Meridian Township looking for help cover flood insurance costs

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By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — With winter coming to a close, some Meridian Township residents are hoping that snow melting over frozen ground won’t lead to severe flooding. Okemos deals with this type of problem every year.

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Photo by Lauren Captain

“The most severe spots for flooding in our area are at the corners of Okemos Road and Grand River Avenue, and this is something we have to expect each year around this time as winter comes to a close,” said Younes Ishraidi, the Meridian Township Public Works and Engineering Office’s chief engineer.

In hopes of helping people living in flood-prone areas, Meridian Township officials are working on a plan to help residents pay their flood insurance premiums. Township officials recently proposed a grant option idea on Feb. 2 at the township board meeting.

The plan would have the township to receive grants for residents paying high flood insurance rates. Meridian came up with this idea to receive grants through Ingham County, who recently started receiving these flood insurance grants.

Though this area of topic is not extremely controversial, the final adaption of the Zoning Amendment will make an effect for the residents paying the high rates of flood insurance.

Flooding happens in the transition from winter to spring due to the snow melting with a still-frozen ground. This results in the melting snow not being able to absorb into the ground, which is naturally supposed to happen.

The flooding in Meridian Township, especially Okemos, can to be quite severe, Ishraidi said, due to the Red Cedar River that flows throughout the middle of the township.

The houses that lie along the Red Cedar River are in the “grey zone” of the zoning maps that the Federal Emergency Management Agency creates for Meridian Township every 10 years.

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Photo courtesy from Chief Engineer of Meridian Township of Public Works and Engineering, Younes Ishraidi

With the homes that are along the grey area, this automatically puts these homes into the floodplain action, which forces these families to pay high amounts of flood insurance for the risk of being in a 100-year flood plain.

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Photo courtesy from Chief Engineer of Meridian Township of Public Works and Engineering, Younes Ishraidi

“Last time we had a flash flood, the houses were completely submerged underwater along the Red Cedar River grey area, but this was back in 1976 but it is a 1 percent chance until that happens again, but we always need to take caution,” Ishraidi said.

The 100-year floodplain does not insist that a flood will occur every 100 years on the dot, but what is claims is that the flood will be either be equaled or exceeded from the last 100-year floodplain occurrence.

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