Floodplain Management


The City of Malibu is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This program provides subsidized flood insurance for all property owners, provided that the local government institutes adequate land use and development control measures for preventing and reducing property damage from flooding. In addition, the City must ensure that projects within the floodplain comply with FEMA regulations and the Malibu Municipal Code.

New FEMA Floodplain Maps

Sections of Malibu along the coastline are currently being evaluated and re-mapped by FEMA within the new preliminary flood hazard zones. These maps represent an important step towards increasing public safety by better equipping residents and property owners to make decisions about protecting themselves and their properties.

With these maps, residents and businesses have up-to-date, reliable, Internet-accessible information about their flood risk on a property-by-property basis. Community planners, engineers, builders, and others will be better able to make important determinations about where and how new structures and developments are built.

Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Changes Viewer to view both the current and preliminary maps and learn if your property’s flood zone designation has changed under the preliminary maps. To learn more about FEMA’s flood zone designations, visit the FEMA website.

Appeal Process

The maps are considered preliminary until they are adopted in Summer/Fall 2018. A 90-day Public Appeal Period began on August 9, 2017 and ended on November 6, 2017. During this appeal period, residents were able to submit appeals and protests if they disagreed with the maps and believed an error had been made. Property owners who wanted to appeal were required to submit the scientific or technical data intended to negate or contradict FEMA.

Once FEMA reviews all appeals and protests, and incorporates any needed map changes, a Letter of Final Determination will be issued. Six months later, the maps will be adopted and become effective, as will any new flood insurance requirements. However, the City intends to use the new flood hazard maps immediately to help determine requirements for new construction and development.

On November 6, 2017, the City submitted an appeal to FEMA describing the various challenges to the preliminary flood plain maps. Additional data and analysis was submitted to FEMA in February 2018.  FEMA has reviewed the City’s appeal and provided the City with a response on November 8, 2018.  The response provided the City with 30 days to provide additional comments regarding FEMA’s response.  Due to the Woolsey Fire, the City requested an extension to provide FEMA with comments regarding their November 8, 2018 letter.  On December 7, FEMA granted the City an extension.  The City received a letter from FEMA and the extension was granted to April 8, 2019.  On April 8, 2019, the City submitted a response to FEMA’s November 8, 2018 comments to the City’s appeal.

The City continues to work closely with FEMA regarding the City’s appeal of the preliminary flood maps.  The City’s consultant (Moffat & Nichol) has conducted several conference calls with FEMA regarding the City’s proposed methodology to determine the base flood elevations along the coastline. They also performed a new land survey and then re-calculated the depth of flooding along the coastline.  The majority of the sections analyzed showed a lower base flood elevation.  On June 24, 2020, the City’s consultant submitted the revised calculations to FEMA for their review.  The City received comments from FEMA will  provide a response by November 2020.  The City expecting a final resolution to the revised flood maps by April 2021.


At a public outreach meeting on August 22, 2017 held at Malibu City Hall, FEMA outlined the development of the new preliminary floodplain maps, the appeal process, and how the maps would be adopted.

On December 11, 2017, City staff provided an update to the City Council describing the areas along the Malibu coastline where the City’s appeal was focused.

Additional public outreach will be conducted after FEMA completes its review of the City’s appeal.


For information regarding flood zones, flood insurance, Special Flood Hazard Area regulations, or copies of elevation certificates, contact the City’s Public Works Department.