For the first time since 1995, changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels applicable to the Grove City area will be published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To assist Grove City residents in preparing for the changes effective in June of this year, the Grove City Building Division is teaming up with the engineering firm of EMH&T to present an open house on Jan. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 4035 Broadway.
Residents are encouraged to attend to examine preliminary maps showing the revisions in the floodplain and speak with officials about issues ranging from resale value to building permits to insurance. These officials have studied the maps and worked with FEMA to present clear explanations of their impacts.
The new maps mean that property owners who once believed themselves safely outside the floodplain may find their properties within it. Conversely, some homeowners will find that the new boundaries remove their land from the floodplain.
"Because the changes in the floodplain map can have such far-reaching and expensive effects, I urge Grove City property owners to attend the Jan. 17 open house so they can make better-informed decisions about their property," said Michael Boso, chief building and zoning official for Grove City.
A sudden move into the floodplain is of significant financial concern for affected property owners – it can impact a home’s resale value as well as an owner’s ability to secure building permits for new structures or renovations and additions to existing buildings. But the most immediate concern for many is insurance. Flood insurance is required for federally insured mortgages on properties within the floodplain. So property owners of buildings within the new boundaries of the floodplain will be required to obtain coverage. However, by purchasing insurance prior to the June implementation of the new maps, residents who are now outside the floodplain can establish significant savings.
Some parcels currently in the floodplain will be outside the new boundaries. Although owners of those properties no longer will be required to maintain flood insurance, careful consideration should be paid before forgoing protection.
"As I saw personally during a two-day visit to inspect flood-damaged buildings in Findlay, Ohio, last year, no properties are immune to the danger of flooding. While the law may not require it, flood insurance – particularly at the lower rate available for lands outside the floodplain – can provide the security of knowing your home can be repaired or rebuilt if disaster strikes," said Boso.
Access a list of affected properties and maps showing the changes in the floodplain on the City Web site, www.grovecityohio.gov; select building from the city departments menu at the top of the page. If unable to access information online, contact the Grove City Building Division at 277-3075 for information on affected property and resulting issues.
"While no one can avoid the changes, the better informed you are about them, the better prepared you will be to respond," added Boso.