SCHUMER, MINER ANNOUNCE FEMA HEEDS THEIR CALL TO AMEND DRAFT FLOOD ZONE MAP USING UPDATED DATA – DECISION PREVENTS UP TO 150 PROPERTY OWNERS FROM BEING ADDED TO MAPS, INCURRING HIGH & UNNECESSARILY ONEROUS FLOOD INSURANCE COSTS
Following A Study by NYSDEC, Incorrect Data Was Identified in FEMA Flood Zone Proposals and 150 Properties Were To Be Included in FEMA’s Preliminary Flood Zone Map That Did Not Need To Be – Incorporating These Properties Could Have Forced Residents To Pay Up to $1,200 More Per Year in Flood Insurance Premiums
Schumer & Miner Brought New Information to Attention of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Who Will Delay the Release of the Maps By a Couple of Months And Incorporate the New Data; Now, Amended Maps Will Keep 150 Properties Out of Flood Zone
Schumer: Amended Flood Maps Mean Residents Initially Included in Flood Zone Based on Outdated Data Will No Longer Have to Worry About Potentially Devastating, Sky High, Unnecessary Premiums
United States Senator Charles E. Schumer and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner announced today that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) has heeded their call and will amend their draft flood zone maps to reflect new information discovered through a study performed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The review, called the “NYSDEC Onondaga Creek and Dam Study” found numerous discrepancies in FEMA’s measurement of the width and depth of the creek channel. Schumer and Miner explained that the flood maps that FEMA was planning to release incorporated 150 properties into the flood zone based on outdated information. In December, Schumer and Miner urged FEMA to incorporate this newly discovered data into its flood zone map in order to prevent these homes from being added to the flood zone unnecessarily, which would have meant the owners would be forced to pay onerous premiums of up to $1,200 per year in flood insurance.
“No family should be forced to buy costly flood insurance unless they truly need it, and this decision will save many local families from flood insurance costs of up to $1,200 per year,” said Senator Schumer. “We should not be making flood maps based on inaccurate information, and I am pleased that FEMA has finally agreed with that point. In December, I told FEMA it was unacceptable to gloss over outdated measurements that could lead to serious financial consequences for residents. Now these flood maps will be based on the most accurate, up-to-date information, meaning that property owners who should not have been included in the flood zone in the first place will no longer be left holding the bag.”
“This is a major victory for property owners and residents in the City of Syracuse and I am pleased that FEMA has made this decision,” said Syracuse Mayor Stephanie A. Miner. “It’s imperative that we ensure these maps are accurate and offer the best representation of the Creek. I appreciate FEMA taking the time to review their maps further and include this data and I appreciate Senator Schumer being a consistent advocate on the federal level on this issue.”
Schumer and Miner explained that FEMA was on the verge of releasing draft maps delineating which parcels in the City would be required to purchase flood insurance based on their data, which was taken from satellite imagery of the Creek. The NYSDEC study included data made by engineers who traversed the creek bed taking measurements in boats. In December, Senator Schumer and Mayor Miner stood together on the shores of Onondaga Creek in Syracuse’s Armory Square to push FEMA to delay the scheduled release of the maps so that FEMA could review the study and include the new data discovered in the NYSDEC study. That day, Senator Schumer sent a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate detailing the importance of FEMA’s attention to and incorporation of this critical information.
By incorporating this new information about the width and sediment in Onondaga Creek, and adjusting the maps to reflect the accurate potential for future flooding, Schumer and Miner said an additional 150 properties in the City of Syracuse could be taken out of the flood zone. Schumer said that preventing these 150 homes and properties from being added to the flood zone was critical, as those within the mapped zone could be forced to pay between $250 and $1,200 more per year in flood insurance premiums.
In December, Schumer and Miner said that while it is inevitable that some homes will end up in the FEMA flood zone, it is important that the homes and properties that do not need to be in the zone, or are only in there as a result of this inaccurate data, be removed before the new map is released.
Onondaga Creek is 27 miles long—nine miles of which is located inside the City of Syracuse. The Creek was built in the early 1900s and is concrete lined to carry water from the City to Onondaga Lake.