Important Update: COVID-19


Flood Management

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On Thursday, March 21st, the City of Millbrae and FEMA hosted a joint workshop to explain the new FEMA flood map, flood insurance requirements for property owners in high risk areas, and what the City is doing to reduce flood risks.

FEMA Flood Map Picture

Click here to download FEMA and the City's presentation.


Following the presentation, staff answered questions from the public. Below is a list of questions from attendees and answers by staff.

Can you explain how water flows through the City (including major drainage channels discussed in the presentation, such as Highline Canal)?

There are three major drainage pathways, including Greenhills Creek, which connects to Highline Canal via Lomita Canal; Highline Canal; and Cowan Canal. You can learn more in our recent Storm Drain Master Plan, available on our website.


Can property owners reduce flood insurance premiums by not carrying the maximum policy amount?

Yes, although generally, a lender will require the maximum policy amount of $250,000.


Is my regular homeowners insurance going to go up if I'm mapped in a floodplain?

No, flooding is not covered under the standard homeowners' insurance policy and therefore rates on those policies should not increase to reflect this risk.


When will future remapping be done by FEMA?

Any time the risks change, or new information becomes available (such as through a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) or Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)), portions of the map may change.  It is unlikely for FEMA to perform a complete remapping in the near future (5-10 years).


Bayside Manor has no drainage. Would adding gutters help?

Local improvement projects can sometimes impact flood maps, if the work has an impact on floodplains and the City, developer, or property owner submits for a LOMR.


Can I get a lower rate based on modification of my structure?

Elevating your home above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) may reduce your rate.


Is there any other way for me to get a lower rate?

You can ask your insurance agent about the rates available, but sometimes reducing the deductible can reduce your rate.


Do different insurance providers sell policies at different rates?

Policies through the NFIP should all offer the same rates for the same structure.  If you encounter different rates, you can contact FEMA at the numbers in the presentation for help.


What is the requirement if I make an addition on my home? What triggers the enforcement of the floodplain management code?

Future development should be constructed so that it is protected from flood damages. If any improvement (or series of improvements taking place over up to 5 years) exceeds 50% of the home's fair market value, it will be considered substantially improved and the home will need to be upgraded to protect it from flooding in accordance with the NFIP standards.


Can the City post links to the reports and information discussed at the meeting on the website?

Yes, the City will create a web page where all the links to information can be found.


Are there funding opportunities the City or individuals can pursue to reduce flood risk?

Pre- and Post-Disaster Mitigation funding is available, but the award of these funds is competitive.


Will the City apply for the Community Rating System (CRS) to reduce the cost of flood insurance?

The City is considering the CRS.  The cost to apply and maintain standing may be high and, for the next ten years, community-wide savings would be around $3,000/year.  Newly mapped policies receiving the "preferred risk" or "newly mapped" policies will not qualify for the CRS discount for approximately 10 years.


Will improvements to reduce climate change impacts reduce the floodplains in the City?

They may.  The potential flooded areas are similar and large scale infrastructure to reduce the encroachment of the Bay could help, though only if coupled with a way to move drainage water out of the City.


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