NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) - Tuscarawas County’s floodplain coordinator is encouraging New Philadelphia residents to double-check their property’s floodplain status. 

Jill Lengler says a recent survey of the Beaverdam Creek area has resulted in a major drawback in the number of homeowners considered to be living within a floodplain. Lengler says the change was discovered when FEMA requested Kent State Tuscarawas reexamine the entire creek ahead of construction for the East High Avenue Gateway Entrance.

“And now Beaverdam Creek has a floodway, which it never had before, and that is the area immediately closest to the creek that has fast-moving water through if it’s a flood, and a flood fringe area, which is zoned A-E, which it always had before, and it has shrunk dramatically,” she explains.

Legler says anyone who has come out of the floodplain would be able to drop their flood insurance that was previously mandatory if they bought their house using a loan. She says it also means fewer hoops to jump through when making improvements to their properties.

“Before, if they wanted to put a shed on a property and they were in zone A-E, FEMA required you to do a very complicated engineering study called a hydraulic and a hydrology study,” she says. “Now, as long as they stay out of the floodway, the can put a shed on the property. If it’s in the city, they still have to get a building permit from the city.”

Lengler says FEMA’s online maps do not yet reflect the updated floodplain, even though they’ve been officially recognizing the changes since November. She says anyone on New Phila’s east side can contact the city or her office in the county building for help determining whether their property has been affected.