FEMA FLOOD ZONE INFORMATION

Click the following questions to expand/contract answers provided by staff. If you require additional information, please dial (239) 444-6150 and our receptionist will route your call to staff who will assist you.  Provide below are links to Community Development forms related to floodplain management.

FEMA Elevation Certificate
FEMA Nonconversion Agreement
FEMA Substantial Improvements Below the BFE SFHA
FEMA VE Zone Building Certificate
Flood Zone Regulations and Flood Insurance Considerations

Please click the link for the Find My Flood Zone App and follow the instructions on the splash screen.  If you need additional assistance, please contact Greg Smith at 239-444-6143.

Find My Flood Zone App

Substantial damage and substantial improvement regulations apply to buildings located in FEMA’s mapped special flood hazard areas that do not meet the current flood code requirements including elevation of the living area to the minimum standard. Buildings that are built to and compliant with current flood code requirements are exempt from the regulation. Not sure if you’re located in the flood zone? You can find your flood zone here.  For a full description of Substantial Damage and Substantial Improvement, please click here.

In summary, the 50% rule requires that all costs associated with repairs or improvements be limited to less than 50% of the building’s value (does not include land value) over a five year period of time. Repairs and improvements that equal or exceed 50% are required to bring the building into compliance with current flood code requirements, which may include elevating the equipment, adding flood vents or elevating the home according to FEMA regulations and the Florida Building Code.

All repairs and improvements to the building are reviewed for compliance with the 50% threshold as required by FEMA regulations and the Florida Building Code. Communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are required to adopt and enforce the laws in accordance with 44CFR Sections 59.1 and 60.3 in order for the residents and owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance, qualify for federal grants and relief assistance.

Not sure if you’re home meets current elevation requirements? You can reach staff at (239) 444-6150 to review your flood zone and building elevation requirements.

Items that must be included in the cost of improvements or costs to repair are those that are directly associated with the building, including items to restore it to pre-damaged condition. Accessory or detached items such as pools, fences, screen enclosures and sheds are not part of the building and do not count towards the 50% rule.  To see the complete list as outlined by FEMA, including exempt items please click here.

Please click here to view instructions on how to locate building value.

A FIRM is a flood map created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for floodplain management, mitigation, and insurance purposes. Digital versions of these maps are called DFIRMs.

A FIRM will generally show:

  1. Roads and map land marks
  2. A community’s base flood elevations
  3. Flood zones
  4. Floodplain boundaries As a property owner, you can use a FIRM to get a reliable indication of what flood zone you’re in. However, maps are constantly being updated due to changes in geography, construction and mitigation activities, and meteorological events.

The Community Development department maintains FIRM data in digital format and can be accessed from the Find My Flood Zone app.

Flooding occurs in moderate-to-low risk areas as well as in high-risk areas. Poor drainage systems, rapid accumulation of rainfall, snow-melt, and broken water mains can all result in flood. Properties on a hillside can be damaged by mudflow, a covered peril under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Structures located in high-risk flood areas have a significant chance (26 percent) of suffering flood damage during the term of a 30-year mortgage.

A home mapped in a high-risk area is two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer damage from a flood than a fire in the lifetime of a typical mortgage! For these reasons, flood insurance is required by law for buildings in high-risk flood areas as a condition of receiving a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender.

Under federal law, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance for the acquisition and/or construction of buildings in high-risk flood areas (Special Flood Hazard Areas or SFHAs). The amount of flood insurance coverage required by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, as amended by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, is the lesser of the following:
 
  1. The maximum amount of NFIP coverage available for the particular property type, or
  2. The outstanding principal balance of the loan, or 3. The insurable value of the structure. If the property is not in a high-risk area, but instead in a moderate-to-low risk area, federal law does not require flood insurance; however, a lender can still require it. It is also recommended since historically about one-in-four flood claims come from these moderate-to-low risk areas. Note that if during the life of the loan the maps are revised and the property is now in the high-risk area, your lender will notify you that you must purchase flood insurance.