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The Appeal Process

FEMA welcomes public input on the preliminary maps through the appeals process.  Additional information that is provided to FEMA can result in more accurate FIRMs and better informs the community and its residents of flooding risk.

If a property owner or other resident would like to submit an appeal or comment, they must submit their written request along with the required supporting data to their local floodplain administrator.  In unincorporated Hays County, this information should be submitted to the County Floodplain Administrator.  If your property is inside the city limits, you can contact the floodplain administrator for your city.

What is an Appeal?

An appeal is a formal written objection to the addition/modification of preliminary Base Flood Elevations/Flood Depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries, Zone designations, or regulatory floodway boundaries depicted on the preliminary FIRMs that the County has received.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program regulations, an appeal should be accompanied by data and documentation indicating that the proposed new or modified flood hazard information shown on the preliminary products is scientifically or technically incorrect.  Appellants are asked to demonstrate that better methodologies, assumptions, or data exists and provide alternative analyses or data used to develop the new or updated flood hazard information on the preliminary FIRM with their appeal package.

In order for FEMA to incorporate this information, the data provided will be reviewed to see if the information submitted is scientifically and technically sound and if any alternate analysis/data provided results in a change to the proposed BFEs, base flood depths, SFHA boundaries or zone designations and/or the regulatory floodways shown on the preliminary map.

Property owners and residents can find their property on the preliminary maps at FEMA’s website ( or Hays County’s ( to determine if new flood hazard information affects their property.  Areas eligible for appeal include:

  • Streams with changes to Base Flood Elevations
  • Flooding/Ponding areas with changes to base flood depths
  • Flooding sources with changes to SFHA boundaries
  • Modification/addition of Zone designations
  • Modification/addition of the regulatory floodways depicted on the FIRMs

Hays County will forward this information to FEMA to review.  FEMA will respond to all appeals through formal written correspondence to both the community and the original appellants.  If warranted, FEMA will revise the preliminary FIRM to reflect the information submitted in support of the appeal and provide copies of the map with the appeals resolution letter.

What is a comment?

A comment is an objection to a base map feature modification/addition, update to the Flood Insurance Study report materials, or any other non-appealable change.  Comments usually involve changes to items such as road names, corporate limits updates, or other map features.

If needed, property owners and other residents should submit a map or other materials showing more up-to-date information on these items to the County floodplain administrator.  The County will then consolidate all comments and appeals received and provide them to FEMA.  FEMA may use this information to revise the preliminary maps or will explain why no changes could be made.

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