The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published its notice in the Federal Register seeking comment and information regarding the preliminary coastal flood maps (known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps or FIRMs). Any community or individual property owner can appeal proposed changes to flood hazard information or comment on other information included on the preliminary flood hazard maps.
Home and business owners in Monroe County are encouraged to view the preliminary flood maps to better understand where flood risks have changed and how this may affect their future building and flood insurance requirements and costs. To view the mapping tool and look up individual properties, follow the directions at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/floodmaps.
The preliminary FIRMs show local areas at risk of flooding, including required elevations for new construction or structures that are improved greater than 50 percent of their value, as well as boundaries of areas that are considered likely to experience wave activity in a storm that have different requirements for structural building. The maps, once effective, will help determine flood insurance costs.
The Board of County Commissioners retained Woods Hole Group to review the preliminary FIRMs and the study. Woods Hole Group is preparing an appeal of the maps for unincorporated Monroe County, based on noted inconsistencies both in method of risk modeling and in areas identified that need additional adjustment. This is a highly technical review. A summary of the technical findings can be found at www.monroecounty-fl.gov/floodmaps.
An appeal is a formal objection to the proposed Base Flood Elevations or flood depths and Special Flood Hazard Area boundaries and zones. Appeals must be based on technical data that show proposed maps to be scientifically incorrect. Anyone who makes an appeal must include the method, data, and analysis used to support the claim.
Those living in unincorporated Monroe County with comments or who would like to file an appeal are required to submit their appeal to Monroe County staff for review. Visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/floodmaps for more information about the process or contact Karl Bursa at 305-453-8759. Filing an appeal on a private property will require a $5,000 deposit and a nonrefundable $170 administration fee. The $5,000 deposit will be held in an escrow account while Woods Hole Group reviews and determines if county staff can support the private party appeal. Actual costs will vary, and it may cost less or more to have the review completed.