Floodplain regulations apply to the 1% annual chance or 100-year floodplain and is comprised of two parts: the floodway and the flood fringe. The floodway is the channel of a river or stream and portions of the floodplain adjoining the channel required to carry the regional flood discharge. The floodway is the most dangerous part of the floodplain since it is associated with moving water. The flood fringe is the area of the floodplain that is outside of the floodway and is covered by flood water during the regional flood. The flood fringe is associated with standing water rather than flowing water.
We are required to have a Floodplain Ordinance that meets the requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
All development within the 100-year floodplain, including construction of buildings and additions, remodeling, filling, excavation, fences, etc., is required to obtain a Floodplain Development permit from the City and be in compliance with the State and Federal regulations.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that if the cost of improvements to a building or the cost to repair damages (from any cause) to a building exceeds 50% of the market value of the building (excluding land value), the entire building must be brought up to current floodplain management standards. Building improvement projects include exterior and interior remodeling, rehabilitation, additions, and repair and reconstruction projects. Additionally, the cost of currently planned improvements will be added to the cost of previously made improvements and compared to the existing market value to determine if the improvements exceed 50% of the structure’s value.
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are the official maps produced by FEMA and adopted by the City of Wauwatosa in 2008. Please note that these maps have not yet been updated to reflect the Hart Park Flood Improvement project or the County Grounds retention basins project. The City is working with various local, state, and federal agencies to update the maps to reflect these projects.
To determine is your property is located within a floodplain, please contact the Planning Office at City Hall or the FEMA Map Service Center via the link below:
Letter of Map Change (LOMC)
A LOMC is a document issued by the FEMA, that amends or revises the flood insurance rate maps (FIRM). There are a few types of LOMCs:
- LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) - These are letters issued by FEMA that identify if a specific structure is located in the floodplain based on submitted elevation data. These are the most common type of LOMCs issued. These letters do not formally change the maps but the FEMA issued letter supersedes the maps.
- LOMR-F (Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill) - These are letters that formally modify the floodplain boundaries for a certain area. These are used when fill is being placed within the FIRM mapped floodplain.
- LOMR (Letter of Map Revision) - These are letters that formally modify the floodplain boundaries (floodfringe and/or floodway) for a certain area and typically involve a new study being done for a certain area. These take a bit more time and have a larger expense associated with them than LOMAs.
If a property owner thinks their property has been inadvertently mapped in a Special Flood Hazard Area, they may submit a request to FEMA for a Letter of Map Change. If the LOMC request is granted, property owners may be eligible for lower flood insurance premiums, or the option to not purchase flood insurance
Flood insurance is a separate policy that covers damage from overland flooding, damage that is usually not covered by homeowner’s insurance. The City of Wauwatosa participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), making the federal government-back insurance available to everyone. Flood insurance is available to homeowners whether or not their property lies within a mapped floodplain. Please contact your insurance agent to request information or to obtain a policy. Make sure your policy has adequate coverage, including coverage of contents. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage is effective.
Menomonee River and Floodplain Changes - CLOMR
A Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) has been prepared by the Southeastern Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) with revised floodplain boundaries along the Menomonee River from North Avenue to the mouth of the River. The CLOMR was issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in April, 2016. These proposed map changes reflect the construction of the Milwaukee County Grounds Flood Management Basins, the Hart Park Floodwall Construction, the North 70th Bridge Replacement and numerous other improvements within the City of Milwaukee. Prior to issuance of the map revisions, there is a project not yet constructed that is being scheduled for completion in 2020. Upon completion of this project, a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) will be submitted to FEMA for review. Official map changes will be processed upon approval of the LOMR.