The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) works with communities to develop flood zone maps. Too often, properties with zero history of flooding are inaccurately mapped as located in a flood zone, while in truth they are not.
In my experience, Santa Barbara’s flood department has knowledge of critical property elevation information that can justify, or not, the expense of a professional survey, which is the only way for anyone to establish flood zone accuracy. As it stands, inaccurate flood-zone mapping forces years and decades of unnecessary flood insurance premiums, which no one refunds if a property is found to actually be outside a flood zone.
Speaking about an area of Long Island that had the wrong map overlaid on it, Senator Chuck Schumer concluded, “They’ve got to revamp the whole program; it’s one big mess. What we’re trying to say to FEMA is: Stop. Stop and come up with a better way to do this, not using wrong maps to include people in flood insurance who are never going to have a flood.”
For the county, having properties correctly located outside flood zones would mean they pay property taxes based on their true market value.