Public Invited to Open House to Help Develop North Port Flood Insurance Maps

News Release

The "Southwest Florida Water Management District(Southwest Florida Water Management District)":/ is gathering input needed to improve identification of flooding risks in North Port.

The District is serving as a cooperating technical partner for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its national effort to update and modernize the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The current FIRMs are 30 years old and are outdated because natural and physical changes caused by land use, development and erosion can also alter the extent of flooding.

The District is holding an open house in North Port to present preliminary floodplain information and explain the basis behind the findings. This information will be used to identify areas of flood risk. North Port is located in the Big Slough watershed.

An open house for residents living in North Port will be held Dec. 6, beginning at *1 p.m.* at the *Morgan Family Community Center*. The center is located at 6539 Spring Haven Drive, North Port. District representatives will be available to meet with residents anytime between *1 and 7 p.m.*
Residents affected by changes have received letters advising them of the need to contact the District and attend the open house.

During the meeting, preliminary models and floodplain information will be presented to the public for review and comment. After addressing the comments, floodplain information will be finalized and presented to the District's Governing Board for permission to develop the preliminary FIRMs for submittal to FEMA.

Upon receipt of the preliminary FIRMs, FEMA will begin its FIRM adoption process, which includes:

* A technical review by FEMA
* Review by the City of North Port and Sarasota County
* Public input
* A 90-day appeals period
* Issuance of a letter of final determination that informs the City of North Port, Sarasota County and the public of the date when the FIRMs will be considered effective

The floodplain information will be used by the city for land use and zoning decisions, to help manage development in and around floodplains and wetlands, to reduce flood risks, to preserve land and water resources, and for emergency planning. It will also provide valuable information to the public for decisions about purchasing and protecting property.

For more information or to find out which watershed you live in, please visit "":/emergency/floodriskprojects You can also call the District at (352) 796-7211, ext. 4297.