Updated October 31, 2014
The Town of Yarmouth has officially adopted the 2014 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the Town of Yarmouth, which became effective on July 16, 2014. 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 those with federally backed bank mortgages. Those within a SFHA who do not have a mortgage may not be required to obtain flood insurance, but they are still at risk of flooding and would benefit from flood insurance. Please note that properties outside these designated SFHAs may also be at risk of flooding and may also benefit from flood insurance. Questions about flood insurance should be directed to your insurance agent.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THOSE NEWLY MAPPED INTO A SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA.
If the July 16, 2014 FIRM maps have your property being mapped into a Special Flood Hazard Area for the first time, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy and may be eligible to garner benefits associated with the Preferred Risk Policy Eligibility Extension. Obtaining a Preferred Risk Policy now (even if you don’t have a mortgage) may allow for you to retain this lower rate flood insurance policy for longer and may allow for the transfer of this policy to a future owner, making your property more marketable. Please ask your insurance agent about whether your property would qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy.
In addition, if any portion of your property is in a SFHA, your mortgage holder may have sent you a letter saying that you need flood insurance. However, if based on your review of the FIRM Map, you believe your house and everything attached to it (garage, deck, etc) is outside the SFHA, you may request a Flood Hazard Determination Review from FEMA. The process is outlined at the following website and must be submitted within 45 days following the date the lender notified the borrower that the property is in an SFHA. Yarmouth’s FIRM Community Number is 250015.
Map Reviewing Locations: The easiest way to view the FIRM maps is on the updated FEMA website at https://msc.fema.gov/portal. From this website, you can type in your full address. Using the buttons on the left you can choose to “VIEW” or “DOWNLOAD” the map, however this will give you the entire FIRM map that includes your property. To get directly to your property, click the line directly below the “VIEW” button entitled “View NFHL data on FEMA GeoPlatform”. This will show the FEMA FIRM map for your property in a much more legible format with aerial imagery. You can change the background by clicking the “BASEMAP” icon in the upper left hand corner and you can also print out the map.
Copies of the FIRM maps may also be viewed at the links below. To identify your property’s flood zone, click on the Town of Yarmouth Index to locate your panel number and then click on the appropriate FEMA Map number below. In addition to the FEMA Maps, the Town of Yarmouth created an easier to read color-coded alternative map showing the SFHAs with approximate property lines and structure locations. Click on the Entire Town GIS Map link listed below. A hard copy of the Town GIS Map is available in the Engineering Department and hard copies of the FIRM Maps are available for viewing in the Building Department, both located on the lower level of Town Hall at 1146 Route 28, South Yarmouth.
Letters of Map Change: In situations where a property owner thinks their property was inadvertently mapped in a SFHA, FEMA provides a process for the public to request a change in the flood zone designation for the property. This request is known as a Letter of Map Change (LOMC). Additional information can be obtained at http://www.fema.gov/letter-map-amendment-letter-map-revision-based-fill-process. This process requires an Elevation Certificate to identify site specific information about your property. An Elevation Certificate may also be beneficial in determining your flood insurance rate.
Flood Insurance Relief: President Obama signed into law the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability (HFIA) Act on March 21, 2014. This law amends the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and delays or softens the implementation of some of the flood insurance rate hikes required by Biggert Waters. Although Biggert Waters was originally put into place to improve the financial stability of the National Flood Insurance Program, which was running in a deficit after multiple major storm events, it had the unintended financial consequence of excessively high flood insurance rates for many properties. The Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act provides for relief for some properties as well as retaining “grandfathering” benefits. Information on the implementation of the HFIA can be found at