New FEMA Maps to Alter Floodplain Law in Parts of Somerset Co. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New FEMA Maps to Alter Floodplain Law in Parts of Somerset Co.

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PRINCESS ANNE, Md.- The Federal Emergency Management Agency has updated its floodplain maps for 2015 and some towns across Somerset County have until February 4, 2015 to adopt a new ordinance.

When driving around the city of Crisfield, you will notice several homes sitting high above the ground. Earl Sterling lives in a home that is elevated six feet to prevent flooding like the amount seen two years ago during Hurricane Sandy.

" The yard was flooded. I saw lumber oil tanks and gas tanks floating by," Sterling said.

Linda Paden, who has lived in her home for 40 years, remembers the day Sandy wrecked havoc on her home.

"The water started to come in the house, and it just came in so quick. Before I knew it, it was up to my ankles and I was grabbing my pets and ran upstairs to the front bedroom," Paden said. 

Paden said she did not have flood insurance at the time, but signed up shortly after.

" I used to have flood insurance some time ago, and yes it was expensive," she said.

In 2011, FEMA released a preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Crisfield and portions of Princess Anne were on it . The new 2015 maps involve increased base flood elevation requirements for both towns. In Princess Anne, areas along the Manokin River will increase from five to eight feet. Gary Pusey, the director of Somerset County's Planning and Zoning Commission, confirmed that parts of Crisfield will see an increase of 4.5 to six feet.

Pusey encourages residents to call the office with questions about the maps or flood insurance rates.

He said some homeowners will be protected under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, a law that repealed FEMA's authority to increase rates at the time of property sale. 

Princess Anne Town Commissioners will adopt the ordinance next week.

Crisfield's Mayor, Kim Lawson, said the town's maps still need to be discussed. He did not  disclose details about new base flood elevations, and the maps were unavailable. 

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