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For Average Joes, Fighting FEMA Flood Maps Isn't Easy or Cheap
NBC News ^ | Miranda Leitsinger

Posted on 02/20/2014 2:03:42 AM PST by Libloather

**SNIP**

As FEMA has moved to update its decades-old flood maps, experts have cheered the effort. Using the latest in mapping technology such as laser beams (LiDar) and computer modeling will account for climate change, they say, and will lessen the blow of devastating storms by compelling homeowners to reduce their risk. But critics caution that the maps, which are used to determine flood insurance premiums, are tough to challenge and in some cases are ensnaring homeowners who shouldn’t be in a flood zone. And though FEMA intends for everyone to pay their share, some businesses have found a way to move waterfront condos from high-risk zones into cheaper insurance brackets, while homeowners who can’t access such services have little choice but to buy coverage.

FEMA’s map overhaul covers America’s populated 1.1 million miles bordering rivers, lakes, coasts and other flooding sources. So far the agency has surveyed nearly half of its target area, mapping about 3,800 communities. Some 8.6 million homes, or 6.5 percent of the nation’s housing stock, are in flood zones, according to FEMA.

(Excerpt) Read more at nbcnews.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fema; flood; floodinsurance; floodzones; insurance; maps
The maps have come under growing scrutiny since 2012 for their role in determining flood insurance provided by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which is $24 billion in debt and is eliminating some subsidies that kept premiums below market rates.

Husseincare grows?

1 posted on 02/20/2014 2:03:43 AM PST by Libloather
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To: Libloather

Sell flood insurance to people who build in areas that routinely flood and
an inevitable outcome will be costs from floods will exceed premium revenues. The socialist solution is to find a way to FORCE AT GUNPOINT smart people who DON’T live in areas that flood to subsidize the others.
Redraw the maps to and voila....instantly you have tapped into a HUGE
slush fund. The problem is peop!e who insist on building and living i
areas that flood, coasts that see hurricanes and putting up matchstick
homes in tornado alley.

Building codes that were realistically designed for these risks would solve most of the problems. The initial cost to build might be very high but it would be much cheaper than constantly replacing homes.

Elevate houses in flat areas that flood. DON’T allow building in canyons where flash flooding happens. Dome homes of concrete resist tornados and hurricanes. And along coasts that see storm surge......NO HOUSES. Building there is just stupid.


2 posted on 02/20/2014 2:26:15 AM PST by nvscanman
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To: nvscanman

“The problem is peop!e who insist on building and living in areas that flood, coasts that see hurricanes...”

No, you are wrong! That is not the standard FEMA applied in their flood re-zoning. FEMA applied the ‘take as much land and assess as much liability as possible’ standard.

I am in FL, 16 miles from the ocean at 42’ elevation. My slab is 3’ above grade yet due to a swamp at the back of the property it is considered to be in a flood zone. When FEMA re-zoned they pushed the flood plane 30’ onto my property and declared it a special flood zone due to the swam which drains into a small lake nearby. We had an excessively wet summer and while the water got to within a foot of road level it was 4’ below my slab. There will be standing water 16 miles to the ocean before my property will flood. Since all of FL is an aquafer that will just never happen.

So the problem isn’t with the people it’s with over-bearing and over-reaching bureaucrats making their living at the expense of the people -as usual.


3 posted on 02/20/2014 3:13:39 AM PST by Justa
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To: nvscanman

No, let the private sector price and sell all flood insurance on their own—and it will be fairly and accurately priced.


4 posted on 02/20/2014 3:24:27 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: nvscanman

How about letting people build as they like and insure as they like? Mortgage requirements would be a reasonable constraint for most homeowners—if the U.S. wouldn’t sweep in and bail everyone out.

And dome homes across the Midwest? How about the house that a viewer sent in here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/21/tornado-proof-homes-oklahoma_n_3313537.html


5 posted on 02/20/2014 3:31:08 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: 9YearLurker

“let the private sector price and sell all flood insurance on their own.”

Correct. Need the added constraint that folks don’t get “bailed out” by the government if they buy in an area that insurance companies don’t insure.


6 posted on 02/20/2014 3:31:28 AM PST by fruser1
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To: Libloather

You can be placed in or out of a flood zone depending on who your congressman is, and how much you pay him.


7 posted on 02/20/2014 3:32:15 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Justa

Aren’t FEMA flood maps supposed to cover 100-year floods? If you had water within four feet of your slab after a wet summer, it seems to me they’re probably correct to cast it in a 100-year flood plain.


8 posted on 02/20/2014 3:41:09 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: RFEngineer
Ah, but the real question is whether he will stay bought off. There's always someone with a bigger bag of gold. (One of the chief lessons of the "Game of Thrones" series of books.)
9 posted on 02/20/2014 3:42:07 AM PST by Pecos (The Chicago Way: Kill the Constitution, one step at a time.)
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To: nvscanman

Not everybody....

They updated the Floor maps around here in 2007. The flood zone expanded just a little bit in some areas.

That “little bit” raked in a bunch of lower income homes in some sections of the city into “Flood Zones”.

Now if they wish to refinance they have to maintain Flood Insurance.


10 posted on 02/20/2014 3:48:41 AM PST by PeteB570 ( Islam is the sea in which the Terrorist Shark swims. The deeper the sea the larger the shark.)
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To: 9YearLurker

I am contracted to buy a farm nearby and am going through this exact issue right now. The mortgage salesman sent me some paper to sign that was a notice that my property is in a flood zone... well the house and structures are not. I looked up the maps myself at the onset of all of this.

The flood boundaries shown on FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Maps) are NOT the same as the 100 year flood plain... The 100 year flood plain is what I need to offset my septic system from and covers more area... The FIRM, however, is what I am being lead to believe what flood insurance determinations are made by.


11 posted on 02/20/2014 3:54:49 AM PST by Rodamala
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To: PeteB570
That “little bit” raked in a bunch of lower income homes in some sections of the city into “Flood Zones”.

There are many exceptions but in general Democrats live substantially closer to sea level than most Republicans do. This is a stupid tax for being a Democrat.

12 posted on 02/20/2014 3:57:02 AM PST by Reeses
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To: Justa

So, no one lives on the coast. No one lives near rivers or flood plaines. or swamps. No one lives in smaller flood areas like creeks or lakes. Let’s not let people live where there are tornadoes, earthquakes, brush fires or landslides. /s


13 posted on 02/20/2014 4:12:54 AM PST by Kozak ("Send them back your fierce defiance! Stamp upon the cursed alliance! To arms, to arms in Dixie!)
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Bkmk- project???


14 posted on 02/20/2014 4:33:24 AM PST by Faith65 (Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior!)
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To: 9YearLurker

This past summer WAS the 100 yr. flood. An elderly gentleman told me he’d never seen the water that high.

What part of ‘there will be standing water from my property 16 miles to the ocean and my slab will still be 3’ above it’ don’t you understand?

Do you think I am buying flood insurance to cover the back of my lawn? Will I be putting in a claim for soggy grass abutting the swamp? There will be water clear to the ocean and my house, driveway and front yard will be dry so why am I assessed as a ‘special flood’ zone? Because the the swamp is wet? Absurd!


15 posted on 02/20/2014 4:34:05 AM PST by Justa
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To: Justa

So why buy flood insurance at all if there is no danger of a flood?


16 posted on 02/20/2014 4:47:35 AM PST by conejo99
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To: conejo99

Mortgage requires flood insurance. One more reason to pay it off.


17 posted on 02/20/2014 4:49:18 AM PST by Justa
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To: 9YearLurker

The 1% Flood is the same as the old term, 100 year flood. It means that in any given year there is a 1% chance of a flood of that magnitude. On average, such a flood will occur once in a hundred years. Like all averages, what actually happens is different. On area might have 3 1% floods in a row, while another area might go 300 years without one.

The flood that occurred in the Big Thompson Canyon in Colorado in the seventies was labeled a 500 year flood, a very rare event that killed over 100 people and caused by a flash flood from an intense thunderstorm that stalled over the drainage basin and quickly overwhelmed the drainage system.

These 1% floods are outside the span of people’s memories. A statement that “we haven’t flooded in the 50 years that I’ve lived here” can be completely true, but can also be followed by two floods in the next five years. Analysis of the drainage pattern and analysis of the historical rain record is what produces these maps. Improved and more accurate mapping techniques is why the lines differ from the old maps.


18 posted on 02/20/2014 5:19:27 AM PST by centurion316
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To: nvscanman

Since hurricanes and tropical storms can dump 20”-30” of rain when they come ashore, how about we just move everyone 100 miles from the coast?

Now that we got that problem solved, what do we do with all those people living where an earthquake might hit?


19 posted on 02/20/2014 5:34:16 AM PST by IMR 4350
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To: nvscanman

The folks that bought houses on the flood plain of Staten island were gullible fools. Those areas should be restricted for residential buildings.

The same is true for very large areas in Miami. When the hurricane strikes Miami, the cost is going to be stratospheric in value.


20 posted on 02/20/2014 5:38:59 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... History is a process, not an event)
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To: Libloather
I live on a hill by a lake. The lake is on a river that is designated "navigable" by the Corps of Engineers. The only thing that can navigate to it is a canoe due to dams creating a 150 foot elevation drop in the hundred miles to the Great Lakes. Nevertheless, because of this, it is under the control of the state DEQ, FEMA, and the Corps. The house is in a region designated "flood plane" on the Flood Insurance Rate map.

In order to build, I had to create a 21 page permit application that included location maps, elevation certificates, elevation plots, forms, etc. The instruction book for this permit application was 250 pages long. It took nine months for a response.

As the house was to be built on a hill (that didn't show up on the map), the first sentence of the response was "You don't need a permit". That sentence was followed by two pages of nearly incomprehensible legal reasons for the finding. That was probably the worst response I could have gotten. Many of the local authorities simply ignored it, demanding that I have a permit, anyway. It was, of course, impossible, since other bureaucrats deemed that I didn't need one. One county official declared I needed flood vents. Flood vents allow water INTO the house, to prevent it floating up out of the flood. Since the house was to be on a hill, the only place to put the flood vents would be many feet above the 100 year flood level. This particular official called my basement contractor on his cell phone while he and his crew were in trucks driving to the construction site, insisting that the work be stopped immediately, or he (the bureaucrat) would not approve any future work of the contractor.

In spite of all this, the work was finally completed, though about a year and a half late. It lies 8 feet above the 100 year flood plane, based on a flood in the 1950's before any flood control dams were placed. I am not paying Obama a penny for flood insurance, though it's only because I have no mortgage. The only leverage the government has to force you to buy flood insurance is to associate it with a mortgage.

21 posted on 02/20/2014 5:46:54 AM PST by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: RFEngineer

Or you can hire an engineer or surveyor to help you fill out the appeal paperwork.

My mother in law bought a home above a lake and it within the designated flood plain and she was required to purchase flood insurance. It was a pretty simple appeals form which basically required the lowest elevation of the building and historical high water elevation.


22 posted on 02/20/2014 5:47:51 AM PST by shotgun
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To: centurion316

That all makes perfect sense.


23 posted on 02/20/2014 6:29:03 AM PST by 9YearLurker
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To: nvscanman

I am working on a number of projects where these FEMA changes have major implications. It’s not a big deal for the clients because we’re simply designing the new project differently than the adjacent buildings that were built under the old FEMA standards. In one case the client has no choice but to build in the flood plain, so there are special design considerations for that project.


24 posted on 02/20/2014 6:49:33 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("I've never seen such a conclave of minstrels in my life.")
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To: Libloather
computer modeling will account for climate change

Meaning they are predicting higher flood levels based on global warming and melted ice caps. This will pull far more homeowners into the flood insurance pool to subsidize those who truly do live in flood zones.

It's a total scam.

25 posted on 02/20/2014 7:48:20 AM PST by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with violence, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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To: shotgun

“Or you can hire an engineer or surveyor to help you fill out the appeal paperwork.”

That’s sort of the whole issue. It’s when politics gets involved and then you end up with lots of people living in a flood zone with insurance costs that do not reflect the actual risk, and expecting taxpayers to cough up the difference.

It’s not that difficult to not build in a flood zone.


26 posted on 02/20/2014 8:06:39 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: RFEngineer

In this particular situation her house was built on a bluff that was about 75 above the lake. Lake Kachess near Cle Elum, Washington was created after the Corps of Engineers built a dam on the river. Needless to say that the water would over top the dam before it would ever reach her homesite!

But she still had to go through the gubmint regulations to appeal.


27 posted on 02/20/2014 8:26:26 AM PST by shotgun
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To: RFEngineer

“You can be placed in or out of a flood zone depending on who your congressman is, and how much you pay him.”

If you look at the previous article, there’s a great picture of two expensive, neighboring beach houses in Florida. One pays the max, and the other, the minimum. One guy has great lawyers and connections, and the other doesn’t.

So much for “Justice is blind.”


28 posted on 02/20/2014 9:39:26 AM PST by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
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To: Libloather

I bought a house on a lake (man-made lake with a dam). The house sat on a bluff about 70 feet above the waterline. Because the property “touched” the water, it was considered to be “in the flood plain”. There is NO physical way the water could ever rise to 70 feet above the dam! We challenged it and won. No flood insurance for us.


29 posted on 02/20/2014 9:42:46 AM PST by Onelifetogive (I tweet, too... @Onelifetogive)
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To: Justa

Actually it’s both...it’s people building in areas that will lead to catastrophic loss causing insurance carriers to pay claims driving up costs. Since the insurer is .gov they have the communistic option of manipulating the system to require people who don’t need the insurance to buy the insurance.


30 posted on 02/20/2014 7:23:19 PM PST by nvscanman
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To: nvscanman

“Actually it’s both...it’s people building in areas that will lead to catastrophic loss causing insurance carriers to pay claims driving up costs. Since the insurer is .gov they have the communistic option of manipulating the system to require people who don’t need the insurance to buy the insurance.”

My flood insurance is purchased from a private corporation, not the government. If I purchase private insurance I should be subject to their zoning determination, insurance premiums, and settlement amounts, not the federal government’s. And if the fed doesn’t like FEMA paying out flood claims to the un-insured they can modify the settlment amounts by the degree a property is ‘hazard built’ into a flood plain rather than jacking up everyone’s rates to subsidize the insurance companies who aren’t even covering the uninsured.

Crony capitalism.

What’s next, car insurance?


31 posted on 02/21/2014 7:44:31 AM PST by Justa
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