As of early November FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) provided Old Orchard Beach with copies of the new Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).
FEMA conducted a coastal study and generated these new preliminary FIRMs with updated flood hazard risk information and flood zone boundaries. These preliminary FIRMs are available for viewing at the Planning and Code Department at Old Orchard Beach Town Hall as well as on the Town’s website using our on-line GIS mapping system: http://www.oobmaine.com/Pages/OldOrchardBeachME_WebDocs/gis
When using the GIS mapping system, it is possible to find individual properties and then use the “FEMA Draft 2013” layer to show the proposed floodplain maps and zones that may apply. You can compare the proposed maps to the existing by ticking on “FEMA Floodplains.” This displays the layer that is the current floodplain zones (See detailed directions below).
The specific timeline for reviewing, appealing, revising, and ultimately locally adopting these updated FIRMs, is not yet established, but the following are the steps the Town believes FEMA will take:
- It is the Town’s current understanding that FEMA intends to hold a meeting intended for the general public at a later date following the meeting with municipal officials, and that the general public meeting will be a single meeting for all York County municipalities.
- The Town is urging FEMA to instead conduct a meeting specifically for Old Orchard Beach residents, or at the least to have a joint meeting with Scarborough, because of the common experience with the Scarborough Marsh. In addition the Town is asking that FEMA not begin the 90-day appeal period until after the meeting for the general public is held. Notice on the Town website and in local newspapers and other media sources will be provided once the Town is sure of the date and time of a FEMA meeting.
- The 90-day appeal period is the timeframe allowed for property owners to submit appeals of various aspects of the preliminary FIRMSs, such as the proposed Base Flood Elevations, the extent of the flood zone designations and the like. Any appeals need to be submitted in a manner that follows the requirements as prescribed by FEMA. Old Orchard Beach will submit an appeal of certain aspects of the proposed new flood elevations. Property owners should not rely on the Town’s appeal but should determine independently if they wish to file an appeal specific to their property.
- After the appeal period and any resolution of the appeals, FEMA will issue a Letter of Final Determination (LFD). The LFD establishes the final FIRMs that the Town must adopt within six (6) months of issuance of the LFD.
Given the above, we anticipate the following steps and associated timelines: Municipal Officials Meeting could occur in January; a general Public Meeting could occur in February; a 90-day Appeal process could be roughly in the January thru April/May time period; a Letter of Final Determination in the spring or early summer of 2014; and FIRM adoption sometime during the first half of 2015. The exact schedule though will be dictated by FEMA as the process occurs.