Flood insurance is no longer required for hundreds of homeowners in the Grayhawk community following changes to the 100-year floodplain boundaries in the Rawhide Wash floodplain.
Revisions to the city’s flood insurance rate maps based on a recent restudy of the area took effect on June 14.
The study covered the area from the Deer Valley alignment south to Legacy Boulevard, east of Scottsdale Road, according to the city.
Scottsdale Floodplain Administrator Ashley Couch said the Grayhawk Community Association hired an engineering consultant to model and analyze flood hazards and justify the floodplain boundary changes for Rawhide Wash within the Grayhawk Master-Planned Community.
The study accounted for infrastructure improvements in the wash and improved flood modeling techniques.
Flood insurance is no longer mandatory for property owners with a federally-backed mortgage on a home located within the boundaries.
Residents living within the affected area can request a flood hazard determination online at scottsdaleaz.gov/stormwater. They can then provide that information to their mortgage company with their request to cancel flood insurance.
Even though coverage is no longer mandatory, the city still suggests homeowners in vulnerable areas carry insurance.
“Because severe weather and flooding can be unpredictable in the desert, Scottsdale urges all residents to consider carrying flood insurance, even though it will no longer be mandatory for mortgage holders within this area,” according to a city press release.
The City of Scottsdale is taking additional steps to limit the affects of flooding in the area through a Rawhide Wash Flood Mitigation Project.
The homes in the Grayhawk community affected by the recent floodplain boundary changes are several miles downstream from the mitigation project, Couch said.
In May, the Scottsdale City Council approved the acquisition of 9.14 acres of vacant land in the Rawhide Wash for the project in collaboration with Maricopa County and City of Phoenix.
According to the city, the goal of the project is to keep as much of the natural wash intact as possible while using existing infrastructure along with some new floodwalls to meet federal levee safety criteria.
Due to the location of the wash and existing federal and city restrictions the land in question has little development potential, according to the city.
With the new project, the natural wash will continue to provide space for flood waters and sediment to move without impeding nearby Happy Valley Road.
According to the city, the city plans to expand Happy Valley Road from two lanes to four lanes, which will require additional right-of-way included in the nine-acre site.
A study by the Flood Control District of Maricopa County found that 800 structures within the 2,200-acre wash were at risk of flooding in the event of a 100-year flood and recommended improvements to shrink the floodplain.
According to a City Council memo about the land acquisition, the project could result in the elimination of mandatory flood insurance requirements for hundreds of property owners.
The City of Scottsdale entered into an agreement with the City of Phoenix and Flood Control District of Maricopa County for the design, land acquisition and utility relocation for the Rawhide Wash Flood Hazard Mitigation Project.
The land acquisition cost will be shared by the parties in the agreement.
The City of Scottsdale has allocated $2 million towards the project, according to the city’s 2018-2019 Capital Improvement Plan.
The land acquisition approved in May will be funded through that existing CIP project.
The City of Scottsdale will be responsible for operating and maintaining the Rawhide Wash, though that agreement is not official.
A City Council memo indicated the city will sign an official intergovernmental agreement with City of Phoenix and Maricopa County Flood Control District in the future that lays out those responsibilities.
Questions about the floodplain changes can be directed to Ashley Couch, Scottsdale’s floodplain administrator, at 480-312-4317 or acouch@ScottsdaleAZ.gov.