President Obama issued an executive order on January 30 that establishes a new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS). The action requires all future federal investments in, and affecting floodplains, to meet the standard. This includes where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities or to rebuild those that have been damaged. Under the new standard, the definition of “floodplain” is expanded from the well-established 100 year flood elevation to the 500 year flood elevation - potentially impacting the multifamily industry when it comes to new construction and the substantial rehabilitation of properties.
NMHC/NAA is still evaluating the impact of this action on the multifamily industry. Importantly, FFRMS applies to all federal activity including:
- Acquiring, managing and disposing of Federal lands and facilities;
- Providing federally undertaken, financed or assisted construction and improvements; and
- Conducting federal activities and programs affecting land use, including but not limited to, water and related land use resource planning, regulating and licensing activities.
It is not clear if this definition includes Federal Housing Administration financed or subsidized properties. The relationship between this standard and the National Flood Insurance Program and insurance pricing is also in question.
Given the complexity and potential controversy over this action, Federal policymakers have weighed-in seeking an extended comment period and questioning the level of stakeholder involvement in this process. There is a 60-day comment period. NMHC/NAA will respond and seek additional clarification on these and other issues.
In addition Federal Emergency Management Agency has scheduled a “listening session” webinar on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 3:00-6:00 pm. You must register for this session here.