FEMA: "I Have No Idea What Happened", Exeter Residents Outraged

By Kelly Choate | kchoate@pahomepage.com

Published 07/01 2014 10:44PM

Updated 07/01 2014 11:48PM

Exeter, Luzerne County -- "We haven't had a drop of water and we don't flood. Whether it's rumors or whatever it is, it just doesn't happen," said Pam Fenner.

Fenner has lived in her Exeter home for about 20 years.

She said her Fox Meadows neighborhood is outside the floodplain, but a recent FEMA map said otherwise.

Fenner said her neighbors tried to sell their home, but the bank told the potential buyers that the property is now part of the flood prone area, and they lost the sale.

"When they label a map a certain zone, they don't realize they are killing the value. If you don't flood and it says you do, what do you think that does?" said Fenner.

The news spread quickly around the Luzerne County community, and about a hundred people packed into the Exeter Borough Council meeting looking for answers.

Representatives from FEMA and Senator Bob Casey's office tried to help.

"Basically I'm no further ahead tonight with the answers that we got than I was before I walked in here," said Samuel McArthur.

McArthur represents the people who live in the 183 town homes in Wildflower Village.

He said residents are panicking about paying for flood insurance.

"A gentleman just approached me, who lives in our community, and he said he went to a local insurance agent with the FEMA map, and he was quoted $5,000 for insurance," said McArthur.

FEMA Insurance Specialist Richard Sobota said the map of Exeter was updated in 2012, but he wasn't sure about the changes, or even the accuracy of those changes.

"I have no idea what happened. There's so much confusion in this room about the maps. I didn't study the maps, as I tried to make clear during the meeting. I'm not a map expert, I'm an insurance specialist," said Sobota.

He told everyone at the meeting to talk to an insurance agent for the best advice.

"I think each person should try to get the best information and answers available to them, and your neighbor might not be the best source of information on the topics discussed here."

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