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Map Appeal, Flood Insurance, and Letter of Map Amendment

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(Updated on March 13, 2020)

The current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood hazard maps known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are effective as of November 4, 2016.  FEMA released on December 31, 2019, preliminary draft FIRMs in the City of North Port and Sarasota County to incorporate storm surge, high tides, wave action in addition to freshwater inputs. These preliminary draft FIRMs dated December 31, 2019, and can indicate whether your property’s flood risk has changed.  Property owners are encouraged to review these FIRMs on the City’s Web page entitled “FEMA Flood Map Updates

EFFECTS OF FLOOD MAP CHANGES ON FLOOD INSURANCE 

If the FIRMs show a change in flood zone or base flood elevation, property owners are encouraged to discuss insurance requirements with their insurance agents and mortgage company or lender. If there is a mortgage on the building structure, the lender decides whether flood insurance is required or not.  If there is no mortgage on the building structure, the need for flood insurance is up to the property owner.  FEMA has an informative brochure on flood insurance and grandfathering criteria to retain existing FIRM flood zone and 100-year storm base flood elevation (BFE). Click here to view the brochure.

PERIOD OF PUBLIC COMMENT AND MAP APPEAL

The public is encouraged to review the new preliminary draft FIRMs and provide comments/appeals within a 90-day period designated by FEMA.  This 90-day period starts after FEMA publish 2 advertisements in the local newspaper and one notice in the Federal Register.  The start of this 90-day period is unknown but will be provided on this webpage when available.

HOW TO FILE PUBLIC COMMENT AND MAP APPEAL

Property owners may formally appeal the new maps with FEMA.  Appeals must include technical data and/or detailed engineering analysis.  Just disagreeing with the map with no technical data or engineering analysis, will not qualify for an appeal. 

A written comment / map appeal plus supporting documentation, can be emailed to the FEMA’s consultant AECOM.  The City of North Port Stormwater Manager should be copied on the email.

LETTER OF MAP CHANGES (LOMC)

If structures, parcels of land or portions thereof are elevated higher than the BFE, a request can be made to FEMA for removal of these from the high risk flood zone AE, via the following Letter Of Map Changes (LOMC)

  • LOMA  - Letter of Map Amendment
  • LOMR-F - Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill
  • CLOMR-F - Conditional Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill
  • LOMA-OAS - Letter Of Map Amendment Out As Shown 

Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)

LOMA is applicable if a property/building structure was built before the effective date of the new FIRMs and is higher than the new BFE.  An Elevation Certificate or signed/sealed as-built survey must be available showing the property/ building structure is higher than the BFE.  For a building structure to be removed out of the flood zone AE, the lowest adjacent grade (LAG) to the building structure must be higher than the BFE.

It is preferable that the owner file for a LOMA after the maps are effective.  The Property owner can file for a LOMA now until the end of the 90-day comment/appeal period, but FEMA will not approve the LOMA until the new FIRMs are effective.  This is because FEMA cannot approve a LOMA based on a draft map.  Note LOMA is a no-fee application to FEMA.

In the current effective November 4, 2016 FIRMs, the majority of North Port properties located north of US 41 and east of the Myakka River, were based on early 2004 topographic data. Building structures that were constructed after the 2004 topographic data, may be built higher on fill but are still shown within the flood zone AE in the November 4, 2016 FIRMs.   

For properties south of US 41 and west of the Myakka River, both the November 4, 2016 effective FIRMs and the new preliminary draft December 31, 2019 FIRMs, were prepared based on 2007 topography. 

Building structures constructed later than the date of the topography used for the mapping, that were elevated on fill, may still be shown as in the high risk flood zone AE in the revised maps. These property owners may submit a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) to FEMA with survey data showing the property has been raised higher than the BFE in the revised maps.   The survey, in the form of an Elevation Certificate, will need to be submitted to show the lowest adjacent grade or LAG (the lowest ground touching the building structure) to be above the BFE.  The property owner will need to retain the services of a licensed land surveyor to prepare the Elevation Certificate.  FEMA will also accept signed and sealed as-built survey.

Instructions for submitting a LOMA, can be found at https://www.fema.gov/letter-map-amendment-letter-map-revision-based-fill-process

Letter of Map Revision (LOMR-F) and Conditional LOMR (CLOMR-F)

LOMR-F - is applicable if a property/building structure was built after the effective date of the FIRM, and fill is added to the site to raise it higher than the BFE.  An Elevation Certificate or signed/sealed as-built survey must be available showing the property/building structure is higher than the BFE.  For a building structure to be removed out of the flood zone AE, the lowest adjacent grade (LAG) to the building structure must be higher than the BFE.  LOMR-F has a FEMA processing fee and must be signed by the City of North Port Building Official.  The LOMR-F application uses the MT-1 form available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/31858.

CLOMR-F – Conditional Letter of Map Revision is based on future added Fill.  The CLOMR-F has a FEMA processing fee and must be signed by the City of North Port Building Official.  The CLOMR-F application uses the MT-1 form available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/31858.

Letter of Map Amendment Out As Shown (LOMA-OAS) 

If your building structure is not in the flood zone AE and you will like a written confirmation from FEMA, you may consider filing for a no-fee LOMA-OAS.  LOMA-OAS is a determination made by the FEMA for the property and/or building structure as to whether it is located within flood zone AE. Only use this method if it is clear from the FIRM that the structure in not in the flood zone AE. Instructions are available at  http://www.floods.org/ace-files/documentlibrary/committees/Insurance/LOMA-OAS_Instructions-KS.pdf.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES 

Following are additional resources for questions on the appeal process, flood mapping and flood insurance.