Constituent Services
October 31, 2008

Joint City, County & Federal Effort Removes 2,768 Properties From Flood Zone

BUFFALO – Congressman Brian Higgins today joined U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Mayor Byron Brown and other elected officials to commemorate the recent City of Buffalo local law change that has removed 2,768 city properties from the 100-Year Floodway boundary in the City of Buffalo. Mayor Brown signed a ceremonial version of the local law that he had signed originally on September 22, 2008.

“This significant action will bring great financial relief to thousands of property owners who had previously been required to incur very high flood insurance costs,” said Mayor Brown. “Since this law went into effect there has been some confusion among property owners on what they need to do. My Administration will be contacting all of the affected property owners with detailed advice on what they can do now that their property has been formally removed from the 100-year floodway boundary. I want to thank Senator Schumer and Congressman Higgins for their strong support and diligence in helping to bring about this important change for property owners in South Buffalo and Kaisertown.”

“We have worked long and hard to relieve South Buffalo and Kaisertown homeowners from backbreaking and unnecessary flood insurance costs,” said Senator Schumer. “Now that FEMA has removed hundreds of homeowners from the flood plain map, residents in South Buffalo, Kaisertown and across the region can stop paying for burdensome and expensive flood insurance. I am glad that we convinced FEMA to visit these neighborhoods to evaluate first-hand the recent flood prevention improvements that made these changes to the map possible.”

“FEMA’s mandate to carry flood insurance on designated properties has laid a heavy burden on Buffalo’s business and homeowners for decades,” said Congressman Higgins.  “By laying out the facts about local mitigation efforts we were successful in our appeal to change the map and relieve thousands of property owners from paying this costly annual expense.  Removal of this unwarranted expense reduces the cost of living and running a business in this area and brings an exciting opportunity to breathe new life into these neighborhoods.”


Under federal law, owners of properties located in a 100-year flood plain are required to purchase flood insurance if they have a mortgage or other bank financing associated with their property.  This mandatory insurance costs home and business owners hundreds of dollars annually.   With the new map, over two thousand property owners in Buffalo will no longer be forced to carry insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).


The revised flood maps became effective on September 26, 2008. The City of Buffalo was required by law to adopt these maps into their Flood Management Plan on that date. The flood map modernization project was a joint effort between the City of Buffalo and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation with association and private sector partners.


For additional information, property owners may contact Peter Merlo, Engineer for the City of Buffalo at (716) 851-5631.

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