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From the date (April 19, 2021) of your substantial damage and mitigation notice and the August 13, 2016 floods in Louisiana, 1,710 days or 4.685 years have passed. FEMA has long since closed the damage assessment appeals process for DR-4277 and has ended mitigation grant funding. But this month, homeowners have been instructed to mitigate in accordance with FEMA policy.
Of all the research I have completed since the 2016 floods I have not found a single homeowner tasked with mitigation nearly 5 years after the fact and without FEMA taking an active role in the mitigation process. But we're not going to look for a way out, we're not going to ask some politician to submit a bill for a waiver that will take 3 more years. We're just going to handle things according to FEMA policy and work the path of least resistance.
For nearly 99.9% of all flood victims, the April 19, 2021 mitigation notice came within 90 days of the disaster date. For Livingston Parish homeowners, this letter is past due by 1,620 days. You're being tasked to protect your right to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This is of no fault to the homeowner but the burden to complete the tasks has clearly been placed on the shoulders of the homeowners. I have personally gone around the block a few times with local government and the FEMA policy makers and I'll be sharing what worked for many others so those living in Livingston Parish can quickly provide the least amount of documentation to satisfy the FEMA bureaucracy hunger.
Below is a copy of the letter that was sent to you.
Don't panic, and try not to give the Livingston Parish LOHSEP department too much grief. I can assure you they did not want to take the path that FEMA auditors sent them down.
Read the letter below.
Follow the links I will be providing to the different processes you can take to accomplish the task of mitigation. Some may actually want to physically mitigate while others will opt for the appeals approach.
>>> LETTER FROM LIVINGSTON PARISH <<<
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Brandi Janes Director
19 April 2021
RE: Notification of Substantial Damage and NFIP Non-Compliance
Dear Property Owner,
In March of 2019, FEMA personnel conducted a Community Assistance Visit (CAV) to audit Livingston Parish's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) compliance. After this visit, it was determined that Livingston Parish was non-compliant and in jeopardy of being removed from the NFIP which would result in loss of affordable flood insurance for all structures (residential and non-residential) that fall within Livingston Parish Government jurisdictions (this excludes the city limits of Denham Springs and Walker). In order to remain in the NFIP, Livingston Parish had to conduct site inspections as well as Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) and structure First Floor Elevation (FFEs) on 3,800 + structures throughout the Parish that FEMA believed to be in non-compliance. After the analysis of the data collected, it has been determined that the structure/home located at the above-mentioned address was substantially damaged in the August 2016 Flood and is currently under the required elevation, per Parish floodplain protection ordinance (Livingston Parish Council - Code of Ordinances, Part III - Land Development Code, Chapter 15 - Floods, Article III - Flood Hazard Reduction, Section 115-67 - Specific Standards) and FEMA guidelines. It has been added to the Parish's NFIP non-compliant list. The substantial damage determination is based on a comparison of the cost estimate of the work required to restore the building to its pre-damage condition to the market value of the building (excluding land value). When the cost to repair equals or exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the market value of the building, the work is repair of substantial damage. Substantial damage was determined for this structure based on its market value prior to the August 2016 Flood, FEMA damage data collected as a result of the flood, as well as the property "BFE and the building" FFE. Further inspections and data analysis were conducted prior to the determinations.
Any modifications to this structure requiring a permit whether for renovation, addition, or repair from another disaster will require mitigation. When applying for the permit, you must show your intent to mitigate your structure. Examples of mitigation include elevation to one (1) foot above BFE, demolition of the structure, etc. See the FEMA Fact Sheet - "Mitigation for Homeowners" attached. For information regarding potential grant funding to assist in mitigation efforts, please contact the Livingston Parish Grants Department at 225-686-3018.
Note: Construction activities that are undertaken without a proper permit are violations and may result in fines or other legal actions.
If the damage was caused by flooding and if you have a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you should contact your adjuster to discuss the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage. This coverage may provide a claim payment to help you pay for work required to bring your home into compliance. Your adjuster can explain that the ICC claim may also be used to pay certain costs associated with demolishing and rebuilding your home or moving your home to a site outside of the floodplain. The FEMA Fact Sheet - "Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage" is also attached for your reference. You may also wish to contact your insurance agent to understand how elevating the first floor to at least one (1) foot above BFE can reduce your NFIP flood insurance premiums.
If you disagree with this determination or if you believe that the structure has already been mitigated and is now in compliance, please contact the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (LOHSEP) at 225-686-3066 or via email at EOC@lpgov.com to begin the appeal process.
For an appeal, the following must be provided:
- Provide a market value appraisal and damages of the building prepared by a professional appraiser according to standard practices of the profession.
- A Contractor and Owner affidavit sheet needs to be filed out and turned in.
We will review the appraisal to determine that it accurately describes your building and does not include the value of the land, accessory buildings, and landscaping. Alternatively, we will use the tax assessment value off your building as the estimate of the market value of the building before the work is performed.
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns.
Brandi A. Janes, LOHSEP Director
P.O. Box 1060
Livingston, LA. 70754
>>> END LETTER FROM LIVINGSTON PARISH LA <<<
How to resolve the most common issues.
- How to Appeal Substantial Damage assessments conducted by FEMA or your local municipality.
- Notice of Non-Substantial Damage appeal approach, challenging damage assessments provided by FEMA or your local municipality.
FEMA related Acronyms and Abbreviations
- ACV actual cash value
- BFE base flood elevation
- CFR Code of Federal Regulations
- FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
- FIRM Flood Insurance Rate Map
- FMA Flood Mitigation Assistance (grant program)
- GIS geographic information system
- HMGP Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
- HVAC heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
- ICC Increased Cost of Compliance
- NFIP National Flood Insurance Program
- PDM Pre-Disaster Mitigation (grant program)
- RCV replacement cost value
- SDE Substantial Damage Estimator
- SFHA Special Flood Hazard Area
- SI/SD substantial improvement and substantial damage