It appears an oversight in pre-existing map amendments was behind confusion for some lakefront property owners who mistakenly received letters stating they had to purchase flood insurance.

It appears an oversight in pre-existing map amendments was behind confusion for some lakefront property owners who mistakenly received letters stating they had to purchase flood insurance.

Following the adoption of new flood plain maps by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for parts of the tri-county region in April, there were reports in May of an unknown amount of property owners on Lake of the Ozarks who were being told by their bank or lender that they needed flood insurance due to placement within high-hazard flooding areas designated by FEMA through the National Flood Insurance Program.

The revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps were mainly supposed to lower base flood elevations along lake tributaries though, not raise them. Nine map panels in Camden County were updated and two each in Morgan and Miller counties were updated.

FEMA officials were left scratching their heads as U.S. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer called on the federal agency to resolve the issue.

Then Tuesday, June 19, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill added her voice to the issue, asking FEMA to address the “distribution of potentially inaccurate letters to Camden County residents.”

According to information from both McCaskill’s office and FEMA, approximately 2,000 Camden County properties were impacted by the map changes. That is, these were properties that were supposed to be out of the high-hazard flood plain that requires flood insurance, not in it.

According to FEMA Region VII External Affairs Director Michael L. Cappannari, regional FEMA officials have been working on the issue, determining that the maps overall are accurate, but the letters were mistakenly sent out because previous map amendments — LOMAs — were overlooked.

Approximately 40 Camden County property owners are believed to have received a letter in error, Cappannari said.

A LOMA is a Letter Of Map Amendment. Property owners can apply for a LOMA to remove their property from the high-hazard flood plain designation through remediating the property and/or proving that the elevation of any structures in the area are above the base flood elevation.

It was the amount of LOMAs — 180 alone between August 1, 2013 and August 1, 2014 — in Camden County that initially helped draw interest in a review of the accuracy of flood maps for the area by FEMA.

The 2,000 Camden County properties which had previously been through the LOMA process were supposed to be on a Revalidation Letter which lists all of the LOMAs in place prior to the new maps — and thereby avoid having to go through the amendment process again. Forty of the 2,000 properties were apparently left out. Not knowing the error, lenders on these properties reviewing the new maps notified the property owners of their placement within the high-hazard designation.

According to Cappannari, the Revalidation Letter has been updated to reflect existing LOMAs at these properties.

Cappannari said FEMA is working on a response to McCaskill on the issue after working with state and local counterparts as well as the National Flood Association to resolve the problem.

FEMA officials have also provided direction to its Mapping Center to ensure the call center team is equipped with the best information of how to help property owners around the Lake of the Ozarks that might reach out.

To contact the FEMA Map Information exchange by telephone, call toll free at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) and choose “Option 1”; email FEMAMapSpecialist@riskmapcds.com; or live chat at www.floodmaps.fema.gov/fhm/fmx_main.html.

According to Cappannari, the Revalidation Letter has also been posted online at the map service center,  https://map1.msc.fema.gov/data/29/L/15-07-1668V-290789.pdf?LOC=01298610a3898cd39689b06d0829777f.

“We remain in weekly (and if needed, daily) contact with local Planning and Zoning at Camden County to answer any questions and maintain awareness,” he added.