2013-04-19 / Editorial/Opinion

New Flood Maps

This could be huge. We are slightly hesitant to celebrate about the news that FEMA will be issuing flood maps that are far more favorable to Rockaway, Broad Channel, and Breezy Point. We’ve been told one thing by FEMA only to have something else entirely occur. We’ve been told one thing by “experts” only to have the same information contradicted by the same “experts.” But the recent letter FEMA sent to congress suggests that the new flood maps will be much more reasonable than the “advisory” maps they issued in January.

The maps themselves aren’t expected to be released until next month and there are questions that no FEMA official or elected official is ready to answer. There are unresolved tricky, confusing issues. Some of the issues are quite esoteric or particular to a set of homeowners but these issues could mean the difference of thousands of dollars over the course of a few years. It remains vital that all of us stay informed.

Leave it to FEMA to call something the X Zone and another Zone the “Shaded X.” Note to FEMA: there are more letters in the alphabet.

And another reason to hold off on the celebration is that some people will end up in an “A” zones which still has burdensome premiums. The hope is that the elevations in the new maps won’t be as high and that homeowners in “A” zones might have realistic options.

The premiums that FEMA is forecasting: $9500 per year for a house 4 feet below the elevation level has not changed. So, while there may (may) be great news for many with the revised maps, it’s no time to turn off the pressure on our officials. They were asleep when they voted on the Biggert-Waters Act; we can’t expect them to stay awake this time.

So far, we think they’ve heard your calls. We don’t think the new maps are a coincidence.

You will have a chance to be heard again.

On May 13th, Congressman Meeks is scheduled to hold a town hall at St. Francis de Sales in Belle Harbor with the main topic being flood insurance.

The Howard Beach community, prompted by The Forum newspaper, held a similar meeting recently and 400 people showed.

We want our reps to know we want clarity. We urge you to keep informed.

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