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FEMA Preliminary Flood Maps
90-day Appeal Period Begins TENTATIVELY on March 19, 2021

FEMA published Preliminary Coastal Flood Maps for Florida Keys municipalities and Monroe County in late 2019. The Preliminary Flood Maps are proposed changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) that are used to determine the minimum elevation needed for construction to reduce the chances of flooding, as well as construction methods required in certain zones.

The 90-day Appeal Period for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Preliminary Flood Maps will begin tentatively on March 19, 2021.  Islamorada engaged technical consulting firm Woods Hole Group to analyze FEMA's work and evaluate the Village’s appeal options. When all appeals have been resolved, FEMA will give the Village six months advance notice before the new maps become effective.

Property owners are advised to be aware of the updated flood risk assessments and required flood elevations for structures on their property. The new FIRMs may assist individuals to make informed decisions about maintenance or modification to existing structures on their property as well for making decisions concerning potential new construction.

The community appeal being prepared by Islamorada’s technical consulting firm, Woods Hole Group, may be favorable to the community but does not focus on individual properties. The maps showing the areas that Woods Hole Group will be contesting on behalf of the Village should be available by early April. An updated release will be sent and a link to the maps will be posted on the Village website.

Any owner or lessee of property in Islamorada who believes his or her property rights will be adversely affected by the proposed flood hazard determinations by FEMA may appeal. Those with a property in an area that Woods Hole Group will be appealing on behalf of the Village may still wish to appeal. Individual property owners are welcome to hire an engineering consultant or other relevant professionals to help ensure individual property rights are protected. Only appeals of the proposed flood hazard determinations supported by scientific or technical data can be considered before FEMA makes its final flood hazard determination at the end of the 90-day appeal period.

Property owners using a private consultant to formulate an appeal are strongly encouraged to contact the Woods Hole Group prior to conducting the assessment to confirm appropriate input parameters.  For technical assistance with properly formulating an appeal for a property located within Islamorada, the engineering consultant can be contacted at femaislamorada@whgrp.com. The Village will consolidate all appeals for submittal to FEMA. An initial review fee from Woods Hole Group may be required. If you submit an appeal from a private consultant, there will be a fee of $400 - $800 to review the appeal. If additional scientific data is needed in your appeal application, the cost will be $2,500 - $6,000. Any fees will be remitted directly to Woods Hole Group.

In the coming months, FEMA will complete its review of all comments and appeals and publish the final Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The FINAL FIRMs are expected to become effective sometime in 2021 or 2022 at which time they will be used to determine the minimum elevation needed for construction as well as the construction methods required in certain zones.

Learn more about the preliminary maps.

Learn more about Flood Map Appeals.

Islamorada property owners may send questions to floodmanager@islamorada.fl.us