The Commissioners Court will consider authorizing an appeal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s proposed flood boundary for the Port of Victoria at its Monday meeting.
The Port of Victoria has been in a years-long conflict with the federal agency. The appeal asserts that the proposed flood boundary in FEMA’s latest Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map does not “properly represent actual flood conditions” in the area.
“We know this property doesn’t flood,” said Sean Stibich, executive director of the Port of Victoria. “It didn’t flood during Harvey. As far as we can tell by talking to people who have been out here for years, that property has never flooded.”
However, FEMA’s model, which informs their flood boundary designations, does not currently include the Victoria Barge Canal levee. Constructed in the 1960s, the levee does not meet the current requirements for certified levees. The Port would like FEMA to consider it as a natural ground feature in their models in order to provide a more accurate representation of flooding in the area.
If the maps are published with the current designation, it will be one more challenge they will have to face in attracting new customers to the area, Stibich said.
“Any potential customer that has come to the port in the past two years has been told about these maps,” Stibich said. “We haven’t been told this was a reason for losing a project directly, but a lot of times you never know.”
Victoria County has until Monday to issue an appeal to FEMA’s current maps. After that, if FEMA and community officials cannot reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the appeal within 60 days, an independent Scientific Resolution panel can be asked to review the data and provide recommendations for a resolution.