Joining FEMA may sink redevelopment

Development slated for Bay-front parts of San Francisco could be restricted if The City joins a federal flood-management program, which would use federal tax money to subsidize property owners’ flood insurance.

A draft flood map presented to the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on Monday showed that flood-prone parts of San Francisco include a handful of waterfront piers, as well as parts of Mission Bay, Treasure Island, Candlestick Point and Bayview-Hunters Point.

Treasure Island and Hunters Point are home to The City’s largest redevelopment projects, while Mission Bay has seen a building boom in recent years.

City Administrator Ed Lee told the committee that development plans at those areas wouldn’t necessarily be compromised if San Francisco joins the program. “Appropriate mitigations to address flood hazards will be incorporated into the project plans,” according to Lee.

If The City joins the federal program, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, homes in flood-prone areas would need to be built using flood-resistant materials, or they would need to be built above than the height that is expected to see flooding once every 100 years.

If the Board of Supervisors votes to join FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, owners of homes in flood-prone areas, and owners of homes that flooded in 2004 and in other years, could buy flood insurance from the federal government for the subsidized price of roughly $400 per $100,000 of coverage, though prices could vary, according to Lee.

FEMA could refuse to help San Franciscans recover from a flood if The Board chooses not to join the program.

San Francisco, which is one of the last Californian counties to consider joining the program, has around a year to decide whether it will join, according to Lee.

The public has two months to comment on the draft map, which identifies areas with a 1 percent or greater annual chance of being flooded. The map is posted on The City’s Web site.

jupton@examiner.com

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