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May 14, 2015
Well, it looks like after a long, tough year, the end is in sight. The appeal period for the new FIRM is now over, and the moratorium could be lifted as soon as early June!
On April 19, 2014 Christine Shirley, National Flood Insurance Coordinator in the State of Oregon and Bryan Pohl, Director of Tillamook County Community Development gave a presentation on the Moratorium of Building Permits along the Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers.
Over 70 folks attended to hear about this issue and they learned a lot about Base Flood Elevations and Floodways and the reason for the moratorium. In summary, during a CAV or “Community Assistance Visit” it was discovered that incorrectly permitted development was found in the floodways of the Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers. This development was not reflected in the modeling associated with the new flood maps. As a result, FEMA is requiring the County to remodel the floodways and they will be included in the new flood maps.
Until the new modeling is completed, FEMA contends that Tillamook County does not have enough information to verify that development will be “reasonably safe from flooding” and that the lowest floor elevations will be above base flood elevation. As a result, Tillamook County has imposed a development moratorium until the modeling is complete.
Your input regarding FLOOD PLAIN regulations may be needed in the future. A summary of the issues is noted below. Attached is a letter and presentation explaining the issue in more detail.
Issue: FEMA is currently proposing to impose the Endangered Species Act (ESA) compliance on local jurisdictions. This would mean that with each flood plain permit application, the property owner, would need to provide a habitat assessment determination that the proposed project would have no adverse affect on Endangered Species or their habitat. This would have a major impact on local development permits for folks in flood plains.
Purpose: FEMA apparently did not consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) when establishing the National Flood Insurance Program. To remedy this, FEMA is proposing to place the burden of the ESA on local jurisdictions.
Process: FEMA and NMFS is going through a consultation process now. Ms Christine Shirley, Nat’l Flood Insurance Coordinator, has come up with a pragmatic approach that would allow certain development activities in the Special Flood Hazard Area as long as they complied with certain best practices.