■ Maps are effective for insurance purposes in all areas as of Wednesday, May 16.
■ To find out a Collier County property’s floodplain designation go to www.colliergov.net/floodmaps.
■ Property owners can call (239) 252-2942 with questions about the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
■ Property owners in the city of Naples can find if their flood status changed at naplesgov.com. (The direct web address is napgis.naplesgov.com/NIMA.) Enter your address and if you still need confirmation of the property’s official flood zone designation, contact a flood insurance agent or Naples Floodplain Coordinator Christa Carrera at email@example.com or (239) 213-5039. (city-only calls)
■ Marco Island property owners have a tool on the city’s website: cityofmarcoisland.com
■ Everglades City property owners should go to the Collier County government site or contact Everglades City Hall for more information (239) 695-2511.
NAPLES — More than 10,000 Collier County property owners are again out of deep water.
These properties no longer are at the highest risk for flooding, according to government guidelines, removing the legal requirement for many of them to have flood insurance.
Collier County and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials this week released the list of property addresses that as of May were listed in the FEMA flood maps as being in high-risk flood zones, but as of Friday no longer are in the high-risk zones.
If these property owners obtained the flood insurance that would have been required as of the map's May 16 effective date, they now may be able to request a refund.
Property owners can view the searchable Microsoft Excel document that lists the 10,000 addresses on the Collier County website, colliergov.net. There were about 20 Naples addresses affected, in addition to those in unincorporated Collier County. The city of Naples is expected to contact property owners individually.
It wasn't a change in the weather forecast that precipitated the most recent flood zone changes. The classification changes occurred because of the lengthy process in creating flood maps, officials said.
"The mapping process is continuous. There has to be a time when a map goes effective," said Mary Olsen, a FEMA spokeswoman.
When the revised Collier map went into effect May 16, it was the first time the entire map changed since 2005. Minor changes are ongoing, officials said, as are topographic changes.
Collier County officials gathered new topographic data from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) taken from flyovers in early 2008, said Robert Wiley, Collier County flood zone map project manager.
The LiDAR used in the May maps was taken from flyovers made years earlier — it takes years to process all the information gathered. So, data about new development, particularly fill added to land that increased its elevation, wasn't included in the May maps, Wiley said.
This was a cost-efficient process because rather than processing these changes by individual requests made by each property owner, FEMA chose to do what is called a full panel Letters of Map Amendment (LOMA), Wiley said.
"This is the first time FEMA has undertaken this initiative to issue full panel LOMAs. This process minimizes the financial burden for the affected property owners, while reducing the burden on the general taxpayer," Olsen said.
It's more efficient to make the bulk changes, she said.
If property owners already secured flood insurance based on their understanding that they were in the high-risk flood zones, called Special Flood Hazard Areas, they may be eligible to cancel the policy and receive a refund, officials said.
However, the mortgage lender may require the flood insurance even if the law doesn't require it.
Property owners affected by this most recent change may contact the Collier County Floodplain Hotline, (239) 252-2942, or call the FEMA flood map hotline, (877) FEMA-MAP, to be sure documentation is sent to their mortgage lender, if applicable.
The lender may then need to send the information in writing to the insurance company as notification of the change, Wiley said.