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Maine Municipal Association 2012 Convention October 3 rd & 4 th , 2012. Presenter: James D. Nadeau P.L.S., C.F.M., C.F.S. Session 1: 8:45-10:00 AM Mortgage Loan Inspections vs. Boundary Surveys Session 2: 1:30-3:00 PM Understanding Flood Zones.

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maine municipal association 2012 convention october 3 rd 4 th 2012

Maine Municipal Association2012 ConventionOctober 3rd & 4th, 2012

Presenter: James D. Nadeau

P.L.S., C.F.M., C.F.S.

Session 1: 8:45-10:00 AM

Mortgage Loan Inspections vs. Boundary Surveys

Session 2: 1:30-3:00 PM

Understanding Flood Zones

session 1 8 45 10 00 am mortgage loan inspections vs boundary surveys
Session 1: 8:45 – 10:00 AMMortgage Loan Inspections vs. Boundary Surveys
  • Differences between MLIs and Boundary Surveys
  • Common misconceptions about their use
  • Breakdown of a Boundary Survey
mli sketch
MLI Sketch
  • They’re called “Inspections” for a reason
  • No evidence is shown
  • No records research performed
  • Measurements not necessarily performed
  • Determination is made by provided deed or reference from the title company, Realtor, or lending institution
boundary survey
Boundary Survey
  • Research to determine order of lot sequence
  • Identify evidence in operative documents
  • Perform accurate measurements
  • Perform precise computations
  • Document preparation
pop quiz 1
Pop Quiz 1:

Mortgage Loan Inspection should ONLY be used for these 2 things:

Determine if dwelling (improvements to be used as collateral) was in compliance with municipal setback requirements at the time of construction.

Determine if dwelling is located within a Special

Flood Hazard Area, based solely on horizontal

scaling, no elevations are used.

mortgage loan inspections common misconceptions
Mortgage Loan InspectionsCommon Misconceptions
  • A Mortgage Loan Inspection has never been called a Class D Survey.
  • A Class D Survey pertains to Positional Accuracy of Field Measurements.
  • Also called a plot plan, site plan, mortgage survey.
  • Closing statement
mortgage loan inspections
Mortgage Loan Inspections

MLIs SHOULD NOT be used for:

  • Land Divisions/Subdivisions
  • Land Feasibility
  • Acreage Calculations
  • Site Plans
  • Building Permits
mortgage loan inspections1
Mortgage Loan Inspections

MLIs DO NOT identify:

  • Deed overlaps
  • Junior/Senior rights
  • Easements and Rights of Way not in current deed
  • Any land conveyance not in current deed
  • Typographical errors in current deed
  • Encroachments
  • Original boundary evidence
pop quiz 2
  • Q: What is the area of a 100' x 200' parcel of land?
boundary surveys private public records research
Boundary SurveysPrivate & Public Records Research
  • Collect information NOT recorded at the Registry of Deeds
    • Municipal offices
    • Abutters
    • Other land surveyors
    • Registry of Probate
    • County commissioner’s office
    • State agencies
    • Historical societies
boundary surveys registry research
Boundary SurveysRegistry Research
  • Perform chains of title at registry of deeds
  • Determine:
    • Sequence of conveyance
    • Original called for boundary line or corner evidence
    • Easements/rights of way
    • Typographical errors
boundary surveys preparation of deed sketch
Boundary SurveysPreparation of Deed Sketch
  • Worksheet that identifies the various record calls along each boundary line
  • Original deed used to identify the intent of the original grantor
  • Evidence found relative to locative information within the deeds
  • Differing surveyor opinions
locus chain of title for our office
Locus Chain of Title for our office
  • 1899 - Present: Portland
  • 1871 - 1899: Deering
  • 1814 - 1871: Westbrook
  • Pre – 1814: Falmouth
  • From 1814 – 1820 Westbrook was part of Massachusetts
  • Prior to 1760 records would be located in York County.
  • Cumberland County was not established until November 1, 1760. Also, both counties were still within the boundaries of Massachusetts until 1820.
significant dates in cumberland county history
Significant Dates in Cumberland County History
  • Portland was part of Falmouth until 1786.
  • Yarmouth was part of North Yarmouth until 1849.
  • Scarborough - July 14, 1658
  • Falmouth - November 12, 1718
  • North Yarmouth - 1732
  • Brunswick - January 26, 1739
  • Harpswell - January 25, 1758
  • Cumberland County - November 1, 1760
  • Lincoln County - November 1, 1760
  • Windham - June 12, 1762
  • Gorham - October 30, 1764
  • Cape Elizabeth - November 1, 1765
boundary surveys field recon instrument location
Boundary SurveysField Recon & Instrument Location
  • Using the deed sketch, we field locate all applicable boundary evidence, improvements, and lines of occupation (tree lines, fences, stone walls).
  • Not uncommon to find occupation lines and record lines to be in different locations.
boundary surveys data entry office computations
Boundary SurveysData Entry/Office Computations
  • Review, validate, and verify data for mathematical accuracy
  • Can now determine acreage, encroachments, boundary corner locations, easements, rights of way, etc.
  • Determine deed excess and deficiency
  • We create our professional opinion
boundary surveys preparation of final plan
Boundary SurveysPreparation of Final Plan
  • Depicts all rendered services, final findings, and recommendations.
  • Should hold up to professional scrutiny in a discussion or dispute.
  • Product is prepared in compliance with State requirements.
boundary surveys mark property corners
Boundary SurveysMark Property Corners
  • Return to site to mark boundary corners and lines with steel rebar and survey caps.
  • Provides notice to abutters and future surveyors that the parcel was formally surveyed.
  • Other monuments can be placed as requested.
summary of key points
Summary of Key Points
  • Mortgage Loan Inspections are only to be used to determine investment risk in mortgage loan transactions.
  • Any determinations made based on accurate measuring of the land would require a formal land survey.
  • Permits made for development projects should never be based on an Mortgage Loan Inspection Plan.
maine municipal association 2012 convention october 3 rd 4 th 20121

Maine Municipal Association2012 ConventionOctober 3rd & 4th, 2012

Presenter: James D. Nadeau

P.L.S., C.F.M., C.F.S.

Session 1: 8:45-10:00 AM

Mortgage Loan Inspections vs. Boundary Surveys

Session 2: 1:30-3:00 PM

Understanding Flood Zones

session 2 1 30 3 00 pm understanding flood zones
Session 2: 1:30 – 3:00 PMUnderstanding Flood Zones
  • History and purpose of the National Flood Insurance Program
  • Creation of the flood zone
  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps & their inconsistencies
  • Flood zone determinations & the appeals process
we will not cover the following topics in great detail
We will not cover the following topics in great detail:
  • Elevation Certificates
  • Formal submissions
  • Insurance
  • Community Rating System
  • Creating elevations from flood studies
  • Substantial improvement and damage
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Regulatory and administrative measures

But we are happy to provide more information at another time.

evolution of the national flood insurance program
Evolution of the National Flood Insurance Program
  • During the early years of flood insurance provided by private industry, rates were too high because it was optional.
  • Data collected in the early to mid- 1900’s indicated most of the major flood disasters in previous decades were the result of urban expansion in flood zone areas, with little regard for the natural resource.
  • Traditionally, governments tried to keep water away from the people by constructing dams, levees, etc., but this was inadequate.

NEW STRATEGY: Keep the people away from the water!

1953 tennessee valley authority initiates first floodplain regulations
1953: Tennessee Valley Authority initiates first floodplain regulations
  • Objectives:
    • Assure the retention of the required floodway areas without raising flood heights
    • Encourage sound land use in the floodplain, consistent with flood hazard and community land use needs
  • Initial approach: “Zero” flood height increase across the entire floodplain
  • Not very practical! Expanded regulation in a way that couldn’t address:
    • individual existing uses
    • development needs
    • social, economic, and natural benefits
    • private property rights, etc.
in an effort to gain approval and funding
In an effort to gain approval and funding…
  • The Flood Insurance Administration (part of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development) negotiated a compromise to satisfy Congress.
  • Engineered models of a floodway often show an area larger than those depicted on the flood maps due to the “no rise” strategy.
  • They achieved a smaller floodway width by squeezing the model to a point that a one foot rise at any point within the channel would occur.
1968 congress passed the national flood insurance act creating the national flood insurance program
1968: Congress passed the National Flood Insurance Act, creating the National Flood Insurance Program
  • Program would:
    • Provide flood insurance coverage not generally available in the public market
    • Stimulate local floodplain management to guide future development
    • Emphasize less costly nonstructural flood control regulatory measures
    • Reduce Federal disaster costs by shifting burden from general taxpayer to floodplain occupants
1973 flood disaster protection act
1973: Flood Disaster Protection Act
  • Lending institutions cannot make, increase, extend, or renew a loan for a building in the floodplain without NFIP flood insurance.
  • It is the responsibility of the lender to:
    • Determine if the property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)
    • Document the determination
    • Ensure the insurance is maintained through the life of the loan
1994 national flood insurance reform act
1994: National Flood Insurance Reform Act
  • Increased the maximum amount of flood insurance coverage
  • Establish a grant program for mitigation plans and projects
  • Enacted stricter penalties on lenders to comply
  • 5 year visit by FEMA to communities
  • Increased Cost of Compliance
the nfip approach
The NFIP Approach

The NFIP’s approach was based on the rational of selecting a minimum criterion (no more than one foot) to designate a floodway, that would be a compromise between prohibiting encroachments into the floodplain, while permitting economical land use and protection from unreasonable invasion of private and public rights.

base flood elevation bfe
Base Flood Elevation (BFE)
  • The height above sea level to which flood water would be expected to rise in a base, or 100 year flood event.
  • 100 year flood
    • 1 % annual chance of being equaled or exceeded in a given year
    • 100 year flood has a 26% chance of occurring over the life of a 30-year mortgage loan
the floodway
The Floodway

No development is permitted in the floodway, unless a licensed engineer can certify through scientific analysis that it will cause “no rise” to the BFE.

Floodway: the main channel of a watercourse, including adjacent floodplains necessary to carry the selected flood without increasing flood elevations significantly.

  • Officials from various states felt that “no more than one foot rise” was not an effective criterion.
  • Did not take into account:
    • Terrain topography
    • Stream slope and side slope
    • Upstream watershed development
    • Hydrology, hydraulics, water velocities, water depth
    • Ecological and environmental conditions
    • Economic and societal considerations
    • Degree of acceptance of land use regulations
    • State and federal statutes and criteria
    • Vegetation loss, impervious surfaces
    • Bridges, ice blocks, improper fill
base flood elevation
Base Flood Elevation
  • Insurance - used as an accurate numerical value for determining flood risk.
  • Regulation – used as an accurate numerical value for permit approvals.
  • Design or planning – should only be used as an approximate or predicted elevation.
nfip basic parts
NFIP Basic Parts




permissible rise
Permissible Rise
  • Permissible rise in flood elevation is based on the assumption that the floodway fringe is completely filled with structures or earth fill to the elevation of the selected flood, or is closed off by a wall so flood waters have to pass down the floodway in the floodway model.

In real conditions, the walls do not exist and flood water will impact the floodway fringe on both sides of the floodway.

special flood hazard areas sfha
Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA)
  • FEMA-identified high-risk flood area where flood insurance is mandatory for property owners.
  • These areas have special flood, mudflow, or flood-related erosion hazards
  • Shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map or a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) as being in an A Zone or V Zone (coastal flood zones)
a zones
A Zones
  • AE - An area inundated by 100-year flooding, for which BFEs have been determined.
  • A - An area inundated by 100 year flooding, for which no BFEs have been established.
  • AH - An area inundated by 100-year flooding (usually an area of ponding), for which BFEs have been determined; flood depths range from 1 to 3 feet.
  • AO - An area inundated by 100-year flooding (usually sheet flow on sloping terrain), for which average depths have been determined; flood depths range from 1 to 3 feet.
  • A99 - An area inundated by 100-year flooding, for which no BFEs have been determined. This is an area to be protected from the 100-year flood by a Federal flood protection system under construction.
  • AR - An area inundated by flooding, for which BFEs or average depths have been determined.
v zones
V Zones
  • VE- An area inundated by 100-year flooding with velocity hazard (wave action); BFEs have been determined.
  • V- An area inundated by 100-year flooding with velocity hazard (wave action); no BFEs have been determined.
  • VO- An area inundated by 100-year flooding with velocity hazard (wave action); no BFEs have been determined.
other flood zones
Other Flood Zones
  • Zone B: 500-year flooding; or 100-year flooding with ave. depths of < 1 ft. or with drainages less than 1 sq. mi., or protection from levees
  • Zone C: outside of 100- and 500-year floodplains
  • Zone X: outside of the 100- and 500-year floodplains
flood determinations
Flood Determinations
  • What is a Flood Determination?
    • An official declaration stating whether or not a property lies within a Special Flood Hazard Area
    • Generally referred to as a “Flood Certificate”
    • Certificate that protects investors and borrowers by ensuring flood insurance is purchased for properties in at-risk areas

Uses Horizontal scaling only, no elevations!

  • Who uses Flood Determinations?
    • Any federally-regulated lender or government-sponsored enterprise is required to perform a flood zone determination for any mortgage loan they provide
plotting on the flood map
Plotting on the Flood Map


  • Names of streets may differ
  • Not all streets are shown
  • Some shown incorrectly

3245 +/-

challenges with flood zone determinations
Challenges with Flood Zone Determinations
  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) aren’t perfect. Mapping errors can lead to:
    • Incorrect determinations
    • Conflicting data
  • Maps are outdated
  • Watershed is constantly changing

The NFIP understands that these errors exist. Any flood determination can be disputed.

westbrook flood map
WestbrookFlood Map
  • Arrows show actual water course


Paper FIRM

firms dfirms paper vs digital flood maps
FIRMS & DFIRMSPaper vs. Digital Flood Maps
  • The transition could change flood risk & insurance rates.
  • “New maps” will still have “old data” in most cases, and can still have errors.
  • Fewer paper copies are being made available to communities, and not all communities have been supplied with digital maps.
  • The datum, not the data, may have changed. The paper maps are on NGVD 1929 and the new digital maps are on NAVD 1988, which in the Portland area is a 7/10’ difference in elevation.
disputing flood zone determinations
Disputing Flood Zone Determinations
  • Property owner most prove map error using technical data
  • Obtain a NFIP Elevation Certificate through a professional land surveyor, who will submit application to FEMA to request
      • Letter of Determination Review (LODR)
      • Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)
      • Letter of Map Revision (LOMR)
nfip elevation certificate
NFIP Elevation Certificate
  • Completed by land surveyor to get vertical scaling data. Record elevation of lowest floor of a building.
  • Expiration date on form: March 31, 2012(still acceptable)
  • Does NOT waive mandatory flood insurance. Only approved LOMAs and LOMRs can amend the FIRM and remove the requirement.
as built elevation certificates
As-Built Elevation Certificates

Findings of the NFIP’s Community Assistance Visits have indicated that many communities do not secure as-built certifications of lowest floor elevation.

Elevation documentation based on plans and drawings is insufficient to assure that the lowest floor of the structure has indeed been built above the BFE.

standard flood hazard determination form sfhdf
Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (SFHDF)
  • Lender requests determination from a private company (if not already provided through a mortgage loan inspection)
  • Note “Preparer’s Information” at the bottom. This is NOT a determination made by FEMA.

Private Company

letter of map amendment determination document removal
Letter of Map Amendment Determination Document (Removal)
  • FEMA approved removal of property out of the SFHA
  • Case Number and “LOMA” in top right corner
  • Signed by FEMA Director
letter of map amendment determination document non removal
Letter of Map Amendment Determination Document (Non-Removal)
  • FEMA denied removal of property out of the SHFA (mandatory flood insurance is required)
  • Case Number and “LOMA-DEN” in top right corner
  • Signed by a FEMA director
  • Freeboard is a factor of safety usually expressed in feet above a flood level for purposes of floodplain management.
    • Compensates for the many unknown factors that could contribute to flood heights greater than the height calculated for a selected size flood and floodway conditions
    • Not required by NFIP standards, but communities are encouraged to adopt at least a one-foot freeboard to account for the one-foot rise built into the concept of designating a floodway and the encroachment requirements where floodways have not been designated.
    • Results in significantly lower flood insurance rates due to lower flood risk.
community responsibilities under the nfip
Community Responsibilities under the NFIP

Require development permits, review them carefully for each site.

Require residential structures to have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated at least to or above the Base Flood Elevation. (One foot ABOVE the BFE for non-residential).

But remember, Maine has freeboard, which requires an additional foot.

Require manufactured homes to be elevated and anchored.

Assure flood carrying capacity of altered or relocated watercourses is maintained.

Maintain records of all development permits.

Verify and document 1st floor elevations of new or substantially improved structures.

maintain higher regulatory standards
Maintain Higher Regulatory Standards

Maintain adequate records to assure elevations are adequately communicated prior to construction projects.

Encourage permits for “Other Development” such as mining, drilling, filling, grading, paving, etc. in flood hazard areas.

Secure As-Built Elevation Certificates of the lowest floor elevation.

Floodway encroachments are prohibited unless an engineered no-rise analysis is done.

If a watercourse is altered, it is required to notify adjacent communities, the State Coordinating Agency and FEMA.

pre firm post firm
Pre-FIRM & Post-FIRM



  • Built before detailed flood hazard data and flood elevations were provided to the community and usually before the community enacted comprehensive regulations on floodplain regulation.
  • Can be insured using "subsidized" rates.
  • Designed to help people afford flood insurance even though their buildings were not built with flood protection in mind.
  • New construction and those built after the effective date of the first FIRM for a community.
  • Insurance rates for Post-FIRM buildings are dependent on the elevation of the lowest floor in relation to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
pre firm post firm structures
Pre-FIRM & Post-FIRM Structures

REMEMBER: one portion of a dwelling could be Pre-Firm and another could be Post-Firm.

build dates can also effect insurance r ates
Build dates can also effect insurance rates
  • Pre-FIRM: built before the effective date of the community’s first FIRM
  • Post-FIRM: built after initial FIRM, OR after 12/31/74, whichever is later

The map says: “Flood insurance not available for structures newly built or substantially improved on and after Oct. 1, 1983 in designated coastal barriers.”

insurance impacts
Insurance Impacts
  • Mapped “In”
  • Flood risk increased
  • More structures in floodplain
  • Mandatory purchase of flood insurance
  • Mapped “Out”
  • Flood risk reduced
  • Risk not eliminated
  • Low-cost preferred risk coverage available
putting it into perspective
Putting it into perspective…
  • Single Family
  • One Floor
  • No Basement
  • No Prior Flood Losses
  • Allows a property owner to:
    • “Lock in” a previous Flood Zone
    • “Lock” in a previous Base Flood Elevation
  • Allows premium benefits after:
    • Changes in map zones
    • Changes to compliance issues