Buncombe County Receives New Flood Insurance Rate Maps

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Preliminary copies of updated Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels and the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) Report (both dated September 28, 2007) have been issued to Buncombe County and Incorporated Communities. A Preliminary Meeting for county and municipal officials and staff, and congressional and legislative members took place on October 24, 2007 from 9am to 11am at the Buncombe County Training Room in Asheville, North Carolina. The residents of Buncombe County also had an opportunity to see the results of the advanced digital floodplain mapping technology used to create the new maps during the public meeting held on December 12, 2007 from 12am to 3pm at the AB Tech Enka Campus in Chandler, North Carolina.

The new maps were produced by the State of North Carolina under a unique partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This partnership, signed September 2000, designates North Carolina as a Cooperating Technical State and delegates the primary responsibility for the creation and maintenance of all FIRMs to the State of North Carolina. The remapping of all floodplains for Buncombe County is the result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Floyd, which flooded thousands of square miles of eastern North Carolina and left thousands of people homeless. This disaster highlighted North Carolina's vulnerability to natural disasters and the need for accurate, up-to-date floodplain maps.

During the meeting on November 13, 2007, attendees received an overview of the process used to create the maps, an explanation of the values and benefits of the new maps, and information regarding the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Information System that will allow local officials and the general public to access the new maps on-line via a website maintained by the North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program. Also included were descriptions of new map features, a detailed summary of map changes, a short "how-to" session on using the new maps, and information on flood insurance implications, the map adoption process, and recommendations for safer floodplain development standards.

The Appeal Period open for commenting on the preliminary FIRM panels and FIS Report lasted from December 6, 2007 to March 4, 2008 for Buncombe County and Incorporated Communities.