Flood Zone Updates

**Reprinted with permission from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors

Flood Maps – Know Your Zone/New Informative Web Site

HIGHER LOCAL ELEVATION STANDARDS BEING DEVELOPED

Dare County’s Program for Public Information/Flood Insurance Community Rating System (CRS) Committee met last week and discussed a flood map education and awareness campaign and local flood elevation standards/freeboard regulations. Dare Planning Director Donna Creef led the discussion and shared that Dare County should soon receive their revised preliminary flood maps for Review and Comment and by this time next year, Dare County should be in the 6-month adoption period. This puts the effective date of the maps approximately sometime early summer of 2019. The timeframe for Currituck’s preliminary maps to become effective is similar.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The preliminary maps show many properties in Dare County being removed from the special flood hazard area (AE or VE zone) and being shown in an X zone. For the past year, there has been a county-wide effort that has focused on historical and future flooding hazards that were not addressed in the development of the preliminary maps. Instead of appealing the maps and holding up their adoption even further, local leaders came together to tackle this issue with forward thinking and a proactive approach. The outcome of “taking ownership of our own problems” will result in a more resilient community and lower flood insurance costs when maps change in the future.
Leadership of the Outer Banks Home Builders Association in collaboration with Dare County Planner Donna Creef, Town Planners, Engineers/Surveyors, OBAR reps and others have been hard at work to develop local elevation standards that are above what is shown on the preliminary maps. The standards will more accurately reflect local flooding hazards. The higher local elevation standards will be used for new development and re-development projects; the maps will be used for insurance rating purposes only thus allowing property owners to take advantage of much lower flood insurance premiums. The new elevation standards will apply to all X-zone and Shaded X-zone properties. Properties mapped to VE or AE zones will have a freeboard requirement of possibly 4 feet or more. Local governments will adopt the elevation standards prior to the preliminary flood maps becoming effective.
To summarize, those involved in the building or real estate industry should not use the preliminary mapped base flood elevations for future planning purposes or for marketing the potential re-development of a property. The preliminary maps may show that a property owner can now enclose a first floor or build slab on grade on the oceanfront. This will likely not be permitted when local standards are adopted!

Know Your Zone – “Low Risk” is Not “No Risk”: Check out www.obxFloodMaps.com for more information. While property owners in an X-zone are not mandated to carry flood insurance, a local campaign is underway to encourage ALL property owners to have coverage. The flood maps do not address flooding from heavy rain events and other storm scenarios which have caused major flooding and property damage on the Outer Banks. After all, the Outer Banks is surrounded by water – a property owner would be “flood foolish” to not have coverage!