Local residents now able to review newly proposed flood maps

MANISTEE COUNTY — Manistee County residents are now able to review newly proposed flood maps generated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

FEMA representatives held an open house on Tuesday in Manistee County to address the recently completed preliminary flood insurance study and preliminary flood insurance rate maps, which could change a property owner’s flood risk and insurance rates. Residents are encouraged to find out if their homes or businesses are within the floodplain.

Those in attendance included various local, state and federal agencies who explained flood risk, flood insurance, floodplain development regulations and the process for floodplain mapping within Manistee County.

Ken Hinterlong, senior engineer of the Mitigation Division, FEMA Region Five, said right now they are going through a process that allows for public comment and review.

Local residents are now able to view newly proposed flood maps generated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Pictured are resources for property owners and lenders on FEMA. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

“We have met this afternoon with the communities and we also communicated in writing with all communities in this county,” Hinterlong said. “We are improving data based on available technology and the newest wind and surge data that are available lake-wide and region-wide. This is a system study of the Great Lakes and Manistee is just one of 80 counties along that Great Lakes that need updating.”

The study and maps provide base flood information — also known as the 1% annual chance event, designate areas subject to significant hazards within the county, and offer information that public officials may use when permitting development in the floodplain.

Manistee County is receiving its first-ever modernized map.

“This is the first time that this county has received a county-wide, modernized map,” Hinterlong said. “You can go in there and drill in and look at different layers, you can look at aerial photos and go high resolution and look at your structure. We have got an overlay of the new flood hazards for Lake Michigan together with Manistee Lake and the Manistee River. We have Portage Lake and Arcadia Lake, as well.”

After the preliminary flood map is released, there will be an advertised 90-day appeal and comment period. During this time, anyone may submit an appeal to their community officials to change the maps, along with supporting technical materials that will be forwarded to FEMA for resolution.  FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination to communities after an appeal is resolved.

There will be a six-month adoption period before the new maps become effective.

“We are going to have a 90-day appeal and comment process starting early next year,” Hinterlong said. “We will be notifying all township supervisors, county officials and the mayors. We will finalize the maps by late 2020 or by early 2021, and these maps will be effective.”

Once a new flood map takes effect, residents who believe their property should not be within a high-risk flood zone can request a Letter of Map Amendment, and provide elevation data and survey information for further review.

“The maps are just a baseline or a starting point, because there’s always erosion and there’s always larger events that could overtake the current map,” Hinterlong said. “Communities have to understand now what we are doing, but most property owners will not be directly involved until months from now.”

FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center is the official public source for flood hazard information produced in support of the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA flood maps are continually updated.

Once the maps become effective they will be used as the basis for flood insurance, and local flood protection regulations adopted under the National Flood Insurance Program. Hinterlong said FEMA also intends for the documents to be used for flood management purposes.

For more information, visit the FEMA Flood Map Change Viewer at msc.fema.gov/fmcv.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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