The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 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.
FEMA completed the mandatory 90-day appeal period in October of 2013 with no changes to the Special Flood Hazard Areas in Yarmouth. Refer to the FEMA letters of October 28, 2013 and December 2, 2013 below.
Letter of Final Determination: On January 16, 2014, FEMA issued their Letter of Final Determination for these maps (refer to letter below). The maps will become effective on July 16, 2014. The Town of Yarmouth will need to adopt these maps at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting to remain part of the NFIP program. Suspension from the NFIP would have many impacts for properties located within flood hazard areas. For example, these residents would no longer be able to purchase NFIP flood insurance policies and existing policies would not be renewed; federal disaster assistance would not be available for flood damage; there would be no Federal grants or loans for developments under programs administered by Federal agencies; and Federal mortgage insurance or loan guarantees would not be available.
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Superseded Letters of Map Change (LOMC): The Preliminary FIRM maps may impact properties which have previously received a Letter of Map Change (LOMC).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 For other LOMCs, FEMA has determined that these LOMCs will be superseded by the Preliminary FIRM maps.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 on July 16, 2014. Formal notification was sent by the Town to these impacted property owners on August 2, 2013. Refer to the January 16, 2014 letter below from FEMA for a final Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) which lists properties in these two categories.
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. 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. Additional information can be obtained from the FEMA websites listed below.
New Legislation: There has been a great deal of information in the news regarding the high and unsustainable flood insurance premiums brought on by the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. New legislation, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Flood Affordability Act, has been introduced in Congress to address this issue. The Act calls for a four-year delay to the program, requires FEMA to complete an affordability study and proposes a framework that addresses affordability issues. Refer to a summary of this legislation listed below.
FIRM Map Methodology: Based on an independent review of the FIRM maps by UMass Dartmouth’s School of Marine Science and Technology and by Applied Coastal Research and Engineering, the methodology used by FEMA to develop the FIRM maps has come into question. Representative William Keating and others have requested that FEMA delay the implementation of the new FIRM maps until this issue has been addressed and maps amended. Representative Keating has requested FEMA respond to this request by February 1, 2014. Refer to the Press Release listed below from William Keating’s office for additional information.
Contact Information: 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.