By Chuck Chase, CFM
Many floodplain administrators find themselves in a situation where a property owner wants to add on to a house or build a shed, and since they have a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) for the property, they feel they do not need a floodplain permit. A closer look at the LOMA reveals that it only covers a portion of the property, which is described in a paragraph of metes and bounds measurements. How is a typical floodplain administrator to determine if the portion of property to be developed was removed by the LOMA with only this complex written description?
It is appropriate to request the pertinent information from the property owner. The property owner or the surveyor hired should have copies of the LOMA package submitted to FEMA. If not, a floodplain administrator might request that the owner hire a surveyor to create the necessary site map based on the metes and bounds description from the LOMA document itself.
Some floodplain administrators have asked how to request the supplemental materials submitted with a LOMA, including a site map, directly from FEMA. Floodplain administrators can request this information for free. The form you need is the “FIS Data Request Form.” For the most part, there are two areas you want to make clear while filling out the form. You should make it clear that you are a community official and that you are requesting this information for floodplain management purposes. Next, make sure you clearly identify the property and LOMA in question. Attach a FIRMette and in the third block of the form, include the LOMA case number, the FIRM panel number, and refer to the attached FIRMette.
You could also request supplemental information for property covered by a LOMR-F. But, a property owner cannot get a LOMR-F without the community signing the Community Acknowledgement section. When you review LOMR-F proposals, make sure to keep a copy in your files. Doing so will help establish a record of exactly what was signed off on, in case the property owner modifies the plans or does not proceed as was specified when you signed the form.
You can find the FIS Data Request Form at this link or give us a call for help.