Flood Risk Mapping Appeals Process
After the 2/23/2015 revised Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) were submitted, FEMA conducted a review of the flood hazard information. After the review was completed, FEMA initiated a series of notices to the communities to inform community leaders and citizens that the proposed flood hazard determinations, if finalized, will become the new FIRM and the basis for the floodplain management measures required of the communities to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Before the new flood hazard information becomes effective, FEMA provides communities a 90-day period to comment on and appeal the proposed flood hazard information on the Preliminary FIRM and FIS. FEMA notified the communities of the proposed adoption of the revised Preliminary FIRM and FIS and the appeal period with a letter mailed to each community’s Chief Executive Officer (the mayors of the towns and the Chairman of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors) and three public notices:
In the interest of reaching property owners that are potentially most affected by the proposed changes to the FIRM, the county mailed approximately 250 notices to owners with structures such as houses and businesses that are in or very close to the Special Flood Hazard Area. (Addresses within the Town of Leesburg were not included in this mailing.) The contacted owners had an opportunity to review the data and, if they considered it technically erroneous, submit an appeal. Furthermore, the notices helped make these property owners more aware that their house or business may be at risk of flood damage from the base flood (i.e., the flood with a 1 percent annual chance of occurring and often called the “100-year flood”).
The appeal period started on September 23, 2015 and ended 90 days later on December 22, 2015. During the 90-day appeal period, any owner or lessee of real property in the community who believed his or her property rights would be adversely affected by the proposed flood hazard determinations (i.e., FIRM) could have submitted an appeal. It is important to note that appeals had to be based on information indicating that the proposed flood hazard determinations were scientifically or technically incorrect. Only appeals of the proposed flood hazard determinations supported by scientific or technical data that were submitted during the 90-day appeal period could be considered. Information on the criteria for appeals may be found at the bottom of this page.
There were seven appeals received and assessed. Five appeals were resolved and appropriate changes made to the Preliminary FIRM and two appeals were found to not have adequate data to warrant modifications to the map. Because changes were made to the Preliminary FIRM, a 30-day comment period was required, which began on April 8, 2016. Although it did not occur, if an appeal ruling had been challenged by the appellant, it could have moved on to: consultation with officials of the local government; an administrative hearing; and/or submission of the conflicting data to an independent scientific body or appropriate federal agency for advice. FEMA would have made the reports and other information used in making the final determination available for public inspection.
Several comments regarding information other than the proposed flood hazard determinations - for example, incorrect street names, typographical errors, or omissions - were submitted during the appeal period. The comments were evaluated and incorporated into the revised FIRM and FIS report.
Submitting An Appeal
If you have a question about this project, please send an email
or call the county’s Floodplain Help Line at 703-737-8746.