FEMA Releases Final Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New Orleans

The new maps remove many properties from Special Flood Hazard Areas, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency this week released final Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New Orleans that remove many properties from Special Flood Hazard Areas, the city's mayor, Mitch Landrieu, said. "The release of the finalized Flood Insurance Rate Maps for New Orleans ensures that required flood elevations are correctly mapped for our residents for the first time in years," he explained. "The city fought hard to guarantee the accuracy of these flood maps so that the actual risk was appropriately calculated. As a result of significant improvements in drainage and flood protection, flood insurance will be more affordable for many area residents. This success would not be possible without strong partnerships with FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, our congressional delegation and the local community."

The final map shows areas that have been changed from a Special Flood Hazard Area, "A zones," to a non-hazard areas, "X zones," because of the reconstruction of the hurricane risk reduction system and improvements made after Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage in the city in August 2005.

After the city receives the Letter of Final Determination from FEMA, the city has six months to formally adopt the maps. The city plans to adopt the final flood maps this summer and says this will save builders and renovators on insurance and construction costs. The New Orleans City Council is expected to vote in June or July on ordinances governing new construction as it relates to the final flood maps, according to the mayor's office.

In November 2015, FEMA ruled in favor of the city's appeal of the 2014 Revised Preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which incorrectly placed Algiers Point area within a flood hazard area and had not taken into account improvements completed by the city and Sewerage and Water Board since the revised maps were developed, according to the city, which says the city's Department of Safety and Permits is evaluating adjustment of the city's building code requirements for elevation to ensure maximum protection for people and property -- the city's building code currently requires structures to be built at least 18 inches above grade, which may not be the base flood elevation required by the new flood maps.

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