Your home and property may or may not be sitting in a floodplain depending on whether you’re looking at a DNR map or a FEMA map. That’s why one State Senator is looking to change the law to get rid of the confusion.
“Hopefully we can resolve what some people would say would be overreach of DNR,” according to State Senator and Senate Ag Chair Jean Leising (shown above). She has co-written a bill (Senate Bill 242) concerning Indiana’s floodplain maps. There are one set of maps from FEMA and the federal government – and another set of recently revised maps from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
“Many people in Indiana are finding themselves in a state floodplain and they’ve never been in a floodplain before,” says Leising. “For the most part, they won’t know it until they either apply for a building permit or they attempt to sell their property. It’s a really big issue because potentially it’s devaluing some people’s properties.”
Leising says lawmakers in the Indiana Senate weren’t notified of the DNR’s new floodplain maps, which now supersede FEMA’s maps as part of legislation that was passed and went into effect last year.
Leising says the feedback she has received from her constituents is that the DNR’s maps are too restrictive.
“I would say the DNR maps are more stringent than the federal FEMA maps. However, DNR would say they are more protective—to give them a fair shake. I think because they didn’t go through the regular process of getting those maps in statute that we need to remove it for now and get everybody to talk about this,” according to Leising.
Also, if more rural properties are listed in floodplains, that could require more Hoosiers to have to pay more for additional floodplain insurance in order to get approved for a mortgage or property loan.
Leising’s bill would revert back to FEMA’s maps for guidance on Indiana’s floodplain areas.
“It’s not that we don’t want to protect property, because we do. We have to make sure that government isn’t too heavy-handed,” Leising says.
The bill now goes before the full Senate for consideration. If it passes both the Indiana Senate and House and is signed by Gov. Holcomb, the law would take effect July 1, 2023.
Click HERE to read more about State Senator Leising’s bill regarding Indiana’s floodplain maps and regulations.