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Albany County flood plains being updated

Preliminary maps comment period open, affects insurance rates and building requirements

A gazebo outside of Forts Ferry Road home is submerged in water from the rising levels of the Mohawk River after Tropical Storm Irene hit the Capital District. Flood maps in Albany County are being revised to better represent flooding potential.

A gazebo outside of Forts Ferry Road home is submerged in water from the rising levels of the Mohawk River after Tropical Storm Irene hit the Capital District. Flood maps in Albany County are being revised to better represent flooding potential.

— “I find people that look at the maps and see for themselves usually have a better piece of mind,” he said.

Information and data is also available on FEMA’s website detailing New York state’s mapping changes at www.rampp-team.com/ny.htm.

FEMA contracted with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to revise Albany County’s flood maps. The Spotlight made multiple inquiries to the DEC seeking information and comment on the revision process, but representatives did not return calls for comment or respond to written questions.

Local officials are keeping an eye on the process, however. Joseph Slezak, field manager of Albany County Soil & Water Conservation District, said the maps can be used to pinpoint areas needing flood mitigation. Once the maps are finalized, he said they would be analyzed closely.

“In general, every spot changed a little bit. The low lying flat areas have changed a little more,” Slezak said. “We are sort of learning about the changes ourselves right now.”

New Scotland Building Inspector Jeremy Cramer said the general areas within the flood maps are the same for that town, but the biggest difference is the new maps show the depth of areas.

“Showing the depth will help if something was to be built within the flood plain,” Cramer said. “I haven’t seen any concerns, I think they are pretty self explanatory. … The general flood prone areas remain the same.”

Town of Coeymans Building Inspector Laverne Conrad did have some concerns with the revised maps, but he agreed “nothing major” has changed. Conrad said areas along Coeymans Creek are being added to the flood map, but he has problems with an area along Route 9W near the Greene County border being added.

“We have a couple of properties in the commercial district that are going to be affected by it, but quite honestly that is a bogus flood plain,” Conrad said. “We have mentioned it to (FEMA) and said something is not right.”

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