By CARL MARIO NUDI
Manatee County officials are encouraging residents to attend one of two special open house meetings to learn about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) new preliminary flood maps, which could affect the property owner’s flood insurance.
The scheduled meetings are from 4 to 7 p.m. on April 1, and from 1 to 7 p.m. on April 2, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto, where they plan to answer questions on how the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) will affect home and business owners, renters, real estate agents, mortgage lenders, surveyors and insurance agents.
“I strongly encourage all residents to go to the county’s website to look up how the proposed FEMA flood maps may affect property owners,” Manatee County District 7 Commissioner Betsy Benac said in an email response. “I did.”
Residents can find out whether their flood zone has changed at www.mymanatee.org/floodzonechanges.
There is a search box at the bottom of the Flood Zone Information Tool web page where an address can be entered to find out what, if any, changes have been made.
“I also encourage county residents to attend one of the open houses that FEMA is hosting,” Benac wrote.
Representatives from FEMA Region 6, the State of Florida and the contractor who did the study will be at the meetings, said John Barnott, director of Manatee County Building and Development Services.
“It’s important that the citizens attend the open house, and learn how and when to appeal,” Barnott said.
Manatee County sent notices about the meetings to property owners in the affected areas of unincorporated Manatee county.
Those attending the open house meetings will learn about the 180-day period for appealing any changes in the new maps.
Information about appeals also can be found on the FEMA website, www.fema.gov.
“Each year, FEMA initiates studies and restudies of flood hazards in communities across the U.S. for the creation, as well as the revision of, community flood hazard maps,” according to the FEMA website.
FEMA has revised flood maps of several Florida coastal counties and is also holding open house meetings in those counties to explain the changes.
For more information about the open house meetings, go online to tinyurl.com/Manatee-FEMA-flood-maps