MALIBU—The Malibu City Council contracted the consulting firm of Moffatt and Nichol to assist the city with appealing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s proposed floodplain maps of the region.

City council is challenging FEMA on the grounds that the agency’s current maps are outdated, do not account for seasonal tide fluctuations, and are incorrect. According to reports, residents contend that the current proposed floodplain maps- which overlie many homes and businesses- adversely impact opportunities for fair priced mortgages, constructions loans, or insurance premiums.

According to the city of Malibu website, the maps are preliminary until they are adopted during the summer 2018. A Public Appeal Period started on August 9, 2017 and will run for 90 days. During this appeal period, residents may submit appeals and protests if they disagree with the maps and believe an error has been made. Property owners who want to appeal are required to submit the scientific or technical data intended to negate or contradict FEMA’s findings to Malibu’s Floodplain Administrator.

Once the Appeal Period concludes, the city will evaluate all appeals and submit its findings to FEMA. Once FEMA reviews all appeals and protests and incorporates any needed map changes, a Letter of Final Determination will be issued. Six months later, maps will be adopted and become effective, as will any new flood insurance requirements. Currently, the city intends to use these flood hazard maps to help determine requirements for construction and development.

The city of Malibu will conduct a series of community meetings to inform the public about these proposed map revisions. A public outreach meeting was held on August 22.

The firm plans to present its findings to the Malibu City Council at the council’s next meeting on Monday, October 23. Assistant Public Works Director Rob DuBoux stated that the firm’s report to the city council would determine the city’s final decision on whether or not to file an official appeal with FEMA.

Moffat and Nichol has levied challenges against FEMA on behalf of Ventura and Dana Point. A deadline of November 6 is set for all appeal proposals. All of the firm’s findings must be science based for FEMA to accept the revisions. If no revisions are accepted, the current maps will go into effect August 2018.

Written By Dylan Gera and Donald Roberts