ABO Developments - Fall 2015 - (Page 16)

New York City Challenging FEMA's Revised Floodplain Maps T wo years ago FEMA issued the first major revision of its f loodplain maps since 1983, proposing a 300 percent increase in the number of properties within official flood zones - those with at least a onepercent chance of flooding in a given year - across the country. The maps, if approved, would double the number of properties within floodplain areas in New York City, bringing them to a total of 71,500, affecting some 400,000 people. Homeowners are scared. Those in so-called 100-year f loodplains would be required to buy f lood insurance with premiums ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 a year. An article in New York Environmental Report estimates typical homes in high-risk zones could see their premiums increase from around $1,000 in 2014 to nearly $14,500 in 2030. Builders are nervous as well. Flood maps determine building codes. The cost of new construction and renovation in flood zones could increase dramatically in response to the rezoning. But New York City is fighting back. The Mayor's Office of Recovery and 16 | A B O D E V E L O P ME NTS * www.abogny.com Resiliency has appealed the new map, claiming it overstates the risk of flooding in as much as 35 percent of the proposed expanded zones. And city officials have been vocal regarding repercussions of the rezoning on affected areas. Home values could fall and federally backed mortgages would require more buyers to show more income. A Devastating Impact According to Daniel Zarrilli, director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, it "can have a devastating impact on neighborhoods." Neighborhoods impacted include Canarsie, Brooklyn, Howard Beach and the Rockaways in Queens. The city released its own map in June, prepared by an independent engineering firm, which reduces the area that can legitimately be called a floodplain considerably. It would include 26,5000 fewer buildings than the FEMA map and affect 170,000 fewer people. In addition to New York City, according to the Wall Street Journal, FEMA "has received 190 comments and appeals from communities across New York and New Jersey, 60 percent of them backed by scientific or engineering data." Talks are expected to begin in the fall. If the city and FEMA reach an impasse a resolution can be requested of the Scientific Resolution Panel, an independent body based in Washington, D.C. Or, the dispute can go to a federal court. Post-Sandy, and with severe weather threatening to become a more common occurrence, and sea levels rising due to climate change, most parties involved express concern that strong protections of coastal areas are vital. Some groups, like The Natural Resources Defense Council, claim FEMA's map underestimates the extent of the areas at risk of flooding and does not fully account for potential damage due to climate change. On the other side, according to the Wall Street Journal, "in New York City's appeal letter, Mr. Zarrilli said the city takes climate change seriously and is adapting buildings, telecommunications, transportation and other infrastructure to withstand severe weather events." The review could take up to a year. Homeowners' insurance rates are frozen until the maps are finalized. But they, along with homebuilders, anxiously await FEMA's approved and official floodplain maps. http://www.abogny.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABO Developments - Fall 2015

A Message from ABO Executive Director Dan Margulies
The Big Ugly Decoding the Rent Act of 2015
New Technology in Elevators
Save Money on Energy-Saving Upgrades
New Flood Risk Standards
Index of Advertisers / Advertisers.com

ABO Developments - Fall 2015