New Castle, DE – New Castle County reminds landowners that November 12 is the deadline to appeal or comment on updated federal flood risk maps that are set to take effect next year. Appeals and comments may be submitted in writing with supporting documentation to the New Castle County Land Use Department, New Castle County Government Center, 87 Reads Way, New Castle, DE 19720, or by e-mail to [email protected] (please include “Flood risk map appeal” or “Flood risk map comment” in subject line). To be considered, submissions must be received by the close of business on November 12.
Federal flood risk maps provide 100-year flood risk information for watersheds statewide and revised draft preliminary maps released earlier this year include several New Castle County streams that had not previously been mapped for flood risk. As the local land use and planning agency, New Castle County’s Land Use Department is working with the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to alert landowners affected by proposed changes in the maps and provide information to those who have flood risk, flood mitigation and insurance-related questions.
“Our goal is to prepare in every way for emergencies,” County Executive Matt Meyer said. “When there is an unexpected flood, communities and property owners should be prepared, and viewing and understanding these flood maps is part of that effort.”
This past May, New Castle County notified 6,300 landowners whose properties lie within or adjacent to floodplain boundaries and provided personalized property maps to help them compare floodplain boundaries on the current maps and the proposed preliminary maps. On May 23, staff from New Castle County, DNREC, and FEMA met with 360 landowners at an open house to answer their questions about the draft federal flood risk maps. On June 15, FEMA released revised preliminary flood risk maps that reflected three minor neighborhood modifications to its original drafts. During a 90-day appeal period that began on August 15, any landowner or lease holder who believes his or her property rights will be adversely affected by an updated flood risk map can submit a written appeal to New Castle County’s Land Use Department. New Castle County will forward appeals it receives by the November 12 deadline to FEMA for consideration.
Please note: Under federal law the sole basis for an appeal is knowledge or information that a proposed flood risk map is scientifically or technically incorrect.
The updated floodplain maps, when finalized by FEMA or federal authorities, will guide federal, state and local floodplain management measures across New Castle County. The final revised floodplain maps are expected to become effective in the Fall of 2018.
Residents with questions should contact John Gysling, New Castle County Floodplain Administrator in the Department of Land Use at (302) 395-5400.
- Spring, 2017 preliminary updated flood risk maps, including a search function to review individual property parcels: www.de.gov/floodplanning
- June 15, 2017 FEMA revisions to preliminary updated flood risk maps: www.fema.gov/preliminaryfloodhazarddata.
- How to file a flood risk map appeal through New Castle County: www.nccde.org/699/Engineering
Floodplain land use planning and flood insurance
FEMA’s flood risk maps are used to establish insurance rates and by local communities to develop and enforce local floodplain codes. New Castle County’s flood ordinance includes higher floodplain development standards, such as building elevation, additional setbacks, limiting development in the floodplain and flood resistant foundation designs.
Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage incurred by flooding, however, all property owners can purchase flood insurance and FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to local property owners. Homeowners interested in how the proposed changes could impact the cost of their flood insurance premium should contact their insurance agent. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated special flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan.
Contact: Jason Miller, Director of Communications, 302-545-1462