City can't hold back the tides: Appeal of federal flood maps really a stopgap

Areas city has issues with federal flood map

One map showing where Boston thinks FEMA erred: Gray is for flood areas the city agrees with, blue areas the city thinks don't deserve the designation and red the areas the city thinks should be added.

Even as they are appealing roughly a third of the 1,500 acres the federal government wants to add to maps of areas likely to flood in a "100-year" event, Boston officials are acknowledging that, ultimately, property owners of large sections of land along the coast and city rivers will have to face the costs of flood insurance because of rising sea levels.

Brian Swett, Boston's chief of environment, energy and open space, said the process used by FEMA to propose new flood zones are based on data from the past and do not include calculations of the effect of future rises in sea level - which he said could reach 6 to 16 inches in Boston by 2050. As the sea level rises, "100-year" flooding will start to happen more frequently and likely be more severe, he said.

Last year, the city approved changes in its zoning code to require developers of new buildings in or near areas that could flood to show how they are preparing their buildings for a greater risk of flooding.

In the meantime, though, the city says the proposed FEMA maps issued last year have a variety of errors that, when corrected, will strike about 500 acres from the maps. Whether or not a property is listed on a FEMA flooding map can have large ramifications for both existing property owners, who would be required to buy more possibly expensive flood insurance if they have federally backed mortgages, and for people who want to build on the land, who might have to add mitigation features to their proposed projects.

Swett said it's impossible to quantify an average dollar amount for the individual cost of flood-map designation, since each property would have its own unique characteristics that an insurer would use to determine a yearly flood-insurance rate.



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As I said before

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Boston is only bringing this up now because of all the development down the South Boston Waterfront. When it was parking lots and Pier 4 they could give 2 shits.
And yes, I did look at the maps. Now look at the maps the City comes up with. The areas they are concerned with is all down the So Boston Waterfront like I said before. And look at the red areas they think should be added, basically City owned piers at Black Falcon Terminal.

Um, no

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The city isn't appealing maps that have been on the books for years. These are maps that FEMA only released publicly last fall, and show a dramatic increase in the amount of floodable land in Boston. Boston is appealing maps that have yet to go into effect.


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Yeah, sorry guys buy those blue areas ARE flood areas in a 100 year storm. Easily.

Just because expensive new development and mega towers run by influential people are on that land, doesn't mean Mother Nature gives a fuck .

Might I suggest these people start doing something about climate change? It'll be cheaper than us all giving them a big fat government handout down the line.


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SoBo....can you say rent hike?

I'm no expert, but looking at

I'm no expert, but looking at that map, I just don't see how, if the gray areas are flooding, the blue areas won't flood as well. Someone on here must have access to maps which show elevation at these areas who can help affirm or dispute what the city is saying. As I commented yesterday, I think these objections are completely political, rather than based in any reality.

Again, with NYC in Sandy, there were areas of flooding blocks and blocks away from the waterfront, simply because of (almost imperceptible) changes in grade, where areas a few feet higher closer to the water stayed dry. The water flowed inland and found a path along low ground into basements and parking garages.

As for the red areas, why were they left out? Some kind of glitch?

The red areas

are the city trying to prove that they're not just trying to get places removed! They swear!

a foot here, a foot there

It can be hard to see height changes in flatter areas of the city. So while (say) the seaport lokos pretty flat, you may indeed have a section here that's 10 feet (floodable) and a street over is 11 feet (not floodable)...

Rush said there is no

Global warming or flooding caused by Global warming so its not happening. If those area's flood its because of liberals and Obama.

I wish there was a map to

I wish there was a map to show the least allergen prone areas of the city. Since moving from the Back Bay to Brighton, I'm dying from the pollen. Eyuchhh.