Brentwood residents skeptical over proposed new floodplain


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Bethany Meister has lived in her home on Goodnight Lane for nearly 20 years.

During that time, she says flooding has almost never been a problem.

“I’ve never had any issue,” she said. “There’s only been one case where the water crested over the creek and that was in 2015.”

Meister and many of her neighbors are the newest additions in the city’s proposed 100-year floodplain.

The changes are based off a National Weather Service study from last year.

Atlas 14 said that Central Texas is under a greater flood risk because of more rainfall.

The city now estimates the number of buildings in the 100-year floodplain could nearly double, to more than 7,000.

Until the city adopts a finalized 100-year floodplain in a few years, it expects to adopt the FEMA 500-year floodplain, which in most cases is similar.

The changes come with additional regulations for homeowners in the floodplain.

Meister has already added flood insurance, something she’d eventually have to do.

“I went ahead and added it, just to get ahead of the curve,” she said, “But I think it’s ridiculous.”

A recent memo from Watershed Protection hints at potential changes to the maps in Brentwood.

It reads that the 500-year floodplain for the area is “considerably larger” than the 100-year floodplain, and that there are “issues” with the effective FEMA 500-year floodplain in the area.

It says there will be additional modeling, a re-study of the Shoal Creek watershed and that this will be used to refine the final models.

With that in mind, neighbors here wonder if they’re being over-regulated too soon.

“I feel like it’s putting the cart before the horse,” said Meister.

Austin City Council could adopt the interim FEMA 500-year floodplain as soon as next month.

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