FEMA DIGITAL FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAPS
FEMA is currently in the process of finalizing the official Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs) that show the 100-year flood boundaries, also known as the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The SFHA is the area with a 1% or greater chance of flooding annually. FEMA has released the preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs). These DFIRMs will replace the current FIRMs. In some areas, the SFHA boundaries have been changed and include new area.
Some Otsego County property owners may find that that at least a portion of their parcel may be located within the SFHA in the DFIRMs, when it was not previously. Structures built in the SFHA have a higher risk of being damaged in flood events. The majority of these structures are required by mortgage lenders to have a flood insurance policy.
Property owners may already be aware that their parcel is in the SFHA and may have taken appropriate steps, such as purchasing flood insurance; however, in some areas new mapping has expanded the floodplain to include new properties. Lists of parcels and structures that have been identified in the expanded flood plain areas can be found below.
The protest and petition period in which local governments and property owners could challenge the new boundaries has passed.
Will your property be affected by the new DFIRMS?
Click the links below to see if the changes will affect your property.
**These property owners are advised to get flood insurance before the DFIRMS are made final to get a reduced rate**
**These property owners may wish to consider getting flood insurance before the DFIRMs are made final to get a reduced rate**
View the Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps
These maps are preliminary and should be used for information purposes only at this time.
Click here to view a tutorial (PDF document) for how to access the preliminary maps from the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP)
If you have a mortgage and are now newly required to purchase flood insurance based on the DFIRMs, it is in your best interest to do so before the maps are adopted by your community. **A policy purchased before the adoption date will receive reduced rates.**
You do not have to be located in the SFHA to have flood insurance. Flood insurance is available to anyone who lives in a municipality that participates in the NFIP. If you are not in the SFHA, your rates will likely be substantially lower than the rates of those who are.
Click here to confirm whether your community participates in the program.
How Recent Legislative Changes Affect Flood Insurance
NFIP: Top Ten Facts for Consumers
Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
The "100-year flood" is also referred to as the base flood, which is a flood with a 1% chance of occurring in any given year.
The base flood elevation is how high the water is likely to rise during a base flood event. This is used to determine the required elevation of a new or substantially improved structure, as well as determine insurance premiums. The BFE and SFHA together form the "flood zone." (Source: FEMA)
How is the BFE different from the Lowest Adjacent Grade?
While the BFE determines insurance premiums, the Lowest Adjacent Grade is the lowest point of the ground level immediately next to a building and can be used to determine whether you are required to obtain flood insurance. This includes not just the building itself, but also any attached structures such as a deck. If your Lowest Adjacent Grade is below the BFE, you will likely be required to have flood insurance. (Source: FEMA)
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) & Letter of Map Revision-Based on Fill (LOMR-F)
If you believe that your property was inadvertently mapped as being in the flood zone, you may submit a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) and an elevation certificate. Due to the scale at which the flood zone is mapped, the DFIRMs cannot depict every rise in terrain. A LOMA can be used when the property has been mapped in the floodplain, but it is actually on naturally high ground. A Letter of Map Revision-Based on Fill (LOMR-F) can be used for a property that is now elevated above the BFE after the placement of fill. (Source: Map Changes and Flood Insurance: What Property Owners Need to Know)
FEMA will review your materials and may issue a document that officially removes a property and/or structure from the SFHA. In most cases, the applicant will need to hire a Licensed Land Surveyor or Registered Professional Engineer to prepare an Elevation Certificate for the property. Upon receiving a complete application forms package, FEMA will normally complete its review and issue its determination in 4 to 6 weeks.
Click here for an overview of the LOMA/LOMR-F process.
Elevation Certificates: Who Needs Them and Why (Fact Sheet)
Map Changes and Flood Insurance: What Property Owners Need to Know
FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX)
Many property owners have difficulty navigating much of the information described above.
Map Specialists are available M-F 8am-6:30pm to help you with your concerns:
- Live Chat
RESOURCES FOR MUNICIPALITIES
After FEMA finalizes the DFIRMs, Otsego County municipalities will be required to adopt the new map(s) as law. Communities will receive a letter from FEMA regarding the new maps, at which point they will have 6 months from the date of the letter to pass a law or ordinance incorporating the new maps. NYSDEC will prepare a packet for each community with a model local ordinance. Some of the local ordinance, including the mapping section, will be filled out by DEC. For municipalities where the county serves as the building inspector, an agreement in the form of a legal document or letter of understanding must be signed for the county to become the local floodplain administrator for that municipality.
This process is currently on hold as FEMA reviews the levees in the City of Oneonta.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has defined the following responsibilities for cities, towns, and villages:
- "Adopt/enforce local floodplain management ordinance (to at least minimum NFIP standards + New York State requirements)
- Community must adopt effective FIRM(s) to remain in the NFIP
- Issue or deny floodplain development/building permits
- Oversee development
- Inspect development
- Maintain development records
- Remedy violations
- Assist FEMA and NYSDEC in keeping maps up-to-date" (Source: NYS DEC Floodplain Management Training; June 1, 2016)
Local Floodplain Administrators: Stay tuned for upcoming training opportunities.
OTHER LINKS & RESOURCES
Talk to your Code Enforcement Officer or building inspector about minimizing flood risk and visit
www.fema.gov/areyouready/flood.shtm and www.floods.org.
Find your property on Otsego County's Online Mapper.
NEWS: The National Flood Insurance Policy Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) offers low cost flood insurance.