The Norman Transcript

Local news

August 13, 2008

City adopts more precise flood maps; measure could improve flood rating

Norman city councilmembers approved by a 7-0 vote the 10th revision to the City's floodplain ordinance in the ordinance's 33-year history at Tuesday night's meeting.

The ordinance was revised to accept recently reexamined flood zones from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the new Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map or DFIRM.

"We are surrounded by channels and streams and these are what get mapped," said Shawn O'Leary, public works director.

O'Leary said the new maps will be available to property owners as up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about the flood hazard risk to their properties.

The updated maps are being done by FEMA across the nation.

O'Leary said the City sent letters June 20 to homeowners who had some kind of change in zoning to their properties -- some newly in the flood zone and some newly out.

He said the city should get a better floodplain rating with the new, more precise maps.

"It's the first time we've gone digital," he said.

O'Leary said the benefits of the new DFIRM include that they can be integrated with the City's Geographical Information System or GIS and the flood boundaries are easy to revise when a Letter of Map Amendment or LOMA or Letter of Map Revision or LOMR is approved and accepted by FEMA.

The City plans to apply for FEMA's Community Rating System.

"The goals of the CRS are to reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance ratings and promote the awareness of flood insurance," O'Leary wrote in a memorandum to councilmembers. "The CRS has been developed to provide incentives for communities to go beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements to develop extra measures to provide protection from flooding."

He wrote that the incentives are in the form of insurance premium discounts ranging from 5 to 45 percent on every policy.

Councilmembers Hal Ezzell and Jim Griffith were absent from the meeting.

Carol Cole-Frowe 366-3538 ccole@normantranscript.com

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