Dare County Planning Director Disagrees With New Federal Flood Maps

Jul 6, 2020

Credit County of Dare/Flickr / https://bit.ly/2O0i6Bn

New federal flood maps have reclassified thousands of properties in Dare County from high-flood risk areas to lower risk ones called "shaded X zones."

The new maps are significantly different than the ones drawn in 2006, according to a submitted story from the county published at the Outer Banks Voice.

In these X zones, developers don't typically have to elevate buildings to eight feet above sea level or get flood insurance for a federally backed mortgage, because they supposedly reside outside of the 100-year floodplain where flood risk are minimal.

There’s at least one person who isn’t on-board with FEMA's decision to declare that thousands of properties with flood histories are now low-risk areas.

Dare County Planning Director Donna Creef disagrees with the feds' risk assessment of these new X zones because many of those properties have flooded in the past.

"Just because the flood map says that you're not going to flood doesn't mean that you're not going to," Creef said. "Mother Nature's not going to follow that flood map. Plus, the flood maps only show your 1% annual chance of flooding. They don't account for poor drainage or rainfall."

Creef says that's why the county still requires buildings in X Zones to be elevated to 8 feet above sea level. She also says that everyone in Dare County should have flood insurance, regardless of it is or isn’t legally required.

Every year since 2016, at least one Category 1 hurricane has made landfall on Dare County.

The new flood maps became effective on June 19. The planning website for the county now includes a feature where property owners can compare old and new federal flood maps.

In a news release, Dare County says it will consider the adoption of a local elevation standard to use in conjunction with the federal flood maps.

WUNC digital producer Mitchell Northam contributed to this report.