Flooding a City-Wide Matter


The issue of flooding stretches beyond Bay Farm and covers the entire city and the site of the former Naval Air Station. As mentioned in the lead article, about 2,000 parcels located throughout the city lie within the newly identified 100-year floodplain. “That means there is a 1 percent chance that in any one year these properties would experience flooding from extreme high tides and storm activity,” the city states on its website. 

According to the city, homeowners and commercial building owners with property located in this floodplain with federally backed loans may be required to purchase flood insurance. The city reminds Alamedans the typical homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover floods. Even if property owners are not required to purchase, they may want to consider getting flood insurance on your contents and/or structure. The cost is fairly low. Property owners interested in obtaining flood insurance should check with their insurance agents. They can also log onto www.floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531.

To find the maps online simply type “FEMA maps” into the city webpage’s search engine and click on the first result. Readers can view paper maps and read informational flyers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.; City Hall West, 950 West Mall Square at Alameda Point; or the Main Library, 1550 Oak St.

There are nine maps available: 
1. Alameda Point northwest
2. Alameda Point southwest
3. Alameda Point northeast 
    and Bayport
4. Marina Village
5 Alameda Point southeast 
6. West Alameda 
7. East Alameda 
8. West Bay Farm Island
9. East Bay Farm Island

FEMA issued a proposed flood hazard determination, with new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) in the Federal Register last September. The city hired a hydrologist to review FEMA’s work. The hydrologist found no flaws in the techniques used to predict the water levels and extent of flooding. 

Clicking on the second result will bring the website visitor to  a page with updated FEMA maps. The final maps are expected to become effective in late 2016. However, both the city and the Port of Oakland are currently contesting these maps. This will likely prolong the effective date. After the maps are effective, property owners may choose to have their homes surveyed to certify that the lowest adjacent grade is above base flood elevation, or the predicted flood level. 

This requires an elevation certificate from a licensed surveyor or registered civil engineer.

In fact, according to the city, once the new maps are effective  , owners of all new and substantially (over 50 percent) improved structures within the identified 100-year floodplain will be required to obtain an elevation certificate and file it with the city.