In February 2020, FEMA published a Flood Hazard Determination adopting a new Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) for all jurisdictions in King County, including Seattle. FEMA’s adoption of the new FIRM and FIS requires that each jurisdiction update their regulations with this new information in order to comply with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
In addition to adopting the new FIRM and FIS, the City of Seattle must have floodplain regulations that apply to the new maps that did not apply to the existing 1995 FIRM and FIS. These requirements come from the NFIP regulations in Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Specifically, 44CFR section 60.3e contains regulations for coastal high hazard flood zones, which were not identified on the 1995 maps. These coastal flood zones are designated as VE zones on the new FIRM.
FEMA finalized the Flood Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study for King County on February 19, 2020. FEMA requires that all jurisdictions within King County adopt the new Flood Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study within six months of the February date, which is August 19, 2020. Additionally, local FEMA officials have reviewed Seattle’s floodplain regulations and this is directing the minimum amendments to the Floodplain Development Regulations (SMC 25.06) to meet 44 CFR Section 60.3 (d and e) for the August 19, 2020 deadline.
SDCI is planning to update the Floodplain Development Regulations through interim regulations as provided in RCW 36.70A.390. Additionally, Seattle will follow-up with a proposal for permanent regulations in approximately six months. It will be during this time SDCI will conduct public outreach.