City Disputes FEMA's Updated Flood Zones
Two years ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued a new flood map for the New York City region, one that substantially expanded what’s known as the “100-year floodplain”—areas where there is at least a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year. The update, which is still subject to final approval, would nearly double the number of structures in the zone to 71,500.
The city is set to enter talks with FEMA, claiming that the flood map has been expanded too much, unnecessarily imposing insurance and other costs on owners. In late June, the city released the results of its own analysis, conducted by consulting firm Arcadis, which produced a smaller flood zone, one the city says is more reasonable than FEMA’s.
The city’s map would remove about 26,000 structures and 170,000 people from FEMA’s floodplain, potentially sparing them a steep increase in insurance costs. Owners in a 100-year zone are effectively required to buy flood insurance, especially if their buildings have been financed with a federally backed mortgage.