FEMA Backs Off Advisory Flood Maps

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The federal government has issued new flood maps for New York City that will make it a lot easier, and cheaper, to live along the coast.

A few months after Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency proposed expanding what they call V-zones: areas right along the coast that government scientists say are subject to high waves from hurricanes or nor'easters. According to those maps, all of Broad Channel in Queens and part of Oakwood Beach on Staten Island would have become V-zones. The designation is meant to reflect the risks that homeowners face, but also carries the potential to drive up flood insurance premiums to as much as $30,000 annually.

The latest revisions, issued Monday, take almost all of those neighborhoods out of the V-zone.

Tim Crowley, the mitigation division director for FEMA Region 2, said the earlier proposal was always meant to overstate V-zones and that the changes were not made in response to political pressure.

New maps for New Jersey are due by the end of this month. Both sets of maps still have a lengthy approval and appeals process before becoming final.