent questions as to the effect of the California's taking of Water District funds and the potential delay of the project. See this link:

Tax Raid Puts Local Water Programs at Risk
State’s unprecedented $51 million grab from the Water District may reduce key County water programs and flood-management services

4) The current Water District proposal is that the entire project would be completed ( most recent estimate December 2016 make be later due to funding issues ) before a resurvey of the 1% Federal Flood area would be done.

4) WGNA has been discussing with the Water District the proposal for doing a partial resurvey when the flood control project is completed to in sections to Willow Street or Alma /Minnesota or Willow Glen Way.

5) The Water District has expressed concerns that the resurvey may or may not take everyone out of the flood area and there is a possibility some currently not in the flood area after a new resurvey might be included in the flood area requiring flood insurance which would potentially result in legal issues or lawsuits.

6) Additionally there is the issue of who would pay for the additional costs of a sectionalized resurvey rather that a single resurvey at the end of the project. The counter argument from WGNA is that our residents would be paying large amount of money for flood insurance from the actual time they are not going to be flooded ( i.e.. when the project is completed to or south of their property ) until 6-10 years late r when the entire project resurvey would be done and submitted to the federal government to redraw the flood area.

7) WGNA has determined at this time to wait until the flood control project work is completed at least to Willow Street or further south before looking at the possibility of a sectionalize resurvey for part of Willow Glen with the associated financial and legal issues ( i.e.. additional cost of sectionalized resurvey, difficulty of raising the private flood resurvey funds or convincing government to pay for it ,and the potential that a early resurvey may not be successful in removing many of us from the flood zone and could put some in the flood zone who are not in it now which could result in lawsuits. )

8) WGNA is proceeding to work on 2 other related Water District issues that may affect the flood area issues:

(a) Recent request to San Jose Planning Department / Public Works to look at the recently proposed Hervey Lane - 22 home development on the Willow Glen Spur Rail roadbed to see if the proposed public street could be designed and graded to potentially drain flood water back to the Guadalupe River as well as look at grading the Water District property adjacent to the proposed development that is next to the river so that flood water flowing down the area streets could flow back to the river.

(b) Development of a Water District Public Outreach / Community Participation Policy ( none currently exists ) by Tamien Vision Coalition ( 8 Area neighborhood associations - WGNA /North Willow Glen etc ) with United Neighborhoods similar to the recently updated San Jose City Council Policy 6-30 Public Outreach that was developed by a community group. (SEE ARTICLE) A written policy will give residents / neighborhood associations clear notification and participation procedures, as now exists in San Jose, that are very lacking with most governments / agencies since many times they only follow the minimum legal requirements which are many times not
acceptable to residents or WGNA.

WGNA in cooperation with North Willow Glen, Palm Haven, other neighborhood associations and United Neighborhoods are actively addressing Planning and Land Use / Traffic and Transportation issues ( currently 21 active projects or policies ) as well as developing policies and procedures that will result in early notification and make the citizen participation process better documented and more predictable. WGNA has written a number of recent position papers on proposed development / policies (see Position Papers on the WGNA website).

Ken Yeager and his staff ( especially Tony Filice ) have been very supportive and proactive in monitoring proposed projects / policies and our citizen participation efforts.

If you have an interest in volunteering to work with other neighbors on WGNA Planning and Land Use / Traffic and Transportation / Water District flood control project issues please contact me



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