FEMA Urged To Clarify Changes To Navajo County Flood Plain Map

Arizona’s senators sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urging it to clarify changes to FEMA’s flood plain map for residents of Winslow, Arizona and Navajo County, many of whom will be impacted by these changes and may need to purchase flood insurance.

“As you are aware, the new FEMA flood plain map will be effective in March and there has been considerable confusion among residents regarding who is in the flood plain and who needs to purchase flood insurance,” write the senators. “[T]he cost of this insurance can be extremely burdensome for homeowners and small businesses and it appears that the revisions will actually result in a number of impacted parties no longer needing to purchase flood insurance. It is imperative that these stakeholders receive all necessary information and clarification concerning changes to their flood plain and that it is made clear who no longer needs to purchase flood insurance.”

The senators’ letter follows a letter sent by Winslow Mayor Robin Boyd earlier this week expressing concern about FEMA’s flood plain changes and their potential economic impact on city residents.

The senators’ letter reads:

Mr. Roy E. Wright
Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street S.W.
Washington, DC 20024

Dear Mr. Wright,

We wish to bring to your attention the attached letter from City of Winslow Mayor Robin Boyd, which reflects serious concerns that the residents of Winslow and Navajo County, Arizona, have regarding FEMA’s ability to make their communities aware of the revised flood requirements affecting these communities.

As you are aware, the new FEMA flood plain map will be effective in March and there has been considerable confusion among residents regarding who is in the flood plain and who needs to purchase flood insurance. As you know, the cost of this insurance can be extremely burdensome for homeowners and small businesses and it appears that the revisions will actually result in a number of impacted parties no longer needing to purchase flood insurance. It is imperative that these stakeholders receive all necessary information and clarification concerning changes to their flood plain and that it is made clear who no longer needs to purchase flood insurance.

With this in mind, we were grateful to learn about the public meeting the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted with the residents of Winslow on January 27, 2016, to discuss the impacts of the new flood plain map. We especially appreciate FEMA’s conveying to these residents its commitment to clarifying changes to Winslow’s flood plain and the potential economic impact it could have to all of relevant stakeholders, in particular, realtors, insurers and lenders to mitigate any confusion or financial burden these stakeholders might face.

Against this backdrop, please provide answers to the following questions:

1. How will FEMA clarify changes to Winslow’s flood plain to all of the relevant stakeholders to mitigate any confusion or financial burden that they may face?

2. Specifically, what actions will FEMA take to convey all necessary information? And what is the proposed timeline in which FEMA will carry out these actions?

Given the timeline on which the new flood plain will go in effect, we respectfully request that you provide these answers to us no later than February 5, 2016. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, in strict accordance will all existing rules, regulation, and ethical guidelines and we look forward to your timely reply.