January 6, 2017
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — Many residents will see lower flood insurance bills thanks to the town’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Study Committee.
FEMA, a federal hazard prevention and response agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accepted a letter of map revision (LOMR) that will change previously mapped flood zones.
As a result of the revisions, some homeowners will be removed from flood zones while others will get lower flood rates, said Enzo Barile, selectman and chairman of the committee.
“FEMA agreed with our analysis on the town and lowered the base flood elevation in some spots by 15 feet,” Barile said. “We all feel very good about it. It was a group effort and we did a good job. We got the funding for it and we pushed it through. FEMA really admitted that they made a mistake.”
The maps were completed in 2012 and rezoned two years later, changing the elevations and adding at least 50 houses to the flood zone. Barile and the committee believed the maps were incorrect and failed to accurately represent the flood risk for the different areas.
The Board of Selectmen voted to fund the remapping of flood zones and have a LOMR written last fall.
Flood zones are categorized into either “velocity,” the highest risk for flooding, “A” or “X,” low risk for flooding.
Barile said the typical cost for food insurance is between $500 and $2,000 annually. But some residents are paying as much as $11,000, and for many, the insurance is unnecessary.
Woods Hole Group, a Falmouth-based international environmental, scientific and engineering consulting organization, was hired to write the revision letter.
The LOMR is FEMA’s modification to an effective flood insurance map or flood boundary and floodway map. They are generally based on the implementation of measures that affect or improve the hydrologic or hydraulic characteristics.
The town notified 52 households of the change. Once they respond that they’ve received notification, town employees can tell FEMA. Three months later, residents should see a difference on their bills, Barile said.
Barile will be at Nahant Town Hall on Friday, Jan. 13 and Jan. 20 from noon to 3 p.m. to review maps with residents and answer questions.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.