City of Miami updates flood maps to aid in disaster recovery

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Revised flood maps in Miami have recently been put into effect and with that comes major changes.

“I feel for the people this last spring that lost a lot; some of the people were renters and didn’t have renters insurance,” explained Miami resident Brenda Wilson. “They lost everything and had to start from scratch.”

But, the City of Miami is hoping situations like this are less likely to happen with the amendment of its flood damage prevention ordinance, which will bring about some major changes.

“The newly-mapped properties are now located in the special flood hazard area, meaning that if they are mortgages in those properties, we would expect by this time some of those property owners that may be seeing letters from their lenders,” said Miami City Administrator Chris Randolph.

This will require them to get insurance as mandated by FEMA. Many residents like Brenda Wilson, who lives near Riverview Park in Miami, think it’s vital.

“People around here work paycheck to paycheck,” Wilson continued. “It’s hard to come up with that extra money for flood insurance, but it’s still better than your house going under and ending up with nothing.”

In addition, there are permit fees now associated with flood plain developments homeowners must pay in order to make changes to buildings.

The ordinance also includes substantial damage and improvement requirements that will added together over the life of the property.

Once the amount reaches 50 percent of the fair market value of the structure, it will be considered new construction by FEMA.

“You either must elevate your structure out of the flood plain or relocate the structure out of the flood plain before you will be allowed to rebuild again by way of damage or improve by way of adding anything to the structure that’s not currently there,” said Randolph.

Randolph adds the city will continue education and outreach to help those in need of help with this process. He also adds they want to continue strengthening their program monitoring flooding through sound, responsible development.

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