Residents of Ontario County gathered at Richmond Town Hall for an open house hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding updates to flood insurance rate maps. The revisions reflect the first major changes since the maps were initially developed over several decades ago.
The session aimed to inform community members about the proposed map changes, which could significantly impact insurance requirements and rates for many property owners.
The updated maps, released in July 2023, suggest that around 200 properties may be removed from the high-risk flood zone. However, nearly 3,000 additional properties are identified as high-risk for the first time, potentially mandating new flood insurance purchases for those affected. The adjustments come in response to a history of flooding in Ontario County, with a recorded 56 flood events since 1996 causing upwards of $20 million in damages.
FEMA representatives, including resiliency specialist Thomas Song, provided insights on flood risks, changing insurance rates, and measures residents can take. Song emphasized the importance of being prepared for flooding, which he described as the top natural disaster in New York State. A formal 90-day appeal period will be announced soon, allowing property owners to contest or comment on the new flood zone designations. Additionally, FEMA will conduct another open house on Thursday at the Canandaigua Safety Training Facility to further community engagement on this crucial issue.
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