Boston is appealing a federal flood-plain decision that could mean dramatically higher insurance rates for thousands of Boston landowners.
In an appeal to FEMA yesterday, the city says 507 of the 1,585 acres the feds now say would flood in a "100-year storm" would not actually flood in that kind of storm.
Last year, FEMA released revised 100-year floodplain maps for eastern Massachusetts. Besides helping planners brace for large storms, the proposed maps would also require landowners with federally backed mortgages in the enlarged zones to pay for more expensive flood insurance.
The city says 13,709 housing units and 4,202 businesses sit in the new flood areas. In a statement, the mayor's office says:
Because of the significant impacts of these maps, the City of Boston hired Woods Hole Group (WHG) through a competitive bid process to evaluate FEMA's flood mapping methodology, data sources and modeling. WHG’s final report found inconsistencies in FEMA’s mapping and flood study approach, resulting in approximately 507 acres of land that should be removed from the 100-year floodplain, as well as 33 acres that should be included. These findings serve as the grounds for a technical appeal with FEMA. In addition, WHG is currently conducting more detailed and accurate hydrodynamic flood modeling of Boston Harbor, which will be completed and submitted as supplemental information as a basis for a scientific appeal.