The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has issued updated Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the Town of Yarmouth dated May 3, 2013. The FIRM maps show areas in town known as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). These are areas where the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) floodplain management regulations must be enforced and where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies for federally backed bank mortgages.
Map Reviewing Locations: In addition to the FEMA Maps, the Town of Yarmouth created easier to read color-coded alternative sheet maps showing the SFHAs only. These maps are organized onto five sheets, which roughly divide the Town into four quadrants plus Great Island. To identify your property’s flood zone, click on the Yarmouth Sheet Maps, or use the FEMA index and then click on the appropriate FEMA Map below. (Map sizes are large and may take a few minutes to download). Hard copies of all the maps and the Preliminary Flood Insurance Study (FIS) are available for viewing in the Engineering Department on the lower level of Town Hall at 1146 Route 28, South Yarmouth.
Superseded Letters of Map Change (LOMC): The Preliminary FIRM maps may impact properties which have previously received a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). FEMA has determined that some LOMCs will be revalidated free of charge one day after the revised FIRM becomes effective through a single revalidation letter. For other LOMCs, FEMA has determined that these LOMCs will be superseded by the Preliminary FIRM maps. These LOMCs will no longer be in effect when the revised FIRM Maps become effective which is expected to be in June of 2014. Formal notification was sent by the Town to these impacted property owners on August 2, 2013. Refer to the Preliminary Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) link below for a list of properties in these two categories.
Appeal Period: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began the required 90-day appeal period on July 18, 2013 for the Preliminary 2013 FIRM Maps. During this time, any owner, or lessee of real property in Yarmouth and the Town of Yarmouth itself have the opportunity to appeal the SFHA boundaries, the Base Flood Elevations (BFE), floodway boundaries and changes in the SFHA zone designations. To appeal, specific supporting data and technical information prepared by a qualified professional is required that includes evidence that the flood hazard determinations are scientifically or technically incorrect. FEMA will also consider comments and general inquiries regarding data other than proposed flood hazard determinations.
Appeals should be sent to the Town of Yarmouth within the 90-day appeal period. Appeals can be directed to Kathy Williams, Town Planner, Yarmouth Town Hall, 1146 Route 28, South Yarmouth, MA 02664. The Town will retain a copy for its records and forward the appeal to FEMA. As the end of the appeal period approaches, applicants may wish to send a copy to both the town and Brian Caufield at STARR, 50 Hampshire Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, to ensure it is received within the appeal period.
Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012: This Reform Act initiated changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to make the program more fiscally sound by setting flood insurance rates that reflect the real risk of flooding and move toward the elimination of subsidies. Not every policy will be affected immediately by this new law and some properties will remain subsidized unless or until the property is sold or the policy lapses. The elevation of any structure in relation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) will play a significant role in determining flood insurance rates. An Elevation Certificate completed by a licensed engineer or surveyor, may be necessary to determine the new premiums for property in a high-risk zone. Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance agent for additional information on how this Reform Act may or may not impact their flood insurance rates. Additional information can be obtained from the FEMA websites listed below.
This Reform Act also calls for a five year phasing out of grandfathering of insurance policies. The date to start the phasing out of grandfathering appears to be proposed for late 2014. If your residence is currently outside a SFHA, but will be within a SFHA per the 2013 FIRM maps, some properties may benefit from purchasing a Preferred Risk Policy prior to the enactment of the new maps to take advantage of grandfathering, even though it may only be temporary. Again, residents are encouraged to contact their insurance agent to determine if such a purchase would be financially beneficial.
If the community has any questions regarding the Preliminary FIRM panels and FIS report, please contact Kerry Bogdan at FEMA at . If you have any questions regarding the NFIP in general, please contact Richard Zingarelli, NFIP State Coordinator, at (617) 626-1406, or by email at . Copies of the FIRM maps and FIS report can also be found on the FEMA website at www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata.