Ocean City is preparing a change to its floodplain management plan so residents can get deeper discounts on their flood insurance premiums.

The rule change requires new construction or substantial improvements to be one foot above the base flood elevation, city Business Administrator James Rutala said.

“What we found is the majority, over 90 percent, of the homes built in Ocean City meet this requirement,” Rutala said.

But a change in the ordinance, which is scheduled for introduction and first reading Thursday, will help Ocean City meet guidelines through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Community Rating System.

Currently, Ocean City receives a 15 percent reduction in its insurance premiums. Last year, city officials said this saved about $1.4 million.

Rutala said he expects the ordinance change, along with some public information programs, will help give city residents a 20 percent reduction.

For each homeowner, the additional 5 percent reduction would mean about a $20 savings in insurance premiums, or about $460,000 overall in a city with about 23,000 housing units, Rutala said.

The federal system encourages municipalities to enact certain programs and policies.

Currently, Avalon receives a 20 percent discount on flood insurance premiums through the federal guidelines. In March 2007, FEMA named Avalon one of the most prepared coastal municipalities between North Carolina and Maine.

Sea Isle City is trying to meet the first threshold for a 5 percent reduction on flood insurance premiums.

Contact Brian Ianieri:


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