By Julie LaBranche, Rockingham Planning Commission
Since the fall of 2015, the Towns of Rye and Hampton have been busy preparing applications to the FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) program. Both projects are supported by funding from the PREPA Grants Program from the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (PREP). The CRS program is a voluntary effort undertaken by municipalities to reduce impacts and costs associated with recovery from flood events, including storm surge and projected sea level rise. FEMA encourages municipalities to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program. The program offers a wide range of options that include best practices for development in the regulatory floodplain for both private property and municipal facilities and infrastructure. Examples include preservation of open space, public information campaigns, and development standards that protect existing and future structures from flood damage. In return, property owners receive a reduction in flood insurance premiums for policies covered under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
These CRS efforts are lead by Planning and Zoning Administrator, Kimberly Reed in Rye and Jason Bachand, Town Planner, and Rayann Dionne, Conservation Coordinator in Hampton with technical assistance from Julie LaBranche, Rockingham Planning Commission. The team recently
completed a FEMA sponsored training course to improve their applications and rating in the CRS program.
The CRS program is based on a point system where specific actions gain an assigned number of points. The more points a town achieves the higher the rating and the insurance discount. Both Rye and Hampton are hopeful to enter the CRS program with as high a rating as possible but recognize it make take several years to implement additional actions that will help them further increase their ratings.
King Tide in South End, Portsmouth
Ed. Note: These two efforts by these coastal towns exhibit a great and proactive effort to better protect their citizens and their community from future damage and we commend them for their hard work!