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The Minot City Council on Oct. 19 approved an appeal of flood insurance risk maps created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would help reduce the number of structures in the 100-year flood plain.
In December 2019, FEMA submitted its final FIRMs to the City for adoption or appeal. The new maps showed a significant 100-year flood plain throughout the valley with a large floodway that generally followed the river channel. Earlier this year, the Council approved Ackerman-Estvold to prepare an appeal of the maps.
Ryan Ackerman told Council members that federal regulations require that an appeal must be based on technical data being scientifically or technically incorrect.
“We can’t appeal simply because we don’t like the results. That’s not going to work,” he said.
Ackerman said there are elements of the maps that he and others feel are technically and scientifically incorrect, and those items are the basis for Minot’s appeal.
FEMA’s final map includes a potential Souris River flow rate of 10,000 cubic feet per second, which would partially or wholly inundate approximately 3,900 parcels within the city. Reducing the flow rate to 8,000 cfs would eliminate 500 parcels from inundation. In addition, reducing the rate from 10,000 cfs to 8,000 cfs would save approximately $4 million to $8 million annually in actuarial flood insurance premiums for Minot residents within the floodplain.
The regulatory floodway, which is an area of increased regulation along the river corridor, would also be reduced under Minot’s appeal. Under the preliminary FEMA map, some 770 structures would be subject to regulatory restrictions. If Minot’s appeal was approved, that number would be reduced to approximately 20 structures, most of which are owned by the City or the Minot Park District.
Following Council approval, the appeal will be submitted to FEMA. The appeal will likely be heard by the independent Scientific Resolution Panel. The City and FEMA, under federal guidelines, must engage in a collaborative consultation process for 60 to 120 days before the panel is convened. Once convened, the panel has 90 days to issue a report on its decision.