As reported in the St. Petersburg Tribune, the Pinellas County property appraiser’s office is meticulously reviewing data collected across the Tampa Bay area several years ago with airborne lidar sensors.
Examining each home or office building to estimate its elevation over flood levels should make it easier to analyze how insurance costs might affect future land values. It also could be useful for challenging the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s controversial flood maps, which have a big effect on rates.
Although Congress moved to slow premium hikes in the federal flood program for older homes in risky areas, rates still can go up 5 percent to 18 percent a year, meaning some homes could be stuck with unaffordable policies within a few years.
For those of us who live in a flood zone this is all too real.