What Are Flood Zones?
Flood zones determine the premiums for flood insurance rates and set construction standards for parcels located in the Special Flood Hazard Area, commonly called the FEMA floodplain. Detailed definitions of all flood zones are available here.
Flood zones in the Special Flood Hazard Area begin with V or A. Most mortgage lenders require flood insurance in these zones. Parcels in an X Zone are outside the Special Flood Hazard Area. Parcels in the X Zone are eligible for preferred rates on National Flood Insurance Program policies, and mortgage lenders usually don’t require flood insurance.
Parcels in the V or A zones have an elevation requirement called the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). It will be indicated by “EL.” For example, a Rate Code of AE-EL7 means the parcel is in an A Zone with an elevation requirement of 7 feet as measured by the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. (Think of NAVD88 as “sea level” not ground level.)
Structures with a first floor at or above that level will be in compliance and will have the standard insurance rate. A first floor that is lower will generally have a more expensive premium. A FEMA Elevation Certificate is required for most new construction in the Special Flood Hazard Area to prove that it meets the base flood elevation requirement.
Some parcels in the Special Flood Hazard Area along rivers, creeks or large canals are also in the regulatory floodway, where FEMA restricts construction and does not permit the placement of fill.
Directions for Using “Lee Spins” to Look Up Flood Zones
Click here to download the directions to your computer.
The link below enables you to access the Lee Count Spatial Information System, commonly calls “Lee Spins.” It is a geographic information system that provides a variety of information about property in Lee County, including flood zones.
Please note that the flood zone status of parcels in Unincorporated Lee County is updated with Letters of Map Change approved by FEMA since the zones became effective Aug. 28, 2008. Parcels outside unincorporated Lee County in the cities of Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel and the town of Fort Myers Beach reflect the zone status as of Sept. 28, 2008.
Follow these steps to look up a flood zone:
1. Wait for the viewer to fully load. Parcel Search and Map Contents boxes will appear on your screen.
2. In the “Parcel Search” box, choose whether to search by street address, STRAP or owner name.
3. In the line below the example, enter the STRAP, owner or address information according to your choice, then click “Search”. TIP: If searching by address, omit “road,” “lane,” “blvd.,” etc. Enter the address or name as it appears on Lee Property Appraiser records and your TRIM Notice.
4. The search result(s) will appear in the “Parcel Search” box. Check to be sure this is the parcel of interest to you, or scroll down the list to find your parcel.
5. Click the Property Report icon (first icon below the parcel address) to open the Parcel Report from the Lee Property Appraiser’s Web site. This includes the legal description required for Letter of Map Amendment applications to FEMA.
6. Click the Districts Query icon (second icon from the left below the parcel address) for a Spatial District Query Report summarizing basic information related to the flood zone on that parcel.
7. To zoom to a property, select (click) the record from the “Parcel Search” results.
8. To add the flood map boundaries and aerials to your map, check the box beside “Public Safety” and “2012 Aerial Photography” under “Map Contents”. The map will refresh, displaying these layers. You may also turn additional features on to customize the information illustrated on the map. Ensure the group layer check box is checked on if you have turned on layers within that group.
Contact a Floodplain Manager
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