Sunday, November 27, 2011

Endangered Species Endangers Floodplains

Last month, the Chamber cooperated with the Propeller Club Port of Tacoma Chapter in a program about the National Marine Fisheries Services Biological Opinion of the EPA’s Endangered Species Act for floodplains as designated by FEMA mapping.

There is another upcoming presentation for November 30th between 8:30-10:00am at Renton City Hall regarding the flood issues that H. Ray Liaw presented and responded to questions last month.  This will be a slightly longer presentation and will focus on the litigation that is upcoming regarding the floodplain issues.

Where:   Renton City Hall (1055 S. Grady Way, Renton) 7th floor conference room
When:    November 30th (Wednesday) 8:30 to 10:00 AM

Click this link REGISTER to automatically open a reply email to the support staff managing the registration list.   

Please forward this message to associates and colleagues who fit the above description

There are pending changes that will drastically impact your ability and cost to:
1.      Rebuild or alter your property after a flood
2.      Develop or redevelop your property in the flood plain regardless of whether it ever floods
3.      Finance your property if it is located in a floodplain or
4.      Obtain flood insurance.

Your support is needed to help collectively represent the interests of real estate owners and managers – the window of opportunity to avoid new regulations is closing quickly, please read the information below and attached.

Where:   Renton City Hall (1055 S. Grady Way, Renton) 7th floor conference room
When:    November 30th (Wednesday) 8:30 to 10:00 AM

FEMA continues its efforts to redraw the floodplain maps for the Puget Sound region, including King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  The latest round of preliminary floodplain maps for the Kent Valley show hundreds of acres of land previously considered safe from flooding now within the floodplain.  Similar changes are pending in Pierce County, where huge areas around the Puyallup River are proposed for remapping into the floodplain.  If you own or manage real estate near any river in the Puget Sound region, you may soon be mapped within FEMA’s designated flood zone.  Properties within the floodplain are subject to one, and often several, additional layers of development regulations and permitting requirements – which are at real and significant risk of becoming impossibly restrictive if we don’t take action.

In February 2011, we held a previous meeting about these issues.  During that meeting, we explained that we were concerned that FEMA and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) were moving to require municipalities throughout the Puget Sound region (Auburn, Kent, Renton and Tukwila in the Kent Valley) to adopt significant changes to their land use rules governing development and redevelopment of floodplain properties.  Following that meeting – with the funds raised from that meeting – we have been able to stave off the most restrictive changes

But now the environmental groups who pushed FEMA and NMFS to require limitations on the use of properties in the floodplain – both current and potential future floodplain areas – are upset and will be filing a lawsuit this month to try to force FEMA, NMFS, and local governments to implement much more restrictive regulations in the Puget Sound floodplain areas.

This message is to alert you to an important meeting.  This meeting will cover:
1.      The scope of the problem and how it affects your property
2.      The pending lawsuit by environmental groups to force more restrictions on property in the floodplain
3.      The financial support needed toward a legal defense fund to help protect and preserve property rights and development options and to help shape fair regulatory changes (This is the key element of the meeting.  A plan of action will be outlined.)

Where:   Renton City Hall (1055 S. Grady Way, Renton) 7th floor conference room
When:    November 30th (Wednesday) 8:30 to 10:00 AM

Please read the linked “Three Flood Zone ImpactScenarios” to learn how FEMA’s and NMFS’s proposed land use standards will impact you.  Remember, even if your property never floods, these proposed development standards may govern your property’s future use.  How might new land development standards affect your ability to insure and refinance your property? How will that affect your equity? If what you read concerns you—forward this email to other floodplain property owners and managers and attend the meeting.  We hope to see you at the meeting.

This message is being sent by Property Owners for Sensible Floodplain Regulations (POSFR), a coalition of property owners, industry groups such as (BOMA, Washington REALTORS, AWB, MBA, RHA) and real estate representatives from firms like CBRE, Kidder Matthews, etc. who are concerned about the potential over-regulation of floodplain areas in the Puget Sound region.

To register – please copy this contact info list

Mailing Address:

Then click this link REGISTER to automatically open a reply email to the support staff managing the registration list.  Just paste the contact info list into that email – fill in your data (you can anything already in your email signature).

Question can be directed to any of the following:

Rod Kauffman
BOMA Seattle
Mark Jackson
BOMA member
Lezlie Plastino
Kidder Mathews

Todd Woosley
Hal Woosley Prop. Inc.
Jeanette McKague
Washington Realtors


  1. Why wouldn't the Chamber want to promote responsible development outside of places that flood all the time and cost businesses and taxpayers money? The ESA is helping us make smarter decisions here.

  2. mig:

    That's the obvious solution. I've added a map of the proposed 100 Year Flood Plain. Unfortunately, much development has already occurred, based on food prevention measures (levies) constructed decades ago. Like too many levies, these have deteriorated or no longer measure up to expectations. Funding is a problem to address that condition. Some alternative solutions, like dredging the river, are not always a welcome solution either.