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Lee County gets another 30-day extension on documents for FEMA

A flooded neighborhood in the Harlem Heights neighborhood in Fort Myers. Numerous blocks there remain flooded six days after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida. 10/04/22
Tara Calligan-WGCU
A flooded neighborhood in the Harlem Heights neighborhood in Fort Myers. Numerous blocks there remain flooded six days after Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida. 10/04/22

Lee County originally received a 30-day extension to provide documents to FEMA by May 9. A new extension the county received Friday puts June 10 as the new deadline for document submittal.

Lee County now has until June 10 to submit documents to FEMA that will reflect the actions taken in the Special Flood Hazard Area after Hurricane Ian, demonstrating full compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The county learned of the new extension in a letter from FEMA received Friday, county officials said in an email.

The letter is posted on the county’s landing page dedicated to the issue at www.leegov.com/femacrs.

The deadline extension also applies to the impacted municipalities – City of Bonita Springs, City of Cape Coral, the Village of Estero and the Town of Fort Myers Beach.

Government leaders in unincorporated Lee County, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Estero learned recently they were being severely down-graded and some 116,000 national flood insurance holders would no longer qualify ANY discounts from the program.

This would have an economic impact of tens of millions of dollars. If not corrected, the communities affected could be removed from the program.

To maintain good standing and be eligible for discounts — all local communities were receiving 25 percent discounts on premiums, while Estero policy holders were receiving 20 percent — communities each year have to prove to the government that it is going above and beyond minimum-federal flood standards.

In the local Lee cases, FEMA raised concerns that the governments had not taken the necessary measures to ensure residents severely impacted by Hurricane Ian were not rebuilding at ground level.

The Friday email from Lee County, officials said the county appreciates its partnership with FEMA as both parties work to retain the county’s and four municipalities’ Community Rating System (CRS) classifications.

The Lee Board of County Commissioners is committed to retaining the CRS rating of 5 to maintain the discount available to residents with NFIP policies.

FEMA also acknowledged in its letter today that the letter sent last week by Lee County and the municipalities matches the expectations of necessary documentation. That letter also is posted on the landing page.


  • The county has met with the FEMA administrator and is continuously working with the FEMA Region 4 administrator and FEMA staff.
  • FEMA has now embedded staff in the county and the municipalities.
  • County staff members are working diligently to provide specific documentation that will reflect the actions taken post-Ian, which made landfall Sept. 28, 2022, and was the largest hurricane to make landfall in Lee County and is ranked as the third costliest tropical system to make landfall in the United States.
  • The documentation will reflect the county’s records of site work review, including but not limited to: violations for unpermitted work, stop work orders, complaint code cases, processed renovation permits, documents demonstrating work was not substantial damage, documents proving work was substantial damage and demolition permits.

Additional information and documents related to this issue can be found at www.leegov.com/femacrs.

WGCU reporter Eileen Kelley contributed to this report. WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.

Copyright 2024 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

WGCU Staff