90-Day Appeal Period Starts Wednesday, March 25, 2020
All appeals, comments, and supporting documentation must be received by Boulder County before Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Appellants are encouraged to submit appeals as soon as possible within the 90-day window.
Before the floodplain mapping from the Colorado Hazard Mapping Program (CHAMP) is incorporated into the effective FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), there will be a 90-day appeal period. During the appeal period, anyone can submit and appeal or comment to the Boulder County Floodplain Administrator. All submissions must be accompanied by the county’s Comment and Appeal Form, to be completed by the applicant. The county will then forward all submissions to FEMA for their review. FEMA will not accept appeals or comments that are not first submitted to the county.
What is an Appeal?
An Appeal is a formal request to have a FIRM amended based on an additional engineering study, which must include data that proves the proposed flood hazard information is scientifically or technically incorrect; contains an indisputable mathematical or measurement error; or, reflects that a changed physical condition has occurred. All Appeals must be certified by a registered professional engineer or licensed land surveyor and must include the required revisions to the FIRM and/or the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report.
What is a Comment?
A Comment is any submittal that does not meet the requirements outlined for an appeal (above). Comments may include: feedback regarding road names, jurisdictional boundaries and other base map features; concerns regarding proposed flood hazard information; or, any technical submittal that does not meet the full requirements for appeals.
What happens after an appeal is submitted?
FEMA will review the submitted information and prepare an acknowledgement that will state one of the following:
- The appeal is valid and a change to the Preliminary FIRM and/or FIS is warranted
- Additional data or information is needed to complete the review. The appellant will have 30-days to provide additional information
- The information is considered a Comment and will not be incorporated
Should I consider a LOMA instead of an Appeal?
Due to map scale limitations, making flood zone changes at the individual lot or structure level impossible to show on the FIRM. The appeals process typically cannot be used to remove a structure or property from the floodplain. Instead, FEMA’s Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) process is the avenue to follow for this purpose. Because LOMAs officially change the flood zone designation for a structure or property on an effective FIRM, not a Preliminary FIRM, it is recommended that applicants submit their CHAMP-related LOMA application directly to FEMA through their online Letter of Map Change application portal 30 to 60 days prior to the effective date for the Preliminary FIRMs (likely in 2021). Once approved, an official amendment to an effective map is sent out by letter to the property owner. Please note that LOMAs apply to individual structures or properties and do not change the flood zone boundaries on the FIRM.