Water-Related News

Updated Floodplain Maps available at Open Houses throughout Polk County

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Bartow – Polk County’s Board of County Commissioners will host a series of Open House meetings in May to give residents and business owners an opportunity to view and comment on soon-to-be released updated flood hazard maps. The maps can be viewed online at www.polk-county.net/boccsite/your-government/floodplain-managementor in person at the Polk County Floodplain Management office, 330 W. Church Street in Bartow.

The new maps show areas throughout the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) portion of Polk County that are at risk for flooding and will be used to help determine flood insurance and building requirements. The South Florida Water Management District portion of Polk County, located along the east side of the county, received updated maps in 2012.

The maps were developed by SWFWMD, in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Polk County. According to Randall Vogel, Polk County’s floodplain manager, the process included an extensive, multi-year review of the changes brought about by environmental, land use and other forces, use of state-of-the-art aerial mapping and risk modeling techniques for several new detailed study areas, and a comprehensive pre-release review. These Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are now in digital format for easier access on the internet and will ultimately be used to determine flood insurance rates and requirements.

No formal presentations are scheduled; residents may come to view the floodplain maps anytime between 4:00–7:00 p.m. to the following locations:

Tuesday, May 12
Polk Street Community Center
1255 Polk Street, Bartow 33830

Wednesday, May 13
City of Lakeland, Magnolia Building
698 E. Orange Street, Lakeland 33801

Thursday, May 14
Winter Haven Chain O' Lakes Complex, Pool Room, South Entrance
210 Cypress Gardens Blvd, Winter Haven 33880

FEMA, SWFWMD and county staff will be available at each public meeting to answer questions about flood risk and insurance requirements.

In addition to the public meetings, there will be a 90-day public comment period where property owners can submit appeals and comments if they can show that the maps are technically or scientifically in error. Once all appeals and comments are received and addressed, the maps are expected to become effective in summer 2016. At that time, flood insurance requirements related to the new map information will take effect.

For general questions about the local map update efforts call Polk County Floodplain Management at (863) 534-6767 or (863) 534-6765. For information about flood insurance, contact your local insurance agent or visit www.FloodSmart.gov.