The 90-Day Appeal Period for Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs)
Before preliminary FIRMs and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports are finalized, communities and the public can provide feedback if they believe the proposed information is not correct. Feedback can be provided any time after the release of the preliminary FIRMs until the end of a statutory 90-day appeal period provided by FEMA. This page provides detailed information about the appeals process for the preliminary FIRMs.
Check dates for the communities that are currently in the appeals period on the Appeal Period Dates page.
FEMA Region II has developed the Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal which allows community officials and the public to submit and track appeals and comments online during the appeal period. The Portal also provides community officials with the ability to review requests submitted by the public prior to FEMA review, as outlined in National Flood Insurance Program regulations.
Training resources, including a tutorial video providing step-by-step guidance about how to submit feedback and user guides for community officials and the public, are available through the Portal to assist you. Community officials may also access a recorded webinar session about how they can use the Portal to manage and review submittals for their community.
Use of the Portal to submit feedback on the preliminary FIRMs is encouraged but not required. It is intended to make the process for submitting and tracking appeals and comments simpler and easier for everyone. You can learn about alternate ways to submit your feedback in the Submissions fact sheet.
When can I submit my data/feedback regarding the preliminary FIRM?
Feedback can be provided any time after the release of the preliminary FIRMs until the end of the 90-day appeal period. However, please note that the appeal period has now ended for most communities that are affected by the flood study. Check dates for your community on the Appeal Period Start and End Dates page.
What is the appeals process and how does it work?
The appeals process is part of the regulatory mapping process outlined in Title 44, Chapter I, Part 67 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Whenever FEMA issues preliminary FIRMs that involve changes to flood hazard information, a statutory 90 day appeal period is required. FEMA starts the appeals process by:
- Publishing a notice in the Federal Register;
- Notifying the affected communities by letter of the start of the appeal period;
- Publishing a news release twice in a prominent local newspaper.
During the appeal period anyone can submit information (first reviewed by their local officials) that shows the proposed flood hazards or other information on the preliminary FIRM or in the FIS report are not correct. Local officials then provide this information to FEMA for review. If needed, the preliminary FIRM will be updated before it is finalized.
What is considered an appeal?
To be considered an appeal, a submittal must:
- Include data that shows the proposed flood hazard information (e.g. new or modified Special Flood Hazard Area zones or boundaries, Base Flood Elevations, base flood depths, and/or floodway boundaries) is scientifically or technically incorrect;
- Include the needed revisions to the FIRM and/or FIS report (e.g. boundaries of revised floodplains);
- Be received during the statutory 90 day appeal period.
The designation of a submittal as an appeal provides certain appellant rights, including the opportunity for the affected community to have data reviewed by a Scientific Resolution Panel.
What is a comment?
The term comment is used for any submittal that does not meet the requirements outlined for appeals above. This includes feedback about road names, jurisdictional boundaries, or other base map features or concerns about proposed flood hazard information that don’t meet the requirements for an appeal.
For which communities can the Preliminary Flood Map Feedback Portal be used to submit feedback?
The Portal can be used to provide feedback on the preliminary FIRMs for the following communities:
New York Counties
Erie County, NY
Niagara County, NY
Get answers to more questions about the appeals process by reading the complete Appeals and Comments FAQ or use the resources below.
- Submission of Appeals and Comments on Preliminary FIRMs guide
- Criteria for Appeals of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (Please note that the FEMA Standards for Flood Risk Analysis and Mapping publication (see pages 74 – 75) serves as the authoritative policy and standards documentation available from FEMA and takes precedence over other guidance documents. The Criteria for Appeals of Flood Insurance Rate Maps publication supplements the FEMA standards and serves as the most detailed source of guidance related to appeal submittal requirements and processing.)
- Title 44, Chapter I, Part 67 of the Code of Federal Regulations