The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently completed a multiyear project to re-examine flood risks throughout Hennepin County and develop electronic flood hazard maps, which will become effective on November 4, 2016.
Federal law mandates that any federally regulated or insured lender require any property with a structure within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on these maps to carry flood insurance.
Most mortgage lenders will check their loans when the updated maps become effective on November 4, 2016. Lenders will likely send a letter to all properties in SFHA, and other properties that are even close to the SFHA, to notify them that they must purchase flood insurance within 45 days. If a policy is not purchased within this time period, the lender will “force place” a policy, which is normally much more expensive.
Flood insurance is available through your agent or one of the agents listed by searching the “Agent Finder” section of FEMA’s Flood Insurance website, FloodSmart.gov. If you have any kind of risk for flood damages, both in or out of the floodplain, the city encourages you to purchase flood insurance.
If you live near a lake, stream, or large wetland, you are encouraged to investigate whether your property may be “newly mapped” within the SFHA. View the floodplain map to find your property on the map.
What to do if you believe you’ve been inadvertently included in the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA)?
There are often scenarios where the boundaries of the floodplain do not accurately reflect the true topographic characteristics of a site. In addition, it is likely that lenders will be fairly conservative when determining if a property may require flood insurance.
In much of the county, the boundaries of the floodplain have not been updated with better elevation information since they were originally mapped in the early 1980’s. This newest map update merely digitized these areas – making them easier for everyone to view. If you believe your structure and/or parcel is higher than the actual flood elevation, there is a procedure for appeals known as a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). Traditionally, a LOMA involves hiring a surveyor to verify the lowest ground touching the structure, deck or stairs is above the 100-year flood elevation.
Under the right circumstances, the city may be able to assist with collecting data rather than hiring a surveyor. City staff may be able to use LiDAR-derived contour elevations from the Minnesota DNR to verify that a structure is above the 100-year flood elevation.
If you have any questions, please contact City Planner Dusty Finke at 763-473-8846 or email@example.com.