Your property in the Town of Danby may be subject to flood insurance requirements based on updated FEMA flood insurance rate maps. Find out more by reading this information.
LOCAL FEMA OPEN HOUSE EVENTS April 26 & 27
FEMA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Tompkins County community officials invite residents to two Flood Risk and Insurance Open Houses on:
Residents can attend at any time between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m., for any length of time, the events will not have formal presentations. At the events, community members will be able to talk one-on-one with FEMA representatives, to learn more about their flood risk and to get information on potential changes to flood insurance rates and requirements. If you already have flood insurance, please bring a copy of your declaration page.
A link to the preliminary floodplain map for Tompkins County is available on the Department of Planning and Sustainability’s FEMA flood information website. On the preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), the 1% Annual Chance of Flood Hazard Area (also referred to as the 100-year floodplain) represents the geographic areas where flood insurance will be required for properties with federally backed mortgages. The 0.2% Annual Chance of Flood Hazard Area (also referred to as the 500-year floodplain) represents areas where insurance will not be required. Residents can also see preliminary versions of the Flood Insurance Study report and the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) here.
Assistance will be available at the Open Houses to help residents use these maps.
After the open house events, there will be a 90-day opportunity for members of the community to make an appeal related to a new or updated floodplain boundary, though technical and/or engineering information must be provided to substantiate an appeal.
Background Information on FIRMs, How Might it Impact You?
Due to FEMA identifying the need to modernize the existing 1980s-era Flood Insurance Rate Maps, Tompkins County will receive updated maps resulting in flood insurance requirements for property owners in affected areas as well as updates to existing flood damage prevention regulations at the municipal level. Municipalities will be required to adopt the new maps to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows residents to purchase insurance through the program.
The updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps identify new geographic areas of the County as susceptible to flooding. Map changes can be due to several factors including changes in the topography and land uses in those areas, surface alterations (i.e., paved surfaces increasing the potential for water runoff), updated storm and rain gauge data, and changes to flood control channels. FEMA began the process to determine the updated maps for Tompkins County in 2014.
Due to these map changes, some properties in Tompkins County may be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area, for the first time. Community members should know their current flood risk and use the available tools and programs to make their property and community safer.Flood insurance will be newly required for properties with federally backed mortgages that are in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Residents are encouraged to review the preliminary maps and to learn more about flood insurance. FEMA recommends that residents speak with their insurance broker or visit https://www.floodsmart.gov/ for more information. The insurance requirement begins within 12 months of the effective date of the maps (effective date is yet to be determined, sign up for email updates to stay up to date). Some properties may be eligible for discounted insurance rates after being newly included in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Additional discounts may be available if a municipality participates in the Community Rating System, a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) .
Property owners may purchase insurance through the NFIP. The program is designed to cover damage in addition to limited disaster assistance programs in the case of a flooding event. The program is available regardless of whether your property is located in a flood zone. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
With a high percentage of rental properties in Tompkins County, renters are encouraged to consider contents-only flood insurance, which can help protect items inside of a unit in the event of a flood.
The Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability is managing a website with updated information on flood risk and FIRMs.
For information regarding the City of Ithaca’s FIRMs and flood mitigation, visit their web page.
More Information and Follow-up from March 8, 2023 Public Officials Briefing
Tompkins County and other municipal officials attended a presentation on March 8 offered by representatives from the FEMA Region 2 office on the topic of floodplain mapping and the timeline for implementation of new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the County. Present with FEMA were New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) engineers, floodplain management officials from New York State, and representatives from the organizations who completed the local mapping.
Representatives from FEMA briefed local officials on flood insurance and local ordinance options for municipalities with affected areas. Representatives informed local officials that after the open house events, there will be a 90-day opportunity for members of the community to make an appeal related to a new or updated floodplain boundary, though technical and/or engineering information must be provided to substantiate an appeal.
The Flood Insurance Rate Maps are also used by municipalities for planning purposes including hazard mitigation efforts. Tompkins County recently created a resiliency and recovery plan, which includes floodplain management resources and the hazard mitigation plan and can be found online at: https://tcgov.co/Resiliency. During the March 8 event, New York State DEC representatives also spoke about the responsibilities of municipalities that wish to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, which allows residents to purchase insurance through the program. Municipal responsibilities include developing and enforcing building standards (codes), flood damage prevention ordinances, designating a local Floodplain Administrator (typically a code enforcement or planning professional), designating a local appeals board, and requiring local floodplain development permits of all new construction in the flood zone.
For Open House questions, reach out to FEMA’s outreach lead, Lisa Blake, at Lisa.Blake@mbakerintl.com.
To request a reasonable accommodation for the open house events (sign language, real-time captioning or other), please email Michael.Foley3@fema.dhs.gov or
FEMA-CivilRightsOffice@fema.dhs.gov, or call (833) 285-7448, FEMA’s Civil Rights Resource Line.
To learn more or to access the flood maps, visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center at msc.fema.gov.
Visit floodsmart.gov to learn about flood insurance.
Visit the Tompkins County Department of Planning and Sustainability FEMA Flood Information website for updated information on flood risk and FIRMs: https://tompkinscountyny.gov/flood-info
Visit the City of Ithaca website for information on FIRMs and flood mitigation plans and activities: https://www.cityofithaca.org/764/FEMA-Flood-Risk-Information
You may also contact a map specialist at the FEMA Mapping and Insurance eXchange (FMIX) at (877) 336-2627 or FEMA-FMIX@fema.dhs.gov.