Proposed Change in the 100 Year Flood Plain

Conshohocken had a pretty good flood last year, so flooding is still fresh in everyone’s mind.  Last week the Borough of Conshohcoken posted on its’ website:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has proposed changes to the boundaries of the 100-Year Floodplain in the Borough of Conshohocken (Borough)… and these changes may affect your property!

If your property is proposed to be removed from the floodplain, and if you are now required to carry flood insurance, you may be eligible to discontinue this coverage. But if the proposed floodplain encroaches upon your property, the Federal government and your mortgage company may soon require you to purchase flood insurance.

To help our residents determine how their properties may be affected by the new boundaries, the Borough has available detailed maps that shows the proposed floodplain boundaries.  These maps may be viewed at the following link: Conshohocken Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)

A copy is also available at Borough’s Administrative Offices, One West First Avenue, Suite 200, Monday to Friday 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.  Additional information about FEMA, the 100-Year Floodplain, the proposed boundary changes, and flood insurance is likewise available for residents’ reference.

Please note that the new floodplain maps are expected to be made final in 2012. Flood insurance rates will increase when these maps are made final, so please take a moment to review this information now, and contact your mortgage company and insurance agent to discuss options available to you.

And while changes to the floodplain boundaries are controlled by the Federal government, the Borough is committed to helping our residents better understand these changes. If you have any questions please contact the Borough’s Administrative Office at (610) 828-1092.

I checked with two realtors and an insurance agent in Conshohocken to find out how this could impact property value and the requirements for insurance.  Matt Mittman from stated, “A property that would be added to the flood map and that would require flood insurance becomes  less desirable to buyers because of the increased expense of flood insurance and the fear of possible flooding.  Once it becomes less desirable it will impact the value in a negative way.  This does not mean it will not sell or still increase in value overall over the long term, it just means that this home would be further down the list for prospective buyers.”

Mike Sroka from the Mike Sroka Team at Coldwell Banker Preferred agreed with Mittman and stressed that “The way that a flood plain impacts the value of a home is really a case by case basis.”  He also stated that not all mortgage companies require flood insurance if a home is in a 100 year plain and if you are buying a home make sure your insurance company checks to see if there have been any previous claims.

John Patterson of Preston-Patterson, an insurance company in Conshohocken, stressed the need for people looking to purchase a home to research flood insurance thoroughly and take into consideration insurance premiums as importantly as mortgage interest rates.  If the home you are considering purchasing it near a high hazard area, you could end up having to pay flood insurance eventually with a premium of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars annually.

Patterson also emphasized the need to research recent, pending or potential development around the home.  The frequency of a flood occurring in a low hazard flood zone is being increased as a result of continual land development – laying of new streets, tar covering parking lots, new development etc.  This land development is reducing the ability for water to be absorbed into the ground thus creating the rise of surface water – here comes the flood!