FEMA Flood Plane Maps

by Brian McNamee

Best advice

Dealing with redrawn flood maps requires special advice

Many residents have learned recently that redrawn FEMA flood plane maps are effecting their properties.  This is a difficult situation because everyone's house lot is unique.  There is often more than one elevation and the placement and orientation of structures varies with each house lot.

The federal government has failed many residents miserably with the redrawn maps.  Why has this occurred?  Because there is a tremendous underfunding of the federal flood insurance program the federal government is looking for ways to restore it solvency.  The program is billions of dollars in debt due to demands placed upon program funds after damage from Hurricane Katrina and Sandy.  To actuarially restore the financial reserves for this program they (your federal government) have expanded the number of homeowners needing flood insurance by expanding the flood zone maps.

If I were to offer advice, based on what I have learned to date, my advice would be as follows:

1.) Visit the DPW and ask for them to show you where you are with regard to the redrawn maps.

2.)  If you are effected by the redrawn maps speak to your insurance agent for advice.  He or she has, by now, answered every question on this subject.  Your insurance agent is your most important resource because he or she is a licensed insurance professional.

3.)  If you are effected do not waste any time.  There are some deadlines that may pass effecting your ability to enjoy lower insurance rates if you fail to act now.

4.)  This is primarily a federal matter not a municipal one (although there have been representations the City will help you with survey and certification work - I would not exclusively rely on a governmental body to rescue you).  Despite efforts at the local level to help you, fighting the financial impact of these redrawn maps ultimately rests with you. 

5.)  Call your US Congressman or Senator and ask for help and advice.  They have large staffs dedicated to addressing important constituent issues.  Usually a staff member has developed expertise on important legislative and regulatory matters such as this.

6.)  If you are effected - that means you have your main dwelling or an "attached" structure (garage or shed) in the flood plain - do not think you have to accept FEMA's placement of your home or any other structure in the flood plane.  With a elevation survey you may be able to challenge the FEMA map.  A licensed surveyor will explain to you FEMA's Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) process.  With a elevation survey in hand you can make a case to be put outside the flood plane.  Flood history for your site is part of your application.  Also any infrastructure like an improved seawall or pumping station may buttress your argument to be put outside the flood plane.  The LOMA letter filing can be done online through FEMA's website.

7.)  If you own your home you will not be compelled by a lender to get flood insurance.  This makes it incumbent upon you to determine whether you want to "go bare" (i.e. assume the risk and not acquire insurance because you are not being compelled by a lender).  You may want to still challenge FEMA to preserve the market value of your home or you may want to pay for insurance to pass on grandfathered rights to a subsequent buyer.  Ask you insurance agent whether you can preserve rights now by acquiring flood insurance even though you are not compelled to.

8.)  Finally, proceed with healthy skepticism about what local government can do for you.  Politician's want to help, but often, if not almost always, over promise.


Board Walk Residences at Marina Bay

Redgate RE Advisors and affiliates have sold to Hines Interests the properties that were permitted for development last year.

Hines is a privately owned international real estate firm with investments in 110 cities around the globe.  They will build two buildings at Marina Bay.  Both buildings (together) will total 352 high end residential units with 18,000 SF of commercial space on the ground floor.

The operating lease for the Ocean Club at Marina Bay will not be renewed.  Flagship does reserve the right to operate a venue if delays with the real estate development project occur.  Ground breaking is hoped for in July or in the Fall.  Detail drawings are now being drafted to enable construction bidding etc.


TD Bank Coming


TD Bank just acquired three properties at the intersection of Hancock and E. and W. Squantum Street.  Demolition is expected in the fall.  The properties are Keohane Funeral Home, the Sunoco Gas Station, and the Multi-family home next to the Gas Station across from the T.

The Gas Station has asked for an extension of time to operate.  It may still be operating after the initial demolitions, but it has been purchased by TD Bank.

This is a quick run down of some of the latest breaking news for Ward 6.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email or by phone at 617-770-0678.

Best wishes, Brian McNamee


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