Flood Insurance Maps in the News

NBC News is out with a second of two reports on Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) changes. Given the nature of the articles, and the complexity of addressing the new FIRM maps as it is, I felt it was necessary to tackle this issue head on.

These two articles do not deal with the data used to develop the FIRM maps that become effective on July 16, 2014. They deal with amendments requested by property owners to the existing FIRM maps.

You can find the two NBC stories at these links:

Why Taxpayers Will Bail Out the Rich When the Next Storm Hits

FBI Investigates FEMA Flood Map Changes After NBC News Report

At first glance, just from the second headline (which I saw before ever knowing about the first report) one might think it calls into question the map updates we have currently underway. in actuality, it challenges a process we have been recommending property owners pursue for several years when the flood status of their property was in question.

Specifically, the stories deal with properties that have received Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Correction (LOMC) determinations. The links in the article takes the readers to the typical letters issued for properties seeking, and being approved for, a map amendment.

In Dennis we have processed many of these in recent years. Often they have come about either due to a property being near the edges of a flood zone and a determination, by a licensed land surveyor, that the property actually stood above the FEMA determined Base Flood Elevation (LOMC). Or, after a property owner has taken steps to alter the grade of their property such that the grade of the site is brought above the flood elevation shown on the map (LOMA).

In Dennis we have 19 properties that have had either a LOMC or LOMA since the last FIRM update. Of these, six locations have been determined as continuing to be outside the Special Flood Hazard Area with the pending map updates. The remaining 13 properties all will find themselves being reincorporated into the Special Flood Hazard Areas with the map update.

The Town of Dennis will continue to advise residents to have their properties surveyed to determine the appropriate site elevation and flood hazard status.  We will also continue to advise residents to take appropriate steps to protect their properties from the hazards of flooding.

Currently, there are many people working on LOMA submittals to be filed when the new maps become effective. There is at least one property that has already filed. That property has actually had two requests for additional information made by the FEMA reviewers.

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