Section 14 addresses adjustments to flood insurance premiums due to activities taken by property owners or others to mitigate flood impacts. This section provides homeowners incentives, by lowering flood insurance rates by taking action to plan ahead and find way to reduce storm impacts. Obviously, the greatest benefit is from raising a structure to ensure that it complies with flood zone construction standards. Such an elevation of a structure is an activity we strongly encourage.
The section does raise questions as well. We have been informed that Letters of Map Amendment for Fill (LOMA Fill) are not generally issued for properties with basements. To an extent this has discouraged some from filling portions of their property to bring it up to and above base flood elevation. It would appear that, while a LOMA Fill may not be available to a property owner based upon this issue, this section will provide for a Flood Insurance Rate consideration based upon the mitigation activities taken by a property owner. This will be of interest to many, I believe.
One example of where this needs to be explored is a property off of South Street in East Dennis. At last Fall’s information session we had a property that had on corner of a home located in the flood zone. The majority of the house was located above base flood elevation. In this particular corner the land dipped down about 5 feet below the remainder of the lot. We discussed the possibility of a LOMA Fill for this corner by terracing the section of the property and bringing the grade up to the level of the surrounding land. Because the house had a basement in this corner, we were informed that a LOMA Fill was not available due to the basement. This change might provide this homeowner (and many others) some rate relief, while not changing that LOMA Fill situation.