FEMA Proposal Affects All Communities Participating in the National Flood Insurance Program

August 2, 2017

FEMA has recently published notice of their intent to adopt a policy for managing minor development activities within the floodplain. See: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/131010.

This policy proposal stems from a FEMA concern that many relatively minor low-impact activities which meet the definition of “development” within the NFIP regulations (CFR 44) are not being reviewed by participating localities and that while none individually are likely to increase risk within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), the cumulative impacts over time could have that effect.

The draft FEMA Policy Guidance creates a new required process—Review, Assess & Document (RAD)—to manage and permit low-to-no-impact development activities within the SFHA. This process is to be applied to any development activity in the SFHA (defined as any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials), and especially for those activities which currently do not require a permit and often for which there is not an existing notification requirement within local building, planning or zoning codes.

The public is invited to comment on the draft policy until August 23, 2017. Comments are to be submitted to: FEMA-Floodplain-Management-Division@fema.dhs.gov.

APA’s Legislative and Policy Committee is considering providing comments to FEMA on behalf of APA and asks that members providing comments to FEMA share those comments with the Committee. Please send to govtaffairs@planning.org. Also please send your comments to VACo’s Larry Land at lland@vaco.org.

VACo Contact: Larry Land, CAE

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