Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg gets ready to celebrate lower flood insurance premiums

A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from just north of the North Shore Aquatic Complex. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing to lower the city’s flood insurance costs. A $150,000 policy should see about $120 in premium savings, according to officials. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

A view of the downtown St. Petersburg skyline and waterfront from just north of the North Shore Aquatic Complex. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing to lower the city’s flood insurance costs. A $150,000 policy should see about $120 in premium savings, according to officials. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]

ST. PETERSBURG — There hasn't been a lot of good weather-related news in St. Petersburg these days, not after storms deluged and overwhelmed its sewage system.

But the city is preparing to celebrate one bit of storm-related news: The Federal Emergency Management Agency is preparing to lower the city's flood insurance costs.

"It's great news," said City Council member Darden Rice, who noted that: "51 percent of our residents live in a flood zone."

The official letter from the agency hasn't arrived yet, but the city is expecting confirmation any day now, said Rick Dunn, the city's building official and flood plain manager.

Under the national Community Rating System, or CRS, St. Petersburg's rating will drop from Class 6 to Class 5, an improvement that will save $1.7 million for the tens of thousands of residents who carry flood insurance.

A $150,000 policy should see about $120 in premium savings, Dunn said.

The CRS is a voluntary FEMA program that allows communities to receive discounts on flood insurance for upgrading their floodplain management.

Nationwide, 1,391 communities participate in the program. The program is rated 9 to 1 with 1 being the best rating. Each rung entitles residents to get another 5 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums.

For St. Petersburg, that means residents who have renewed or purchased a policy after Oct. 1 will see a 25 percent discount over residents who live in a community with a 9 rating, such as Riviera Beach.

There are only 121 Class 5 ratings across the United States, and 35 of them are in Florida.

Pinellas County attained a 5 rating this year, joining Hillsborough County. Clearwater and Tampa have 6 ratings. Largo and Pinellas Park each have a 7 rating.

St. Petersburg improved its ranking by tweaking its ordinance to require new homes in the floodplain to be built an extra 2 feet above previous requirements. Now, instead of the floor being 9 feet above sea level, Dunn said, it has to be 11 feet.

And the city has identified, through GIS mapping software, more open spaces in the city that can be used for stormwater storage.

Finally, the city has applied for a $1.2 million grant to help six homeowners in Shore Acres elevate their homes to better protect them from floodwaters.

The city has spent a lot of time recently, primarily in the council's Energy, Natural Resources and Sustainability Committee, working on long-term climate change and resiliency planning.

Rice, that committee's chairwoman, says that work is often complicated and technical, but lower flood insurance premiums are easily understood by homeowners.

"This is a very concrete, positive outcome that really shows what we're working on," she said.

Contact Charlie Frago at cfrago@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow@CharlieFrago.

Editor's note – This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: The city of St. Petersburg applied for a $1.2 million federal grant on behalf of six homeowners in Shore Acres to elevate their homes. An article in Friday's St. Pete Times section incorrectly stated the details of the flood-prevention initiative.

St. Petersburg gets ready to celebrate lower flood insurance premiums 11/03/16 [Last modified: Friday, November 4, 2016 2:24pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Clearwater confronts a new wave of homeless people, many addicted to spice

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Having lived on the streets since 2014, when he said God ordered him to go out and watch over the homeless, Scott Elfstrom has seen new faces brought out by the typical drugs, despair or plain bad luck.

    Clearwater police Sgt. Rodney Johnson talks to a group of homeless people near the Clearwater Police Department. Johnson has worked to decrease the amount of spice being used in the homeless population.
  2. Preservation group's efforts help revitalize Hudson Cemetery

    Human Interest

    HUDSON — Since the 1970s, the area's unhoused could count on Hudson Cemetery as a place to eat, drink and doze. They would crouch behind bushes on the 2 acres — sandwiched between an ABC liquor store and a shopping center — and leave behind beer cans, cigarette butts and rotting clothes. They would …

    Dennis Kingsley, former president of the Hudson Cemetery Preservation Association, looks at recently cleaned headstones at the cemetery. It got a new fence and was cleared of weeds and brush in June.
  3. Adam Putnam
  4. Forecast: Summertime heat, late-day showers soldier on in Tampa Bay

    Weather

    The summertime pattern of hot temperatures and afternoon showers continues through the second half of the week across Tampa Bay.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Pinellas Park police arrest Dade County fugitive hiding in attic crawl space

    Crime

    Pinellas Park police arrested a man wanted on charges in Dade County following a standoff in an apartment complex early Thursday morning.