Monday, July 31st, 2017
MAPS ARE KEY TO INSURANCE RATES FOR PROPERTY OWNERS
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has delayed plans to release its long-awaited revised preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (pFIRMs) for Morris County, pushing back the scheduled date from July 28 to a possible date in mid-to-late August.
Once a new date is announced, Morris County will communicate that information to residents.
Once the revised pFIRMS are released, meetings with the public will be scheduled by FEMA. The formal 90-day appeal period still is expected to begin in the fall.
Once finalized and adopted, these new maps will be used to review development plans countywide. They will be key to determining if flood insurance is required and the rates that property owners will pay to the National Flood Insurance Program.
In addition, the maps will help determine eligibility for disaster relief and mitigation funding, and will offer the best source of data for understanding flood risk in communities, especially when considering future development.
Until the new maps are adopted, the existing ones will remain in effect.
Morris County’s current FEMA maps are 24 to 45 years old. The updated maps originally were released in February of 2016, but the map adoption process was delayed due to neighboring Passaic County’s successful appeal of its new (pFIRMS) mapping.
As a result, FEMA had to revise its Morris County mapping in areas of the county that are contiguous with Passaic County.
Soon afterwards, Morris County launched a new website to inform and assist municipal officials and property owners who were in the process of reviewing the flood hazard maps provided by FEMA. When the new FEMA maps are posted later this month, Morris County will post them at https://morriscountynj.gov/planning/firms
The proposed new flood maps will be the standard of flood risk determination for many years.
As such, Morris County encourages flood-affected municipalities and property owners to monitor the upcoming map-adoption process, attend soon-to-be-announced public meetings, and to request changes if you believe the maps to be inaccurate.
Homeowners should make map revision requests to their municipalities, which will convey the information to FEMA.
The aforementioned Morris County website currently provides links to view initial maps, information about the map adoption process, and a myriad of resources available, including and contact information for officials at the federal and local levels. Specific pages are dedicated to municipal officials and homeowners.
FEMA sent paper copies of the 2016 preliminary maps to each municipality; these are available for review by the public. For municipal contact information, go to https://morriscountynj.gov/about/municipalities.
To speak directly to a FEMA map specialist, call (877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627) from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Questions also can be emailed to FEMA’s Mapping Center at [email protected], or to Jennifer McCulloch, Morris County Flood Mitigation Program Coordinator at [email protected]