Understanding the New Floodplain Maps (FIRMs)

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Floodplain maps help show property owners their property's risk for flooding, whether the property is within a regulatory floodplain and, if so, what floodplain zone. These regulatory maps are also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and are used by lenders and the insurance industry to determine which properties require flood insurance.

These FIRMs also are used by planning and development officials to help make decisions about development requests.

Floodplain maps are updated as changes occur. These changes can include more accurate topography, updated flow rates (hydrology), new public works projects (such as the Resilient St. Vrain Project) and updated modeling techniques, among others.

After the 2013 Flood, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) began work to remap the affected floodplains along Colorado's waterways including St. Vrain Creek and Left Hand Creek. This program was named the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (CHAMP). CWCB's draft floodplain maps were provided to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the FIRMs.

FEMA now has released its preliminary FIRMs, along with the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS). The maps will be available for review before formal adoption by FEMA.

The City of Longmont is encouraging residents living near St. Vrain and Left Hand Creeks to be aware of what floodplain zone changes (if any) may be happening to your property's because of this new study. This review period also may be the best time for you to purchase flood insurance, if it will potentially be required for your property by the new maps.

We encourage you to explore this website to learn more about how the new FIRMs may affect your property or requirement to purchase flood insurance, as well as what options are available to you.


Floodplain maps help show property owners their property's risk for flooding, whether the property is within a regulatory floodplain and, if so, what floodplain zone. These regulatory maps are also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and are used by lenders and the insurance industry to determine which properties require flood insurance.

These FIRMs also are used by planning and development officials to help make decisions about development requests.

Floodplain maps are updated as changes occur. These changes can include more accurate topography, updated flow rates (hydrology), new public works projects (such as the Resilient St. Vrain Project) and updated modeling techniques, among others.

After the 2013 Flood, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) began work to remap the affected floodplains along Colorado's waterways including St. Vrain Creek and Left Hand Creek. This program was named the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (CHAMP). CWCB's draft floodplain maps were provided to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to update the FIRMs.

FEMA now has released its preliminary FIRMs, along with the supporting Flood Insurance Study (FIS). The maps will be available for review before formal adoption by FEMA.

The City of Longmont is encouraging residents living near St. Vrain and Left Hand Creeks to be aware of what floodplain zone changes (if any) may be happening to your property's because of this new study. This review period also may be the best time for you to purchase flood insurance, if it will potentially be required for your property by the new maps.

We encourage you to explore this website to learn more about how the new FIRMs may affect your property or requirement to purchase flood insurance, as well as what options are available to you.


  • Appeal Period for Floodplain Remapping Is Underway (March 25-June 23)

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    25 Mar 2020
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    After the 2013 Flood, work began to remap affected floodplains along Colorado’s waterways, including St. Vrain and Left Hand Creeks. A formal 90-day appeal period before these maps are officially adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) begins Wednesday, March 25. The final day to submit appeals is Tuesday, June 23, by 5 p.m.

    Longmont residents are encouraged to visit Engage.LongmontColorado.gov/new-floodplain-maps to find links to the preliminary maps, the appeals process and what makes up a valid appeal. Additionally, this website includes information on how the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) may affect your property or your requirement to purchase flood insurance, as well as what options are available to you.

    The new mapping will not be used for flood insurance ratings until the Preliminary FIRMs become FEMA effective FIRMs, which is expected to occur sometime in 2021. However, the Longmont City Council adopted these Preliminary FIRMs as Best Available Information effective Dec. 19, 2019, allowing the City to regulate floodplain development based on the best available data. The new mapping is being consulted for any development in the floodplain.

    Two public meetings were held in January 2020 encouraging residents living near St. Vrain and Left Hand Creeks to be aware of what floodplain zone changes (if any) may be happening to their property because of these new floodplain maps and supporting study.

    Please be aware that the City of Longmont can only accept appeals for floodplains within Longmont city limits. To appeal floodplain mapping for an area in an unincorporated portion of Boulder County, visit www.boco.org/fema-appeals.

    Questions?

    If you have questions about submitting an appeal, please visit Engage.LongmontColorado.gov/new-floodplain-maps or contact the City of Longmont Floodplain Administrator.


  • Check Your Property's Floodplain Status

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    30 Dec 2019
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    Floodplain Inquiry Map

    FEMA floodplain maps show property owners their property's risk for flooding, whether the property is within a regulatory floodplain and, if so, what floodplain.

    These regulatory maps are also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and are used by lenders and the insurance industry to determine which properties require flood insurance.

    Find out what floodplain zone your property (within the City of Longmont limits) is in--or will be in--with our Floodplain Inquiry Map, which has been updated to show the preliminary FIRMs.

    To use the map, enter your address into the property search box and then turn on the appropriate layer using the "stack of paper" icon at the top left. Compare your results to the legend shown on the left side of the Floodplain Inquiry Map.

    If the map shows that any BLUE area--known as “A Zone" (AE, AO, AH, A)--is touching the building and you are applying for any type of federally backed loan, then flood insurance will likely be required. Be sure this information is verified using elevation details such as are provided on an Elevation Certificate.

    If the map shows that any BLUE Area / “A Zone” (AE, AO, AH, A) is on your property (but not touching the building), flood insurance is not required by FEMA, but lenders can still request it as part of the loan negotiations.

    Be aware that anyone can purchase flood insurance, even if their property is not located within a blue area. Flood insurance is much less expensive if the property is located outside the blue areas (Zone X areas).