FEMA Flood Maps

Towards the end of 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the City of San Bruno that they were performing the San Francisco Bay Area Coastal Study for each of the Bay Area counties including the San Mateo County. The result of the study will be used by FEMA to identify wave-induced flood risks for coastal communities and develop detailed flood hazard maps.

Although FEMA's previous studies did not show any special flood hazard areas in San Bruno, the new analysis completed by FEMA identified numerous residential properties within the City's Belle Air neighborhood as potentially subject to coastal flooding. There are financial impacts to private property owners whose property is mapped into the flood zone. By Federal Law, any property owner with a federally regulated or insured mortgage loan is required to purchase flood insurance for any property within FEMA flood hazard zones.


The City worked with a firm that has technical expertise in coastal engineering and with FEMA to evaluate and confirm the impacts and extent of the FEMA flood hazard area. The analysis completed by the City's technical expert concluded the flooding area is significantly smaller than FEMA's findings. Based on the results, the City submitted an appeal package to FEMA on August 2016 along with letters of support from both Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Supervisor David Pine. The City's appeal was denied by FEMA. The City continued and submitted the application to FEMA immediately requesting the Scientific Resolution Panel or SRP which is the last step in the appeal process. The City wanted the SRP to review our analysis and provide independent review of our findings. In April 2018, the City was informed by the SRP denying the appeal.

Although our appeal was denied, the City is continuing to work on this issue. The City is currently working closely with the County of San Mateo and City of South San Francisco to study one of the flooding source and trying to determine how we can mitigate the issue.

Since the appeal process has been completed, FEMA issued a Letter of Final Flood Evaluation Determination to the County of San Mateo and City of San Bruno on October 5, 2018. This letter provided a six-month notice that the FIS report and FIRM would be effective 6 months later, on April 5, 2019. This letter initiated the six-month adoption process during which the City of San Bruno must comply with explicit requirements imposed by FEMA.


On February 26, 2019, the San Bruno City Council will consider adoption of floodplain management regulations. For cities like San Bruno that currently do not have any floodplain management regulations in effect, FEMA requires the City to adopt very detailed legally enforceable floodplain management measures in the form of a codified City ordinance which will allow the City to maintain eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program. The City Council Staff Report, FEMA Preliminary FIRM Map, and the Proposed Floodplain Hazard Management Ordinance will be available on the City Council Agendas page.

For More Information

For more information on flood insurance and how to purchase Flood Insurance, please visit the FEMA Flood Insurance page.

  1. FEMA & City of San Bruno Correspondences
  2. FEMA Documents on Flood Insurance
  3. Flood Maps
  4. Supplemental Documents

FEMA & City of San Bruno Correspondences