Flood Plain Management Plans, UCC Regulations Need Coordination to Benefit Victims

July 8, 2005

Fred Reddig, executive director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Center for Local Government Services at the Department of Community and Economic Development, is urging municipalities to coordinate their floodplain management plans and Uniform Construction Code (UCC) regulations in order to extend more benefits to flood victims.

“The residents of the commonwealth saw extensive property damage during the past year as the result of excessive flooding,” Reddig said. “Having updated and coordinated floodplain management and UCC regulations will allow policyholders to seek additional financial assistance in the event of any future damage to their homes or businesses.”

The primary purpose of a floodplain management plan is to encourage sound land use and construction development practices that will avoid and/or reduce future damage in areas prone to flooding. Many municipalities have reportedly not updated their ordinances since they were initially adopted over 25 years ago.

Reddig recommended local governments participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) review their floodplain management ordinances and coordinate them with the provisions of the UCC that became effective in 2004. Municipalities having floodplain areas identified by and participating in the NFIP must also submit their annual floodplain management status report for 2004 to DCED by July 31.

Additionally, property owners seeking to develop land or repair or rebuild homes or businesses in a floodplain must obtain all appropriate permits under both flood plain and UCC requirements. Municipalities are encouraged to review and update their floodplain management ordinances and UCC requirements in order to insure coordination and proper compliance.

Prior to repairing or rebuilding homes or businesses damaged by flooding, property owners may be required to meet certain building standards to reduce future flood damage.

To help cover the cost of meeting those requirements, the NFIP includes Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage for all new and renewed standard flood insurance policies. Claims for ICC benefits are filed separately from a resident’s claim for contents or building loss. Property owners can collect up to $30,000 to help cover the cost of bringing a home or business into compliance.

Municipalities should reportedly review their floodplain ordinances for substantial or combined repetitive damage language to ensure their property owners are eligible for ICC.

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