Quincy: Officials host FEMA flood insurance meeting

Quincy held an informational meeting at the Center Middle School Thursday night with Mayor Tom Koch, Congressman Stephen Lynch and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to talk about FEMA’s proposal to expand flood maps and drastically increase flood insurance premiums.

About 300 people attended the meeting.

Quincy has hired Woodward and Curran Engineering to study and challenge the FEMA flood map issue. The firm’s Vice President Joe Shea said increased flood insurance rates will affect thousands of Quincy homeowners.

“In the July 2012 FIRMs, there’s 3,200 parcels. But the new maps have 4,600 parcels. That means there are 1400 more homes that didn’t have to previously pay flood insurance, but now, if these maps hold, do. When we break that down by category, 2,700 homes have an increase in their designation that will link directly to Biggert-Waters and the Biggert-Waters reform act, how rates may increase. There are 500 with no change in zone, but you still may have a rate increase, depending upon how the Biggert-Waters Act settles out and again there are 1,400 new, first-time policy holders,” Shea explained.

One multifamily homeowner who lives near Wollaston Beach spoke out and said despite never having any issues with flooding, he now faces huge flood insurance increases that could affect both himself and his tenants.

“I could stand to go bankrupt if they raise the rates enough, because I can’t pass it on to my tenants! I rent out to 4 people and I’m about $100.00 under market value, because I want to keep my tenants and give them something fair. But if you raise those rates too high, you’re going to create urban blight and people will not be able to live in their homes. No one will want to buy them. You’re going to put the real estate market on its back!” the homeowner said.

The US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote next week on a bill that could delay the implementation of FEMA’s proposed flood insurance increases, for up to four years.

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.