As reported by the New York Times earlier this month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) is “for the first time in three decades” redrawing flood maps in the state of New York. As noted, New York has over 500 miles of coastline and billions of dollars of real estate development along waterfronts throughout the state. Those impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 will recall the damage done and the costs of reconstruction.
FEMA initiates studies and restudies of flood hazards for locations throughout the country, however, due to funding constraints FEMA can only study or restudy a limited number of locations every year. Therefore, FEMA uses a cost-benefit approach. On FEMA’s New York webpage readers will find blog postings including a posting from January 8, 2018 which notes that nearly 8% of the country’s population (25 million people) were affected in 2017 by disasters and advocates for additional mitigation measures.
Of note within that posting, is a link for stakeholders to review mitigation strategies and provide feedback on the strategy. Comments will be accepted through March 11, 2018.
Should FEMA ultimately make changes to flood maps in the state, those changes may require a property owner to get flood insurance when the property previously was not within a flood zone. Changes may also result in increased costs of insurance for existing buildings and could shape future zoning regulations or requirements for construction of new projects.