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FEMA Agrees to Modify Flood Maps After City Argued For Changes

By Katie Honan | October 17, 2016 4:12pm | Updated on October 18, 2016 8:38am

NEW YORK CITY —The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to revise the city's flood maps, after officials appealed new maps that put 35,000 more homes and buildings in at-risk areas — which would require costly flood insurance for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration appealed FEMA's new maps in the summer of 2015 after they were released that previous January, saying they didn't calculate the current risk.

The city argued FEMA should calculate risk on the current flood predictions, not on how much worse the situation may get in the future, which would put nearly double the amount of New Yorkers in a high-risk area requiring flood insurance.

On Monday, FEMA announced they reached an agreement with the city to revise the flood maps, while still making "innovative revisions" that will help make the city's coast more resilient, according to officials.

“We are building a stronger, more resilient city to confront climate change," the mayor said.

"Our city needs precise flood maps that reflect real risks, both today and years from now — and we have to do that fairly."

FEMA officials noted that the coastal flood risk hadn't been updated since 1983, and the current maps will require "proper diligence and the city's involvement."

Analysis sent during the city's appeal will be used in FEMA's new maps, they said.

The new flood maps will be available within the next few years, a FEMA spokesman said. In the interim, the preliminary flood insurance rate maps will remain in effect.  

The federal agency will also work with the city to "create a new methodology to incorporate the growing risks of climate change and sea level rise onto flood maps" while still using current maps to evaluate flood insurance costs, they said.