New FEMA maps remove thousands of parcels from flood plain and insurance requirements
An ordinance that will have an impact on thousands of landowners and save an estimated $3.5 million annually in federal flood plain insurance has been approved by the Camden County Commission.
The ordinance removes 3,840 parcels of land in Camden County from the flood plain map. The ordinance will go into effect on April 18, 2018.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Kim Willey said the county received the amended ordinance from the Missouri Emergency Management Agency and passed it along to county attorney Charles McElyea for review.
After reviewing the document, it was sent back to SEMA for final approval. The Village Of Four Seasons, who contracts with the county for flood plain administration, has also approved the ordinance.
“What this will essentially do is make for a smooth transition come April 18, 2018,” Willey said.
Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty said the commission would determine whether or not the Federal Emergency Management Agency will notify all residents who were removed from flood plains.
“Let’s save people some money... millions and millions,” Second District Commissioner Don Williams said. “This is a big deal.”
The revised flood plain maps for Lake of the Ozarks are scheduled to become law on April 18, 2018 after no valid appeals were filed during the 90-period that concluded in early June 2017, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Letter of Final Determination.
In February of 2017, FEMA published proposed modified flood elevation determinations affecting the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) for incorporated areas of Camden County. The three month appeal period began in March 2017 when the proposed Base Flood Elevations were published in a legal notice in the Lake Sun.
Camden County received a copy of the letter earlier this week and provided a copy to the Lake Sun.
“FEMA received no valid requests for changes in the BFEs. Therefore, the determination of the Agency as to the BFEs for your community is considered final,” according to the letter sent to Camden County last year. “The modified BFEs and revised map panels are effective as of April 18, 2018, and revise the FIRMs that were in effect prior to that date.”
For insurance rating purposes, according to FEMA, the revised panels must be used for all new policies and renewals. However, as a condition of continued eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Camden County must “adopt or show evidence of adoption of floodplain management regulations” that meet NFIP standards and regulations prior to April 18, 2018.
“Because of the modifications to the FIRM and FIS report for your community made by this map revision, certain additional requirements must be met under Section 1361 of the 1968 Act, as amended, within 6 months from the date of this letter,” FEMA stated.
According to FEMA, some of the standards had already been enacted by Camden County and additional requirements could be met by adopting a new policy which is what commissioners signed off on last week.
Communities that fail to adopt required floodplain management regulations can be suspended from the NFIP program and subject to prohibitions.
More than two years ago, the FEMA Region VII Office in Kansas City undertook a review of 2011-era FIRMs for the area utilizing a new method of hydrologic analysis approved by the U.S. Geological Survey in 2014. FIRM stands for Flood Insurance Rate Map.
According to officials, the areas in Camden County that are most affected by the revised maps include portions of the Big Niangua, Little Niangua and Linn Creek. Nine panels in Camden County were updated, while two each were updated in Morgan and Miller counties.
During a preliminary review of the proposed revised FIRMs in June 2016, the overall outcome of the review appeared to be good news with the amount of high hazard flood area generally less than the current area due to the base flood elevation (BFE) along some of the main tributaries of the Lake of the Ozarks being lowered.
With the new methodology, estimated flood flow was reduced dramatically - some by as much as half, according to FEMA Region VII Risk Analysis Branch Chief Rich Leonard - on the Niangua River, Little Niangua and Grand Glaize. That in turn impacted the hydraulic analysis used to set the BFE.
Hydraulic analyses take into account flood flow combined with the topography or geometry of the stream channel at various cross sections.
For the Niangua River, the BFE would be lowered as much as four to five feet. Linn Creek and Gravois Creek were two areas where the flood flow estimates actually increased, thereby raising the proposed BFE. For Linn Creek the difference amounted to approximately half of a foot, while Gravois Creek would see a range from just under a foot in places up to four feet higher further upstream.