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Thread: Rezoning from flood zone to residential

  1. #1

    Rezoning from flood zone to residential

    I would like to know the procedure for requesting the rezoning
    of 'flood zone' land to residential land in Erie county???

    what is the process and the estimated time this process takes?


    susan dicarlo

  2. #2
    Dec 1997
    Huntington, West Virginia

    rezoning from flod zone to residential


    Actually, there is no rezoning of a flood zone from its current designation as "flood zone" to residential land. Floodplain land can be zoned residential in a zoning ordinance, but the floodplain zoning established through FEMA and a local floodplain management ordinance remains a strict underlying zone that governs all development and uses within that area. Unless you can prove to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency - those devious folks mentioned in the X-Files movie) that a particular piece of real estate is no longer susceptable to flooding by the BFE or 100-year frequency flood (through raising the site by filling, raising the structure by floodproofing or protection by structural means (floodwall or levee), that "rezoning" is not possible. Whatever the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for that area indicates is the flood susceptability of the property, remains so until you can prove otherwise. To quote an old baseball cliche, "Ain't nothin till FEMA calls it".

    The change process can occur in two ways. First way is referred to as a LOMA (letter of map amendment) that can apply to a single structure (needs a elevation certificate completed by a registered engineer or surveyor to show elevation of the site or structure). This request can be submitted by the structure owner to FEMA for a fee ($20-$30). The second way is a LOMR (letter of map revision) which can effect the actual FIRM for a larger area, but requires proof of this change through hydrualic analyses (HEC models) by a licensed engineer. Once the FIRM has been changed to indicate that a floodplain area is no longer susceptable to the BFE, then development can occur without regard to the FEMA requirements, but floodplain insurance should be carried to some extent. BEWARE, the FIRM and the floodplain insurance pertain mainly to the BFE or 100-year frequency flood (a flood greater than the BFE is always possible). Some structures such as hospitals and nursing homes need to be raised above the 500-year frequency flood level to qualify for an insurance break.

    The Erie County floodplain permitting officer can help you as well as the Corps of Engineers or FEMA office with this process. Good Luck

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