Floodplain Administration

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NFIP PARTICIPATION

The Village of Los Lunas participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, administered by FEMA. All property within the Village is located within one of the FEMA-designated flood zones; because of this, development requirements are in place to help mitigate any potential flood hazard. Read below for more information.   

QUESTION & ANSWER

  • What is FEMA?
    • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a government agency that supports citizens and emergency personnel to build, sustain, and improve the nation's capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
  • What is the FEMA Floodplain?
    • A floodplain is any land area susceptible to flooding during heavy rainfall, storm surges, or other natural disasters. 
  • What is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
    • The SFHA is an area identified by FEMA to be particularly susceptible to flood hazards, such as the 0.2% or 1% chance of flood. The flood-prone areas are identified on the FEMA floodplain maps, also known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM).
  • What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)?
    • The FIRM is the official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated the SFHAs, the Base Flood Elevations (BFEs), and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. The SFHAs within Los Lunas are typically listed as A, AO, or AE. Areas with a minimal chance of flooding are listed as X. 
  • What a Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
    • The BFE is the elevation of surface water resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year.
  • What is an Elevation Certificate and how do I get one?
    • An Elevation Certificate documents important features of your property, including its location, flood zone, building characteristics and, most importantly, the elevation of its lowest floor. Any surveyor or engineer licensed in the State of New Mexico can issue an Elevation Certificate.
  • What is the National Floodplain Insurance Program (NFIP)?
    • The NFIP is a program created by the United State Congress through the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The NFIP was established to help mitigate flood risk by restricting floodplain development and enabling property owners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is required for all loans for existing structures, manufactured or mobile homes, and buildings under construction within the SFHA.
  • Can I remove my property from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
    • If you believe your property was incorrectly identified as a SFHA by the NFIP, you may submit an application to FEMA for a formal determination of the property's location and/or elevation relative to the SFHA. This is called a Letter of Map Change (LOMC) request. See the link in "Floodplain Maps & Village Development Information" below for more information. 
  • FEMA Terminology Index

FLOODPLAIN MAPS & VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION

PRE AND POST-FIRM STRUCTURES & FLOODPLAIN MITIGATION 

Within the SFHA are two structure classifications, pre-FIRM, and post-FIRM. A pre-FIRM structure is anything built before the FIRM was effective, while a post-FIRM refers to any structure built after the FIRM was effective. For example, within the Village of Los Lunas, the first effective FIRM date was April 6, 2000, and the current FIRM was effective August 19, 2010.

All pre-FIRM structures were built before the floodplain development regulations were established, and because of this, many of the structures may have been constructed below the BFE, which is at a higher risk of flood damage. For example, for any structure within an AE Zone, the 1% flood, there is a 26% chance that the area may be inundated by floodwaters over the life of a 30-year mortgage. 

On the other hand, post-FIRM structures must be designed to meet current floodplain management regulations, which may include elevating the structure at or above the BFE for dwellings and elevating, installing engineered flood openings, or engineered dry proofing for commercial buildings. 

Any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a structure pre or post-FIRM that equals or exceeds 50% of the structure's market value is considered a substantial improvement. If a project triggers substantial improvement regulations, the property owner must comply with the current floodplain management regulations to reduce the risk of flood damage. 

For more information on mitigation techniques, review the information below. 

  • Site Built or Modular Structure Elevation
    • A building may be elevated in an A, AO, or AE zone so that the top of the bottom floor is at or above the BFE by utilizing fill, foundation walls, shear walls, posts, piers, pilings, or columns. See the example gallery below. 
  • Mobile Home Tiedown 
    • A mobile home is considered a structure built before June 15, 1976, over 32 feet in length and over 8 feet in width, constructed to be towed on its own chassis and designed to be installed with or without a permanent foundation for human occupancy. In addition, mobile homes built before 1976 are not compliant with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards; because of this, most mobile homes are placed on a temporary foundation, increasing flood risk due to hydrodynamic pressure. To mitigate flood risk, mobile homes in the SFHA must elevate so that the lowest point of the chassis is at or above the BFE and install a FEMA-approved tiedown method. See the example gallery below. 
  • Flood Openings
    • FEMA approved flood openings may be installed on enclosed structures below the BFE instead of elevating. However, these enclosed areas must be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing the entry and exit of floodwaters through the flood openings. A flood opening can be installed on sheds, garages, and structures with crawl spaces less than 4 feet tall. There must be a minimum of two openings on separate walls with a minimum of 1 square inch of flood opening per 1 square foot of floor area. See the example gallery below. 
  • Dry Proofing Commercial Structures
    • Dry proofing is a flood risk mitigation technique that ensures a structure below the BFE is watertight. This type of floodproofing must be designed and certified by a licensed engineer and only applies to commercial properties. Some examples of dry proofing are installing a waterproof membrane on the outside of a structure,  temporary drop-in flood shields, or installing backflow valves to temporarily block plumping from sewage or chemical hazards. See the example gallery below.
Village of Los Lunas Floodplain Contact Information
Community Development Director/Floodplain ManagerAlex Ochoa, AICP, CFM505-352-7630ochoaa@loslunasnm.gov
Current PlannerSonia Walker, CZO, CFM505-352-7658walkers@loslunasnm.gov

FEMA Document Gallery

Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards FEMA P-85
Answers to Questions About Substantially Improved/ Substantially Damaged BuildingsFEMA-213
Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting FEMA P-312
Protecting Building Utility Systems From Flood Damage FEMA P-348
Substantial Improvement/ Substantial Damage Desk Reference FEMA P-758
Floodplain Management Requirements for Agricultural Structures and Accessory Structures FEMA P-2140
Requirements for Flood Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures TB-1
Flood Damage-Resistant Materials Requirements TB-2
Requirements for the Design and Certification of Dry Floodproofed Non-Residential and Mixed-Use TB-3
Elevator Installation TB-4
Free-of-Obstruction Requirements TB-5
Requirements for Dry Floodproofed Below-Grade Parking Areas Under Non-Residential and Mixed-Use TB-6
Wet Floodproofing Requirements and Limitations TB-7
Corrosion Protection for Metal Connectors and Fasteners in Coastal Areas TB-8
Design and Construction Guidance for Breakaway Walls TB-9
Reasonably Safe from Flooding Requirement for Building on Filled Land TB-10
Crawlspace Construction TB-11
Elevation Certificate