Property Owners Encouraged to View Maps, Know Risk
Communities throughout Norfolk County, Mass., including Wrentham, have received updated flood hazard maps as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s nationwide program to modernize Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The Wrentham maps are scheduled to become effective on July 17, 2012 (Town Meeting must vote on a newly revised Floodplain District Zoning Bylaw on June 11, 2012).
Flood hazard maps, also known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, indicate whether properties are in areas of high, moderate or low flood risk. In reviewing the new Wrentham maps, property owners may find that their risk is higher or lower than they thought. If the risk level for a property changes, so may the requirement to carry flood insurance.
Those who have a federally backed mortgage, or plan to refinance with a federally backed lender, will be required to purchase flood insurance if they find that their home is shown in a high-risk flood area known as a Special Flood Hazard Area on the updated maps. Purchasing flood insurance before the flood maps become effective will lock in the lower-risk zone and could lead to significant savings. Residents are urged to contact their insurance agent or visit www.floodsmart.gov to learn more about how and where to get a policy.
Residents should look at the new flood maps to become familiar with the flood risks in their community and to see whether their flood zone has changed. The maps for Wrentham can be viewed at the Conservation Commission/Planning/Zoning Board Office on the second floor of Town Hall, 79 South Street, or online at www.msc.fema.gov.
(Information submitted to the local press from the Town Planner.)
Additional information from the FEMA website detailing what happens if the Town fails to adopt the maps:
A community that does not join the NFIP, has withdrawn from the program, or is suspended from it, faces the following sanctions:
- No resident will be able to purchase a flood insurance policy.
- Existing flood insurance policies will not be renewed.
- No Federal grants or loans for development may be made in identified flood hazard areas under programs administered by Federal agencies such as HUD, EPA, and SBA;
- No Federal disaster assistance may be provided to repair insurable buildings located in identified flood hazard areas for damage caused by a flood.
- No Federal mortgage insurance or loan guarantees may be provided in identified flood hazard areas. This includes policies written by FHA, VA, and others.
- Federally insured or regulated lending institutions, such as banks and credit unions, must notify applicants seeking loans for insurable buildings in flood hazard areas that there is a flood hazard and that the property is not eligible for Federal disaster relief.
Just to clarify a little, existing policies will not be cancelled and claims can be submitted on policies that are in place, but no new policies can be written while the town is suspended. And federal disaster assistance may still be available for costs/damages other than for insurable buildings (e.g., bridge damage, debris removal). But the bottom line is suspension is a very bad thing for a community and we will work with you to do whatever we need to help you avoid that.