The Real Deal Miami

Flood-map fixes bail out PB County property owners

The county government has fought to fix error-filled flood maps proposed by FEMA

May 15, 2016 02:15PM

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Palm Beach County (CredIt: National Weather Association)

Palm Beach County (Credit: National Weather Association)

Palm Beach County property owners collectively have saved millions on flood insurance because the county has fought to fix faulty flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In 2013, FEMA delivered a proposed flood map of Palm Beach County to county officials for their review. Ken Todd, water resources manager for Palm Beach County, told the Palm Beach Post that the proposed flood map from FEMA was filled with mistakes.

Large sections of land in the central and western parts of the county were designated for the first time in decades as high-risk flood zones, potentially making flood insurance mandatory for property owners in these zones.

Homeowners who financed their home purchase with a  mortgage loan made possible by a federal program are required to buy flood insurance if they reside in a high-risk flood zone.

An initial revision of FEMA’s proposed county flood map removed 35,891 parcels that had been added to high-risk flood zones, but 62,041 others were still inside these zones.

In April, FEMA sent a further-revised flood map of Palm Beach County to county officials for an analysis that is ongoing. In summer, FEMA is expected to send a Final Letter of Determination to the county and its cities.

Todd told the Palm Beach Post, “We weren’t trying to get people out of flood zones but to have maps as accurate as possible so someone won’t be paying a higher premium than they should be.” [Palm Beach Post] — Mike Seemuth

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