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County set to unveil new floodplain maps online

After a year of retooling floodplain maps, county officials soon will unveil the results online and hold community meetings later this month.

The county's Web site should provide a link to the updated maps by the end of this week, said Stacy Williams, the county's community outreach coordinator.

The county's Internet site - www.hillsboroughcounty.org - will feature a link to the updated floodplain maps. Residents will be able to enter their addresses to see how their property is affected. Floodplain maps are used to determine who must buy flood insurance as well as assess a property's flood risk.

On Tuesday in the Atrium, Sun City Center is posting a list of 1,000 addresses where a floodplain touches lots and the 100 properties where the floodplain reaches homes in Sun City Center and Kings Point.

The county will hold a community meeting about the floodplain from 10 a.m. to noon Dec. 12 at the Sun City Center Community Hall, 1910 S Pebble Beach Blvd.

County workers will give a short presentation and provide displays on laptop computers that will allow residents to view their properties and ask specific questions, Williams said. The county will hold an open house about the maps from 2 to 6 p.m. Dec. 15 and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 16 at the South Shore Regional Library at 19th Avenue and Beth Shields Way in Ruskin.

Last year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released new floodplain maps predicting flooding from a 100-year storm. Residents, including Dave Brown of Sun City Center, protested the maps, arguing that they were flawed because FEMA had not taken into account land elevation.

Residents panicked because those with government-backed mortgages in the flood zones would have had to buy flood insurance.

The County Commission told its staff to redo the countywide maps with FEMA's help, which they did using more specific property line and topographic information.

Brown estimates that 1,100 properties - down from 1,800 in Sun City Center and Kings Point - will be affected by the new floodplain maps.

Brown has a Web page devoted to the floodplain issues. For more information, visit his Web site at www.suncitydave.info/. The floodplain link is at the top.

Saundra Amrhein can be reached at (813) 661-2441 or amrhein@sptimes.com.

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