The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the NC Division of Emergency Management have released new flood maps for Carteret County, including Emerald Isle. The new maps have been developed over the past few years, and are expected to be formally adopted for use in future building regulations and flood insurance rates sometime in early or mid-2017. The new maps can be viewed at http://fris.nc.gov/fris/ .
For the vast majority of properties in Emerald Isle, there is no change in the new flood maps. Overall, the changes in the new maps are favorable for Emerald Isle, with a net reduction of 508 properties that have been removed from a flood zone. In some cases, properties have been completely removed from a VE zone and are no longer in a flood zone, while in other cases the property has been converted from a VE zone to an AE zone (AE is generally less restrictive than VE). In other instances, properties have been removed from an AE zone or the base flood elevation has decreased slightly. These changes potentially result in significant flood insurance premium savings and/or reduced regulatory burden in the future.
Town staff analysis has determined, however, that 99 properties are now added to a flood zone, and some (but likely not all) of these properties could face flood insurance requirements (both for insurance coverage and building regulations) in the future. A list of these properties is available at http://www.emeraldisle-nc.org/Data/Sites/1/media/pdfs/newfloodpropertiestable.pdf . Additionally, there are as many as 40 properties that have an increase in the base flood elevation or a change from an AE zone to a VE zone. Town Planner Josh Edmondson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-354-3338) has attempted to identify all potentially negatively impacted properties in Emerald Isle, and is available to assist our property owners with any questions pertaining to the maps and building regulations. Questions pertaining to flood insurance premiums should be directed to your insurance agent.
If you believe your property is negatively impacted, the Town recommends that you retain the services of a professional surveyor to verify the elevation of your lowest habitable floor in the structure, as this determination may negate any potential negative impacts. Additionally, an appeals process will be formally initiated later this year, and Town staff are available to assist you in this process. Finally, if you are negatively impacted, you may want to purchase flood insurance NOW in order to take advantage of potential grandfathered rates before the new flood maps become effective in 2017. Grandfathered rates are somewhat confusing, and your eligibility for grandfathered rates may be impacted by the age and use of the structure, and also by continually evolving Federal legislation. Your insurance agent should be able to help you determine the best strategy.
Again, for the vast majority of property owners in Emerald Isle (there are approximately 7300 real property parcels in Emerald Isle, and only 1364 are in a flood zone), there is no change in the new flood map. For most others, the change is a positive change, however, if you are negatively impacted we encourage you to consider all of your options moving forward. Town staff are happy to help in any way possible.