Most residents of Portland have probably not been following what has been going on with FEMA and its “attack” on our waterfront. Over a year ago this government agency issued a new flood map of the harbor, re-classifying it from an A-zone to a V-zone.
This change in status would have drastically limited any new development or significant rehabilitation of existing buildings or structures along the waterfront. Federally backed insurance rates would also increase.
During the last year, however, city officials and business leaders have been successful in convincing FEMA that its science was flawed and that the high winds and waves associated with a V-zone have never been experienced in Portland.
This is an important victory for the city, and the expense incurred in by hiring our own technical experts well worth it.
FEMA is currently less than half way through a major effort to remap the U.S. coastline using purported updated technology to more accurately predict flood risks and Portland was the first New England coastal city to be re-assessed.
Although I have only been following this story from a distance, I am reminded of Ronald Regan’s humorous, but, insightful quote: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”