Do I need a building permit for pre-fabricated carports or storage buildings?
All carports and storage buildings over 256 square feet require a permit.
What factors determine flood insurance premiums?
A number of factors are used to determine flood insurance premiums, including the amount of coverage purchased, the deductible, location, age, occupancy, and type of building. For new buildings in floodplains, the elevation of the lowest adjacent grade (the lowest ground touching the structure), or lowest floor relative to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) will also be used to rate the policy.
How can I purchase flood insurance?
A policy may be purchased from any licensed property insurance agent or broker who is in good standing in the State in which the agent is licensed or through any agent representing a Write Your Own (WYO) company. Call 1-800-720-1093 or visit http://floodsmart.gov to find a flood insurance agent near you.
Will LOMAs issues under the Old Map be valid under the New Map?
When a new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) become effective, it automatically supersedes previously issued Letters of Map Amendment (LOMAs). Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs), and other map changes that have been issued for structures and properties on the revised FIRM panels. Recognizing that some map changes may still be valid even though the flood hazard information on the FIRM have been updated, FEMA has established a process for revalidating such map changes.
How can I request an LOMA?
To obtain a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), the requester must complete a LOMA application form that is downloadable from: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/fhm/dl_mt-ez.shtm. For a LOMA to be issued removing a structure from the Special Flood Hazard Area, federal regulations require the lowest adjacent grade be at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). There is no fee for FEMA's review of the LOMA request, but the requester of a LOMA must provide all the information needed for a review. Elevation information certified by a licensed surveyor is often required if an elevation certificate is not available.
What is the NFIP?
Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) due to escalating costs to taxpayers for flood disaster relief. The NFIP is based on the agreement that if a community practices sound floodplain management, the Federal Government will make flood insurance available to residents in that community. FEMA maps include the Special Flood Hazard Area provided that it complies with local floodplain ordinances that meet NFIP criteria.
Is there any recourse if I do not agree with the new map?
Although FEMA uses the most accurate flood hazard information available, limitations of scale or topographic definition of the source maps used to prepare the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) may cause small areas that are at or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to be inadvertently shown within Special Flood Hazard Area boundaries. Such situations may exist in Prince George County. For these situations, FEMA established the Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) process to remove such structures from the Special Flood Hazard Area.
What if a structure is shown in a different flood zone on the New Map?
The new map will not affect continuing insurance policies for a structure built in compliance with local floodplain management regulations and the flood map in effect at the time of construction. However, should the structure be substantially improved or substantially damaged (where damages or improvements reach 50% or more of the predamage market value) the entire structure will have to be brought into compliance with the floodplain requirements and the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in effect at the time any repairs take place.
What happens after an Appeal Period?
FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination and then provide the community with six months to adopt up-to-date floodplain management ordinances. If the floodplain ordinances in effect are satisfactory, they can be submitted in their current form. If ordinances need to be updated, communities should seek assistance from their State NFIP Coordinator or the FEMA office in Philadelphia. After the six-month compliance period, the new Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and Flood Insurance Rate Map will become effective.
What is an appeal?
Some flood studies result in new or revised Base Flood Elevations (BFEs). During the 90-day appeal period, community officials and others may object to the accuracy of the proposed BFEs. According to Federal Regulations, "The sole basis of appeal... shall be the possession of knowledge or information indicating that the elevations proposed by FEMA are scientifically or technically incorrect." Communities should coordinate4 with the FEMA Philadelphia office before submitting an appeal.
What is a Protest?
Challenges received during the appeal period that do not address proposed Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are considered protests. Protests include, but are not limited to: challenges of floodplain boundary delineations based on more detailed topographic data; challenges of proposed regulatory floodway boundaries based on better modeling; request that a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F), or LOMR be incorporated; base map errors; and omissions. Appeals and protests must be supported by scientific or technical data, provide proof of error, and provide sufficient data to make revisions. Certification of data by a Registered Professional Engineer or Licensed Land Surveyor may be required.
How do I find out if a structure or property is located in the Special Flood Hazard Area?
You can locate a building or lot by consulting the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), or by contacting the Prince George County Department of Planning and Zoning at (804)722-8678.
For help interpreting a FIRM, telephone the FEMA Map Assistance Center (FMAC) at 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627).
Why are the maps being updated?
All communities within Prince George County are now being shown on a single set of countywide FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Map). The flood hazards are shown on an updated orthophoto base map that will greatly improve the accuracy of floodplain determinations.
What is a FIRM?
When FEMA maps flood hazards in a community or county, two products are produced -- a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report and a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). An FIS is a narrative report of the community's flood hazards that contains prior flooding information, descriptions of the flooding sources, information on flood protection measures, and a description of the hydrologic and hydraulic methods used in the study. A FIRM illustrates the extent of flood hazards in a community by depicting flood risk zones and the Special Flood Hazard Area, and is used with the FIS report to determine the floodplain development regulations that apply in each flood risk zone and who must buy flood insurance. FIRMs also depict other information including Base (1% annual chance) Flood Elevations (BFEs) or flood depths, floodways, and common physical features such as roads.