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How best to build their way out of FEMA’s high-risk flood zone? It is a question many people came to the Stockton Rod and Gun Club with Thursday night.

“This gate process has been going on for a long time. These guys have done a very good job at educating the public,” Dominic Gulli with Green Mountain Engineering told FOX40.

Gulli invited Stockton residents to a public meeting to discuss his alternative plan to the Smith Canal Gate project. The current proposal would build a levee at Dad’s Point, including a 50-foot steel gate that would rise in the event of a flood, preventing water from backing up from the San Joaquin River and the Delta.

“The gate would take them out of the FEMA floodplain map, so they would not be required to have flood insurance,” Gulli said.

“My understanding is that if the dam is put in, the insurance rates don’t go up, but we gotta pay for the dam,” William Brownlow said.

Brownlow has lived in Stockton for 19 years. He said many of his neighbors believe building a dam would be a cheaper monthly payment than continuing to pay flood insurance premiums associated with living in a high-risk flood zone.

“Mine is $31.5 million. The Dad’s Point Project is 36 million,” said Gulli.

Gulli’s alternative plan would require reinforcing the existing levees along the Smith Canal’s north bank.

“You know, I’ve seen little maps with a line so you know, is this like Hoover Dam, is it low? I don’t know. And I don’t think anybody else here knows either,” Brownlow said.

The original Smith Canal Gate project originated when local landowners got together with the San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency to design the proposals and plan environmental studies. They say that once constructed, the gate will provide a 200 year flood protection and end mandatory high cost flood insurance.