New insurance rate maps for Braintree residents with property in flood plains were approved by the on Tuesday night about a year and a half after they were submitted for public review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The 183 supplemental flood insurance policies currently active in Braintree will be grandfathered in and their owners should not experience a change in their rates, Planning and Community Development Director Christine Stickney said. Those policies equal a total cost to property owners of $302,000 per year.
Councilors also approved administrative changes in the town's related bylaw to reflect the update. The map changes are minor, Stickney said, including slight changes in elevation mainly along the coast.
"We really didn't see any substantial changes," Stickney said.
Anyone who adopts a flood policy after July 17 – the day the new maps take effect – will see different rates than those in place now. Stickney said she could not say with certainty whether homeowners or commercial property owners buying insurance after that date in Braintree's flood plains would see higher rates, but that is a possibility.
For more details on the change, and to compare the new maps to the current maps, visit the town website at http://www.braintreema.gov/FloodHazard.htm.
Approximately a third of Braintree – 2,424 acres out of 9,334 total – lies in a flood plain, as defined by FEMA. The town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program and was required to adopt the new maps to remain eligible. Otherwise, the 183 policies would have been dropped after July 17, Stickney said.
FEMA regularly reviews flood insurance maps and recently turned its attention to the Northeast, Stickney said. The agency makes changes county by county. The Planning Board previously recommended favorable action on the proposal on June 12.
Braintree also participates in the voluntary Community Rating System, which provides incentives for communities to create proactive flood plans. Efforts including heightened maintenance of drains and other structures, as well as public outreach and educational programs mean that Braintree property owners with flood insurance save 5 percent on their rates, Stickney said.