Forest Lake Homeowners Association Florence, SC

Floodzone Newsletter

To: All Homeowners on or near the lake October, 2005

From: FOREST LAKE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION

Re: FLOOD ZONE INFORMATION

Have you gotten a letter recently saying you need flood insurance? If so, we have some important information for you.

Many residents around the lake have received letters in the last few months from their Lenders stating that their property is in a flood zone and they must now have flood insurance.

The determination is based on various Lenders looking at a new map of our area produced by FEMA dated December 16, 2004. This map contains some serious errors, the primary one being incorrectly drawn flood zone boundaries.

After considerable investigation, we have determined the error occurred when the flood zones in the old FEMA map were overlaid on to a new satellite map. No physical survey was made of the property –just a re-drawing of boundaries onto a new map. The problem is that this map is now “the law”.

Several of us residents have had extensive talks with city and county official and local surveyors and have learned the procedures to correct the problem. It has to be done by each homeowner individually by a process called a “LOMA” or Letter of Map Amendment.

The LOMA procedure is the only way at the moment. Each affected homeowner must have his property re-surveyed and obtain a new certificate of elevation showing that they are not in the flood zone. This is then submitted to FEMA with several forms asking them to remove us from the flood hazard zone (due to error).

Once approved (about 30 days) the LOMA should be submitted to your Lender. They will then drop the request for insurance. They must also refund any premium you may have already paid.

It is also possible that a few homeowners may have simply accepted their Lender’s determination and gone ahead and paid for flood insurance. As many of us know, we have been told by our lenders that we must get the insurance, or, they will get it for us (at a considerably higher cost). Please let us know if you have recently paid for flood insurance –either through your lenders, or from your own insurance carrier.

If you have recently gotten a 45-day Notice from your lender telling you to get flood insurance, please contact us so we can give you some valuable information. Knowing, for example, that 10 or so people on a street have gotten their property excluded from the flood zone, should mean that everyone on that street should be excluded. This is the case on Lakeshore Drive. If one of us is excluded, it should mean that we all are excluded (from the new flood zone map)

Our goal as an association is to correct the source of the problem –the December 16, 2004 FEMA map, so each homeowners does not have to deal with it separately. We are not sure of the procedure for this yet, but have asked the County for help. This has become a big burden on them as well and they are willing to help us.

So far, many of us have paid $200 or $250 for a Certificate of Elevation from a certified surveyor to get our LOMA’s. Again, this is the only way to fight the problem right now. There are no other provisions in the law. Please contact us for further information. Frank McIntyre, our Historian has offered to help with this effort. He is available at 629-9955.

FOREST LAKE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION October, 2005