Town Meeting to consider updated floodplain bylaw

In addition to deciding how much money to spend next year and on what, one of the key tasks of Town Meeting is to approve changes to the town’s bylaw. This year voters will be asked to update some language around flood zones.

Town Planner Eric Denoncourt says the proposed bylaw change is an important one. Without it, residents run the risk of not being able to get flood insurance. Denoncourt asked me to pass along this statement with more details.

The Southborough Planning Board wants voters to know that Annual Town Meeting will be asked to approve Article 32 of the Warrant, which proposes an amendment to the Town’s Zoning Bylaw relative to development within floodplains.

Adoption of the new zoning regulations is required to maintain compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Southborough must maintain compliance with NFIP so that properties located within floodplains are eligible for federally subsidized flood insurance.

If Town Meeting does not update its regulations, Southborough will be suspended from the NFIP and homeowners will not be able to renew existing or obtain new flood insurance policies from FEMA. To insure that Southborough residents with property located in a floodplain continue to receive the benefits of FEMA issued flood insurance, it is critical that Town Meeting vote to approve Article 32. The Planning Board encourages Town Meeting voters to vote yes on Article 32.

FEMA issued new flood insurance rate maps in January. The bylaw proposed in Article 32 uses the flood elevation detail in those new maps to regulate development. You can see the new maps on the town website.

To read the proposed bylaw, check out Article 32 in the town meeting warrant.

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