FEMA stalling on proposal for flood fixes

San Mateo waits to learn whether repairs, storm model will meet federal approval

SAN MATEO — Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said they need more time to review local plans to beef up flood protections in vulnerable neighborhoods, leaving homeowners and city officials in limbo.

San Mateo is proposing a number of fixes to levees and structures, and is waiting to hear whether FEMA agrees with those fixes, according to San Mateo Public Works Director Larry Patterson. City officials hope that by performing those fixes, large areas of the city can be removed from FEMA’s maps of flood-prone areas.

“Any time the feds want more time, I grow concerned that they’re trying to build a case for why they won't allow us out of the flood zone,” said Councilman Brandt Grotte, who lives in one of the flood-map areas.

In a letter San Mateo received from FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, managers Sheila Norlin and Michael Baker indicated only that the agencies had “encountered delays,” and would provide further response by the end of November, but did not specify the nature of those delays. Flood officials did not return calls for comment Monday.

San Mateo seeks to raise $20.5 million for storm improvements required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or $73 million to prepare the entire city for a 100-year storm. An assessment of properties in the FEMA-identified flood plain would cost homeowners anywhere from $34 per year in the Shoreview/Parkside area to $2,500 per year in Sunnybrae. A FEMA-only citywide tax would cost property owners roughly $65 per home per year, while one that funds all city projects would cost $227 per home per year, according to city engineer Darla Reams.

Among Bayside neighborhoods surveyed in March, all supported the $65 property tax, while more than two-thirds supported the $227 tax.

bwinegarner@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Most Read