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Climate Smart Webinar Questions and Answers

Post Presentation Responses

On this page you will find answers to questions that were received during the presentations but due to time constraints we were unable to provide a live response. Any further inquiries can be directed to the Climate Change email address at the right of this page.

June 6th, 2013 - National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System

  1. Any recommendations on how to deal with repetitive loss properties in an historic district?
    Historic structures are exempt from FEMA's substantial damage and substantial improvement requirements as long as repairs or improvement do not preclude the structure's continued designation as a historic structure. There may be some actions that can reduce the risk to the structure without compromising its historic integrity, such as elevating utilities, removing materials that can be damaged from areas below the base flood elevation, or even wet floodproofing.
  2. For "no basements" (Bill Nechamen's slide 20) does that mean absolutely none, no electrical/utility lines in a basement, or no finished basements?
    The definition of "basement" for the purpose of floodplain programs is, "Any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides." So, for floodplain compliance for new, substantially damaged, or substantially improved structures in special flood hazard areas, there can be no area of the building that is subgrade on all sides. The use, materials, or finishing of a basement does not matter. There cannot legally be a basement.
  3. Is there software available to help a community keep track of CRS requirements over a long time span.
    We are not aware of any software developed specifically to track a community's CRS activities. However, the new CRS Quick Check spreadsheet may be a useful and simplified tool for a community to keep track of the activities it is implementing. Similarly, the verification report that is provided to a community as part of its Cycle Visit provides a quick reference summary of a community's program.
  4. How are community floodplain administrators trained?
    Both FEMA and NYSDEC offer training. FEMA operates the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, MD. EMI offers multi-day courses in the National Flood Insurance Program, the CRS, and other hazard and disaster topics. Please visit the FEMA link at the right of this page for information. For public employees, FEMA reimburses travel and provides free housing. The student is responsible for a meal ticket that runs less than $100 for three meals a day for a week. NYSDEC, through its Floodplain Management Section, offers periodic workshops on the NFIP, post-disaster response, and flood insurance issues, throughout the state. Workshops are often offered upon invitation from counties, regional building official chapters, or other regional groups. We do not have the staff to offer workshops to individual municipalities. Email or call 518-402-8185 for information. NYSDEC and FEMA also conduct Community Assistance Visits (CAVs) and Community Assistance Contacts (CACs). A CAV is a full review of the floodplain program for community officials in an individual community. A CAC is either a brief community meeting or a telephone interview with community officials. NYSDEC also routinely provides technical assistance on all aspects of the floodplain management requirements.
  5. Please show the insurance discount chart again.
    All of the slides from the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System webinar presentation are available on our Climate Smart Webinar Presentations page. The chart appears as slide 18 in the second presentation link.
  6. For dams upstream, how far outside community may the dam be for credit under Activity 630?
    For a community to receive credit for safety activities related to a dam, there must be at least one insurable building within the community that is subject to inundation from the failure of a high-hazard -potential dam; the community must submit a description of the dam failure threat and a dam failure inundation map; and there must be a warning system in place, annual publicity regarding dam failure, a plan of action to minimize the threat to life and property, and coordination with critical facilities operators.
  7. Can the money saved by a community through the CRS program be put into a fund for sea level rise adaptation?
    The savings go to individual insurance policy holders within a community and not directly to the community. For example, rather than paying a $1000 flood insurance bill, a resident may pay an $800 flood insurance bill.
  8. Are state or federal funds available for stormwater management?
    Parties interested in obtaining state grants are encouraged to review the material, including current and upcoming grant opportunities at the New York State Grants Gateway (see link at right). DEC anticipates announcing grants under the Water Quality Improvement Project Program on June 17, 2013. Federal stormwater management funding is described at the EPA link at right.
  9. I do not see elevation of a building mentioned in 520
    Building elevation is under Activity 530. However, a building that is elevated because it was substantially damaged and is elevated to meet code does not provide credit.
  10. Many coastal communities have residents whose homes are not their primary residences. What are these residents excluded from, for these programs?
    There are no differences in CRS credits for activities undertaken for non-primary residences. Some of the Sandy relief programs may target primary residences.
  11. Can communities get credit for information that the state provides to communities for their use?
    Yes, and there are some points that communities get due to state activities, such as the two feet of freeboard in the residential building code.