Glencoe Swale FIRM-Team update- May 12, 2017

Friends of Glencoe Swale met on May 6th. The focus of the meeting targeted problems created by the new floodplain map adopted by the City of Hillsboro late last fall. There is much concern for 44 homeowners who reside within the flood plain of our watershed. All could be experiencing financial hardships (to lesser and greater degrees) due to the new Flood Insurance Rating Map (FIRM) determinations for the Glencoe Swale sector of the map.

At a meeting held in April, homeowners identified problems they’ve experienced since November 4, 2016 because of the new FIRM.

Examples include:

  • Receipt of notification letters stating that FEMA requires the purchase of flood insurance because homes are now mapped into a Special Hazard Flood Area. Prior to the new FIRM, the mortgage lender did not require flood insurance for those properties.
  • Homeowners who currently carry flood insurance received renewal premiums much more expensive than expected. In one case, the premium went from $450.00 a year to $9,197.00! (That problem was remedied with a temporary solution after nearly two months of negotiation with the homeowner’s insurance company.)
  • Many homeowners have hired, or are in the process of hiring, a licensed surveyor to get an elevation certificate. If the measurement places the home above a FIRM base flood elevation, an application for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) will be made to FEMA. Once approved, the dwelling will be removed out of the flood zone and its pre-FIRM designation reinstated. That cancels the FEMA mandatory flood insurance requirement. The cost for this process ranges between $400 – $600. Letter of map change

Homeowners also expressed worries about future problems that could result if the new FIRM remains in place and is not revised (LOMR). Those included impact to real estate, and uncertainty about flood insurance premium rates.

WHAT NEXT?” is a complex question. On May 6th, meeting attendees informally formed a work group. Next steps and corresponding actions were identified for key concerns:

  • accuracy of the FIRM (specific to Glencoe Swale watershed),
  • impacts to real estate value and other property-related issues,
  • outreach to all affected property owners,
  • understanding financial aspects of flood premium determination,
  • how to eventually package information in a presentation format.

Team members volunteered to research these topics of concern. Two meetings are scheduled to continue problem-solving work:

  • May 23, 2017- share findings; determine next steps continue refining project plan (i.e. outreach, FIRM accuracy, presentation) project plan
  • June 7, 2017- project status, next steps.