Monroe County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides all homeowners and businesses an opportunity to purchase flood insurance at federally subsidized rates.
Following a hurricane, FEMA requires the county and municipalities to make damage inspections and determinations on whether the costs to improve or repair a damaged building or structure are estimated to equal or exceed 50 percent of the building’s fair market value (2017 tax assessed value plus 20 percent).
These determinations are done using software provided by FEMA. The intent is that structures damaged beyond 50 percent need to be improved to meet current floodplain regulations and building codes. That way, in future storms, similar damage will not occur and improving structures will prevent unsafe conditions.
County and FEMA staff worked together to complete inspections for all structures in the flood zone in unincorporated Monroe County to determine if the damage caused by Hurricane Irma is estimated to be “substantial.” Other sources of information were used to determine damage, including flooding depth grids and pre- and post-storm pictorial aerials.
As required by FEMA, the owners of structures in unincorporated Monroe County that appear to be substantially damaged as a result of the hurricane, will receive a letter indicating the county has estimated they have substantial damage. Some have already been sent, and others are in the process of being sent. (The Keys’ municipalities are conducting their own substantial damage assessments).