The Township participates in the National Flood Insurance Program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). By including FEMA’s floodplain development regulations in our Zoning Ordinance, we assure that Township property owners are able to secure flood insurance and that overall risk of property damage due to flooding is reduced, as the regulations control development in flood-prone areas. Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or “FIRMs", identify properties that are totally or partially within the 100-year floodplain. Virtually all mortgage lenders now require their customers who own properties in flood-prone areas on the FIRM to procure flood insurance as a condition of approving a mortgage or home equity loan.
FIRMs identify flood risk using a combination of detailed studies and estimates based upon topographic mapping and aerial photography. FEMA updates the FIRMs in our area approximately every ten years. The updates show changes to the extent of flood-prone areas due to changes in topography caused by new development as well as new detailed studies and new predictive flood models.
The current FIRM’s for West Whiteland Township were adopted in 2017 along with the floodplain regulations recommended by FEMA. The regulations prohibit all development in areas that have a greater than 1% chance of flooding in any given year – often referred to as the 100-year floodplain – unless the property owner gets a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board.