Concerns over new flood maps have abated temporarily with an announcement Friday that Plymouth County communities won’t have to approve the maps until at least 2015.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency maps were set to add hundreds of coastal properties to the flood plain and also drastically increase flood-insurance premiums for homeowners who already were in flood zones because flood elevations were to be raised well beyond existing levels.
Many communities had been required to approve the maps at spring Town Meeting, but the FEMA decision means map approval, and the new map's effects, will be delayed at least a year.
“This is what we’ve been hoping for,” said U.S. Congressman William Keating, who has pushed for the delay since the new maps were released.
FEMA cited the concerns raised through a scientific review that Keating had commissioned as a reason for the delay. The determination was also propelled by flood map appeals in Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury.
The announcement comes on the heels of a vote in the US Senate on Thursday to delay a federal mandate set to increase flood insurance rates. That legislation faces an uncertain future in the House, and the White House has expressed its opposition to major provisions.
Long-term relief will require enacting of the legislation.
“We’re working on the legislative side where the Senate has passed a delay, but this will give us another tool to help people all over the country and outside of Plymouth County as well,” Keating said.