Breakout Session 5
National Flood Insurance Program and Community Ratings
Session #5A | Historic Structures and the National Flood Insurance Program, Is There a Balance? (45 min.)
This session will provide an overview of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and its effect on historic
structures. Key components of the NFIP will be discussed including flood risk mapping, floodplain management regulations and flood insurance. Local governments are at the center of this Program, and often adopt higher regulatory standards that are beyond the minimum requirements of the N FIP. These include freeboard, lowering the substantial improvement/damage threshold, Coastal A Zone provisions, etc. Higher standards are excellent floodplain management tools, and will increase a community’s flood resilience, but don’t always translate well to rehabilitation projects, especially those involving historic structures in high risk flood hazard areas.
- Kevin Wagner | Natural Resources Planner, Maryland Department of the Environment
- Jen Sparenberg, DFM | Maryland Historical Trust
Session #5B | Natural Preservation and the NFIP (45 min.)
As climate change and sea level rise increase flood related concerns at a growing rate, implications of the National Flood Insurance Program on community planners and individual property owners will become increasingly important. One mechanism for reducing flood insurance premiums is participation in the Community Rating System, a voluntary program that rewards communities for floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum standards required by the NFIP and seek to address unique hazards faced by that community. While certain floodplain management techniques clearly enhance the resiliency of flood prone communities, they may also have adverse impacts on the historic and cultural resources located within the floodplain. As municipalities undertake comprehensive planning actives to gain Community Rating System credit, they must be mindful of the unique legal implications attached to interference with properties protected under historic preservation laws. Beaufort, South Carolina is serving as a case study of a community with a renowned historic district that is seeking to improve its CRS score and secure NFIP policy premium discounts for its residents. Beaufort has partnered with Sea Grant as part of a Regional Community Resilience Project to determine how historic preservation laws conflict with the resiliency strategies they are seeking to implement. This presentation will highlight the various types of federal, state, and local preservation laws which come into play when developing and implementing Community Rating System eligible flood resiliency strategies, as well as illuminate potential takings and liabilities issues that may flow from adverse impacts on historic resources.
- Rebecca L. Neubauer | University of North Carolina School of Law