FEMA - Special Flood Hazard Area Map Info

The U. S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has proposed changes to the FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area Map that may affect 2500+ properties in Orange County. The county mailed notifications to affected property owners pursuant to §15.2-976 of the Code of Virginia. The appeals period through FEMA is currently open for property owners who wish to dispute proposed changes to their flood hazard risk designation.

Questions about flood maps and flood insurance should be directed to FEMA by visiting the National Flood Insurance Program website, contacting the FEMA Call Center at (877) FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627),  or by live chat service (Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time). Orange County is also providing a link to the Preliminary National Flood Hazard data, here. Comments or questions should be submitted to FEMAfloodmap@orangecountyva.gov no later than November 25, 2020. Planning Services staff will forward FEMA comments and technical appeals received by noon on November 25, 2020.  Please note that comments and concerns will be read by FEMA but not used to justify any map changes. Technical appeals must include scientific technical data, such as newer topographic data signed by a Professional Engineer or Licensed Professional Surveyor that shows different elevations than FEMA used, or any other scientific data (such as other surveys or hydrology) that proves that FEMA’s modeling and mapping is incorrect. FEMA will make determinations regarding those technical appeals, i.e., decide whether mapping should be changed.

Appeals for specific properties should be transmitted to FEMA before December 2, 2020.Existing structures that are brought into a newly established flood zone will not have to be brought up to the flood zone building standards. However, any addition(s) to existing homes would have to be built to the new flood zone requirements. If an existing home is damaged by fire, storm, etc., restoration of the structure would have to comply with the new flood requirements.

New construction must provide for occupied floors to be one (1) foot above the 100-year flood zone, which would eliminate the building of basements below grade in flood hazard areas. The elevation shall be the higher of the following:

(1) The base flood elevation at the depth of the peak elevation of flooding, including wave height, that has a one percent (100-year flood) or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year; or

(2) The elevation of the design flood associated with the area designated on a flood hazard map adopted by the community, or otherwise legally designated.

Additionally, revised requirements for manufactured homes (new or replacement), tanks above or below ground, and electrical, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, plumbing, duct systems, and other service equipment shall apply. A registered design professional must prepare and seal documentation of elevations.

For additional information, please contact Sandra Thornton, Planning Services Manager at (540) 672-4347.