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Pierce County One Page Flood Summary 112311 (3)

Pierce County One Page Flood Summary 112311 (3)

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Published by Brackett427
Answers to questions posed at the Propeller Club, Port of Tacoma Chapter meeting of October 24, 2011 about the NMFS Biological Opinion for EPA's ESA application to FEMA's floodplain mapping.
Answers to questions posed at the Propeller Club, Port of Tacoma Chapter meeting of October 24, 2011 about the NMFS Biological Opinion for EPA's ESA application to FEMA's floodplain mapping.

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Published by: Brackett427 on Nov 28, 2011
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11/28/2011

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Changes on the Floodplain:
FEMA Flood Maps, a Biological Opinion, and Resulting Impacts to Development in the Puget Sound 
Tacoma Propeller Club presentation – October 25, 2011
Q: There have been mapped floodplains in Pierce County for decades. Why are issuesregarding floodplain boundaries and floodplain development coming up now?A: FEMA is in the process of updating the floodplain maps for Pierce County (and severalother counties in Washington state). Under the new proposed maps, the floodplains inPierce County are getting significantly wider and deeper. At the same time, recentlitigation regarding the effect of the National Flood Insurance Program on endangeredspecies (certain salmon species and orca whale) resulted in the issuance of the“Biological Opinion” that calls for the tightening of development restrictions infloodplains. So at the same time floodplains are getting bigger, the applicabledevelopment regulations get tougher.Q: How do the new floodplain maps impact property in and around Pierce County?A:
Check the maps
. How a particular property is affected depends on where it is locatedand its classification on the floodplain map (Zone AE, AO, B, X, etc.).
In 2007: FEMA issued preliminary floodplain maps (pFIRMs) for Pierce County.
Certain jurisdictions have already begun using those maps within their jurisdictions – e.g., Pierce County, Tacoma, Fife. Other jurisdictions are continuing to use the older “effective” maps until FEMA finalizes the pFIRMs – e.g., Sumner, Puyallup.
The pFIRMs show many properties mapped within the floodplain for the first time.
 –
Because many of the levees along the Puyallup River do not meet FEMA’s“accreditation” standards, FEMA substantially expanded the floodplains in citiessuch as Tacoma, Fife, Riverside, Orting, and South Prairie.
 –
For example, in Fife, 70% of the community is identified as within the floodplainon the pFIRMs.
The pFIRMs are available on the Pierce County website (matterhorn3.co.pierce.wa.us/publicgis/). The older “effective” floodplain maps are available at the FEMA MapService Center website (msc.fema.gov).
Q: What is the significance of being mapped in the floodplain?A: Properties mapped within the floodplain are subject to at least one, and sometimesseveral, additional layers of development regulations that make it more difficult andmore expensive to develop, redevelop, or repair your property.
Development projects in the floodplain require a flood hazard permit, a critical areas permit, and in some cases a shoreline permit – in addition to other land use andconstruction permits.
The minimum standards imposed by FEMA to obtain a local flood hazard permit requirethat projects be elevated above the base flood elevation (the anticipated flood water levelin a 100 year flood), and employ special design and construction techniques (to avoiddamage in case of flood waters).
These requirements add to the difficulty and cost of development.
 
Many local jurisdictions have adopted even more stringent regulations for developmentwithin floodplains. For example:
o
Pierce County requires elevation to two-feet above base flood elevation.
o
Fife requires compensatory flood storage areas/ponds to offset any fill imported toelevate a property or structure above the base flood elevation.
Floodplain regulations apply to new development and
 
to substantial improvements
toexisting development. A substantial improvement is any improvement or repair the costof which exceeds 50% of the (pre-damaged) value of the structure.
Q: How is FEMA’s implementation of the Biological Opinion (mentioned above) impactingdevelopment in Pierce County?A: FEMA has offered local jurisdictions three options to implement the Biological Opinion:(1) adopt a Model Ordinance prepared by FEMA containing more stringent floodplaindevelopment regulations; (2) demonstrate how their existing floodplain regulationscomply with the Biological Opinion; or (3) ensure that development in the floodplaindoes not violate the Endangered Species Act through a permit-by-permit review.
The more restrictive development regulations include requirements such as:
o
Within 250 feet of the Puyallup River, prohibit any development that will haveany “adverse effect” on endangered species habitat
o
Provide compensatory flood storage areas to offset any fill imported into thefloodplain
o
Limit new impervious surface to 10% of the lot area and require the use of lowimpact development (stormwater) techniques
o
Limit removal of existing native vegetation on site
As of September 22, 2011, the majority of cities within Pierce County had selected option(3) (permit by permit review), while Pierce County is pursuing option (2).
Q: Why does the Biological Opinion continue to be a concern for property owners?A: Implementation of the Biological Opinion will result in more stringent floodplaindevelopment regulations.
FEMA believes the Biological Opinion requires more restrictive standards than existingstate law, including the Shoreline Management Act and Growth Management Act.
 National Wildlife Federation intends to sue FEMA (again), on grounds that FEMA’simplementation of the Biological Opinion does not sufficiently constrain development inthe floodplains.For more information, contact any of the Board Members for Property Owners for SensibleFloodplain Regulation (POSFR) listed below:Rod KauffmanMark JacksonJeanette McKagueTodd Woosley
BOMA SeattleBOMA memberWashington REALTORSHal Woosley Prop. Inc.206-622-8924253-872-9879360- 943-3100 x. 142425-455-5730rkauffman@mark.jackson@jeanette.mckague@todd@ bomaseattle.orgcbre.comwarealtor.orgwoosleyproperties.com

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