Atlanta Building News
September 8, 2015

NAHB Efforts Roll Back Tighter Floodplain Regs

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Thanks to the work of NAHB members, leadership and staff, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will pull in the reins on a sweeping new standard that could have had a dramatic impact on home building and development. 

This is an important victory for our industry, and we want you to know about it.

NAHB talks with the Corps have produced results that will blunt the impact of the new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, which could have placed much tighter limits on where homes can be built.

In January, President Obama issued an executive order establishing the new standard. It expanded what we know as the 100-year floodplain to either the climate-informed science floodplain, the 500-year floodplain, or the 100-year floodplain plus an additional 2 to 3 foot freeboard.

Given the language of the executive order, NAHB was concerned that the new floodplain definition could adversely affect residential housing projects and homes that get HUD funding, require EPA permits and participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), making housing more expensive for your buyers.

NAHB members and staff spoke in listening sessions, submitted comments and continually pushed federal agencies to limit the applicability of the new standard.

We're proud to tell you that these efforts have produced results.

  • In June, FEMA confirmed that the new standard will not affect the standards or rates of the NFIP or the minimum floodplain management criteria for communities. FEMA will also continue to use the 1% annual chance floodplain as the basis for the Flood Insurance Rate Maps and the overall NFIP.
  • Last week, the Army Corps of Engineers released a fact sheet stating that Clean Water Act Section 404 wetland permits will not be subject to the expanded floodplain standard.
  • Also last week, HUD confirmed to NAHB that the standard would not apply to newly constructed single-family homes financed with FHA-insured mortgages. It had already determined that the standard would not apply to existing homes purchased with an FHA-insured mortgage.

The standard will apply to multifamily properties using FHA insurance for new construction or substantial rehabilitation and to FHA 203(k) rehabilitation loans. HUD will release its proposal soon, and NAHB will be sure to weigh in on it.

You can learn more about these efforts by contacting our regulatory staff: Owen McDonough at 800-368-5242 x8662, and Mike Mittelholzer, at x8660

NAHB will continue to meet with the agencies as they update their regulations. And we'll continue to monitor the development of the various documents so we can ensure our members' concerns are addressed – and that we can continue to build and remodel homes for our clients.


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