Since the first Flood Insurance Rate Maps were adopted in Lee County in 1984, FEMA has occasionally updated portions of the maps. Effective August 28, 2008, Lee County adopted the first comprehensive update affecting FIRM panels countywide.
Preliminary map panels for the 2008 update were presented in 2006 as part of a nationwide map modernization. These new maps included previously unmapped areas and also established new floodways. Floodways are areas along rivers, creeks, canals and other natural watercourses in the Special Food Hazard Area (SFHA). Within these floodways, there are additional regulations governing construction and the placement of fill.
Lee County hosted a public open house Oct. 25, 2006 to reveal these preliminary maps to the public. Representatives of FEMA attended and discussed map modification with about 250 people.
On Jan. 31, 2007, Lee County, the city of Sanibel, the Town of Fort Myers Beach, and several private property owners appealed specific map panels. These appeals generally asked FEMA to reduce areas included in the regulatory floodways and in coastal hazard areas. These appeals changed 76 of the 155 proposed map panels.
Since FEMA issued new Flood Insurance Rate Maps in 2008, corrections have been made to the map panels. Most of these changes result from private applications for Letters of Map Revision to alter boundaries of regulatory floodways. Others converted V Zones to AE zones or lowered base flood elevations.