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Palm Coast’s Floodplain Management Rating Increases to Class 4 – Among Best in U.S.

With the rating increase to a Class 4, eligible Palm Coast property owners in a Special Flood Hazard Area will now receive a 30% discount on their premiums (up from 25%).

By Toby Tobin
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PALM COAST, FL – May 2, 2017 The City of Palm Coast’s floodplain management rating has increased to among the best in the nation – a measure that shows how well a City is prepared for flooding and a rating that provides residents deeper discounts on flood insurance.

The National Flood Insurance Program increased Palm Coast’s rating in the Community Rating System (CRS) to a Class 4, effective May 1. The CRS recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards.

There are only four Class 4 cities or counties in the entire United States, and only nine others with better ratings nationwide. Scores range from 1 to 10, with the lower the number the better the ranking. Some 1,444 communities in the nation participate in the Community Rating System. In Florida, Class 3 is the best ranking, and it is held by Ocala – with Palm Coast joining the elite as a Class 4.

“This program is aimed at keeping the public safe, preventing structural flooding during major rainstorms and protecting the environment,” said City Administration Coordinator Denise Bevan, the City’s floodplain administrator and leader of the Floodplain Management Team. “We have a comprehensive strategy, and we’re proud that our new rating puts us among the top communities nationwide, in terms of floodplain management.”

Palm Coast’s floodplain management activities are reviewed annually, and an ISO (Insurance  Services Office) representative performs a community visit every three years. The City has improved its rating three times since 2004.

Higher ratings are based on floodplain management activities that the City voluntarily participates in above and beyond what is required by FEMA under the NFIP. Some activities that contribute to the better rating include preserving natural environment, especially in areas that fall in Special Flood Hazard Areas, which are A and AE zones within the City; improving and maintaining drainage systems; following floodplain management practices for permits and development; organizing and planning emergency preparedness; providing public information and education; and offering public service for flood map information.

Flooding is an issue across Florida, but especially coastal communities such as Palm Coast. Here, flooding may be caused by two sources: the Intracoastal Waterway overflowing its banks during severe storms and/or high tide and by an unexpected downpour of rain from a tropical storm, hurricane or a major rain event such as what was experienced in Palm Coast in September 2014.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover a flooded home, and the City urges all homeowners to buy flood insurance regardless of whether they live in a flood zone or flood-prone area. FEMA data shows that 20 percent of all flood claims come from properties outside the high-risk zone or Special Flood Hazard Area.

“Flooding is an act of nature that does not respect boundary lines,” Bevan said. “Floodwater can cover many blocks with water up to four or five feet deep and can come with little warning. The best way to be prepared is to have flood insurance in advance.”

Homeowners should contact their insurance company for information on specific policies that might protect properties from disastrous damage costs. The National Flood Insurance Program Call Center at 888-379-9531 can provide an agent referral, if needed.

With the rating increase to a Class 4, eligible Palm Coast property owners in a Special Flood Hazard Area will now receive a 30-percent discount on their premiums (up from 25 percent). Properties outside of a Special Flood Hazard Area will continue to receive a 10-percent discount on their already lower premiums; this represents a majority of the Palm Coast community. Most of our residents may even be eligible for a preferred risk policy, the most affordable policy for properties located in low-risk floodplain designations, the X zones.

Bevan credits a number of factors to the increased rating – the biggest being the improvement of the local mitigation strategy to better align with floodplain management activities. The City is an active participant of the local mitigation strategy working group led by Flagler County Emergency Management.

“We’re required to update the LMS (local mitigation strategy) every five years, and through that review, we identified a variety of mitigation projects that can reduce all types of hazards, including flooding, in the County,” Bevan said, “Thanks to the hard work of Laura Nelson, the mitigation planner at Flagler County Emergency Management, the updated plan was approved by the State just in time for our review through the CRS.”

The City also gained points because of Flagler County’s efforts as a StormReady community, which is based on preparedness for severe weather. The City also worked with Flagler County to secure the StormReady designation for our community.  Other point increases since the last rating change (in 2014) were for community outreach and in the open space category – protecting high-risk floodplains.

There are some pre-requisites required to reach a Class 4 that are fairly rare for a community to have, Bevan said. One is a watershed master plan. Palm Coast was fortunate that, because it was developed by ITT as a master plan community, a lot of the information needed for that plan was previously established.

“The whole program is about going above and beyond. This increased rating puts us in an elite class, and it is an honor for our organization and community,” said City Manager Jim Landon. “This new rating was the result of hard work and dedication by a number of people, especially our Floodplain Management Team led by Denise Bevan. They are commended for their outstanding work.”

To learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program and how it affects you, visit www.FloodSmart.gov.

Have questions or want to know your floodplain designation? Call Denise Bevan, City Administration Coordinator and floodplain administrator, at 386-986-2458.

reader comments
Boston College Law Review-The Palm Coast Project
Posted by George Edward Chuddy
May 03, 2017, 7:32 am
Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review - An Approach to a New City: Palm Coast.
For the newer Palm Coaster that want to read more about ' The Palm Coast Project ' water management, Canal Design , etc., -'... the largest planned community in the nation; and the largest New Town in the World..'. just google the above.

Boston College Law Review-The Palm Coast Project
Posted by George Edward Chuddy
May 03, 2017, 7:31 am
Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review - An Approach to a New City: Palm Coast.
For the newer Palm Coaster that want to read more about ' The Palm Coast Project ' water management, Canal Design , etc., -'... the largest planned community in the nation; and the largest New Town in the World..'. just google the above.

I.T.T. and Levitt Flood Plans for The Palm Coast P
Posted by George Edward Chuddy
May 03, 2017, 7:31 am

1972 - ' An Approach to a New City: Palm Coast ' - Dr. J. Norman Young and Dr. Stanley Dea:

Page 138

L. Beach and Sand Dune Preservation

Studies: Historical records of the tide information regarding hurricanes and northeast storms were accumulated. Historiclal Beach dynamics were summarized, isolating the littoral drift, which apparently is to the south during most of the year and to the north during the summer. These data indicate that at Matanzas Inlet there is considerable drift into the waterway. Accompanying this report are the records on what happened at St Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach during the Hurricane Dora, along with storm winde and swell diagrams obtained from the Corps of Engineers.
Solutions. Minimum building elevations were set based on the data obtained. Aerial photogrpahs taken in 1943 were compared with current photographs to determine the amount of beach erosion in this area. Dr. Per Bruun of the Technical University of Norway , at Trondheim, was retained to coordinate this data and to make recommendations for construction in beachfront areas. Efforts will be made to preserve and protect existing sand dunes. Indiscriminate construction will be precluded by setting all structures back at prescribed limits. Recreational activities on the dunes will be monitored to insure that vegetaive systems are preserved.
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' ...Palm Coast has been designed to withstand what is termed 'the 100 year Flood'.
From: Richard Vaughan, director of environmental affairs for the ITT Community Development Corporation
The PalmCoaster, Volume 11, Number 1, Winter/Spring, 1982, Front Cover Page, p 1., p 13.

Hurricane in Palm Coast? Not Likely

Like reports of Mark Twains' death, reports of Florida hurricanes too have been greatly exaggerated.

Over the years people have become accustomed to thinking of hurricanes as the exclusive property of Florida. One reason might be that the National Hurricane Center is headquartered in Miami. Almost every hurricane news report originates in Miami, regardless of where the storm is located, be it 50 miles or 2,000 miles from Flroida.

What is a hurricane? it's a large tropical cyclone with winds of at least 74 miles per hour, generally accompanied by heavy rains and high tides. The great spiral clouds of an average hurricane cover an area several hundred miles in diameter, although the area hit by the highest winds- those over 74 miles per hour-may only be 30 to 100 miles in diameter.

Hurricanes form over warm , tropical ocean areas and move to higher lattitudes like great spinning tops. Their movement is quite erratic. They can suddenly change directions, make loops, slow up or stop-and later move at 10 to 20 miles per hour. This forward speed of the hurricane system increases the fury of the circular winds flowing around the hurricane's eye, or center.

The north American hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with most storms occuring in August, September and October.

The North Florida area isn't immune to direct hits by hurricanes-no part of the United States' gulf coast or eastern coastline is. But weather bureau records show that chances of a hurricane striking the Palm Coast region are considerably less than in most other coastal areas of the state and nation. Meteorologist Fred Crosby of the National Weather Service says,"the configuratioin of the coastline and the region's latitude help explain the area's relatively hurricane free record, which is based on the tracks of previous storms."

"During the early stages of a tropocal storm," says Crosby, 'The movement is generally from the east to the west. The direction gradually changes...this movement pattern would reduce the probabiltiy of one of them directly hitting the northeast Florida coast."

Looking at the past 100 years, Flagler and Volusia counties hold an envious distinction neither county ever received a direct hit from a full hurricane moving directly in from the ocean.

Although a total of 19 hurricane's occuring during the 100-year period have posed serious threats and five have actually passed over the area, in each case those storms had already been over land for a number of hours and were greatly weakened in force and without the beach damage caused by ocean storms.

The last hurricane to afffect Palm Coast was Hurricane David, which brushed the area in early September, 1979. David's highest wind gust recorded in Palm Coast was 59 miles per hour, and though it did drop 4.16 inches of rain over a 48 -hour period, no flood-related water damage occurred. One of the main reasons damage did not occur is because Palm Coast has been designed to withstand, what is termed, "the 100-year flood." That, says Richard Vaughan, director of environmental affairs for ITT Community Development Corporation, means a flood that statistically could occur once in a hundred years could hit Palm Coast and no flood water would enter the houses.

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Dr. Per Brun is also affiliated with the Famed Coastal Engineering Department of the University of Florida.
This is how the Gargantuan 93,000 acres comprising ' The Palm Coast Project ' was designed to address flooding.

The University of Florida told me that they suggest an official Historic MARKER be applied for to acknowledge this; giving a better sense of place and sense of community for Palm Coast.



 
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Don "Toby" Tobin is a licensed real estate professional affiliated with Grand Living Realty. Toby is a member of the Flagler County Association of Realtors®, the Florida Association of Realtors, Enterprise Flagler, Flagler Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Realtors.

GoToby.com proivdes real estate news, commentary, and analysis for Palm Coast and Flagler Country Florida, as well as Realtor® referrals and consultation to buyers, sellers, and developers.