Deadline nears for flood map appeals

Special to The Log
Okaloosa County Commission Chairman Carolyn Ketchel addresses constituents to discuss proposed flood map changes during a town hall meeting on April 24. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]

Property owners in Okaloosa County have until May 23 to file appeals on proposed changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Okaloosa County.

More than 100 residents took part in town hall meetings April 24 at the Emerald Coast Convention Center. The meetings, organized by Okaloosa County Commissioners Chairman Carolyn Ketchel, allowed residents the chance to ask questions about proposed changes to the flood maps and guided them through the appeals process.

"This is essential information for every property owner on the Gulf Coast," Ketchel said. "Please go to the link provided to find your property and decide on the appeal process by the deadline on May 23. Once your statement from your insurance company arrives, it will be too late to appeal."

Proposed changes to the flood maps will not become official until every appeal is reviewed and resolved. Appeals do not have to be resolved by May 23; they simply have to be filed by that deadline to be reviewed.

In addition to contacting their local city floodplain administrator, residents can also direct questions about the appeals process to John Crowe from the Northwest Florida Water Management District at john.crowe@nwfwater.com.

"We appreciate Commissioner Ketchel putting together these town hall meetings," said Brett Cyphers, executive director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District. "We look forward to continuing our work together to serve her constituents in Okaloosa County. We want these maps to be as accurate as possible, and input from the community is vital to making that happen."

The proposed maps are available by visiting the Flood Information link located on the Okaloosa County website at www.co.okaloosa.fl.us or by visiting portal.nwfwmdfloodmaps.com.