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Some Cambridge residents finding out they now live in a flood plain

July 8, 2008
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After FEMA used LiDAR to create topographical maps of high flood-risk areas in Massachusetts, some residents believe that they have been wrongfully included in the flood plain--and they have surveys to prove it.

By Matthew Seidner/Correspondent
Mon Jul 07, 2008, 06:48 AM EDT
Cambridge -Close to 200 Cambridge residents could soon find themselves inundated with expensive flood insurance bills and decreased property values when new federal flood insurance rate maps come into effect next June.
The remapping is part of a nationwide effort by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rezone areas at high risk for floods. The city estimates that about 160 houses in the Alewife area will be added to the 100-year flood plain, land with a 1 percent chance per year of flooding.
Some residents believe that they have been wrongfully included in the flood plain. Mike Nakagawa, a director on the board of the Alewife Neighbors group, said FEMA would not accept a certified survey showing that the front of his property lies at least six inches above the 100-year flood plain. Nakagawa said that he must now order another certified study if his property is to be removed from the at-risk area.
“Despite a certified demonstration of error, the burden of proof and cost of proving FEMA wrong have been placed on individuals,” Nakagawa said in an e-mail.

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