FEMA Preliminary Flood Map Adoption
The City of Hillsboro and Hill County, through the Map Modernization initiatives program, were directed by FEMA to participate in reproducing and republishing county-wide Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRMs). The City has been participating in FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since 1980. FEMA will be reformatting Hillsboro’s existing (paper) flood map into a digital format. This means taking the existing flood map and producing a digital, geospatially referenced flood layer on a new, digital base map. For Hillsboro and other communities in Hill County where existing flood data is determined to be accurate, FEMA will prepare new digital maps which must be officially adopted. Such official action by Hillsboro is the most critical community action that FEMA requires since Hillsboro has flood hazard prone areas. Adopting the FIS and DFIRMs benefits Hillsboro citizens by making national flood insurance available at much lower premium rates. History has shown that many actual flood events throughout the country have caused large amounts of flood damage to structures and contents that are located outside of the one percent chance annual flood hazard areas (100-year floodplain). It is important to remember that homeowner insurance policies do not cover flood damages.
The new FEMA county-wide FIS and DFIRMs created for Hill County are FEMA’s base maps used for the management of floodplain development throughout the county by Hillsboro and other communities participating in the NFIP. They represent the base from which Hillsboro and other communities within the county are obligated to regulate floodplain development under the NFIP. Hillsboro’s continued participation in the NFIP requires the official adoption of the effective FEMA county-wide FIS and DFIRMs applicable to the area within Hillsboro’s corporate boundaries. The appropriate method for the adoption of legally enforceable floodplain regulatory maps is the development and adoption of an ordinance which specifically references the current effective FIS and DFIRMs.
These new flood maps were prepared without developing new flood hazard data or changing existing data (elevations of flood flows). However, geospatially referencing the floodplain delineations to a new base map will likely result in some changes in the floodplain boundaries. In addition, the flood map and flood study will be modified to incorporate Letters of Map Change that have been approved by FEMA since the original flood map was issued for Hillsboro (1980).
When reformatting Hillsboro’s map to a digital format, the flood map will need to be republished with a new effective date. Hillsboro and participating communities will be given a review period and an opportunity to provide comments to FEMA on the new flood map. Review period has already begun and will end April 7, 2010. In these cases, for Hillsboro citizens, the Community Development Department is the designated department to handle floodplain management questions. During the 90-day period, an individual property owner who wishes to file an objection to the base flood elevations or other information in this preliminary map or the preliminary Field Insurance Study report should submit their appeal or protest along with the required scientific or technical data to the Community Development Department. The Community Development Department officials will review each appeal and protest to determine whether the information or data submitted is sufficient to forward to FEMA.
Following the end of the 90 day review period Hillsboro’s floodplain management regulations will have to be amended to reference the new maps. The digitally based flood map will assist the Community Development Department in providing Hillsboro citizens with increased capabilities referencing the flood hazard information for floodplain management and other purposes.
Hillsboro and any other community failing to meet the DFIRM’s map adoption deadline will face immediate suspension or sanctions from the NFIP. Being suspended or sanctioned from the NFIP means that persons will not be able to obtain federally backed loans for residential or commercial development, because flood insurance through the NFIP will not be available to them. Federal regulations require flood insurance on all structures located in the one percent chance annual flood hazard areas (100-year floodplain). It is very important for Hillsboro to meet the state submittal dates in order to facilitate a timely submittal to the FEMA prior to the final adoption deadline date.
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