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Posted on: April 6, 2023


room filled with people for special meeting taken from the back of the room looking forward

The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hosted a special workshop on Thursday to seek input from professionals and the public regarding certain provisions in the FEMA-required floodplain ordinance. The ordinance was adopted Nov. 15, 2022, and became effective on March 7, 2023, upon completing the state’s review process and following three community meetings and recommendations of approval from the Development Review Committee and the Monroe County Planning Commission. The FEMA-required floodplain ordinance is critical for Monroe County to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which insures more than 12,800 homeowners, and the Community Rating System (CRS), which discounts NFIP-backed flood insurance policies.

Meeting highlights include:

  • Flood Insurance Rate Map effective date change from Jan. 1, 1975 to June 15, 1973: The BOCC supports staff working with FEMA to keep the 1975 effective date, which is the date the County has followed for decades.   
  • Monroe County Land Development Code limiting construction materials of enclosures below flood elevation in VE and Coastal A zones to screen and open lattice walls: The BOCC supports staff to change the ordinance to allow breakaway walls. 
  • Monroe County Remedial Plan limiting enclosures below flood elevation to 299 square feet or less: The BOCC supports staff to make a formal request to FEMA to increase storage space under homes to align with other jurisdictions in the Keys. 
  • Update the process, procedures, and timeline of implementation of the Transfer of Ownership Inspection Program requirement from the Monroe County Remedial Plan: Monroe County staff will have a conversation with FEMA on removing the program altogether or seeing what can be done that will not affect the County’s ability to participate in the NFIP. 

“This is a legacy requirement, and we have been behaving. More than half of the closings in the Florida Keys in municipalities are not required to go through this process; we would like to be on the same page as them. Based on how well we have done – we are even rated a 3 in the CRS – we should not be on FEMA’s naughty list anymore.” – Roman Gastesi, Monroe County Administrator

In March, the BOCC approved a resolution limiting liability for home sellers and buyers through Sept. 1, 2023 that may be affected by the ordinance.                                      

The County will schedule meetings with FEMA as quickly as possible.

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