The City of Santa Cruz has worked for the past twenty-eight years to improve the flood capacity of the San Lorenzo River levees. Work is now completed on the first phase of these improvements and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recognized the increased flood protection the new levees provide by granting the A-99 flood zone designation. What does this change mean?
Flood insurance premiums for the A-99 flood zone are significantly lower than the previous A-11 flood zone. Depending on the property and amount of required flood insurance the new rates are approximately 40-50% lower than those previously paid.
The FEMA Community Rating System has awarded the City of Santa Cruz a class seven rating which further reduces the NFIP A-99 flood insurance rates by 5%.
New buildings and improvements are no longer mandated to meet FEMA flood elevation construction requirements, but the requirements may be followed depending on the wishes of the property owner.
Who is affected by this change?
A map of areas redesignated as A-99 is available on the FEMA FIRM maps listed below.
How can you benefit from this change?
You should contact your insurance company or agent and inform them of this change. The agents will generally ask for two items of information.
1. A copy of the June 26, 2002 FEMA Letter Map Revision [PDF].
2. A copy of the revised Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM Map) of the City of Santa Cruz showing your parcel. You can send your agent the section of the FIRM Map with your property indicated on it from FIRM Maps available on this page, along with the lower right hand corner section of that FIRM Map showing the FIRM and Community-Panel Number.
You should mark your property on the map above to assist your insurance company in confirming your location in relation to the new flood zone.
FEMA FIRM Maps (all are PDF):
NOTE: To open the maps you will need to have Adobe Acrobat reader. After opening a map, use the magnifying glass symbol to zoom into your neighborhood and street to see if your property is in the redesignated A-99 area.
Use the Map Index File to find your specific map. Map file names relate directly to the FIRM Map Index.
FEMA FIRM Map Index File (start here)
NOTE: These new maps are referenced to the North American Vertical Datum of 1988. You should ensure that your surveyor uses base topography maps with this same datum.
Where can I get help?
If you have questions, the first person to call is your insurance agent. If you need any information from the City, call the Planning Department at 831-420-5100.
You can also call the FEMA toll free flood insurance Help Center at 800-638-6620. You should be aware that the FEMA Help Center does not have a copy of the Santa Cruz A-99 FIRM map and can only answer questions relating to flood insurance rates and policies.
The FEMA flood insurance program is on line at www.fema.gov/nfip/
Flood Insurance Constructions Requirements To Be Modified
The June 26, 2002 FEMA Letter Map Revision allowed the City to substantially modify the Federally mandated flood construction requirements in the Downtown and Beach Areas of the City of Santa Cruz. These requirements have been in place since 1986 and affected both residential and commercial construction projects.
The City Council on July 23, 2002 adopted an ordinance which modified the FEMA construction requirements for Downtown and Beach Areas generally north of Barson and Elm Streets. After Coastal Commission approval the FEMA construction requirements were modified south of these streets. For more information on this change call the City of Santa Cruz Department of Planning and Community Development at 831-420-5100.
Information on Flood Insurance Program and FEMA Flood Hazard Areas