Lesson 5 Objectives

At the end of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Identify the basis for approval or denial of LOMR applications
  • Analyze applications to determine special processes for unique situations
  • Analyze applications to identify potential violations
General LOMR Timeline
The timeline for the review and determination of a LOMR depends on the type LOMR.
A timeline showing the review and determination period for LOMR applications.

Once submitted, the timeline for FEMA to process the application is as follows:

  • LOMR-F and CLOMR-F applications have a 60-day review and determination period
  • LOMR and CLOMR applications have a 90-day review and determination period, including the approval of all data submitted
General LOMR Review Process
The general review and determination process is as follows:
  • FEMA reviews and evaluates applications for completeness and accuracy
  • There are additional FEMA reviews for CLOMR-Fs, LOMR-Fs, LOMRs, and CLOMRs
  • In most cases, fees are required. However projects are exempt from fees if they are based on federal, state or local studies to update an approximate A Zone to a detailed study, map changes based on mapping or study errors, map changes based on the effects of natural changes within the SFHA, changes due to federally sponsored flood control projects where 50 percent or more of the project’s costs are federally funded, and studies based on more detailed flood hazard information
  • It is an iterative process and deadlines are important. For example, if the deadline is not met, the clock restarts on the application, the case is suspended (no longer being processed) and will cost an additional fee to get it started again
  • Once FEMA grants the revision, FEMA sends the letter to the applicant, the local community(ies), and the State NFIP coordinator. The letter is also filed in the Map Service Center
  • Letters can be retrieved from the Map Service Center. Changes to flood maps are incorporated into the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL).
  • Submittal of an application does not guarantee approval
A flowchart diagram that shows the FEMA general review and determination process for Letters of Map Change applications. See Appendix for alt text description.
FEMA Review Process
Flowchart for FEMA role in LOMR review process. Refer to the appendix for the fulll text of the image.
LOMR Review Questions
  • Is the application complete?
  • Is the information submitted accurate?
  • Is there a signed Community Acknowledgment Form? (CLOMR-F, LOMR-F, or for a property located within a regulatory floodway) Community officials are urged not to sign the form if they proper permits have not been obtained or if the project cannot be shown to be reasonably safe from flooding. In that case, the LOMR may not be issued
  • Is there a signed Overview & Concurrence Form? (LOMR or CLOMR)
  • Has Endangered Species Act compliance been documented? (CLOMR, CLOMR-F)
  • Do all elevations use the same datum?
  • Is the location accurate?
  • Does the BFE match the effective BFE in the FIRM or FIS? Preliminary BFE is not allowed to be used for the LOMR
  • If there is a BFE match discrepancy, has the applicant developed a corrected effective model prior to the impacts of any man-made changes?
Basis for Approval—LOMR
  • Are all forms for the specific type of LOMR completed and all required documentation attached?
  • Are all fields populated, using N/A when appropriate?
  • Has the appropriate fee been submitted?
  • Have the applicant and the community signed the Overview and Concurrence form?
  • For any changes to hydrologic or hydraulic data, have all computer runs been submitted?
  • Do hydrologic and hydraulic analyses use methods acceptable to FEMA?
  • Have changes to flood map zone boundaries, flood elevation data, and FIS tables and/or stream profiles been submitted in accordance with FEMA guidelines?
  • Has notice been given to all affected property owners, as well as adjacent communities, for any floodway, BFE, or flood zone boundary changes?
  • Have all topographic work maps been certified?
  • Is an annotated FIRM included?
Basis for Approval—LOMR-F
  • For one or more structures, are the lowest adjacent grade of the structure at or above the BFE?
  • For one or more lots, is the lowest point on the lot and the lowest floor of any structure on the lot at or above the BFE?
  • Has the LOMR-F processing fee been received by FEMA?
  • Is there a signed Community Acknowledgement Form that demonstrates that the community has determined that the land and any existing or proposed structures to be removed from the SFHA are “reasonably safe from flooding”?
  • Are elevations certified by a licensed land surveyor or registered professional engineer?
  • What gets approved?
    • The application to remove a property or portion of a parcel or to change BFE or flood zone boundaries gets approved or denied
  •  How does an application get approved?
    • The MT-1 or MT-2 forms are submitted to FEMA for review. In some cases, FEMA may request more information. Community acknowledgment is required for a LOMR-F or LOMR
  • What does approval mean?
    • Either the FIRM and/or FIS tables and profiles are physically changed, or a legal letter from FEMA determines that a parcel, or portion thereof, is not within the SFHA
LOMR-F applications will be denied if the:
  • Lowest grade adjacent (LAG) to a structure is lower than the BFE
  • Lowest floor elevation (LFE) of an existing structure is lower than the BFE
What Does Denial Mean?
  • The lot, portion of lot, or structure will remain legally in the SFHA
  • No BFEs or floodplain boundaries are changed
  • NFIP development and flood insurance requirements remain
  • The applicant may submit another application with more accurate data
Special Processes for Unique Situations
Occasionally, a LOMR application will require different documentation or consideration. These special situations include:
  • Zone V
    • LOMR requests in Zone V require an MT-2 with a revised coastal analysis
  • Approximate or Unnumbered Zone A
    • For a LOMR-F or LOMR request, the applicant’s engineer may have to develop a BFE if there is not one on the FIRM or FIS
    • If the LOMR is simply to develop a BFE where there is none, the application is fee exempt
  • Zone AO
    • When a property is within a Zone AO, the review of requests is case specific and must consider several characteristics of Zone AO flooding, including the extent of the flooding that would inundate the property, the direction of sheet flow, whether fill will convey AO flow to adjacent properties, and whether there is a defined velocity. It is not sufficient to simply fill the zone and submit for a LOMR-F without additional analysis
Potential Floodplain Management Violations
Potential violations discovered during the LOMR review process are flagged and sent to the FEMA Region for investigation.
  • Lowest floor elevation (LFE)
    • A LOMR-F will not be granted if the lowest floor elevation (LFE), including basement, is below the BFE. This would be a violation for a post-FIRM structure that would need to be corrected, but is merely a denial of the application for a pre-FIRM structure
  • LOMR without CLOMR
    • Sometimes a LOMR is used to justify a violation after the fact. If the project was not permitted by the local FPA and it includes a floodway encroachment, then it is a violation
  • Zone V construction
    • According to 44 CFR 60.3 (6), the placement of structural fill (fill used to support a structure) is prohibited in Zone V
  • Floodway violations
    • If a LOMR-F application includes property in the floodway, the fill must have been permitted. If the fill was not permitted, then it is a violation
    • For LOMR applications, fill in a floodway that causes any measurable increase in the BFE is allowed only if all LOMR requirements have been met, which includes obtaining an approved CLOMR-F prior to applying for a LOMR
Note Icon
Not every potential violation is an actual violation, particularly with respect to pre-FIRM structures.
Lesson 5 Review

In this lesson we discussed:

  • The general timelines and processes for LOMR applications
  • The LOMR application review process
  • The community acknowledgment requirement
  • Basis for approving a LOMR application
  • Why an LOMR application may be denied
  • Special processes for unique situations
  • Violations to floodplain management regulations that may be discovered during the LOMR application process