New federal flood-zone designations could mean insurance savings for some Indian River homeowners

Nov 6, 2012

The following article was posted to the website on November 6, 2012:

New federal flood-zone designation could mean insurance savings for some Indian River homeowners

By Henry A. Stevens

NDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Proposed new federal flood-zone maps may mean savings for homeowners in The Moorings, Falcon Trace, Citrus Springs and other subdivisions by no longer requiring flood coverage in their homeowners’ insurance policies.

That’s if their lenders agree to drop that requirement, county officials said last week.

“We can’t tell people they can drop their flood insurance,” Community Development Director Bob Keating said. “It’s up to them to talk with their insurance providers and mortgage companies.”

But savings are possible, Environmental Planning Chief Roland DeBlois added, because federal law doesn’t require flood insurance if a resident doesn’t live in a flood zone.

An update of the county’s 1980s-era flood-zone maps, which goes into effect Dec. 4, shows hundreds of homesites are no longer included in these low elevation zones.

“With better elevation information, some properties have been taken out of flood zones,” DeBlois said.

That could mean the lots were elevated by fill in the past 20 years as part of being developed, he said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency started in 2007 revising local flood maps throughout the nation to reflect changes, such as development patterns, since the 1980s.

County commissioners Tuesday are scheduled to consider adopting the new maps as well as updating various land-development regulations dealing with flood protection.

For example, DeBlois said, the Florida Building Code now includes flood-protection standards so county rules would need to mirror them.

Some structures that don’t need building permits — such as railroads, barns, sheds and temporary modular offices — are now required, under federal law, to be reviewed for flood-protection compliance.

DeBlois said he hasn’t calculated how many homeowners have been redesignated by the new maps.

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