New FEMA Flood Zones for Lee County
Became Effective August 28, 2008
Notice - Zoning Resolutions, Development Orders may be affected by FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (Effective Aug. 28, 2008)
Learn about Flood Maps
Lee County Commissioners amended the county’s Flood Hazard Ordinance effective Aug. 28, 2008 to reflect the adoption of new federal Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
As part of its nationwide updating of flood maps, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has completed the first comprehensive review of flood zones throughout Lee County in 22 years. These zones determine flood insurance rates and base flood elevations for construction. By adopting these new maps, Lee County assures that FEMA will help us in emergencies and provide flood insurance coverage for county residents. Flood insurance premiums for residents in unincorporated Lee County are discounted by 25 percent because of our Level Five participation in FEMA’s Community Rating System.
As a result of the revised flood zones, Lee County property owners may experience these changes:
Flood insurance might be required and insurance rates might change. Throughout Lee County, about 195 square miles was added to the Special Flood Hazard Area in 2008. Property in these areas has a 1 percent annual chance of being flooded, according to FEMA’s flood models. Within the hazard area, any property with a federally backed mortgage must be protected with a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Private mortgage companies might also require flood insurance for properties in the hazard area. Insurance rates vary according to zones within the Special Flood Hazard Area and the elevation and value of property. In addition, some areas of the county are no longer in the Special Flood Hazard Area, and property owners in those areas might choose to drop or reduce their flood insurance. Property owners are urged to check their status under the new maps.
Learn About Flood Insurance Premiums
Search for Elevation Certificates Online
There are new floodways. For the first time in Lee County, FEMA included most interior rivers, creeks and other flowways in the new maps. As a result, Lee County now has nearly 19 square miles of interior floodways in which construction, including placing fill, is restricted. Anyone who plans to build in a floodway must demonstrate that there will be no impact on flood waters before obtaining a permit. Permits to be issued for projects with already-approved Zoning Resolutions and Development Orders may still be subject to special conditions as a result of these new maps. Anyone with an interest in a parcel that is in a newly designated floodway is urged to contact Lee County to discuss the impact these maps may have on Zoning Resolutions, Development Orders or building permits. Call Joan LaGuardia at (239) 533-8705 or e-mail email@example.com.
Owners of parcels in regulatory floodways may submit an application to FEMA for a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) to remove the entire parcel or specific structures from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). The LOMC may be based either on proof that the elevation of the parcel or its structures meets or exceeds the base flood elevation or the LOMC may be based on a correction of the floodway model.
Learn about FEMA’s Map Change (LOMC) Process
View revised panels from recent LOMC cases
If the parcel does not qualify for an LOMC or if the property owner chooses not to apply for an LOMC, the property owner may also build on the property within the regulatory floodway by designing the development to meet no-rise/no-impact certification standards. In July 2008, a FEMA engineer visited Lee County and made a presentation about the no-rise certification process. A copy of his slides is available.
View slides on no-rise/no-impact certification
Lee County offers its own guidelines for the process.
No-Impact (No-Rise) Certification
FEMA’s Web site addresses the issue of floodways and no-rise/no impact certification in more detail.
Vertical datum for measurement has changed. FEMA now uses the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88) as the new standard for vertical measurement in any flood hazard area. It replaces the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD29). Surveys or other plans for projects requiring an elevation certificate must be submitted in or converted to NAVD.
Learn More about NAVD88
NAVD Conversion Factor Letter (for Unincorporated Lee County only)
New required elevations might affect construction projects. Most parcels in the Special Flood Hazard Area have required base flood elevations. That means the lowest floor of livable space must meet a minimum height requirement. Plans for all new buildings are subject to these elevation requirements. Some additions to existing structures as well as some sheds might also be subject. All applications for building permits will be reviewed for compliance to these new elevation requirements.
On July 22, 2008, FEMA Senior Engineer Mark Vieira presented a workshop in Lee County on technical issues regarding the new maps. View his slides on:
Contact a Floodplain Manager
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