Olympia appealing new flood zone

October 2, 2003


OLYMPIA, Wash. – The 100-year flood is a once-in-a-lifetime event, but several Olympia businesses are being told they lie in its path and might have to buy flood insurance.

But if it only happens once every hundred years, why do they need it?

Olympia's Bayview Thriftway is newly remodeled and strategically placed between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet on the edge of downtown.

Businesses between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet may have to buy flood insurance.
But now suddenly the federal government has determined the store and other nearby businesses sit in the 100-year flood plain.

Owner Kevin Stormans worries he might now have to buy costly flood insurance.

"I certainly wonder how it affects insurance, I wonder how it affects future building plans, I wonder how it affects going out to get a loan to do things. I really don't know the impacts,” said Stormans.

"What we're looking at is a map created by FEMA,” said Tom Hill, an engineer with the City of Olympia, said the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently remapped Olympia’s 100-year flood plan.

The conclusion: The area of potential impact is bigger than originally thought.

In order for a 100-year flood to occur, there would need to be extraordinary high tides on Budd Inlet combined with significant flooding on the Deschutes River which feeds into nearby Capitol Lake.

But the city disputes some of FEMA's findings and plans to appeal because the designation could hurt already fragile local businesses.


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