ABO Developments - Fall 2015 - (Page 16)
New York City Challenging
FEMA's Revised Floodplain Maps
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
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
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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
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