CRC: Let’s talk flood maps

The rules will now go to a 60-day public comment period, running from Monday, Feb. 20, to Thursday, April 20.

ATLANTIC BEACH The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission wants to meet with the N.C. Division of Emergency Management to address potential problems the commission and its advisers have with the proposed federal flood insurance rate maps.

The CRC received an update Wednesday during its regular meeting from Gregory “Rudi” Rudolph,  County Shore Protection Manager and chairman of the CRC’s Coastal Resources Advisory Council, and Spencer Rogers, N.C. Sea Grant coastal construction and erosion specialist, on the results of a work group looking at the proposed, updated FIRMs. After their presentation, the CRC unanimously directed Division of Coastal Management staff to request a meeting with John Dorman of the DEM, who’s overseeing the flood mapping in North Carolina.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has produced the new maps, which are currently in the appeals process. Mr. Rudolph said the work group’s conclusion is the risks shown by the flood maps aren’t accurate to the actual areas at risk of flooding in many areas on the North Carolina coast.

“That may run at cross purposes to the CRC’s rules,” he said.  

This is a message that’s been made at other public meetings in Carteret County. Public officials who’ve reviewed the proposed FIRMs have said some of the maps aren’t accurate, showing a risk of flooding where there’s been no history of it, while designating areas prone to flooding as low or no risk.

Mr. Rudolph said a major part of the problem is the CRC isn’t in a position to tell FEMA how to fix the maps. He said the work group’s recommendation was to arrange a meeting with Mr. Dorman.  

Mr. Rogers said the CRC and the DEM have a mutual interest in identifying coastal hazards.

“They (DEM) are constrained by FEMAs flooding models and requirements,” he said. “That’s not something that can be easily fixed, but the CRC can try to address them. There are methods available today to help FEMA improved their (flood) modeling.”

While FEMA is currently taking appeals to the proposed FIRMs, Mr. Rudolph said the process isn’t designed to address the kind of widespread issues they have with the maps.

“The appeals process is very site-specific,” he said. “It’s not regional.”

In other news at the meeting, the CRC approved two fiscal analyses for proposed rules, which means the rules will go forward now to public hearings. One of these rules is procedures for the approval of development lines.

Development lines are an alternative the CRC has adopted for using the first line of stable vegetation for measuring setbacks on oceanfront property. The lines are created by local governments, with CRC approval. Read full article.