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Alexandrians have 90 days to appeal revised preliminary flood maps

The following press release was published today by the City of Alexandria.

Property owners have 90 days to appeal the revised preliminary Special Flood Hazard Area maps drafted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that determine the obligation for flood insurance.

This is the second round of appeals.

FEMA published preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report on September 30, 2020. The City submitted appeals citing five mapping locations during the appeal process last year. Three of the appeals were accepted by FEMA, and FEMA reverted their proposed changes to the current mapping in those areas. Six individuals submitted appeals through the City, all of which were rejected. Based on the accepted appeals, FEMA revised its preliminary maps and sent them to the City with a second 90-day appeal window that begins on December 15.

The revised preliminary documents include proposed flood hazard information for certain locations in the City that will be the basis for the floodplain management measures the City must adopt and serve as evidence for homeowners to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

According to FEMA’s revised preliminary maps, locations included in the FIRMs are near Holmes Run, Backlick Run, South Lucky Run, Four Mile Run, Marine Drive, Strawberry Run, Cameron Run, Old Cameron Run Channel, Hooffs Run and Union Street.

FEMA last made changes to Alexandria’s effective maps in 2011. About 20% of the City is mapped as a floodplain.

FEMA flood maps help communities to build safely and resiliently by informing communities about local flood risk and setting minimum floodplain standards. Map changes occur to reflect how water flows and drains, such as increased flood risk with natural forces like warming climates and decreased flood risk as communities build levees and dams.

Individuals may submit an appeal to the City if they believe the modeling or data used to create the revised preliminary map are technically or scientifically incorrect. The City will consolidate appeals into one appeal to FEMA.

All appeal submittals will be resolved by consultation with officials from the City, by an administrative hearing or by submission of the conflicting data to an independent scientific body or appropriate federal agency for advice. FEMA will finalize the flood hazard information presented on the revised FIRMs and FIS report and establish an effective date in its Letter of Final Determination after the 90-day appeal period.

Until the revised FIRMs become effective, the current NFIP map in the City will be available for flood insurance policies.

Questions or appeals can be submitted via email to [email protected] or by mail to Brian Rahal, P.E., CFM, Transportation & Environmental Services, 2900 Business Center Drive, Suite B, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Appeals must be received by the City of Alexandria by 5 p.m., March 1, for submission to FEMA.

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