When October 5 rolls around, Palm Beach County residents and business owners may be in for a costly surprise. The United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated the Palm Beach Flood Maps for the first time in more than 30 years.
Estimates show over 50,000 structures will be reclassified into flood zones or impinging upon flood zones. This means that if your home, business, or property, a portion of it falls within the new flood zones, you may be required to purchase and carry flood insurance.
But it is not clear whether or not property owners will absolutely need to pay more for being in the newly redrawn zones. Doug Wise, Palm Beach County floodplain administrator, told the Palm Beach Post “just because your property touches a special flood hazard area does not mean your house is in a special flood zone and you have to pay more for insurance.”
Prior to the new mapping, there were approximately 100,000 existing flood insurance policies in Palm Beach County. As of March 2017, more than 65% of the policies were in unincorporated portions of the county, another 15% were in Boca; 9% were held in Boynton; Delray, Jupiter and Palm Beach each held 7% of the policies.
West and central Palm Beach County are projected to see the biggest changes when the new flood mapping is put into place.
Development in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Westgate, and Greenacres are most likely to see their properties rezoned.
There is better news in the works for about 45,000 property owners who will have their previously flood-zoned structures removed from the risky areas.
The updated flood maps will take effect on October 5. If you have a property and are unclear about your zoning, contact your local zoning department to find out accurate information.