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City Appears to Dodge Major Punishment from FEMA in Natomas Permit Matter

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Last year, the city transferred 35 home building permits from their original properties to new ones.  That violated rules set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency because of the Natomas area’s high flood risk.
In a letter to the city dated Monday and obtained by Capital Public Radio, FEMA gives the city 60 days to correct the violations.  It suggests stopping work on the homes under construction and barring occupancy of houses completed but unsold.  But some of the homes are already occupied – and it’s unclear what will happen to them.
The letter also warns that a lack of response – or any future violations – could lead to the city’s suspension from the federal flood insurance program.  That would leave more than 50,000 Natomas property owners facing sky-high rates.  Worse, they might also be ineligible for federal aid after a flood.
Still, the city appears to have dodged any major punishment in the matter – as long as it corrects the violations.
FEMA and city officials will discuss the letter at a press conference Wednesday morning.  A city spokeswoman did not return a request for comment Tuesday night.
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