Floodplains along Pequabuck, Quinnipiac may have shifted in new FEMA maps

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is charged with studying flood risks in the United States and creating maps that depict the nature and extent of the risk borne by residential and commercial structures in flood-prone areas. These at-risk areas are generally referred to as “floodplains.”

In Plainville, floodplains typically border rivers and streams. Plainville has two major rivers within its boundaries: the Quinnipiac and Pequabuck Rivers.  Both of these rivers have smaller tributaries. The floodplains along these rivers and several of their tributaries have been mapped by FEMA. The maps prepared by FEMA are referred to as Federal Insurance Rate Maps.

If you own a structure in or very near to a floodplain and have a mortgage on the property, your lender may require that you maintain flood insurance on the premises. If you do not have a mortgage on a property that lies in a high-risk area, you are well-advised to maintain flood insurance because any flood-related damage in these high-risk areas may not be covered under conventional insurance policies.

FEMA has announced that they have completed a multi-year study of the floodplains along the entire Quinnipiac River, a portion of the Pequabuck River, and some of their tributaries. FEMA has concluded that the floodplain boundaries of these rivers and streams require adjustment to more accurately reflect actual risk. Draft maps that show these revised boundaries are available for public inspection at the Plainville Municipal Center in both the Technical Services and Planning Departments.

A press release issued by the town explained “This is a significant occurrence. Homes and businesses that may have been located outside the floodplain might now be located within the floodplain. So while it appears that nothing has changed with regard to the landscape, FEMA research indicates that you may be at more or less risk for flooding than previous studies concluded. “

Town personnel may be able help you determine if the boundary on your property has shifted and if so, in what direction, said the press release, which added what town personnel cannot do is predict how your lender will react to this information. Mortgage lenders use FEMA mapping to determine risk and may or may not require that you maintain flood insurance based upon their internal procedures, said the release.  Town staff can also provide information as to how you can go about appealing FEMA’s ruling as well as providing you with contact information for FEMA representatives.

FEMA exercises considerable authority regarding flood risk assessment, said the news release. Their proposed map revisions will result in some property owners facing increased risk, while others may realize a decreased risk.

FEMA has named the Town of Plainville as the map repository for public inspection. The Town of Plainville urges any and all property owners that live or maintain a business in proximity to rivers and/or streams to stop into the Municipal Center to visit the Technical Services and/or Planning Departments to review these maps to determine if they might now be responsible for flood insurance, or if they no longer need flood insurance.

There is an appeal period for those wishing to contest FEMA’s findings. Information regarding how to go about submitting an appeal can be provided upon request. The appeal period ends May 11, 2016.

 

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