By Marya Dantzer
At the Planning Board’s June 24 meeting, Assistant Planner Catherine Perry updated the board on the town’s appeal of preliminary changes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FEMA; FIRM) for the Shawsheen River floodplain in the southeast portion of town. The appeal, overseen by the Board of Selectmen, concerns FEMA’s apparent miscalculation of the recently upgraded Page Rd. bridge dimensions, resulting in an overestimate of flood risk.
Zoning bylaw changes are anticipated in response to the final Shawsheen River FIRM, similar to those implemented subsequent to FEMA’s publication of an updated FIRM for the Concord River flood plain in 2013-2014.
Although property owners in the affected areas may submit individual appeals, town boards believe the municipal appeal is more efficient and effective. A 90-day period for public comment on the preliminary map began on May 29.
Owners of about 140 affected residential and business properties have been notified of the provisional map and the appeal. Prospective developers and owners seeking to alter existing properties are advised to await the appeal results if the errors under appeal present cause for concern.