NFIP Floodplain Management Requirements
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Floodplain Management Requirements
A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local Officials
This study guide and desk reference can serve two purposes.
First, it can be used as a study guide to enhance the knowledge
and skills of local officials responsible for administering and
enforcing local floodplain management regulations. It is also
intended to broaden their understanding of floodplain
management strategies that can be applied at the local level.
Local officials and others can use the study guide to help them
study for the exam for the Association of State Floodplain
Manager’s (ASFPM) Certified Floodplain Manager designation.
Secondly, the study guide can be used as a desk reference that
you can refer to when specific issues arise as you implement
your floodplain management ordinance. Guidance is included on
how to handle many of the issues and information provided that
will help you explain the requirements to citizens of your
community.
While any interested person may use this study guide and desk
reference, it is written specifically for the local official who is
responsible for administering his or her community’s floodplain
management regulations.
FEMA 480
February 2005
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Floodplain Management Requirements
A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local Officials
Table of Contents
UNIT O: Orientation
UNIT 1: Floodplain Management
UNIT 2: The National Flood Insurance Program
UNIT 3: NFIP Flood Studies & Maps
UNIT 4: Using NFIP Studies & Maps
UNIT 5: The NFIP Floodplain Management Requirements
Roll over the buttons to see a list
of the contents for each section.
UNIT 6: Additional Regulatory Measures
UNIT 7: Ordinance Administration
UNIT 8: Substantial Improvement & Substantial Damage
Click on the button to go to each
section.
UNIT 9: Flood Insurance & Floodplain Management
UNIT 10: Disaster Operations & Hazard Mitigation
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B
APPENDIX C
APPENDIX D
APPENDIX E
APPENDIX F
APPENDIX G
APPENDIX H
FEMA 480
February 2005
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
Floodplain Management Requirements
A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local Officials
Table of Contents
UNIT O: Orientation
UNIT 1: Floodplain Management
UNIT 2: The National Flood Insurance Program
UNIT 3: NFIP Flood Studies & Maps
UNIT 4: Using NFIP Studies & Maps
UNIT 5: The NFIP Floodplain Management Requirements
UNIT 6: Additional Regulatory Measures
UNIT 7: Ordinance Administration
UNIT 8: Substantial Improvement & Substantial Damage
UNIT 9: Flood Insurance & Floodplain Management
UNIT 10: Disaster Operations & Hazard Mitigation
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B
APPENDIX C
APPENDIX D
APPENDIX E
APPENDIX F
APPENDIX G
APPENDIX H
FEMA 480
February 2005
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National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Floodplain Management
Requirements: A Study Guide and Desk Reference for Local
Officials
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Unit O: Orientation
A. Introduction.............................................................................................. O-3
Study guide objectives ............................................................................ O-4
B. Study guide materials ............................................................................... O-5
Notebook................................................................................................. O-5
Flood insurance study and maps ............................................................. O-6
Learning Checks ..................................................................................... O-6
C. Using the Study Guide ............................................................................. O-7
Where to get help .................................................................................... O-7
D. Acknowledgments.................................................................................... O-8
Illustrations ............................................................................................. O-8
Unit 1: Floods and Floodplain Management
Introduction.............................................................................................. 1-4
A. Floods and Floodplains ............................................................................. 1-5
Riverine Flooding .................................................................................... 1-6
Overbank flooding .............................................................................. 1-7
Flash flooding ..................................................................................... 1-8
Riverine erosion .................................................................................. 1-8
Coastal flooding ....................................................................................... 1-9
Coastal storms ..................................................................................... 1-9
Coastal erosion .................................................................................. 1-10
Tsunamis ................................................................................................ 1-11
Lake flooding .................................................................................... 1-11
Shallow Flooding ................................................................................... 1-11
Sheet flow ......................................................................................... 1-11
Ponding ............................................................................................. 1-12
Urban drainage .................................................................................. 1-12
Special Flood Hazards ........................................................................... 1-12
Closed basin lakes ............................................................................. 1-13
Uncertain flow paths ......................................................................... 1-13
Dam breaks ....................................................................................... 1-14
Ice jams ............................................................................................. 1-15
Mudflow............................................................................................ 1-15
Natural and beneficial floodplain functions........................................... 1-16
Natural flood and erosion control ..................................................... 1-17
Biologic resources and functions ...................................................... 1-17
Societal resources and functions ....................................................... 1-17
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B. Floodplain Development ......................................................................... 1-19
Floodplain Development Dynamics ...................................................... 1-19
Riverine floodplains .......................................................................... 1-19
Watersheds ........................................................................................ 1-20
Coasts ................................................................................................ 1-21
Flood Damage........................................................................................ 1-22
Hydrodynamic forces ........................................................................ 1-22
Debris impact .................................................................................... 1-24
Hydrostatic forces ............................................................................. 1-25
Soaking.............................................................................................. 1-25
Sediment and contaminants............................................................... 1-26
Safety and Health Hazards..................................................................... 1-27
C. Floodplain Management.......................................................................... 1-28
Evolution................................................................................................ 1-28
The Unified National Program for Floodplain Management................. 1-29
Strategies and tools ........................................................................... 1-30
Floodplain Management Strategies........................................................ 1-30
Strategy 1: Modify human susceptibility to flood damage............... 1-30
Strategy 2: Modify the impact of flooding ....................................... 1-31
Strategy 3: Modify flooding itself..................................................... 1-31
Strategy 4: Preserve and restore natural resources ........................... 1-32
Unit 2: The National Flood Insurance Program
A. History....................................................................................................... 2-3
B. How the NFIP Works................................................................................ 2-6
Mapping ................................................................................................... 2-6
Insurance .................................................................................................. 2-7
Regulations .............................................................................................. 2-8
C. Roles and Responsibilities ........................................................................ 2-9
The community role................................................................................. 2-9
The state role............................................................................................ 2-9
The federal role ...................................................................................... 2-10
D. Community Participation ........................................................................ 2-12
Joining the NFIP .................................................................................... 2-12
Compliance ............................................................................................ 2-13
Probation ........................................................................................... 2-14
Suspension ........................................................................................ 2-14
Sanctions for non-participation.............................................................. 2-15
Unit 3: NFIP Flood Studies and Maps
A. NFIP Flood Studies................................................................................... 3-3
Flood Study Terminology ........................................................................ 3-3
The base flood ..................................................................................... 3-3
The 100-year flood.............................................................................. 3-4
Special flood hazard area and base flood elevation ............................ 3-4
Identifying Floodprone Areas .................................................................. 3-5
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Flood Insurance Study ........................................................................ 3-7
Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas ...................................... 3-8
B. Riverine Studies ........................................................................................ 3-9
Hydrology ................................................................................................ 3-9
Cross Sections........................................................................................ 3-10
Hydraulics .............................................................................................. 3-12
Flood Profile .......................................................................................... 3-13
Floodplain Map...................................................................................... 3-16
Floodway Analysis................................................................................. 3-17
C. Coastal Flood Studies.............................................................................. 3-20
Storm Surge ........................................................................................... 3-20
Waves..................................................................................................... 3-20
Hydraulic Analysis................................................................................. 3-21
Coastal High Hazard Area ..................................................................... 3-22
Coastal Floodplain Map......................................................................... 3-22
D. Shallow flooding studies......................................................................... 3-24
E. Approximate Studies ............................................................................... 3-25
F. NFIP Maps............................................................................................... 3-26
General Map Features ............................................................................ 3-26
Map Index .............................................................................................. 3-27
Title block ......................................................................................... 3-27
Map revision date.............................................................................. 3-27
Map scales and north direction ......................................................... 3-28
Elevation reference marks................................................................. 3-28
FIRM Zones ...................................................................................... 3-29
Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM).................................................. 3-30
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) — old format (Pre 1986)............... 3-30
Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (Floodway Map) – Old format (Pre
1986) ...................................................................................................... 3-31
Flood Insurance Rate Map — new format (Since 1986) ....................... 3-33
Partial Map Initiatives FIRM ................................................................. 3-35
FIRMs with Coastal and Lake Floodplains ........................................... 3-35
Coastal FIRMs .................................................................................. 3-35
Coastal Barrier Resources System .................................................... 3-35
Lakes ................................................................................................. 3-36
Shallow Flooding FIRMs....................................................................... 3-37
FIRMs with Flood Protection Projects .................................................. 3-37
Countywide FIRMs................................................................................ 3-38
Digital FIRMs ........................................................................................ 3-40
Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM).................................... 3-40
Q3 Flood Data ................................................................................... 3-42
Unit 4: Using NFIP Studies and Maps
A. Using FIS Reports..................................................................................... 4-3
FIS Report Contents................................................................................. 4-3
Using Flood Data and Tables................................................................... 4-4
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Flood discharges ................................................................................. 4-4
Floodway Data Table .......................................................................... 4-5
Coastal and Lake Elevations.................................................................... 4-6
Relating Report Data to Maps and Profiles ............................................. 4-7
B. Using the Flood Maps ............................................................................... 4-9
Locating a Site ......................................................................................... 4-9
Determining Stationing.......................................................................... 4-10
Base Flood Elevations from Maps......................................................... 4-11
Locating the Floodway Boundary.......................................................... 4-11
C. Using Profiles.......................................................................................... 4-13
Profile Features ...................................................................................... 4-13
Determining Base Flood Elevations ...................................................... 4-14
Profiles .............................................................................................. 4-14
Other types of floodplains................................................................. 4-15
Relating flood elevations to the ground ............................................ 4-15
Relating Profiles to Maps....................................................................... 4-16
D. Maintaining and Revising NFIP Maps.................................................... 4-17
Ordering Maps ....................................................................................... 4-17
Changing NFIP Maps ............................................................................ 4-17
Types of Changes................................................................................... 4-19
Maps and Letters.................................................................................... 4-20
Requesting Map Changes ...................................................................... 4-22
Unit 5: The NFIP Floodplain Management Requirements
A. The NFIP’s Regulations............................................................................ 5-4
NFIP Regulations..................................................................................... 5-4
Community Types.................................................................................... 5-6
B. Maps and Data........................................................................................... 5-8
NFIP Maps and Data................................................................................ 5-8
When FIRM and Ground Data Disagree ................................................. 5-9
Regulating Approximate A Zones ......................................................... 5-10
Small developments .......................................................................... 5-11
Larger developments......................................................................... 5-12
Draft Revised NFIP Data ....................................................................... 5-14
Advisory Flood Hazard Data ................................................................. 5-15
C. Permit Requirements ............................................................................... 5-17
Development Permit .............................................................................. 5-17
Building permits................................................................................ 5-18
Small projects.................................................................................... 5-18
Permits from Other Agencies................................................................. 5-19
D. Encroachments ........................................................................................ 5-21
Regulatory Floodways ........................................................................... 5-21
Encroachment Review ........................................................................... 5-21
Streams without Floodway Maps........................................................... 5-24
Allowable increases in Flood Heights ................................................... 5-25
E. New Buildings in A Zones Buildings..................................................... 5-27
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Elevation ................................................................................................ 5-27
Fill ..................................................................................................... 5-27
Piles, posts, piers or columns ............................................................ 5-28
Walls or crawlspace .......................................................................... 5-29
How high? ......................................................................................... 5-31
Elevation Certificate ......................................................................... 5-32
Enclosures .............................................................................................. 5-32
Openings ........................................................................................... 5-33
Use .................................................................................................... 5-36
Floodproofing ........................................................................................ 5-38
How high? ......................................................................................... 5-39
Basements .............................................................................................. 5-40
Basement Exceptions ............................................................................. 5-40
Basements and LOMR-F Areas ............................................................. 5-41
Anchoring .............................................................................................. 5-42
Flood-Resistant Material........................................................................ 5-43
Accessory Structures.............................................................................. 5-44
Manufactured Homes............................................................................. 5-45
Elevation ........................................................................................... 5-45
Anchoring.......................................................................................... 5-47
Recreational Vehicles ............................................................................ 5-48
AO and AH Zones ................................................................................. 5-49
A99 and AR Zones................................................................................. 5-49
F. New Buildings in V Zones ...................................................................... 5-51
Building Location .................................................................................. 5-51
Elevation on Piles or Columns............................................................... 5-51
Wind and water loads........................................................................ 5-52
Certification ...................................................................................... 5-54
Breakaway Walls ................................................................................... 5-54
Coastal AE Zones .................................................................................. 5-56
G. Other Requirements ................................................................................ 5-57
Subdivisions........................................................................................... 5-57
Water and Sewer Systems...................................................................... 5-58
Watercourse alterations.......................................................................... 5-58
Unit 6: Additional Regulatory Measures
Introduction.............................................................................................. 6-4
A. Taking ....................................................................................................... 6-5
B. State Regulatory Standards ....................................................................... 6-9
C. Higher Regulatory Standards .................................................................. 6-11
Location Restrictions ............................................................................. 6-12
Highly hazardous areas ..................................................................... 6-12
Subdivision design ............................................................................ 6-12
Setbacks ............................................................................................ 6-14
Manufactured homes......................................................................... 6-15
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Natural areas ..................................................................................... 6-15
Low-density zoning........................................................................... 6-15
Bulding Requirements ........................................................................... 6-16
Freeboard .......................................................................................... 6-16
Foundation standards ........................................................................ 6-17
Safety Requirements .............................................................................. 6-18
Critical facilities ................................................................................ 6-18
Hazardous materials .......................................................................... 6-19
Dry land access ................................................................................. 6-19
Encroachment Standards........................................................................ 6-20
Compensatory Storage ........................................................................... 6-21
Stormwater Management ....................................................................... 6-22
Temporary Moratorium ......................................................................... 6-23
D. Flood Hazards of Special Concern.......................................................... 6-24
Coastal Erosion ...................................................................................... 6-24
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-25
Tsunamis ................................................................................................ 6-25
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-25
Closed Basin Lakes................................................................................ 6-26
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-26
Uncertain Flow Paths............................................................................. 6-27
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-27
Dam Breaks............................................................................................ 6-28
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-28
Ice Jams.................................................................................................. 6-29
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-29
Mudflows ............................................................................................... 6-29
Regulatory standards......................................................................... 6-29
E. Environmental Protection Measures........................................................ 6-31
Strategies................................................................................................ 6-31
Federal Regulations ............................................................................... 6-32
Wetland Protection................................................................................. 6-32
Rare and Endangered Species................................................................ 6-33
On-site Sewage Disposal ....................................................................... 6-33
Facilities Siting ...................................................................................... 6-33
Water Quality Regulations..................................................................... 6-33
Special Designations.............................................................................. 6-34
Unit 7: Ordinance Administration
Introduction.............................................................................................. 7-4
A. The Ordinance........................................................................................... 7-5
Statutory Authority .................................................................................. 7-5
Types of ordinances ................................................................................. 7-6
Zoning ordinance ................................................................................ 7-6
Building codes..................................................................................... 7-7
Subdivision regulations....................................................................... 7-9
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Sanitary regulations............................................................................. 7-9
“Stand alone” ordinance...................................................................... 7-9
Contents ................................................................................................. 7-10
B. The Administrator ................................................................................... 7-12
Duties ..................................................................................................... 7-12
Qualifications......................................................................................... 7-15
Training.................................................................................................. 7-15
Liability.................................................................................................. 7-17
C. Development Permits .............................................................................. 7-20
When a permit is required...................................................................... 7-20
Exemptions ............................................................................................ 7-22
Permit Application Form ....................................................................... 7-22
Application Review ............................................................................... 7-23
Review for Completeness ...................................................................... 7-23
Review for Compliance ......................................................................... 7-26
Application Approval or Denial............................................................. 7-28
D. Inspections .............................................................................................. 7-36
First Inspection....................................................................................... 7-36
Second Inspection .................................................................................. 7-36
Checking elevations .......................................................................... 7-37
Third Inspection ..................................................................................... 7-38
Certificate of occupancy ................................................................... 7-38
Later Inspections.................................................................................... 7-39
E. Enforcement ............................................................................................ 7-40
Voluntary Compliance ........................................................................... 7-40
Administrative Steps.............................................................................. 7-40
Legal Recourses ..................................................................................... 7-41
Section 1316........................................................................................... 7-42
F. Appeals, Special Uses and Variances...................................................... 7-44
Appeals.............................................................................................. 7-44
Special uses ....................................................................................... 7-44
Variances........................................................................................... 7-44
Boards ............................................................................................... 7-44
Variances................................................................................................ 7-45
NFIP requirements ............................................................................ 7-45
Historic buildings .............................................................................. 7-54
Functionally dependent use............................................................... 7-54
Records.............................................................................................. 7-55
G. Records.................................................................................................... 7-56
Permit File.............................................................................................. 7-56
Elevation Certificate .............................................................................. 7-57
Floodproofing Certificate....................................................................... 7-58
V Zone Certification .............................................................................. 7-59
No-rise Certification .............................................................................. 7-59
Biennial Report ...................................................................................... 7-60
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Unit 8: Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage
Introduction.............................................................................................. 8-3
A. Substantial Improvement .......................................................................... 8-4
Projects affected....................................................................................... 8-4
Post-FIRM buildings........................................................................... 8-5
The Formula............................................................................................. 8-5
Market value ....................................................................................... 8-6
Substantial Improvement Examples ...................................................... 8-10
Example 1. Minor rehabilitation ....................................................... 8-10
Example 2. Substantial rehabilitation ............................................... 8-11
Example 3. Lateral addition—residential ......................................... 8-12
Example 4. Lateral addition—nonresidential ................................... 8-13
Example 5. Vertical addition—residential........................................ 8-14
Example 6. Vertical addition—nonresidential.................................. 8-15
Example 7. Post-FIRM building—minor addition ........................... 8-16
Example 8. Post-FIRM building—substantial improvement............ 8-17
B. Substantial Damage................................................................................. 8-18
Cost to Repair ........................................................................................ 8-18
Substantial Damage Examples............................................................... 8-20
Example 1. Reconstruction of a destroyed building ......................... 8-20
Example 2. Substantially damaged structure .................................... 8-21
Substantial Damage Software ................................................................ 8-22
Increased Cost of Compliance ............................................................... 8-22
C. Special Situations .................................................................................... 8-25
Exempt Costs ......................................................................................... 8-25
Historic Structures ................................................................................. 8-25
Corrections of Code Violations ............................................................. 8-26
Example ............................................................................................ 8-27
Unit 9: Flood Insurance and Floodplain Management
A. Flood Insurance Policies ........................................................................... 9-3
Who’s Involved........................................................................................ 9-3
Coverage .................................................................................................. 9-3
Building coverage ............................................................................... 9-3
“Building” defined .............................................................................. 9-4
Contents coverage ............................................................................... 9-5
Basements ........................................................................................... 9-5
Enclosures ........................................................................................... 9-6
Amount of coverage............................................................................ 9-6
Waiting period..................................................................................... 9-7
The Mandatory Purchase Requirement............................................... 9-7
Where it applies .................................................................................. 9-8
How it works ....................................................................................... 9-8
B. Rating Buildings...................................................................................... 9-11
Rating pre-FIRM buildings.................................................................... 9-11
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Rating New Buildings............................................................................ 9-14
Submit for rate .................................................................................. 9-19
Elevation certificates......................................................................... 9-19
Floodproofing.................................................................................... 9-19
Rating Unnumbered A Zones ................................................................ 9-19
Premiums ............................................................................................... 9-20
C. The Community Rating System .............................................................. 9-22
Benefits ............................................................................................. 9-22
CRS activities......................................................................................... 9-23
Public information activities ............................................................. 9-23
Mapping and regulation activities..................................................... 9-24
Flood damage reduction activities .................................................... 9-24
Flood preparedness activities ............................................................ 9-25
Publications............................................................................................ 9-25
D. The Coastal Barriers Resources System ................................................. 9-27
Unit 10: Disaster Operations and Hazard Mitigation
A. Disaster Operations ................................................................................. 10-3
Emergency Operations........................................................................... 10-3
Building Condition Survey .................................................................... 10-4
High water marks .............................................................................. 10-4
Work maps ........................................................................................ 10-4
Conduct ............................................................................................. 10-5
Notice to owners ............................................................................... 10-5
Permit Requirements.............................................................................. 10-7
Permit required.................................................................................. 10-7
Clean up and emergency repairs ....................................................... 10-7
Enforcement........................................................................................... 10-7
Initial inspection................................................................................ 10-8
Posting............................................................................................... 10-8
Follow up ........................................................................................ 10-11
Flooded buildings............................................................................ 10-11
Contractor quality control ............................................................... 10-12
Administration ..................................................................................... 10-12
Permit forms.................................................................................... 10-12
Public information........................................................................... 10-13
Technical assistance ........................................................................ 10-13
Staff assistance ................................................................................ 10-14
B. Hazard Mitigation ................................................................................. 10-15
Mitigation Measures ............................................................................ 10-15
Prevention ....................................................................................... 10-16
Property protection.......................................................................... 10-16
Natural resource protection ............................................................. 10-16
Emergency services......................................................................... 10-17
Structural projects ........................................................................... 10-17
Public information........................................................................... 10-18
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Mitigation Planning ............................................................................. 10-18
Benefits of planning ........................................................................ 10-18
The planning process ...................................................................... 10-19
Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 Planning Requirements .................... 10-20
Multi-Objective Management.............................................................. 10-20
M-O-M guidelines........................................................................... 10-21
Benefits ........................................................................................... 10-22
C. Mitigation Assistance Programs............................................................ 10-24
Technical Assistance............................................................................ 10-24
Property Owners .................................................................................. 10-25
Flood Mitigation Assistance Program ................................................. 10-25
Planning grants................................................................................ 10-26
Project grants................................................................................... 10-27
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program ......................................................... 10-28
Disaster Assistance .............................................................................. 10-28
Technical assistance ........................................................................ 10-28
Financial assistance......................................................................... 10-29
Appendix A:
Appendix B:
Appendix C:
Appendix D:
Appendix E:
Appendix F:
Appendix G:
Appendix H:
Table of Contents
FEMA Regional Offices ........................................................ A-1
State Contacts ..........................................................................B-1
References ...............................................................................C-1
Glossary.................................................................................. D-1
NFIP Regulations ....................................................................E-1
FEMA Forms ........................................................................... F-1
EMI Courses........................................................................... G-1
Learning Checks and Exercises ............................................. H-1
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UNIT O:
ORIENTATION
In this unit
This orientation presents a summary of the study guide and desk
reference:
♦ Its goals and objectives,
♦ How it is organized,
♦ The materials used, and
♦ Where to get help.
Orientation
O-1
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Contents
A. Introduction................................................................................................... O-3
Study guide objectives ............................................................................... O-4
B. Study guide materials ................................................................................. O-5
Notebook ...................................................................................................... O-5
Flood insurance study and maps ............................................................. O-6
Learning Checks ......................................................................................... O-6
C. Using the Study Guide ............................................................................... O-7
Where to get help........................................................................................ O-7
D. Acknowledgments ....................................................................................... O-8
Illustrations ............................................................................................ O-8
Orientation
O-2
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A. INTRODUCTION
The responsibility for reducing
flood losses is shared by all units of
government—local,
state
and
federal—and the private sector.
Fulfilling this responsibility depends on having the knowledge and
skills to plan and implement needed
floodplain management measures.
The fundamental floodplain management program that most others
are built on is the National Flood
Insurance Program (NFIP).
Cover
The house on the cover survived Hurricane
Ivan in September 2004 with minimal
damage. It is located in an AE Zone on
Perdido Bay in Escambia County, Florida.
The owner chose to elevate the building on
pilings to well above the Base Flood
Elevation (BFE). The storm surge in this
area approximated the BFE and the nearby
pre-FIRM buildings built on slabs were
demolished or severely damaged by waves
and debris.
The NFIP provides the maps and regulatory basis for local floodplain management. It is also the primary source of insurance protection for floodprone
properties. Its success depends on the people responsible for administering its
mapping, regulatory and insurance aspects.
This document can serve two purposes. First, it can be used as a study
guide to enhance the knowledge and skills of local officials responsible for
administering and enforcing local floodplain management regulations. It is also
intended to broaden their understanding of floodplain management strategies
that can be applied at the local level. Local officials and others can use the
study guide to help them study for the exam for the Association of State Floodplain Manager’s (ASFPM) Certified Floodplain Manager designation.
Second, the study guide can be used as a desk reference that you can refer to
when specific issues arise as you implement your floodplain management
ordinance. Guidance is included on how to handle many of these issues and
information provided that will help you explain the requirements to citizens of
your community. References are included on where to find more information
or guidance on many issues. The FEMA documents that are referenced are
available from the FEMA Distribution Center at 1-800-480-2520. The address
is: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Attention: Publications, PO Box
2012, Jessup, MD 20794-2012. Most of these publications can also be can be
downloaded from the FEMA website, http://www.fema.gov.
While any interested person may use this study guide and desk reference, it
is written specifically for the local official who is responsible for administering
his or her community's floodplain management regulations. Thus, references to
“you,” assume that you are a local official.
Orientation
O-3
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STUDY GUIDE OBJECTIVES
Upon completing this study guide, you should:
1. Be familiar with flood hazards and how human development interacts
with the natural process of flooding.
2. Understand the purpose of the NFIP and your community’s role in it.
3. Understand the basis for flood maps and data.
4. Be able to use floodplain studies and maps to support your floodplain
management program.
5. Be able to explain the minimum regulatory requirements of the NFIP.
6. Be familiar with additional regulatory standards that your community
could adopt.
7. Understand your responsibilities in administering your community’s
floodplain regulations for new construction.
8. Understand how to administer your community’s floodplain regulations
for repairs and improvements to existing buildings.
9. Be familiar with how flood insurance policies are written and how they
relate to your community’s regulations.
10. Be prepared to administer your floodplain regulations following a disaster.
These 10 objectives are the topics of the 10 units in this study guide.
Orientation
O-4
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B. STUDY GUIDE MATERIALS
Study guide materials include text pages and dividers that can be inserted
into a loose-leaf notebook. There is also a Flood Insurance Study and map for a
sample community that can be ordered separately.
NOTEBOOK
The loose-leaf notebook holds the primary instructional material —ten units—and eight appendices.
In Units 1 and 2, you’ll be introduced to the kinds of floods common to
communities in the United States, the concepts behind floodplain management
and the NFIP.
In Unit 3, you’ll learn about the various types of flood data needed to administer a floodplain management program.
Unit 4 discusses how to use the data provided in NFIP studies and maps.
Unit 5 is the first of four units about administering floodplain management
regulations. In Unit 5, you’ll find out about the minimum regulatory requirements communities must enforce under the NFIP.
Unit 6 contains additional measures recommended to help make your regulations more effective and more appropriate to your local flood conditions and
community needs.
Unit 7 discusses the steps needed to administer a floodplain management
ordinance.
Unit 8 goes into detail on the special situations of dealing with changes to
existing buildings.
In Unit 9, the relationship between flood insurance and your floodplain
management program is reviewed.
Unit 10 reviews the things you need to be ready for following a disaster and
how you can make your community’s program more effective in reducing flood
losses.
The eight appendices provide contacts for assistance, references, technical
terms, and NFIP materials.
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FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY AND MAPS
The fictitious community of Flood
County, USA, has been selected as a sample
community for the purposes of this course.
The Flood Insurance Study and Flood Insurance Rate Map for Flood County provide
opportunities to read and interpret the data in
a typical flood insurance study and maps.
This town provides examples of both coastal
and riverine data and maps. The Flood
Insurance Study and Maps can be ordered
separately from the study guide and desk
reference.
Engineers Scale. You should obtain a
clear plastic engineer’s scale or similar
measuring devise for use in several of the exercises in this study guide and for
day-to-day implementation of your ordinance. A scale helps convert measurements on a map to distance on the ground.
LEARNING CHECKS
Learning checks and unit learning exercises are included as Appendix H to
help you master the material. Answers to the learning checks and exercises are
included.
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C. USING THE STUDY GUIDE
To administer a floodplain management program, you need to know about
regulations and procedures under the National Flood Insurance Program. This
study guide is designed to prepare you to serve as your community’s floodplain
management administrator.
As you can tell by the size of this volume and accompanying materials, you
need to acquire a daunting amount of information. Most of what you need is
covered in these pages, as this course is a comprehensive guide to the NFIP and
your role as administrator.
By design, this study guide will help you learn. Key words and phrases appear with underlines and they are listed in the glossary in Appendix D. Each
unit has frequent learning checks and a comprehensive review at the end. Be
sure to do all of these – you learn best when you practice using the materials.
The study guide and desk reference does not have an index. However, each
of the ten units covers a specific topic or area. At the beginning of each unit
and at the beginning of the study guide are detailed Tables of Contents. You
should be able to find where an issue is addressed in the study guide by scanning the Table of Contents.
WHERE TO GET HELP
For help in understanding any of the course content, contact your FEMA
Regional Office or NFIP State Coordinator.
These offices are listed in Appendices A and B.
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D. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This study guide and desk reference is based on a home-study course that
was developed through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) dated
March 1998. Although that course is not currently being offered by EMI, the
course materials provided a wealth of information that has proved useful to
local floodplain managers. For that reason, they have been updated and reformatted into a study guide and desk reference.
The home-study course on which this study guide and desk reference is
based was prepared by French & Associates, Ltd., Park Forest, Illinois, under
FEMA task order EME-97-SA-0424. It was adapted from a home study course
created by FEMA Region IV for North Carolina, prepared by James M. Wright,
Nancy B. Sidell, Christy King and Steven Randolph. That course in turn was
based on materials from a resident course offered at the Emergency Management Institute, course E-273, Managing Floodplain Development through the
National Flood Insurance Program.
Many individuals and organizations helped create the original home study
course, particularly: Tom Boven and Tom Hirt, FEMA, EMI; Katie Hayden and
Elizabeth Lemersal, FEMA Mitigation Directorate, Washington, D.C.; Prairie
Wordsmiths, Urbana, Illinois (editing and design), and the NFIP State Coordinating Agencies from the following states who provided handbooks and
publications that proved very helpful: Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Washington,
and Wisconsin.
The home-study course was converted to a study guide and desk reference
and updated by FEMA staff in April 2004. At that time the study guide was
thoroughly reviewed to ensure consistency with current NFIP regulations,
procedures and policies. FEMA staff that participated in that effort include
Mike Robinson, David Stearrett, and Bill Lesser with support from Don Beaton,
Mark Crowell and Lois Forster. Michael Baker Jr., Inc. of Alexandria, Virginina prepared the document for publication.
Questions or comments on the study guide and desk reference should be
sent to the Community Assistance Section, Risk Assessment Branch of
FEMA’s Mitigation Division.
Illustrations
Except as noted here, all illustrations are from FEMA or French & Associates. Special thanks to Dewberry & Davis for its support in preparing many of
the figures.
Figure credits: 1-6: Managing Coastal Erosion, p. 31; 1-10: Landslide Loss
Reduction, Colorado Geological Survey, 1989, p. 15; 1-14: Striking a Balance –
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A Guide to Coastal Processes and Beach Management in Delaware, Delaware
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 1985; 1-17:
Roanoke Times and World News; 5-17 Berry A. Williams & Associates, Inc.;
6-3: Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas, p. 19; 6-5: Planning for
Hillside Development, p. 4; 6-6: Environmental Management: A Guide for
Town Officials, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, 1992, p. 4.
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UNIT 1:
FLOODS AND FLOODPLAIN
MANAGEMENT
In this unit
Unit 1 lays the groundwork for the course by explaining:
♦ The more common types of floods and floodplains,
♦ How floods affect floodplain development,
♦ The strategies and tools for floodplain management, and
♦ Basic terms used throughout the course.
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Contents
Introduction.................................................................................................... 1-4
A. Floods and Floodplains ................................................................................... 1-5
Riverine Flooding .......................................................................................... 1-6
Overbank flooding ................................................................................... 1-7
Flash flooding .......................................................................................... 1-8
Riverine erosion ....................................................................................... 1-8
Coastal flooding ............................................................................................. 1-9
Coastal storms.......................................................................................... 1-9
Coastal erosion....................................................................................... 1-10
Tsunamis ...................................................................................................... 1-11
Lake flooding ......................................................................................... 1-11
Shallow Flooding ......................................................................................... 1-11
Sheet flow .............................................................................................. 1-11
Ponding .................................................................................................. 1-12
Urban drainage....................................................................................... 1-12
Special Flood Hazards ................................................................................. 1-12
Closed basin lakes.................................................................................. 1-13
Uncertain flow paths .............................................................................. 1-13
Dam breaks ............................................................................................ 1-14
Ice jams .................................................................................................. 1-15
Mudflow................................................................................................. 1-15
Natural and beneficial floodplain functions................................................. 1-16
Natural flood and erosion control .......................................................... 1-17
Biologic resources and functions ........................................................... 1-17
Societal resources and functions............................................................ 1-17
B. Floodplain Development ............................................................................... 1-19
Floodplain Development Dynamics ............................................................ 1-19
Riverine floodplains............................................................................... 1-19
Watersheds............................................................................................. 1-20
Coasts..................................................................................................... 1-21
Flood Damage.............................................................................................. 1-22
Hydrodynamic forces............................................................................. 1-22
Debris impact ......................................................................................... 1-24
Hydrostatic forces .................................................................................. 1-25
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Soaking .................................................................................................. 1-25
Sediment and contaminants ................................................................... 1-26
Safety and Health Hazards........................................................................... 1-27
C. Floodplain Management................................................................................ 1-28
Evolution...................................................................................................... 1-28
The Unified National Program for Floodplain Management....................... 1-29
Strategies and tools ................................................................................ 1-30
Floodplain Management Strategies.............................................................. 1-30
Strategy 1: Modify human susceptibility to flood damage.................... 1-30
Strategy 2: Modify the impact of flooding ............................................ 1-31
Strategy 3: Modify flooding itself ......................................................... 1-31
Strategy 4: Preserve and restore natural resources ................................ 1-32
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INTRODUCTION
Throughout time, floods have altered the floodplain landscape. These areas
are continuously shaped by the forces of water—either eroded or built up through
deposit of sediment. More recently, the landscape has been altered by human
development, affecting both the immediate floodplain and events downstream.
Historically, people have been attracted to bodies of water as places for living,
industry, commerce and recreation. During the early settlement of the United
States, locations near water provided necessary access to transportation, a water
supply and water power. In addition, these areas had fertile soils, making them
prime agricultural lands.
This pattern of development continued as communities grew. In recent decades, development along waterways and shorelines has been spurred by the
aesthetic and recreational value of these sites.
The result has been an increasing level of damage and destruction wrought by
the natural forces of flooding on human development. It is probable that you are
taking this course because your community has experienced some of this. You,
yourself, or someone you know may have suffered through a flood and a long,
painful and expensive repair and recovery process.
The purpose of this study guide is to familiarize you with how this problem
can be curbed through proper management of how your floodplains are developed. Communities that guide development following the standards of the
National Flood Insurance Program have seen the results – their new buildings and
neighborhoods have had less damage and suffering from flooding.
To start, we need an orientation into the natural processes of flooding. That is
the focus of Section A. Many terms are introduced in this section, such as watershed and coastal erosion that are used throughout the course.
Next, we review of the other part of the equation – human development in the
path of that flooding. The final section in this unit discusses the Federal government’s overall floodplain management effort and the other strategies and tools
that help prevent and reduce flood damage.
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A. FLOODS AND FLOODPLAINS
Floods are part of the Earth’s natural hydrologic cycle.
The cycle circulates water throughout the environment (Figure 1-1). This process maintains an overall balance between water in the air, on the surface and in
the ground.
Figure 1-1. The Hydrologic cycle
Sometimes the hydrologic cycle gets outs of balance, sending more water to
an area than it can normally handle.
The result is a flood.
A flood inundates a floodplain. There are different types of floodplains and
they are based on they type of flooding that forms them.
Most floods fall into one of three major categories:
♦ Riverine flooding
♦ Coastal flooding
♦ Shallow flooding
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RIVERINE FLOODING
A watershed is an area that drains into a lake, stream or other body of water.
Other names for it are basin or catchment area.
Watersheds vary in size. Larger ones can be divided into sub-watersheds.
Figure 1-2 shows a watershed and some of the key terms. The boundary of a
watershed is a ridge or divide. Water from rain and snowmelt are collected by the
smaller channels (tributaries) which send the water to larger ones and eventually
to the lowest body of water in the watershed (main channel).
Channels are defined features on the ground that carry water through and out
of a watershed. They may be called rivers, creeks, streams or ditches. They can be
wet all the time or dry most of the time.
When a channel receives too much water, the excess flows over its banks and
into the adjacent floodplain. Flooding that occurs along a channel is called riverine flooding.
Figure 1-2. Riverine Watershed and Floodplain
What happens in a watershed will affect events and conditions downstream.
Terrain helps determine the dynamics of riverine flooding. In relatively flat areas,
shallow, slow-moving floodwater may cover the land for days or even weeks.
In hilly and mountainous areas, a flood may come scant minutes after a heavy
rain. Such a flash flood gives short notice and moves so fast that it is particularly
dangerous to people and property in its path.
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Overbank flooding
The most common type of flooding in the United States is called overbank
flooding (Figure 1-3).
Overbank flooding occurs when downstream channels receive more rain or
snowmelt from their watershed than normal, or a channel is blocked by an ice jam
or debris. For either reason, excess water overloads the channels and flows out
onto the floodplain.
Overbank flooding varies with the watershed’s size and terrain. One measure
of a flood is the speed of its moving water, which is called velocity. Velocity is
measured in feet per second.
Hilly and mountainous areas have faster moving water, so velocity can pose a
serious hazard. In flat areas, the flood may move slowly, making its velocity less
of a hazard.
Terrain may affect how much warning people have that a flood is building.
Conditions on a river that drains a large watershed may warn of a pending flood
hours or even days before actual flooding. On the other hand, streams in hilly
areas may give no warning that a flash flood is about to strike.
Flood depths vary, as do flood durations. Generally, the larger the river, the
deeper the flood and the longer it will last. However, in hilly or mountainous
areas with narrow valleys, flooding can be very deep in small watersheds.
Depending on the size of the river and terrain of its floodplain, flooding can
last for days and cover wide areas.
Figure 1-3. Riverine floodplain
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Flash flooding
A severe storm that drops much rainfall in a short time can generate a flash
flood. All flash floods strike quickly and end swiftly.
While flash floods occur in all fifty states, areas with steep slopes and narrow
stream valleys are particularly vulnerable, as are the banks of small tributary
streams. In hilly areas, the high-velocity flows and short warning time make flash
floods hazardous and very destructive.
In urban areas, flash flooding can occur where impervious surfaces, gutters
and storm sewers speed runoff. Flash floods also can be caused by dam failure,
the release of ice-jam flooding, or collapse of debris dams.
Flash floods rank first as the cause of flood-related deaths in the United States.
In the 1970s, four flash floods in a five-year period killed 570 people. Death tolls
associated with the 1993 Mississippi River flood or hurricanes are in another
category because such events build over several days, giving people enough time
to evacuate safely.
♦ In 1972, 118 people died along Buffalo Creek in West Virginia when an
embankment made of coal refuse washed out, destroying 546 houses and
damaging as many more.
♦ Weeks later, 236 people died when heavy rain and a dam failure inundated
the area near Rapid City, South Dakota. Property damage exceeded $100
million.
♦ In 1976, heavy rains spawned floods in Colorado’s Big Thompson Canyon, killing 139 people.
♦ The next year, 77 people died in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, when heavy
rain overwhelmed a dam, causing $200 million in damage.
Riverine erosion
River channels change as water moves downstream, acting on the channel
banks and on the channel bottom (the thalweg). This force is made more potent
during a flood, when the river’s velocity increases.
Several features along a river are affected by this flow of water in different
ways. A meander is a curve in a channel. On the outside of a meander, the banks
are subject to erosion as the water scours against them (Figure 1-4). On the other
hand, areas on the inside of meanders receive deposits of sand and sediment
transferred from the eroded sites.
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Figure 1- 4. Erosion changes the shape of channels
Properties on the outside of
curves face a double threat of
inundation and undercutting from
riverine erosion during floods
(Figure 1- 5).
In addition, meanders do not
stay in the same place—they migrate slowly downstream and
across the floodplain, reworking
the shape of the channel within the
floodplain.
Figure 1-5. Riverine erosion can undercut
structures
COASTAL FLOODING
Development along the coasts of the oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and large
lakes can be exposed to two types of flood problems not found in riverine areas:
coastal storms and coastal erosion. The Pacific and Caribbean coasts face a third
hazard: tsunamis.
Coastal storms
Hurricanes and severe storms cause most coastal flooding. These include
“Nor’easters,” which are severe storms on the Atlantic coast with winds out of the
northeast.
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Persistent high wind and changes in air pressure push water toward the shore,
causing a storm surge which can raise the level of a large body of water by several
feet. Waves can be highly destructive as they move inland, battering structures in
their path.
On open coasts, the magnitude of a flood varies with the tides. An increase in
the level of the ocean during high tide will flood larger areas than a storm that
strikes during low tide.
Major coastal storms can significantly change the shape of shoreline landforms, making sandy coastal floodplains particularly unstable places for
development.
Wind and waves shape sand dunes, bluffs and barrier islands. Because these
landforms provide natural buffers from the effects of a storm, their preservation is
important to the protection of inland development.
Coastal erosion
Long-term coastal erosion is
another natural process that
shapes shorelines. It is a complex
process that involves natural and
human-induced factors. The
natural factors include sand
sources, sand size and density,
changes in water level, and the
effects of waves, currents, tides
and wind. These factors determine whether a shoreline will
recede or accrete.
Human activity—such as
construction of groins or seawalls, the dredging of channels
and placement of sandbags—
also can contribute to coastal
erosion by altering the natural
systems that transport sand.
Figure 1-6. This area of the Maryland shore
shows how erosion can move or remove entire
islands over a period as short as 40 years.
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TSUNAMIS
Another hazard along the coast is a tsunami, a large wave often called a “tidal
wave” even though tides and tsunamis are not related. Caused by an underwater
earthquake or volcano, a tsunami is a pressure wave that can raise water levels as
much as 15 feet.
In the open ocean, a tsunami’s wave may be only a few feet high. Because the
wave’s energy extends from the surface to the bottom, that energy is compressed
as the wave approaches shallow water, creating higher, more life-threatening
waves (Figure 1-7).
Tsunamis usually occur in the Pacific Ocean, but they have caused floods in
the Caribbean. Because they can happen on a clear day and are not related to
storms, they can catch many people unawares.
Figure 1- 7. Tsunami waves increase in shallower water.
Lake flooding
Lake shores can flood in ways similar to ocean coasts. Along the Great Lakes,
severe storms can produce waves and cause shoreline erosion. FEMA is starting
to map Great Lakes flooding with the same techniques it uses for ocean coastal
flooding.
SHALLOW FLOODING
Shallow flooding occurs in flat areas where a lack of channels means water
cannot drain away easily. Shallow flood problems fall into three categories: sheet
flow, ponding and urban drainage.
Sheet flow
Where there are inadequate or no defined channels, floodwater spreads out
over a large area at a somewhat uniform depth in what’s called sheet flow.
Sheet flows occur after an intense or prolonged rainfall during which the rain
cannot soak into the ground. During sheet flow, the floodwaters move downhill
and cover a wide area.
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Ponding
In some flat areas, runoff collects in depressions and cannot drain out, creating
a ponding effect. Ponding floodwaters do not move or flow away. Floodwaters
will remain in the temporary ponds until they infiltrate into the soil, evaporate or
are pumped out.
Ponding is especially a problem in glaciated areas, where glaciers carved out
depressions; in areas where caves and sinkholes are common, and in other areas
where man-made features, such as roads and railroad embankments, have blocked
outlets.
Urban drainage
An urban drainage system comprises the ditches, storm sewers, retention
ponds and other facilities constructed to store runoff or carry it to a receiving
stream, lake or the ocean. Other man-made features in such a system include
yards and swales that collect runoff and direct it to the sewers and ditches.
When most of these systems were built, they were typically designed to handle the amount of water expected during a 10-year storm. Larger storms overload
them, and the resulting backed-up sewers and overloaded ditches produce shallow
flooding.
Another urban drainage problem occurs in the areas protected by levees. Being in floodplains, they are flat and don’t drain naturally, especially when a levee
blocks the flow to the river.
To drain these areas, channels have been built and pumps installed to mechanically move the water past the levee. Often, these man-made systems do not
have the capacity to handle heavy rains or intense storms.
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARDS
The flooding types described so far are the more common types found in the
United States. There are many special local situations in which flooding or floodrelated problems do not fit the national norm.
This section discusses five of those special flood hazards:
♦ Closed basin lakes
♦ Uncertain flow paths.
♦ Dam breaks.
♦ Ice jams.
♦ Mudflows.
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Closed basin lakes
There are two types of closed basin lake:
♦ Lakes with no outlets, like the Great Salt Lake, Utah, Devil’s Lake, North
Dakota, and the Salton Sea, California; and
♦ Lakes with inadequate, regulated or elevated outlets, such as the Great
Lakes and many glacial lakes.
Seasonal increases in rainfall cause a closed basin lake’s level to rise faster
than it can drain. As a result, they are subject to large fluctuations in water surface
elevation. Floodwaters in closed basin lakes may stay up for weeks, months or
even years.
The long periods of high water make closed basin lake flooding particularly
problematic. Properties may not be heavily damaged, but they are unusable for
long periods because they are surrounded by—or under—water. Buildings are
isolated and septic fields are unusable. Properties are exposed to waves (and
sometimes ice) that add to the hazard.
Uncertain flow paths
The section on riverine erosion explained that stream channels change their
locations gradually or only after very large and rare floods. However, in some
areas of the country, every flood may change channels.
For example, in mountainous areas, high-velocity floodwater picks up sediment and rock. At the base of the valley where the slope flattens out, the
floodwater decreases in speed and spreads out, as in a sheet flow, dropping sediment and rock over a fan-shaped area called an alluvial fan.
Figure 1-8 shows how an alluvial fan can have numerous channels. During the
next flood, the channels may be in different locations.
Alluvial fan flooding is more common in the mountainous western states,
where there is less ground cover and more opportunity for erosion.
Alluvial fan floods are not as predictable as riverine floods—one never knows
where the floodwaters will spread out across the fan. Thus, they pose three hazards:
♦ Velocity of floodwaters and the debris they carry.
♦ Sediment and debris deposited by the floodwaters.
♦ The potential for the channel to move across the fan during the flood.
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Figure 1-8. An alluvial fan can have numerous channels.
The arid west is subject to another type of flooding that features uncertain
flow paths, known as movable stream beds.
When a high-velocity flood runs through an area with sand or loose soil, the
erosion and sedimentation can occur so fast that the stream channel can be lowered, filled in or relocated through processes known as degradation, aggradation
and migration. In some cases, these processes may occur simultaneously, or one
process may occur in one flood and another process in a later event.
Dam breaks
A break in a dam can produce an extremely dangerous flood situation because
of the high velocities and large volumes of water released by such a break. Sometimes they can occur with little or no warning on clear days when people are not
expecting rain, much less a flood.
Breaching often occurs within hours after the first visible signs of dam failure,
leaving little or no time for evacuation. (As noted in the earlier section on flash
flooding, three of the four top killer floods in the 1970s were related to the failure
of a dam or dam-like structure.)
Dam breaks occur for one of three reasons:
♦ The foundation fails due to seepage, settling or earthquake.
♦ The design, construction, materials or operation were deficient.
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♦ Flooding exceeds the capacity of the dam’s spillway.
Proper design can prevent dam breaks. While dam safety programs can ensure
that new dams are properly designed, there are still many private or locally built
dams that were poorly designed and maintained.
Ice jams
Ice jam flooding generally occurs when warm weather and rain break up frozen rivers or any time there is a rapid cycle of freezing and thawing.
The broken ice floats downriver until it is blocked by an obstruction such as a
bridge or shallow area (Figure 1-9). An ice dam forms, blocking the channel and
causing flooding upstream.
Figure 1-9. Likely Ice Jam Areas
Ice jams present three hazards:
♦ Sudden flooding of areas upstream from the jam, often on clear days with
little or no warning.
♦ Movement of ice chunks (floes) that can push over trees and crush buildings (see Figure 1-18).
♦ Sudden flooding of areas downstream when an ice jam breaks. The impact
is similar to a dam break, damaging or destroying buildings and structures.
Mudflow
A mudflow is a type of landslide that occurs when runoff saturates the ground.
Soil that is dry during dry weather turns into a liquid solution that slides downhill.
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They typically cause more damage than clear-water flooding due to the combination of debris and sediment, and the force of the debris-filled water.
The NFIP officially defines a “mudslide (i.e. mudflow)” as “a condition where
there is a river, flow or inundation of liquid mud down a hillside usually as a
result of a dual condition of loss of brush cover, and the subsequent accumulation
of water on the ground preceded by a period of unusually heavy or sustained
rain.” The NFIP provides flood insurance coverage for mudslides that meet this
definition, but does not map or require floodplain management measures in these
areas.
What many people view as mudfloods are technically landslides and are not
covered by the NFIP.
Figure 1-10. Mudflows are caused by saturated soil
NATURAL AND BENEFICIAL FLOODPLAIN FUNCTIONS
Floodplain lands and adjacent waters combine to form a complex, dynamic
physical and biological system found nowhere else. When portions of floodplains
are preserved in their natural state, or restored to it, they provide many benefits to
both human and natural systems.
Some are static conditions—such as providing aesthetic pleasure—and some
are active processes, such as reducing the number and severity of floods, helping
handle stormwater runoff and minimizing non-point water pollution. For example,
by allowing floodwater to slow down, sediments settle out, thus maintaining
water quality. The natural vegetation filters out impurities and uses excess nutrients.
Such natural processes cost far less money than it would take to build facilities to correct flood, stormwater, water quality and other community problems.
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Natural resources of floodplains fall into three categories: water resources, living resources and societal resources. The following sections describe each
category’s natural and beneficial functions.
Natural flood and erosion control
Over the years, floodplains develop their own ways to handle flooding and
erosion with natural features that provide floodwater storage and conveyance,
reduce flood velocities and flood peaks, and curb sedimentation.
Natural controls on flooding and erosion help to maintain water quality by filtering nutrients and impurities from runoff, processing organic wastes and
moderating temperature fluctuations.
These natural controls also contribute to recharging groundwater by promoting infiltration and refreshing aquifers, and by reducing the frequency and
duration of low surface flows.
Biologic resources and functions
Floodplains enhance biological productivity by supporting a high rate of plant
growth. This helps to maintain biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems.
Floodplains also provide excellent habitats for fish and wildlife by serving as
breeding and feeding grounds. They also create and enhance waterfowl habitats,
and help to protect habitats for rare and endangered species.
Societal resources and functions
People benefit from floodplains through the food they provide, the recreational opportunities they afford and the scientific knowledge gained in studying
them.
Wild and cultivated products are harvested in floodplains, which are enhanced
agricultural land made rich by sediment deposits. They provide open space, which
may be used to restore and enhance forest lands, or for recreational opportunities
or simple enjoyment of their aesthetic beauty.
Floodplains provide areas for scientific study and outdoor education. They
contain cultural resources such as historic or archaeological sites, and thus provide opportunities for environmental and other kinds of studies.
These natural resources and functions can increase a community’s overall
quality of life, a role that often has been undervalued. By transforming stream and
river floodplains from problem areas into value-added assets, the community can
improve its quality of life.
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Parks, bike paths, open spaces, wildlife conservation areas and aesthetic features are important to citizens. Assets like these make the community more
appealing to potential employers, investors, residents, property owners and tourists.
Figure 1-11 Floodplains offer recreation and aesthetic benefits.
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B. FLOODPLAIN DEVELOPMENT
Throughout time, floods have altered the floodplain landscape. These areas
are continuously shaped by the forces of water—either eroded or built up through
deposit of sediment. More recently, the landscape has been altered by human
development, affecting both the immediate floodplain and events downstream.
Historically, people have been attracted to bodies of water as places for living,
industry, commerce and recreation. During the early settlement of the United
States, locations near water provided necessary access to transportation, a water
supply and water power. In addition, these areas had fertile soils, making them
prime agricultural lands.
This pattern of development continued as communities grew. In recent decades, development along waterways and shorelines has been spurred by the
aesthetic and recreational value of these sites.
Because floodplains have attracted people and industry, a substantial portion
of this country’s development is now subject to flooding. Floodplains account for
only seven percent of the nation’s total land area. However, they contain a tremendous amount of property value. It is estimated that there are 8 – 10 million
households in our floodplains.
Two problems result from floodplain development:
♦ Development alters the floodplain and the dynamics of flooding.
♦ Buildings and infrastructure are damaged by periodic flooding.
FLOODPLAIN DEVELOPMENT DYNAMICS
Human development can have an adverse impact on floods and floodplains.
Three types of problems are reviewed here.
Riverine floodplains
The most obvious impact of development on riverine flooding comes with
moving or altering channels or constructing bridges and culverts with small openings. Construction and regrading of the floodplain can obstruct or divert water to
other areas. Levees and dikes are the best known examples of this, but even small
construction projects have an impact (Figure 1-12).
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Filling obstructs flood flows, backing up floodwaters onto upstream and adjacent properties. It also reduces the floodplain’s ability to store excess water,
sending more water downstream and causing floods to rise to higher levels. This
also increases floodwater velocity.
Figure 1-12. Effects of development on a riverine floodplain
Watersheds
Development in riverine
watersheds
affects
the
runoff of stormwater and
snowmelt. Buildings and
parking lots replace the
natural vegetation which
used to absorb water. When
rain falls in a natural setting, as much as ninety
percent of it will infiltrate
the ground; in an urbanized
area, as much as ninety
percent of it will run off
(Figure 1-13).
Figure 1-13. Effects of development on stormwater runoff.
(Data for Northeastern Illinois)
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Urban features alter flood dynamics as well. Storm sewers and more efficient
ditches that come with urban drainage systems speed flood flows. The result of
urbanization is that there is more runoff in the watershed and it moves faster,
increasing flooding downstream. Thus, a 10-year storm may produce the runoff
equivalent of a 25-year storm, overloading the man-made drainage system.
Urbanization also changes the timing of flows along the tributaries. If one
subwatershed develops faster than another, the flood will leave sooner than it used
to, possibly arriving at the main channel at the same time as the peak arrives from
another tributary, causing increased flooding downstream.
Coasts
Coastal development similarly affects the dynamics of coastal flooding. Removing the sand from beaches and dunes removes the natural barrier built up by
flood forces over the years and exposes inland areas to increased risk of flooding.
Coastal erosion is affected by construction of navigation channels, breakwaters, and jetties, and mining of sand. Often construction of barriers, seawalls, or
even sandbag walls to protect buildings from flooding or erosion has an adverse
affect on properties at the end of the walls where erosion is accelerated.
Figure 1-14. Jetties to protect a navigation inlet
affect sand accumulation and erosion.
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FLOOD DAMAGE
Floodplains are home to between 8 and 10 million households. In an average
year, floods kill 150 people and cause over $6 billion in property damage. Nationally, average annual flood losses continue to increase.
Floods can hurt or kill people, and damage property, in several ways. Knowing
the impact of a potential hazard—and guarding against it—is integral to administering a floodplain management program.
As a floodplain management administrator, you need to be knowledgeable
about the five main causes of flood damage:
♦ Hydrodynamic forces
♦ Debris impact
♦ Hydrostatic forces
♦ Soaking
♦ Sediment and contaminants
Hydrodynamic forces
Moving water creates a hydrodynamic force which can damage a building’s
walls in three ways (see Figure 1-15):
♦ Frontal impact,
as water strikes
the structure.
♦ Drag effect, as
water runs
along the sides
of a structure.
♦ Eddies or
negative pressures, created
as water passes
the downstream side.
Figure 1-15. Hydrodynamic forces on a building.
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The speed of moving water is called velocity, a force that is measured in feet
per second. The faster water moves, the more pressure it puts on a structure and
the more it will erode stream banks and scour the earth around a building’s foundation.
Floodwaters moving faster than 5 feet per second comprise a high-velocity
flood, requiring special design considerations for buildings, roads, bridges and
other manmade structures in its path.
Figure 1-16. Beaches are particularly susceptible
to undermining of foundations due to velocity flows.
While velocity is one factor in determining the potential harm of a flood, the
total impact of moving water is related to the depth of the flooding. Studies have
shown that deep water and low velocities can cause as much damage as shallow
water and high velocities.
People are more susceptible to damage than buildings: Studies have shown
that it doesn’t take much depth or velocity to knock a person over. Thus, no areas
with moving floodwater can be considered safe for walking (Figure 1-17).
A car will float in only two feet of moving water, which is one reason floods
kill more people trapped in vehicles than anywhere else. Often victims put themselves in perilous situations by ignoring warnings about travel or mistakenly
thinking that a washed-out bridge is still open.
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Figure 1-17. Even shallow floodwaters can stop cars
and wash people off their feet
Debris impact
Debris also increases the hazard posed by moving water. Floodwaters can and
will pick up anything that will float—logs, lumber, ice, even propane tanks and
vehicles (Figure 1-18). Moving water will also drag or roll objects that don’t float.
All of this debris acts as battering rams that can knock holes in walls.
Figure 1-18. Ice floes and other large items of debris can crush a house
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Hydrostatic forces
The weight of standing water puts hydrostatic pressure on a structure. The
deeper the water, the more it weighs and the greater the hydrostatic pressure.
Because water is fluid, it exerts the same amount of pressure sideways (lateral
pressure) as it does downward. As water gets deeper, it exerts more lateral pressure than shallow water.
Most walls are not built to withstand lateral pressure. Studies and tests have
shown that the lateral force presented by three feet of standing water can be
enough to collapse the walls of a typical frame house.
Basement walls and floors are particularly susceptible to damage by hydrostatic pressure. Not only is the water deeper, a basement is subjected to the
combined weight of water and saturated earth. Water in the ground underneath a
flooded building will seek its own level – resulting in uplift forces that can break
a concrete basement floor (Figure 1-19).
Figure 1-19. This basement floor broke from hydrostatic pressure
Hydrostatic pressure can also cause damage due to floatation or buoyancy.
Improperly anchored buildings can float off their foundations and empty inground storage tanks can pop out of the ground even forcing their way through
several inches on concrete.
Soaking
When soaked, many materials change their composition or shape.
Wet wood will swell, and if it is dried too fast it will crack, split or warp. Plywood can come apart. Gypsum wallboard will fall apart if it is bumped before it
dries out. The longer these materials are wet, the more moisture they will absorb.
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Soaking can cause extensive damage to household goods. Wooden furniture
may get so badly warped that it can't be used. Other furnishings, such as upholstery, carpeting, mattresses and books, usually are not worth drying out and
restoring. Electrical appliances and gasoline engines won't work safely until they
are professionally dried and cleaned.
Sediment and contaminants
Many materials, including wood and fiberglass or cellulose insulation, absorb
floodwater and its sediment. Even if allowed to dry out, the materials will still
hold the sediment, salt and contaminants brought by the flood. Simply letting a
flooded house dry out will not render it clean—and it certainly will not be as
healthy a place as it was before the flood.
Few floods, especially those that strike inland, have clear floodwater, and so
they leave a mess made of natural and man-made debris. Stormwater, snowmelt
and river water pick up whatever was on the ground, such as soil, road oil, and
farm and lawn chemicals. If a wastewater treatment plant upstream was inundated, the floodwaters will likely include untreated sewage.
Especially in the arid west and coastal areas, flooding can leave large amounts
of sand, sediment and debris (Figure 1-20) that require major cleanup efforts.
After the water recedes or evaporates, these sediments are left on and in a building, and its contents.
Figure 1-20. Debris flows can completely fill a house with sediment
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SAFETY AND HEALTH HAZARDS
Floods pose a variety of hazards as they build, crest and subside. At different
points in the life of a flood, people are displaced, damage occurs and finally a
cleanup can begin. Disruption of normal public utilities and the presence of flood
debris and damage can produce safety and health hazards.
When utilities are damaged, hazards arise. Electrocution is the second most
frequent cause of flood deaths, claiming lives in a flooded area that is carrying a
live current created when electrical components short. Floods also can damage
gas lines, floors and stairs, creating secondary hazards such gas leaks and unsafe
structures. If the water system loses pressure, a boil order may be issued to protect
people and animals from contaminated water.
Fire can be a result of too much water: floods can break gas lines, extinguish
pilot lights, and short circuit electrical wiring – causing conditions ripe for a fire.
Fire equipment may not be able reach a burning building during high water.
Floods bring and leave health hazards in the form of animal carcasses, garbage and ponds that can become breeding grounds for germs and mosquitoes.
Any flooded items that come in close contact with people must be thrown out,
including such things as food, cosmetics, medicines, stuffed animals and baby
toys. Clothes and dishes need to be washed thoroughly.
Mold, mildew and bacteria grow in damp, flooded areas. One health hazard
occurs when heating ducts in a forced-air system are not properly cleaned following inundation. When the furnace or air conditioner is turned on, the sediments
left in the ducts are circulated throughout the building and breathed in by the
occupants.
Flooding, especially repetitive flooding, takes a toll on people's mental health.
Stress comes from facing the loss of time, money, property and personal possessions such as heirlooms. This is aggravated by fatigue during cleanup and anxiety
over lost income, health risks and damage to irreplaceable items.
Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to stress from the disruption of their daily routines.
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C. FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT
The strategies and tools available to prevent problems and protect people and
development from flooding have been developed over many years. A short history
of U.S. policy on floodplain management will help explain their evolution.
EVOLUTION
The federal government got involved in floodplain management in the 1800s,
when it had an interest in maintaining the navigability of rivers to facilitate interstate commerce. The great Mississippi River flood of 1927 led the federal
government to become a major player in flood control.
As defined by the Flood Control Acts of 1928 and 1936, the role of government agencies was to build massive flood control structures to control the great
rivers, protect coastal areas and prevent flash flooding. The 1936 act alone authorized construction of some 250 projects for both flood control and relief work.
Until the 1960’s, such structural flood control projects were seen as the primary way to reduce flood losses. Public policy emphasized that flood losses could
be curbed by controlling floodwater with structures, such as dams, levees and
floodwalls. But people began to question the effectiveness of this single solution.
Disaster relief expenses were going up, making all taxpayers pay more to provide
relief to those with property in floodplains. Studies during the 1960s concluded
that flood losses were increasing, in spite of the number of flood control structures
that had been built.
One of the main reasons structural flood control projects failed to reduce flood
losses was that people continued to build in floodplains. In response, federal, state
and local agencies began to develop policies and programs with a “non-structural”
emphasis, ones that did not prescribe projects to control or redirect the path of
floods. Since the 1960s, floodplain management has evolved from heavy reliance
on flood control, or structural measures, to one using a combination of many
tools.
The creation of the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968 was a landmark
step in this evolution. The NFIP:
♦ Established an insurance program as an alternative to disaster relief.
♦ Distributed responsibility for floodplain management to all levels of government and the private sector.
♦ Set a national standard for regulating new development in floodplains.
♦ Began a comprehensive floodplain mapping program.
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Also during the 1960s and 1970s, interest increased in protecting and restoring
the environment, including the natural resources and functions of floodplains.
Coordinating flood-loss reduction programs with environmental protection and
watershed management programs has since become a major goal of federal, state
and local programs.
As a result of this evolution, we no longer depend solely on structural projects
to control floodwater. U.S. floodplain policies are now multi-purpose and result in
a mix of solutions to suit many situations. Consequently, administrators like you
have several non-structural flood protection measures at their disposal. They
include:
♦ Regulations to prohibit development in high-hazard areas.
♦ Building codes requiring flood-resistant construction for new buildings in
floodprone areas.
♦ Acquisition and relocation of buildings in high hazard areas.
♦ Modifying or retrofitting existing buildings.
♦ Installing flood warning systems.
♦ Controlling stormwater runoff.
♦ Providing self-help advice to property owners.
THE UNIFIED NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR FLOODPLAIN
MANAGEMENT
To coordinate the efforts of the many government programs that can affect
flooding or floodplain development, Congress created the Unified National Program for Floodplain Management under the National Flood Insurance Act of
1968.
The Unified National Program sets forth a conceptual framework for coordinating the floodplain management efforts of federal, state and local agencies as
well as private parties.
The program is coordinated by a Federal Interagency Floodplain Management
Task Force made up of federal agencies that are involved in flooding, or with
development that can be affected by flooding.
The Task Force defines “floodplain management” as “a decision-making process that aims to achieve the wise use of the nation’s floodplains.” “Wise use”
means both reduced flood losses and protection of the natural resources and
functions of floodplains.
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Where floodplain development is permitted, floodplain management results in
development and construction measures that minimize the risk to life and property
from floods and the risk to the floodplain’s natural functions posed by human
development.
Strategies and tools
The Task Force has identified four floodplain management strategies for reducing the human economic losses from flooding as well as minimizing the losses
of natural and beneficial floodplain resources. Each strategy is supported by an
array of tools which are summarized in the rest of this section.
Many of the tools can be used in more than one strategy.
In most cases, a combination of these tools is needed to reduce risks and protect natural resources and functions. Because floodplain management is a process,
there is no one “best” set of tools or one single “wise use” of the floodplain.
The important message from this definition of floodplain management is to
consider all the options and account for both the hazard and the natural values
before developing or implementing any action that will change the floodplain.
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
Strategy 1: Modify human susceptibility to flood damage
Reduce disruption by avoiding hazardous, uneconomic or unwise use of
floodplains.
Tools include:
♦ Regulating floodplain use by using zoning codes to steer development
away from hazardous areas or natural areas deserving preservation, establishing rules for developing subdivisions, and rigorously following
building, health and sanitary codes.
♦ Establishing development and redevelopment policies on the design and
location of public services, utilities and critical facilities.
♦ Acquiring land in a floodplain in order to preserve open space and permanently relocate buildings.
♦ Elevating or floodproofing new buildings and retrofitting existing ones.
♦ Preparing people and property for flooding through forecasting, warning
systems and emergency plans.
♦ Restoring and preserving the natural resources and functions of floodplains.
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Strategy 2: Modify the impact of flooding
Assist individuals and communities to prepare for, respond to and recover from a flood.
Tools include:
♦ Providing information and education to assist self-help and protection
measures.
♦ Following flood emergency measures during a flood to protect people and
property.
♦ Reducing the financial impact of flooding through disaster assistance,
flood insurance and tax adjustments.
♦ Preparing post-flood recovery plans and programs to help people rebuild
and implement mitigation measures to protect against future floods
Strategy 3: Modify flooding itself
Develop projects that control floodwater.
Tools include:
♦ Building dams and reservoirs that store excess water upstream from developed areas.
♦ Building dikes, levees and floodwalls to keep water away from developed
areas.
♦ Altering channels to make them more efficient, so overbank flooding will
be less frequent.
♦ Diverting high flows around developed areas.
♦ Treating land to hold as much rain as possible where it falls, so it can infiltrate the soil instead of running off.
♦ Storing excess runoff with on-site detention measures.
♦ Protecting inland development with shoreline protection measures that account for the natural movement of shoreline features.
♦ Controlling runoff from areas under development outside the floodplain.
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Strategy 4: Preserve and restore natural resources
Renew the vitality and purpose of floodplains by reestablishing and maintaining floodplain environments in their natural state.
Tools include:
♦ Floodplain, wetlands and coastal barrier resources or land use regulations,
such as zoning, can be used to steer development away from sensitive or
natural areas.
♦ Development and redevelopment policies on the design and location of
public services, utilities and critical facilities.
♦ Land acquisition; open space preservation; permanent relocation of buildings; restoration of floodplains and wetlands, and preservation of natural
functions and habitats.
♦ Information and education to make people aware of natural floodplain resources and functions and how to protect them.
♦ Tax adjustments to provide a financial initiative for preserving lands or restoring lands to their natural state.
♦ Beach nourishment and dune building to protect inland development by
maintaining the natural flood protection features.
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UNIT 2:
THE NATIONAL FLOOD
INSURANCE PROGRAM
In this unit
Unit 2 introduces the National Flood Insurance Program:
♦ How it evolved,
♦ How it works,
♦ The roles of the state and local partners participating in the
NFIP
♦ The community’s obligations to the program.
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Contents
A. History............................................................................................................. 2-3
B. How the NFIP Works...................................................................................... 2-6
Mapping ......................................................................................................... 2-6
Insurance ........................................................................................................ 2-7
Regulations .................................................................................................... 2-8
C. Roles and Responsibilities .............................................................................. 2-9
The community role....................................................................................... 2-9
The state role.................................................................................................. 2-9
The federal role ............................................................................................ 2-10
D. Community Participation .............................................................................. 2-12
Joining the NFIP .......................................................................................... 2-12
Compliance .................................................................................................. 2-13
Probation ................................................................................................ 2-14
Suspension ............................................................................................. 2-14
Sanctions for non-participation.................................................................... 2-15
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A. HISTORY
Historically, people at risk from flooding could only hope for help from their
neighbors and charitable organizations in the event of a flood.
Government assistance varied from community to community, and flood insurance was scarce. During the 1920s, the insurance industry concluded that flood
insurance could not be a profitable venture because the only people who would
want flood coverage would be those who lived in floodplains.
Since they were sure to be flooded, the rates would be too high to attract customers.
During the 1960s, Congress became concerned with problems related to the
traditional methods of dealing with floods and flood damage—construction of
structural projects and federal disaster assistance. Both were proving to be quite
expensive, with no end in sight.
Congress concluded that:
♦ Although Federal flood programs were funded by all taxpayers, they primarily helped only residents of floodplains.
♦ Flood protection structures were expensive and could not protect everyone.
♦ People continued to build and live in floodplains, thus still risking disaster.
♦ Disaster relief was both inadequate and expensive.
♦ The private insurance industry could not sell affordable flood insurance
because only those at high risk would buy it.
In 1968, Congress passed the National Flood Insurance Act to correct some of
the shortcomings of the traditional flood control and flood relief programs. The
act created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to:
♦ Transfer the costs of private property flood losses from the taxpayers to
floodplain property owners through flood insurance premiums.
♦ Provide floodplain residents and property owners with financial aid after
floods, especially smaller floods that do not warrant federal disaster aid.
♦ Guide development away from flood hazard areas.
♦ Require that new and substantially improved buildings be constructed in
ways that would minimize or prevent damage during a flood.
Congress charged the Federal Insurance Administration (which at that time
was in the Department of Housing and Urban Development) with responsibility
for the program. The program is currently administered by the Federal EmerNational Flood Insurance Program
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gency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security.
Participation in the NFIP grew slowly. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes devastated a
wide area of the eastern United States. Disaster assistance costs were the highest
ever, leading Congress to examine why the NFIP was so little used. Investigators
found that few communities had joined the NFIP—there were fewer than 100,000
flood insurance policies in force nationwide. The availability of flood insurance
alone had not been enough to motivate communities to join the NFIP or individuals to purchase flood insurance.
To remedy this, the Flood Disaster Protection Act was passed in 1973. The
Act prohibited most types of Federal assistance for acquisition or construction of
buildings in the floodplains of non-participating communities. It also required
that buildings located in identified flood hazard areas have flood insurance coverage as a condition of receiving Federal financial assistance or loans from federally
insured or regulated lenders, and as a condition for receiving federal disaster
assistance. These “sanctions” for non-participation, which are detailed later in this
unit, make it hard for any community that wants federal assistance for properties
in floodplains to avoid joining the NFIP.
The 1973 Act spurred participation in the program dramatically. By the end of
the decade, more than 15,000 communities had signed on and about two million
flood insurance policies were in effect.
In 1979, the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) and the NFIP were transferred to the newly created Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
During the early 1980’s, FIA worked to reduce the program’s dependence on its
authority to borrow from the Federal Treasury. Through a series of rate increases
and other adjustments, the program has been self-supporting since 1986. The
NFIP is funded primarily through premium income, which pays nearly all administrative and mapping costs as well as claims. In recent years the NFIP has
received supplemental funding from Congress to accelerate its Map Modernization program.
Since 1973, the program has been amended several times. The most important
changes came under the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 which fine
tuned various aspects of the program, such as authorizing the Community Rating
System, increasing the maximum amount of flood insurance coverage, strengthening the mandatory purchase requirement, and establishing a grant program for
mitigation plans and projects.
The Reform Act and the initiation of a flood insurance advertising campaigns
boosted sales of flood insurance policies again. By the August of 2003, there were
nearly 4.4 million flood insurance policies in force.
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By January of 2004, there also were 19,937 participating communities. As
shown in Figure 2-1, the greatest growth in numbers of communities occurred in
the late 1970’s, after the provisions of the 1973 amendments took effect.
25000
20000
15000
10000
5000
6
2
4
19
9
19
9
8
0
19
9
19
9
6
19
8
2
4
19
8
19
8
0
19
8
8
19
8
4
6
19
7
19
7
0
2
19
7
19
7
19
7
19
6
8
0
Figure 2-1. NFIP community participation
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B. HOW THE NFIP WORKS
The NFIP is based on a mutual agreement between the Federal Government
and the community. Federally backed flood insurance is made available in those
communities that agree to regulate development in their mapped floodplains. If
the communities do their part in making sure future floodplain development meets
certain criteria, FEMA will provide flood insurance for properties in the community.
Because most communities with a known flood problem are in the NFIP, this
reference guide does not cover how a community applies to join. However, it does
explain the three basic parts to the NFIP—mapping, insurance, and regulations.
As discussed below, these three parts are interconnected and mutually supportive.
MAPPING
FEMA has prepared a floodplain map and developed flood hazard data for
most communities in the country. The maps and data are used for several purposes:
♦ Communities, states and Federal agencies use them as the basis for the
regulating new floodprone construction,
♦ Insurance agents use them when rating flood insurance policies, and
♦ Lenders and Federal agencies used them to determine when flood insurance must be purchased as a condition of a loan or financial assistance.
FEMA has issued two kinds of maps:
♦ The first map received for most communities was called a Flood Hazard
Boundary Map (FHBM). This just showed the boundaries of the floodplain using approximate methods.
♦ Most communities have had their FHBMs replaced by a Flood Insurance
Rate Map, or FIRM. A FIRM usually is based on a Flood Insurance Study
and includes flood elevations and other hazard information needed to better protect new construction from flood damage.
Buildings that pre-date the FIRM are treated differently than buildings built
after the flood hazard was made public on the FIRM. These existing structures are
called “pre-FIRM” buildings, while new construction is called “post-FIRM.”
The flood insurance rates for post-FIRM buildings are based on how protected
they are from the mapped hazard. Therefore, both the NFIP’s regulations and
insurance coverage depend on the accuracy and utility of the maps.
The NFIP’s maps and flood studies are covered in depth in Units 3 and 4.
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INSURANCE
Every building located in a participating community may be covered by a
flood insurance policy—even buildings not located in a mapped floodplain. Coverage is for damage by a “flood.”
A flood is defined by NFIP regulations as
A “general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation
of normally dry land areas from:
(1) “The overflow of inland or tidal waters or
(2) “The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters
from any source.”
The official definition also includes mudflows and erosion.
Flood insurance premiums for post-FIRM buildings are based on the degree of
flood protection they are provided. Therefore, it is very important for communities to ensure that new buildings in the floodplain are constructed properly.
The flood insurance premium rates for pre-FIRM buildings are subsidized by
the NFIP. Owners of these policies do not pay “actuarial” rates, i.e., rates based
on the true risk the building is exposed to.
No matter whether a building is pre-FIRM or post-FIRM, with flood insurance, owners of floodprone properties pay more of their share toward flood relief.
And, they get claims paid when needed.
The NFIP has paid out over $12 billion in flood insurance claim payments for
big and small floods (see Figure 2-2). Insurance provides relief for all floods,
including those not large enough or severe enough to warrant federal disaster aid.
TROPICAL STORM ALLISON 6/01
LOUISIANA STORM
5/95
HURRICANE FLOYD
9/99
HURRICANE OPAL
10/95
HURRICANE HUGO
9/89
NOR’EASTER
10/92
MIDWEST FLOOD
6/93
HURRICANE FRAN
9/96
MARCH STORM
3/93
HOUSTON FLOODS
10/94
HURRICANE ANDREW
8/92
$1,084 MILLION
$584 MILLION
$437 MILLION
$399 MILLION
$376 MILLION
$342 MILLION
$271 MILLION
$214 MILLION
$211 MILLION
$217 MILLION
$168 MILLION
Figure 2-2. Largest claim events paid by the NFIP
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Flood insurance and its relation to construction regulations are discussed in
more detail in Unit 9.
REGULATIONS
The NFIP underwrites flood insurance coverage only in those communities
that adopt and enforce floodplain regulations that meet or exceed NFIP criteria.
Buildings built in accordance with these regulations have a lower risk of flooding
and can be insured at lower rates.
The community’s floodplain regulations are designed to ensure that new
buildings will be protected from the flood levels shown on the FIRM and that
development will not make the flood hazard worse. Over time, exposure to flood
damage should be reduced as the older pre-FIRM buildings are replaced by postFIRM buildings that comply with the regulations. Eventually a community should
have only post-FIRM building’s subject to little or no flood damage.
The NFIP construction regulations focus on protecting insurable buildings, but
they also provide a degree of protection to other types of development. These
criteria are detailed in Unit 5.
Floodplain regulations initially were controversial and difficult to enforce.
Many people wanted the freedom to build what they want without government
controls. In some areas, they still may not be aware they need a local permit to
build. However, as time has passed the regulations have become increasingly
accepted as necessary to reduce flood damages and protect citizens from loss.
As a result of public opposition, a community may be inclined to not fully enforce all of the provisions of its ordinance, which puts its participation in the
NFIP in peril. If the community does not fulfill its NFIP obligations to the federal
government and allows construction in violation of its regulations, three things
can happen:
♦ New buildings will be built subject to flood damage
♦ Insurance on an improperly constructed building may be very expensive.
♦ FEMA can impose sanctions on the community, to encourage it to correct
its floodplain management program. The sanctions are discussed in Section D.
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C. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The National Flood Insurance Program is founded on a mutual agreement between the federal government and each participating community. Local, state and
federal governments, and private insurance companies must share roles and responsibilities to meet the goals and objectives of the NFIP.
The community’s role is of paramount importance. Residents and property
owners can get flood insurance only if the community carries out its responsibilities.
THE COMMUNITY ROLE
A community is a governmental body with the statutory authority to enact and
enforce development regulations. These governmental bodies vary form state to
state, but can include cities, towns, villages, townships, counties, parishes, special
districts, states and Indian nations.
The community enacts and implements the floodplain regulations required for
participation in the NFIP. The community’s measures must meet regulations set
by its state, as well as NFIP criteria. The NFIP requirements are covered in Unit
5.
A participating community commits itself to:
♦ Issuing or denying floodplain development/building permits.
♦ Inspecting all development to assure compliance with the local ordinance.
♦ Maintaining records of floodplain development.
♦ Assisting in the preparation and revision of floodplain maps.
♦ Helping residents obtain information on flood hazards, floodplain map
data, flood insurance and proper construction measures.
THE STATE ROLE
Each governor has selected a state coordinating agency for the NFIP. While
the role of this agency varies from state to state, it usually includes:
♦ Ensuring that communities have the legal authorities necessary to adopt
and enforce floodplain management regulations.
♦ Establishing minimum state regulatory requirements consistent with the
NFIP.
♦ Providing technical and specialized assistance to local governments.
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♦ Coordinating the activities of various state agencies that affect the NFIP.
Most states participate in the Community Assistance Program (CAP). Under
CAP, NFIP funds are available on a 75 percent / 25 percent cost share to help the
state coordinating agency provide technical assistance to communities and to
monitor and evaluate their work. The telephone numbers of the state coordinating
agencies are listed in Appendix B. Communities can contact their state coordinating agency for technical assistance in meeting NFIP requirements.
States also participate in the NFIP by establishing and enforcing floodplain
management regulations for state-owned properties. This can be done through
legislation, but more often has been done through a governor’s executive order. A
number of states have their own floodplain management statutes and regulations
and operate floodplain management programs of their own in addition to supporting implementation of the NFIP.
THE FEDERAL ROLE
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department
of Homeland Security (DHS) administers the NFIP through its Regional Offices
and its Mitigation Division.
The ten FEMA Regional Offices each have a Mitigation Division that coordinates the NFIP with states and communities. Each FEMA regional office covers
four to eight states and territories. Together they work with the nearly 20,000
participating communities. A list of the regional offices, their addresses and the
states they cover appears in Appendix A.
The Regional Offices are responsible for:
♦ Assisting the state NFIP coordinating agencies.
♦ Assessing community compliance with the minimum NFIP criteria.
♦ Advising local officials responsible for administering the ordinance.
♦ Answering questions from design professionals and the public.
♦ Helping review and adopt new maps and data.
♦ Approving community floodplain management regulations.
♦ Providing information and training on the flood insurance purchase requirements.
The FEMA Mitigation Division in Washington, D.C., sets national policy for
floodplain regulations, researches floodplain construction practices and administers the flood hazard mapping program. The Division has mapped more than 100
million acres of flood hazard areas nationwide and designated some six million
acres of floodways along 40,000 stream and river miles.
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The Mitigation Division also administers the insurance portion of the program. It sets flood insurance rates, establishes coverage, monitors applications
and claims, and markets flood insurance.
The NFIP is operated as a self-supporting program. All NFIP expenses, including claims payments, floodplain management, and administration and, until
recently, flood hazard mapping, are paid through insurance premiums, fees on
insurance policies, and fees from map revision requests. Congress has recently
provided supplemental funding to accelerate the NFIP’s Map Modernization
program.
Private insurance companies write and service most NFIP flood insurance
policies through an arrangement with FEMA called the Write-Your-Own Program. The NFIP also contracts for agent training and other assistance through
regional insurance offices. They can be reached through the FEMA Regional
Offices.
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D. COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
The NFIP is based on a cooperative agreement between the community and
FEMA. FEMA can only make flood insurance available in those communities that
agree to regulate future development in the floodplain.
JOINING THE NFIP
Participation in the NFIP is voluntary. There is no Federal law that requires a
community to join, although some states have requirements. However, as discussed later in this section, a nonparticipating community faces sanctions, such as
loss of Federal aid for insurable buildings in the floodplain. These make participation a very important decision for many communities.
To join, a community must adopt a resolution of intent to participate and cooperate with FEMA. The community agrees to “maintain in force…adequate land
use and control measures consistent with the [NFIP] criteria” and to:
(i) Assist the Administrator in the delineation of the floodplain,
(ii) Provide information concerning present uses and occupancy of the flood
plain,
(iii) Maintain for public inspection and furnish upon request, for the determination of applicable flood insurance risk premium rates within all areas having
special flood hazards, elevation and floodproofing records on new construction,
(iv) Cooperate with agencies and firms which undertake to study, survey, map,
and identify flood plain areas, and cooperate with neighboring communities with
respect to the management of adjoining flood plain areas in order to prevent aggravation of existing hazards;
(v) Notify the Administrator whenever the boundaries of the community have
been modified by annexation or the community has otherwise assumed or no
longer has authority to adopt and enforce flood plain management regulations for
a particular area.
The community must also adopt and submit a floodplain management ordinance that meets or exceeds the minimum NFIP criteria. These criteria are
explained in Unit 5 of this course.
As shown in Figure 2-1, most communities joined in the 1970’s. At that time
they were provided with a Flood Hazard Boundary Map which showed only the
approximate boundaries of the floodplain. Generally, they entered the “Emergency Phase” whereby their regulatory responsibilities were limited because of
the limited flood hazard data provided on the map.
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Participating communities receive a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and
most get a Flood Insurance Study with more detailed flood hazard data. After a
period to review and appeal the draft map and study, the community is given six
months to adopt the new data in a more comprehensive ordinance.
The FIRM takes effect at the end of the six month period. If the ordinance has
been adopted in time, the community is converted to the “Regular Phase” on that
date. That is also the date that differentiates “pre-FIRM” buildings from “postFIRM buildings.”
If the ordinance is not adopted in time, the community is suspended from the
NFIP. The FIRM still goes into effect on the same date and is used by lenders and
Federal agencies for determining where loans can be issued and federal assistance
can be provided.
As of the end of August 2003, 97% of the NFIP communities were in the
Regular Phase.
COMPLIANCE
The community’s floodplain management program and permit records are reviewed periodically by the FEMA Regional Office or state NFIP coordinating
agency. Either agency may inspect records as part of a community assistance visit
(CAV) or community assistance contact (CAC).
If a community doesn’t uphold its part of the agreement and fails to adequately enforce its floodplain management regulations, FEMA has recourse
through three approaches:
♦ Reclassification under the Community Rating System
♦ Probation
♦ Suspension from the program
Reclassification under the Community Rating System
The Community Rating System (CRS) provides a discount in the flood insurance premiums for properties in
communities that participate in the CRS and implement
floodplain management programs that exceed minimum
NFIP requirements. The CRS is explained in Unit 9, Section
C. As of May 1, 2004, 1,002 communities participate in
CRS. This represents 66% of policies in force.
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CRS Communities that are deemed to no longer be in full compliance with the
NFIP requirements can be reclassified to Class 10. Should that happen, residents
would lose their CRS flood insurance premium discounts.
Probation
Probation represents formal notification to the community that FEMA regards
the community’s floodplain management program as non-compliant with the
NFIP criteria.
Prior to imposing probation, FEMA provides the community a 90-day written
notice and lists specific deficiencies in its program and violations. FEMA also
notifies all policy holders of the impending probation, telling them that an additional $50 premium will be charged on policies sold or renewed during the
probation period. The objective of this surcharge is to bring the policy holders’
attention to the fact that their community is not compliant and failure to correct
the problems may lead to suspension.
The community has 90 days to avoid this sanction by correcting the program
deficiencies and remedying the identified violations. Probation may be continued
for up to one year after the community corrects all program deficiencies. This
ensures that the community has truly changed its ways and become compliant and
that all policies holders are advised of the situation when their policies are renewed.
Suspension
If, after a period of probation, a community fails to remedy its violations and
program deficiencies, it will be suspended from the NFIP for failure to enforce its
floodplain management regulations. Suspension means the community is no
longer in the NFIP. It is subject to the sanctions for non-participation that are
explained in the next section.
FEMA grants a community 30 days to show why it should not be suspended
and then sends it a 30-day suspension letter. FEMA may also conduct a written or
oral hearing before suspension takes effect.
A community suspended under the NFIP may apply to the FEMA Regional
Office for reinstatement by submitting the following:
♦ A local legislative or executive measure reaffirming the community’s intent to comply with the NFIP criteria.
♦ Evidence that all program deficiencies have been corrected.
♦ Evidence that any violations have been remedied to the maximum extent
possible.
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FEMA may reinstate the community to full program status, bring it to a probationary status, or withhold reinstatement for up to one year after a satisfactory
submission from the community.
A community will also be suspended if, following due notice, it fails to adopt
revisions to its floodplain ordinance in response to flood map revisions or
amended minimum NFIP criteria. Communities have a 6 month period after a
new or revised map is issued to update their floodplain management regulations to
incorporate the new data and make any other necessary changes. If at the end of
the 6 months the community has not adopted a compliant ordinance, it is automatically be suspended.
It is not uncommon for communities to be suspended for failure to adopt
compliant ordinances. Sometimes communities get a late start revising their
ordinance and cannot complete the ordinance adoption process in the allotted 6
months. These communities are reinstated into the NFIP upon adoption of the
ordinance provided no non-compliant development has taken place during the
suspension.
SANCTIONS FOR NON-PARTICIPATION
A community that does not join the NFIP, has withdrawn from the program,
or is suspended from it faces the following sanctions:
♦ Flood insurance will not be available. No resident will be able to purchase
a flood insurance policy.
♦ If the community withdraws or is suspended, existing flood insurance
policies will not be renewed.
♦ No Federal grants or loans for the acquisition or construction of buildings
may be made in identified flood hazard areas under programs administered
by Federal agencies such as HUD, EPA, and SBA.
♦ No Federal disaster assistance may be provided to repair insurable buildings located in identified flood hazard areas for damage caused by a flood.
♦ No Federal mortgage insurance or loan guarantees may be provided in
identified flood hazard areas. This includes policies written by FHA, VA,
and others.
♦ Federally insured or regulated lending institutions, such as banks and
credit unions, must notify applicants seeking loans for insurable buildings
in flood hazard areas that:
-- There is a flood hazard and
-- The property is not eligible for Federal disaster relief.
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These sanctions can be severe on any community with a substantial number of
buildings in the floodplain. Most communities with a flood problem have joined
the NFIP and are in full compliance with their regulatory obligations.
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UNIT 3:
NFIP FLOOD STUDIES AND MAPS
In this unit
This unit describes the flood data, studies, and maps that the National
Flood Insurance Program provides to communities to assist them in carrying
out their floodplain management program. It reviews:
♦ Flood study and map terminology,
♦ How flood studies are prepared along riverine floodplains,
♦ How flood studies are prepared on coastal floodplains, and
♦ How the NFIP maps display the study data.
Materials needed for this unit
♦ Flood Insurance Study, Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas
♦ Flood Insurance Rate Map, Flood County, USA and Incorporated
Areas
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Contents
A. NFIP Flood Studies ................................................................................................................. 3-3
Flood Study Terminology ...................................................................................................... 3-3
The base flood ................................................................................................................. 3-3
The 100-year flood .......................................................................................................... 3-4
Special flood hazard area and base flood elevation......................................................... 3-4
Identifying Floodprone Areas ................................................................................................ 3-5
Flood Insurance Study..................................................................................................... 3-7
Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas .................................................................. 3-8
B. Riverine Studies....................................................................................................................... 3-9
Hydrology .............................................................................................................................. 3-9
Cross Sections...................................................................................................................... 3-10
Hydraulics............................................................................................................................ 3-12
Flood Profile ........................................................................................................................ 3-13
Floodplain Map.................................................................................................................... 3-16
Floodway Analysis .............................................................................................................. 3-17
C. Coastal Flood Studies ............................................................................................................ 3-20
Storm Surge ......................................................................................................................... 3-20
Waves................................................................................................................................... 3-20
Hydraulic Analysis .............................................................................................................. 3-21
Coastal High Hazard Area ................................................................................................... 3-22
Coastal Floodplain Map....................................................................................................... 3-22
D. Shallow flooding studies ....................................................................................................... 3-24
E. Approximate Studies.............................................................................................................. 3-25
F. NFIP Maps ............................................................................................................................. 3-26
General Map Features .......................................................................................................... 3-26
Map Index ............................................................................................................................ 3-27
Title block ..................................................................................................................... 3-27
Map revision date .......................................................................................................... 3-27
Map scales and north direction...................................................................................... 3-28
Elevation reference marks ............................................................................................. 3-28
FIRM Zones .................................................................................................................. 3-29
Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM)................................................................................ 3-30
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) — old format (Pre 1986) ............................................. 3-30
Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (Floodway Map) – Old format (Pre 1986) ................ 3-31
Flood Insurance Rate Map — new format (Since 1986) ..................................................... 3-33
Partial Map Initiatives FIRM ............................................................................................... 3-35
FIRMs with Coastal and Lake Floodplains.......................................................................... 3-35
Coastal FIRMs............................................................................................................... 3-35
Coastal Barrier Resources System................................................................................. 3-35
Lakes .......................................................................................................................... 3-36
Shallow Flooding FIRMs..................................................................................................... 3-37
FIRMs with Flood Protection Projects ................................................................................ 3-37
Countywide FIRMs.............................................................................................................. 3-38
Digital FIRMs ...................................................................................................................... 3-40
Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) ................................................................ 3-40
Q3 Flood Data ............................................................................................................... 3-42
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A. NFIP FLOOD STUDIES
FLOOD STUDY TERMINOLOGY
Before describing how flood studies are developed, we first need to introduce
some of the common terms used in floodplain analysis and in the National Flood
Insurance Program (NFIP). The following terms are integral for understanding the
basis for flood studies and flood maps:
♦ The base flood,
♦ The 100-year flood,
♦ Special Flood Hazard Area, and
♦ Base Flood Elevation.
The base flood
Floods come in many sizes — with varying degrees of magnitude and
frequency.
Rivers and coastlines are expected to flood, as all bodies of water have
floodplains. But rivers and coastlines are different, as well; each has its own
probability of flooding. Probability is a statistical term having to do with the size
of a flood and the odds of that size of flood occurring in any year.
For each river, engineers assign statistical probabilities to different size floods.
This is done to understand what might be a common or ordinary flood for a
particular river versus a less likely or a severe flood for that same river.
In order to have common standards, the NFIP adopted a baseline probability
called the base flood. The base flood is the one-percent annual chance flood. The
one-percent annual chance flood is the flood that has a one-percent (one out of
100) chance of occurring in any given year. The base flood, which is also
informally referred to as the 100-year flood, is the national standard used by the
NFIP and all Federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood
insurance and regulating new development
The one-percent annual chance flood was chosen as a compromise between a
more frequent flood (such as a 10-percent chance flood), which would permit
excessive exposure to flood risk, and a more infrequent flood (say, a 0.1-percent
chance flood), which would be considered an excessive and unreasonable
standard.
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The 100-year flood
The one-percent annual chance flood is also called the 100-year flood because
the inverse of one percent (one divided by one percent or 0.01) equals 100. This
calculation gives us the flood’s recurrence interval, in terms of probability, which
is 100 years.
The term “100-year flood” is often misconstrued. Commonly, people interpret
the 100-year flood definition to mean “once every 100 years.” This is wrong.
You could experience a 100-year flood two times in the same year, two years in a
row, or four times over the course of 100 years. You could also not experience a
100-year flood over the course of 200 or more years.
To avoid confusion (and because probabilities and statistics can be confusing),
the NFIP uses the term “base flood.” A 100-year base flood is defined as having a
one-percent chance of being reached or exceeded in any single year. Thus, the
100-year flood also is called the “one-percent annual chance flood.”
To restate, “100-year flood” and “base flood” both refer to a flood that has a
one-percent chance of occurring in any given year. The terms “base flood,” “100year flood,” and “one-percent annual chance flood” are often used
interchangeably.
Special flood hazard area and base flood elevation
The land area covered by the floodwaters of the base flood is the base
floodplain. On NFIP maps, the base floodplain is called the Special Flood Hazard
Area (SFHA). The SFHA is designated as Zone A, AE, A1-30, AO, AH, V, VE
or V1-30 depending on the amount of flood data available, the severity of the
flood hazard, or the age of the flood map (see the discussion of zones in this Unit
for more information.).
The SFHA is the area where the NFIP’s floodplain management regulations
must be enforced by the community as a condition of participation in the NFIP
and the area where the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirement applies.
The computed elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the
base flood is the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
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WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF
BEING FLOODED?
The term "100-year flood" has caused much confusion for
people not familiar with statistics. Another way to look at
flood risk is to think of the odds that a 100-year flood will
happen sometime during the life of a 30-year mortgage—a
26% chance for a structure located in the SFHA.
Chance of Flooding over a Period of Years
Time
Period
10-year
1 year
10 years
20 years
30 years
50 years
10%
65%
88%
96%
99%
Flood Size
25-year 50-year
4%
34%
56%
71%
87%
2%
18%
33%
45%
64%
100-year
1%
10%
18%
26%
39%
Even these numbers do not convey the true flood risk
because they focus on the larger, less frequent, floods. If a
house is low enough, it may be subject to the 10- or
25-year flood. During a 30-year mortgage, it may have a
26% chance of being hit by the 100-year flood, but the
odds are 96% (nearly guaranteed) that it will be hit by a
10-year flood. Compare those odds to the only 1-2%
chance that the house will catch fire during the same
30-year mortgage.
IDENTIFYING FLOODPRONE AREAS
The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 directed the Federal Insurance
Administration (FIA) to:
♦ Identify all floodprone areas within the United States.
♦ Establish flood-risk zones within floodprone areas.
Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Mitigation
Division is responsible for implementing this directive. FEMA has conducted
flood studies and produced various forms of maps. The flood studies analyze the
terrain and the factors that affect flood hazards. This information is used to draw
the maps that delineate floodplain boundaries.
The maps and flood studies also show projected flood elevations, flood
velocities, floodway dimensions, insurance rating zones, and descriptions of how
the study was conducted and how the maps were prepared. This information is
needed for flood insurance and floodplain management purposes.
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All of this information is referred to as a community’s Flood Insurance Study
(FIS), which is conducted under standards set by FEMA for the NFIP. FEMA has
prepared flood insurance studies for more than 19,000 communities.
In keeping with the directive of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968,
initial flood study and mapping efforts of the NFIP were focused on identifying
all floodprone areas within the United States. Flood data and floodplain
information from many sources — such as soils mapping, actual high water
profiles, aerial photographs of previous floods, topographic maps, etc. — were
used to overlay the approximate outline of the base (100-year) floodplain for
specific stream reaches on available community maps, usually U. S. Geological
Survey topographic quadrangle maps.
These documents were referred to as Flood Hazard Boundary Maps and were
based on approximate studies. Most communities used a Flood Hazard Boundary
Map when they first joined the NFIP.
As money was appropriated by Congress, FEMA performed more detailed
studies for many communities, resulting in the publication of Flood Insurance
Study reports and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). These studies provide
communities with data needed to adopt and implement more comprehensive
floodplain management measures and to enter the Regular Phase of the NFIP.
FISs, also referred to as detailed studies, were carried out for developed
communities and for those areas experiencing rapid growth. FISs contain
guidance on understanding the FIRM as well as information needed for new
construction allowed in developing and developed areas.
Today, almost every community in the NFIP has a FIRM, which may contain
approximate and/or detailed flood hazard analyses. The areas mapped with
approximate studies are areas where, originally, there was little or no
development or expectation of development. However, recent development may
have created a need for future detailed studies in these areas.
Flood maps are one of the most vital parts of a floodplain management
program, so it is important to understand how the maps were created and to be
familiar with the information that is available within the accompanying flood
study.
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Flood Insurance Study
When a flood study is completed for the NFIP, the information and maps are
assembled into a Flood Insurance Study (FIS). A FIS is a compilation and
presentation of flood risk data for specific watercourses, lakes, and coastal flood
hazard areas within a community.
The FIS report and associated maps delineate the SFHA, designate flood risk
zones and establish base flood elevations. They serve as the basis for rating flood
insurance and for regulating floodplain development and carrying out other
floodplain management measures.
The study has three components:
♦ The FIS — Flood Insurance Study report
♦ The FIRM — Flood Insurance Rate Map
♦ Prior to 1986, a separate Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM) was
issued as a component of the FIS for each community studied.
The FIS report includes:
♦ An appraisal of the community’s
problems in a narrative that describes:
flood
-- the purpose of the study,
-- historic floods,
-- the area and flooding sources studied, and
-- the engineering methods employed.
♦ A vicinity map of the community and,
occasionally, photographs of historic floods.
♦ Tables summarizing various flood hazard data.
♦ Computed flood profiles for various recurrence
probabilities, usually the 10-, 50-, 100-, and/or
500-year floods.
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Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas
Included in the reference guide materials are the FIS report and maps for
Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas. This fictitious community was
developed to illustrate examples of both riverine and coastal flood hazards.
This unit uses these documents for Flood County, USA and Incorporated
Areas:
♦ The FIS report, and
♦ The FIRM, accompanying Map Index, and panels 25, 38, and 40.
Flood County is subject to flooding from several flooding sources; however,
this unit concentrates on the following three sources:
♦ The Rocky River, which drains from the west, and flows through the
Town of Floodville to the Atlantic Ocean.
♦ Cobb Brook, which flows from the west to the Rocky River.
♦ The Atlantic Ocean.
As you look at Flood County, you may find that some street names do not
appear on the FIRM. This is because flood hazard maps are created to show
details related to identified floodplains. If your community flood maps lack street
names, use a supplementary street map to assist you in locating properties
accurately.
As you work through this unit, we recommend that you locate similar sections
in your community’s FIS and see how this information pertains to your situation.
The outline is similar for all FISs, so you should be able to locate the same tables
and exhibits in the table of contents.
Flood Studies and Maps
3-8
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B. RIVERINE STUDIES
Detailed flood studies are conducted differently for different types of
flooding, which are:
♦ Riverine flooding of rivers, streams or other waterways,
♦ Lacustrine flooding of lakes and ponds,
♦ Coastal flooding caused by hurricanes or severe storms, and
♦ Shallow flooding, ponding, and sheet flow.
As you recall from Unit 1, there are other types of flooding, such as alluvial
fans, ice jams, and mudflows. This unit does not cover how these areas are
studied because each situation is unique. If your community has these unique
hazards, Appendix C lists some reference materials that may be of assistance.
Riverine flooding occurs in rivers, streams, ditches or other waterways that
are subject to overbank flooding, flash floods, and urban drainage system
flooding. Riverine studies involve, among other factors, the collection and
analysis of information about the river’s watershed, the topography or the lay of
the land along the river, precipitation, and the characteristics of the river itself.
HYDROLOGY
In order to determine the depth of flood waters and to determine the size or
width of floodplains, engineers must first examine the watershed to determine the
amount of water that will reach a stream and be carried by the stream during a
flood event.
Hydrology, a science dealing with the distribution and circulation of water in
the atmosphere, on land surfaces, and underground, is used to determine flood
flow frequencies. The study of a watershed’s behavior during and after a
rainstorm is, therefore, hydrology. A hydrologic analysis determines the amount
of rainfall that will stay within a watershed — absorbed by the soil, trapped in
puddles, etc. — and the rate at which the remaining amount of rainfall will reach
the stream.
The rainfall that reaches the stream is called runoff. Increased runoff will, in
turn, increase flood discharge. Discharge is the amount of water flowing down a
stream channel. Discharges are measured in cubic feet per second or cfs. (A cubic
foot of water is about 7.5 gallons.) Data for this measurement is taken by stream
gauges at specified locations along a given stream also known as gaging stations.
Significant development or other changes in the watershed (both within a
community and any upstream communities) can significantly change the flood
discharges. Often, the increase in impervious areas associated with urbanization
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causes increase in stream discharges. In addition, new technical data such as new
regional equations, new design storms, and in some circumstance, increase in the
length of gage records, might significantly affect the base discharge estimation.
Runoff amounts and discharge rates vary depending on soil type, ground
slope, land use, and the presence of storm sewers. In general, more runoff occurs
on non-vegetated land, on paved and built-on urban land, and on steeper slopes.
Discharges are estimated by using rainfall and snowmelt data and historical
stream records or by using regional equations that represent such data. Computer
models allow engineers to incorporate numerous watershed characteristics into
the hydrologic analyses. Discharge rates also generally increase as the size of a
watershed increases.
Upon completion of the hydrologic analysis, engineers have flood discharges
for various size rainstorms that are measured at different points along a stream,
such as at the confluence with another stream and at the mouth of a tributary
stream.
CROSS SECTIONS
All detailed flood studies examine the areas through which floodwater will
flow. This requires a determination of ground elevations and obstructions to flow
(such as vegetation, buildings, bridges, and other development) for these areas.
Accurate data on the channel geometry and changes in the floodplain are obtained
from ground surveys, aerial photography, or topographic maps.
To locate the true elevations at a site, surveyors have established elevation
reference marks or bench marks that are referenced to a common vertical
elevation reference called a datum. The use of a datum ensures uniformity of
references to land elevations and avoids misinterpretation of flood elevations.
Established reference marks and bench marks with a recorded elevation allow
surveyors to describe the changes in the ground levels or stream characteristics as
elevations relative to the referenced datum. They are also used by surveyors to
determine the elevations of buildings that are at risk of flooding.
A cross section is a graphical depiction of the stream and the floodplain at a
particular point along the stream. It is taken at right angles to the flow of the
stream. At each cross section, the engineer has accurate information on the size
and geometry of the channel, the shape of the floodplain, and the changes in the
elevation of the ground. A typical surveyed cross section is shown in Figure 3-1.
Cross sections are taken of the floodplain at locations along the stream that are
representative of local conditions. Cross sections are taken at each bridge or other
major obstruction and at other locations, depending on how much the stream or
adjacent floodplain conditions change (Figure 3-2). The more changes there are in
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topography (perhaps steep riverbanks changing to large flat overbank areas), the
more cross sections are needed to define the floodplain accurately.
Figure 3-1: Surveyed cross section
About Datums and Elevations
During the 1920s, the U.S. government created a network of 21 tidal gages in the U.S.
and five in Canada to provide a fixed continental datum that would bring a consistent
relationship to all vertical elevation determinations in the U.S. This new datum was
known as the Mean Sea Level (MSL) Datum of 1929 and is the base elevation to which
all relief features and elevation data are referenced in the contiguous United States. In
1973, to avoid confusion in many communities that used a local mean sea level datum,
the name was changed to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929.
NGVD is also the datum of reference for the vast majority of FISs.
Most permanent elevation reference marks (or bench marks)
are referenced to the NGVD (see example). Reference marks
are not always brass caps; they can be chiseled squares or
other designated markers left by surveyors. The city or county
surveyor or engineer’s office should have a list of bench marks
in the community. An ultimate goal of the NFIP is to convert
all FISs to a newer standard called the North American
Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988. This latest standard will
eliminate inconsistencies caused when the NGVD is not
consistent at all 26 tidal stations.
When reporting elevations for structures, cross sections, or topographic mapping, it is
very important to note the datum to which the survey is referenced. Differences between
NAVD 88 and NGVD 29 vary by as much as –1.5 feet along the east coast of southern
Florida to + 4.9 feet in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Software for converting
between NAVD 88 and NGVD 29 is available from the National Geodetic Survey.
There are now 600,000 permanent benchmarks associated with the NAVD of 1988. See
Flood Insurance Study: Guidelines and Specifications for Study Contractors, FEMA-37
(1995), for further information.
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Figure 3-2: Typical cross section locations
The surveyors and engineers also estimate the roughness factor along the
floodplain to determine how fast floodwater will flow through the area.
Roughness factors are related to ground surface conditions, and they reflect
changes in floodwater velocity due to ground friction. For example, water will
flow faster over mowed grass and pavement than it will over an area covered in
bushes and trees, or planted in tall crops.
A portion of the collected survey information is used in the hydrologic
analysis, but the surveyed cross sections and other survey information are the
building blocks of the hydraulic analysis and mapping efforts.
HYDRAULICS
Hydraulics, a science that deals with fluids in motion, is used to determine
how a quantity of water will flow through a channel or floodplain. For purposes
of floodplain analysis, hydraulics is the study of floodwaters moving through the
stream and the floodplain. Hydraulic analysis combines:
♦ Flood hydrology, or discharges,
♦ The cross section data on how much area there is to carry the flood, and
♦ Stream characteristics — roughness, slope, locations and sizes of
structures.
The data are usually processed using a computer model, most commonly
HEC-2 or HEC-RAS, which were developed by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers’ Hydrologic Engineering Center.
Changes in hydraulic conditions of a stream usually occur when new bridges,
culverts and road crossings are constructed, and when there are changes in the
physical characteristics of the stream. If a bridge or culvert is not properly sized, it
can cause flood waters to back-up, which increases flood levels upstream.
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Although most bridge openings and culverts are designed to allow stream flows
associated with frequent storm events to pass without such backwater effects, they
may still cause increase in the base flood elevation. Therefore, any bridges,
culverts, or other road crossings that have been constructed since the analyses for
the effective FIS and FIRM were completed should be evaluated for their
potential effect on the base flood and the associated floodway. In addition, any
significant changes in the stream channel or floodplain geometry could affect the
floodplain and floodway. One should always ask the questions: 1) has any portion
of the floodplain been filled? 2) has the stream channel migrated or changed
location because of significant erosion and/or depositions? 3) have any portions of
the stream been channelized, widened, or dredged? 4) have there been significant
changes in the vegetation in the floodplain? Aerial photographs are useful tools in
evaluating changes in stream channels and floodplains.
The hydraulic study produces determinations of flood elevations, velocities,
and floodplain widths at each cross section for a range of flood flow frequencies
(Figure 3-3). These elevations are the primary source of data used by engineers to
map the floodplain.
Figure 3-3: Cross section with flood elevations
A FIS typically produces elevations for the 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year
floods. Water-Surface Elevations (WSEL) for the 10-, 50-, and 500-year floods
are typically used for other floodplain management purposes. For example, the
10-year flood data may be used for locating septic systems, the 50-year flood for
placing bridges and culverts, and the 500-year for siting critical facilities, such as
hospitals or emergency operation facilities.
FLOOD PROFILE
The hydraulic computer program generates potential flood elevations at each
cross section, but flood elevations at locations between the cross sections need to
be determined as well. This is done by plotting the elevations at the cross sections
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on a graph and connecting the plotted points. Such a graph is called a flood
profile.
Figure 3-4 shows a portion of the flood profile for the Rocky River. The entire
profile is found in the back of the Flood County FIS report.
The bottom of the graph (the horizontal axis or x-axis) shows the distance
along the stream, which is commonly called stationing. For stationing, you start at
the mouth of a stream (its point of discharge into a larger body of water) and look
upstream. Generally, when profiles are plotted, the slope of the streambed will
rise as you read the graph from left to right.
River distances are measured in either feet or miles (1mile=5280 feet), or
meters and kilometers (1 kilometer=1000 meters). For most profiles, the distance
is measured above the mouth of the stream or above its confluence (where it
meets with another stream). In the case of Flood County, the stream distances for
the Rocky River are measured above the County Boundary.
The left and right sides of the graph (the vertical axis or y-axis) show
elevations in feet (NGVD). The legend at the bottom right corner shows the
symbol for each flood profile plotted. Bridges are indicated with an “I” shaped
symbol. The bottom of the “I” represents the bridge’s low chord (lowest beam)
and the top of the “I” represents the top of the roadway or the top of a solid bridge
railing.
Additional information is provided on the profiles, such as corporate limits
and confluences of smaller streams. Profiles also provide a picture of stream
characteristics, such as steep sections of the streambed and where restrictive
bridge openings cause floodwaters to back up (see the footbridge in Figure 3-4).
By reading a profile, you can determine the flood elevation at any point along
the stream. Reading profiles is covered in Unit 4.
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Figure 3-4: Rocky River flood profile
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FLOODPLAIN MAP
The next step in the mapping process is to transfer the flood elevation data
onto a map showing ground elevation data. This is called a topographic map or
contour map because points with the same elevation are connected by a contour
line. The topographic or contour map is often referred to as the base map.
The most common topographic maps used are produced by the U.S.
Geological Survey. Some communities have prepared their own topographic maps
and provided them to FEMA during the study process to improve the accuracy of
their floodplain maps.
The base flood elevations from the cross sections and profiles are plotted on
the topographic map. Floodplain boundary lines are drawn connecting these
plotted points using the contour lines as a guide. The completed map illustrates
the SFHA (Figure 3-5).
Figure 3-5: The BFEs at the cross sections from the Rocky River profile are
used to plot the BFEs on the contour map.
Lines are connected to show the floodplain boundary on a map.
It is important to remember that floodplain map boundaries are only as
accurate as the topographic map on which they are drawn. Since the U.S.
Geological Survey topographic quadrangle maps have so small a scale, the SFHA
boundaries cannot be precisely mapped. This is important to remember when
determining if a building is in or out of the floodplain, and, therefore, the use of
other relevant measurements may be required and is recommended.
Correlating map features with ground features requires care, because maps do
not always represent exact conditions on the ground. Where there is an apparent
discrepancy between floodplain boundaries shown on a map and actual ground
conditions, as the local administrator, you can use elevation data to resolve the
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matter by locating the flood elevation on the ground via an elevation survey. This
elevation represents the actual extent of flooding for that particular flood.
Note: Banks, lending institutions and others who must read the FIRM to determine if flood
insurance is required must go by the map. They cannot make on-site interpretations
based on data other than the FIRM. However, they may recommend that the property
owner submit a request for a map revision or map amendment so the map can be
officially changed to reflect the more accurate data (see Unit 4, Section D).
FLOODWAY ANALYSIS
The final step in preparing most riverine flood studies is to produce the
floodway analysis, which identifies where encroachment by development will
increase flood elevations significantly and worsen flood conditions.
The floodway is the stream channel and that portion of the adjacent floodplain
that must remain open to permit passage of the base flood. Floodwaters generally
are deepest and swiftest in the floodway, and anything in this area is in the
greatest danger during a flood. FEMA has mapped designated floodways in more
than 8,000 communities.
The remainder of
the floodplain is called
the flood fringe
(Figure 3-6), where
water may be
shallower and slower.
The floodway and the
flood fringe together
comprise the base
floodplain or special
flood hazard area. On
the flood map these
areas will be
designated as Zone
A1-30 or AE. NFIP
minimum standards
provide that other
areas outside the
boundaries of the
floodway can be
developed without
further analysis.
Figure 3-6: Floodway cross section and map
Consequently, most
communities permit development in the flood fringe if the development is
elevated or otherwise protected to the base flood level (or any higher state or local
standards). Development in the floodway is allowed if it can be demonstrated that
no rise in the base flood elevation will occur. It is recommended, however, that
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floodway development be discouraged or even prohibited because of the
hazardous nature of this area.
A floodway analysis determines the boundaries of the floodway using these
floodplain management concepts:
♦ Continued development in the floodplain will likely further obstruct flood
flows, which will back water up or divert it to other properties.
♦ Properties on both sides of a river or stream should be treated equitably.
The degree of obstruction permitted now for one should be permitted in
the future for the other.
♦ Property owners should be allowed to develop their land, provided they do
not obstruct flood flows, cause damage or create a nuisance to others. (A
community may allow development in the flood fringe that cumulatively
increases the BFE, but NFIP regulations specify that such total increases
cannot exceed one foot at any point along the stream. Some states or
communities have more restrictive standards that must be met.)
A floodway analysis is done with a computer program that can make the
necessary calculations of the effects of further development. Beginning at both
edges of the floodplain, the computer model starts “filling” the floodplain. This
“squeezes” the floodwater toward the channel and causes the flood level to rise.
At the point where this process reaches a one foot rise, the floodway boundaries
are drawn (Figure 3-7).
Figure 3-7: Computer floodway analysis
The floodway boundaries at each cross section are transferred to the
topographic or contour map that shows the SFHA boundaries. The plotted points
are connected to show the floodway and flood fringe on the floodplain map.
Not every cross section will show an exact one-foot rise. Topographic
conditions and the need to “smooth out” the floodway line will result in some
cross sections having increases of less than one foot.
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Allowing flood heights to rise up to one foot is a compromise standard.
Prohibiting any rise in flood heights would prohibit most types of new
development or redevelopment. On the other hand, allowing development to
cause significant increases in flood heights can cause great problems for others.
States and communities may use a more restrictive standard for delineating a
floodway. Some may allow only a 0.5-foot or 0.1-foot rise in the base flood
elevation in the floodway analysis. This results in wider floodways and less area
in the flood fringe.
A floodway analysis should be prepared with close coordination between the
modeling engineer and those who are responsible for community planning and
floodplain management.
The number of possible floodway configurations is almost limitless.
Therefore, in choosing a regulatory configuration, the interests of individual
property owners and the community as a whole must be weighed.
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C. COASTAL FLOOD STUDIES
Coastal flood studies are conducted for communities along the Atlantic and
Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes, and the Caribbean Sea.
Coastal studies are used to establish a base flood and an SFHA, but they may also
designate a coastal high hazard area (V Zone).
Note that coastal communities, particularly counties, may also have riverine
floodplains with designated floodways.
STORM SURGE
Most coastal floods are caused by coastal storms, usually hurricanes and
northeasters. Such storms bring air pressure changes and strong winds that “pile”
water up against the shore in what is called a storm surge.
A computer simulation of a coastal storm is developed based on data from
past storms. Such data include wind speeds, wind direction, and air pressure from
historical hurricanes and northeasters. The resulting surge elevations are then
calibrated using historical information so the probabilities for each event can be
determined.
The coastal storm surge computer program produces stillwater flood
elevations — the elevations of various coastal floods, not including waves. The
computer model is calibrated by reproducing the observed historical stillwater
elevations. The program determines the stillwater elevation from these historical
data.
WAVES
In addition to storm surge, wave action is an important aspect of coastal
storms. Wind-driven waves produce velocities and impacts that may cause
significant structural damage. The coastal flood study analyzes how high the wave
crest elevation will be above the stillwater elevation as water is driven onshore.
When waves hit the shore, water is moving with such force that it keeps
traveling inland. This is called wave runup, when land areas that are higher than
the stillwater elevation are flooded (Figure 3-8). Wave setup is defined as the
additional elevation of the water surface over normal surge elevation caused by
onshore mass transport of the water by wave action. Wave set-up is a function of
deepwater wave height and duration.
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Mean
Figure 3-8: Wave runup
HYDRAULIC ANALYSIS
As with riverine studies, a coastal hydraulic analysis determines where
moving water goes. Using similar surveying techniques as in a riverine study, the
coastal flood engineer surveys transects instead of cross sections.
A transect shows the elevation of the ground both onshore and offshore. The
ground elevation data are used by computer programs to determine the expected
height of the wave crests and runup above the storm surge.
A transect schematic is shown in Figure 3-9. A transect location map appears
on page 11 of Flood County’s FIS report. This map shows where the transects
were measured.
Figure 3-9. Transect schematic
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Underwater topography, called bathymetry, and the shapes and locations of
coastal islands, headlands, estuaries, harbors, and other coastal features are also
taken into consideration in determining flood elevations.
The official BFE is the stillwater elevation plus wave runup, or the wave crest
elevation, whichever is greater. The resulting BFE can be many feet higher than
the stillwater elevation.
Obstructions such as dunes or buildings break the waves, dissipating wave
energy so that wave height and BFEs are reduced as you go inland. Figure 3-9
shows that as water moves inland, the waves break and the base flood elevation
(including wave effects) is reduced while the stillwater elevation stays the same.
COASTAL HIGH HAZARD AREA
Waves pack a lot of power. Much more destructive than standing or slowmoving water, their power increases dramatically with their height. For the
purposes of the NFIP, the flood study identifies the coastal high hazard area as
that most hazardous part of the coastal floodplain, due to its exposure to wave
effects. This is typically the area between the shoreline and the most landward of
the following points:
♦ where the computed wave heights for the base flood are three feet or more,
♦ the inland limit of the primary frontal dune, or
♦ where the eroded ground profile is three feet below the computed runup
elevation.
The three-foot wave height threshold was selected because a three-foot wave
generally carries enough energy to break a wall panel away from a floor to which
it has been nailed.
These areas are designated as V Zones, where the “V” stands for “velocity
wave action.” V Zones are subject to more stringent regulatory requirements and
a different flood insurance rate structure because they are exposed to an increased
degree of risk. Coastal flood areas not within the coastal high hazard area are
mapped as A Zones (see Figure 3-9).
COASTAL FLOODPLAIN MAP
After gathering stillwater elevation and wave height data at the transects, the
coastal flood engineer then transfers the elevation data to the best available
topographic map. Flood elevations between transects are interpolated, taking local
topography into consideration.
Flood County FIRM number 99009C, Panel 0040 D, shows a coastal
floodplain for the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Note that south of Flower Street, the
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V Zone boundaries meander along the shoreline, and the BFEs decrease over a
relatively wide space from 14 feet to 12 feet (above NGVD, or roughly sea level).
Landward of the Zone VE (EL 12) boundary, the zones change to Zone AE, with
BFEs decreasing from 11 feet to 10 feet NGVD. These wider flood zones are
typical of gradually varying topography on barrier island beaches or marshland.
In contrast, the V Zone boundaries between Flower Street and Public Way are
narrower and roughly parallel to the shoreline, with BFEs decreasing rapidly from
14 feet to 13 feet NGVD. Note also that the area directly landward of the Zone
VE (EL 13) is designated Zone AO (Depth 2’), signifying shallow flooding of 2
feet NGVD or less. This situation often occurs when a substantial dune line or
flood protection structure exists along the shoreline.
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D. SHALLOW FLOODING STUDIES
For the NFIP, shallow flooding is defined as flooding with an average depth
of one to three feet in areas where a clearly defined channel does not exist.
Shallow flooding can exist in any of the following situations:
♦ Ponding: In flat areas, water collects or “ponds” in depressions.
♦ Sheet flow: In steeper areas where there are no defined channels or on flat
plains, water will spread out over the land surface.
♦ Urban drainage: Local drainage problems can be caused where runoff
collects in yards or swales or when storm sewers back up.
♦ Coastal flooding: Wave runup will send water inland over flat areas or
over dunes. Often it may collect or pond behind an obstruction which
keeps it from draining back into the ocean.
For the purposes of the NFIP, shallow flooding is distinguishable from
riverine or coastal flooding because it occurs in areas where there is no channel or
identifiable flow path.
Shallow flooding is mapped based on historic flood experiences and a study of
the topography. In some areas, the techniques used for riverine studies are used.
The result will either be a BFE or a base flood depth (in feet above the ground). A
shallow flooding study usually produces data for the base flood, but not for the
10-year or other floods.
On Flood County’s FIRM, there is a small area upstream of Argyle Way, on
Panel 0038, that is shown as “Zone AO (Depth 2’),” indicating that the base flood
depth is two feet above the ground. Therefore, it is a sheet flow area. Sheet flow
areas (which usually have depths established) are AO Zones, and ponding areas
(which have BFEs established) are usually designated AH Zones on a FIRM.
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E. APPROXIMATE STUDIES
Detailed studies are expensive — a riverine study typically costs $5,000 to
$10,000 per mile of stream that is to be mapped — so it is not cost effective to
perform a detailed study in watersheds where there is little or no development and
none is anticipated, such as in rural areas.
Therefore, some NFIP maps show floodplains that were mapped using
approximate study methods. Flood data and floodplain information from a variety
of sources — such as soils mapping, actual high water profiles, aerial photographs
of previous floods, and topographic maps — were used to overlay the
approximate outline of the base floodplain for specific stream reaches on
available community maps, usually U.S. Geological Survey topographic
quadrangle maps.
In addition, many flooding sources have been studied by other Federal, State,
or local agencies. Some of these studies do not meet the NFIP standards for a FIS,
but often contain valuable flood hazard information, which may be incorporated
into the NFIP maps as approximate studies. Those types of studies typically cover
developed or developing areas. They often contain flood elevation profiles that
can be used as “best available data” for floodplain management purposes.
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F. NFIP MAPS
This section will explain how flood hazards and flood insurance zones are
depicted on NFIP maps. The Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas maps
will be referenced wherever possible. As this information is presented, look for
similar types of maps or map features on your community’s maps.
Maps published with an FIS are:
♦ The Flood Insurance Rate Map (the FIRM), which is published in an old
format in studies prepared before 1986 and a new format in studies
prepared after 1986.
♦ The Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (the FBFM or Floodway Map),
which was included in studies prepared before 1986.
♦ Again, since 1986, the Flood Boundary and Floodway Map information
has been incorporated into the Flood Insurance Rate Map.
The maps allow you to identify SFHAs, determine the location of a specific
property in relation to the SFHA, determine the BFE at a specific site, locate
regulatory floodways, and identify undeveloped coastal barriers where flood
insurance is not available.
The flood maps, particularly the FIRMs, come in many formats because of the
mapping of additional hazards, the need for more regional flood maps, and the
increased use of computer generated maps. Several general features are included
on all maps.
Originally, the FIRMs were designed for use by insurance agents and lenders.
The Floodway Maps were created for use by local floodplain managers and
administrators. For all studies conducted since 1986, the FIRM contains both the
flood insurance rate zones and floodways.
GENERAL MAP FEATURES
Flood maps are either flat or Z-fold. Flat maps are on 11-inch-by-17-inch
“ledger” size paper. Z-fold maps are on larger pages and get their name from the
way they are folded. The current flood maps for most communities are now Zfold.
Your packet includes the FIRM panels for Flood County, USA and
Incorporated Areas, which are Z-fold maps.
All flood maps are prepared with general features or elements that may
include an index, a legend (or key to map), a title block, community name and
number information, panel or map number information, an arrow pointing north
on the map, and effective date or revision date information.
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Many communities, especially counties, are geographically too large to fit on
one map or panel at a usable scale. Maps for these communities are divided into
two or more panels with unique panel numbers. Whenever a community requires
more than one panel, a Map Index for both the FIRM and Floodway Map is
prepared.
In this section, we will discuss the Map Index, elevation reference marks, and
map scales and direction. Other map features will be presented as we discuss
FIRMs and Floodway Maps.
MAP INDEX
The Map Index shows the community’s boundaries, highlighting prominent
features such as major highways, railroads, and streams. The map index shows
how the community is displayed on the various panels.
Flood County’s Map Index shows that the county’s FIRM has three panels,
0025, 0038, and 0040. In cases where panels have no identified flood hazard areas
(or no floodways on a Floodway Map), they are not printed. Note that panel
0030 D was not printed, as is indicated on the index by an asterisk (*).
The number of panels that have been printed for a particular community
appears in the title block (“Panels Printed: 25, 38, 40).
Title block
The title block is the lower right portion of the opened map for both the Map
Index and the FIRM panels. The FIRM panel title block includes:
♦ the community’s name -- Flood County, USA and Incorporated Areas,
♦ the six-digit community identification number or map number -- 99009C,
♦ the panel number, such as “0025,” “0038,” or “0040,”
♦ a map panel suffix – “D,” which indicates the number of revisions that
have been made (e.g., “D” is the fourth publishing of that panel), and
♦ a map effective or revision date – “August 19, 1998.”
Map revision date
The date in the title block shows the map’s most recent revision. As changes
occur within a community that results in a change in flood elevations or
floodplain delineations, FEMA republishes only the Map Index and the changed
map panels. Any revised panels are given a new map revision date and a new
suffix letter.
Once the panels are issued to the community, the date on the panel is referred
to as the effective date. Some communities have map panels with different
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effective dates. The Map Index lists the current effective date for the most
recently revised panel of a FIRM or of the FIRM itself, if all panels were revised.
With each revision comes a new panel suffix. Note that Flood County’s panels
were last revised in 1998 and have the suffix “D.”
Map scales and north direction
Different scales may be used for a single community with more than one
panel. As an example, the map scale on the Flood County FIRM Panel 0038 is 1
inch = 500 feet (one inch equals 500 feet), and the scale of panel 40 is 1 inch =
1,000 feet.
Different scales are used on FIRM and
Floodway Maps, depending on the size of the
mapped area for a community and the base map
that is used.
An arrow pointing north is shown on all maps, including the map index. For
FIRMs and Floodway Maps, the north direction arrow is located near the map
scale. The north direction on the maps may be “turned” to maximize the mapped
area that can be shown on a panel and to minimize the number of panels. To
ensure correct orientation and accurate use of the FIRM, it is very important to
pay attention to the direction of the north arrow on the panel.
Elevation reference marks
Elevation reference marks are located on FIRMs and Floodway Maps. For
these two types of maps, locations are identified with a small “x” and the
designation “ERM” or “RM” simply followed by a reference mark number. For
the newer Digital FIRMs (DFIRMs), locations are identified with a small “x” and
the designation “ERM” or “RM” followed by the panel number and the number of
the reference mark. Descriptions of the marks,
including their elevations, appear either on
FIRM panels, on Floodway Maps, or in the
FIS text. Note that some ERM and RM
descriptions may appear on a different map
panel than the mark itself due to space
limitations.
ERMs and RMs are important sites. They provide a ground elevation
reference for surveyors to start from when they determine the elevation of a
building, a cross, section, or topography for a site. Occasionally, an ERM cannot
be found as described on the FIRM or Floodway Map because new construction
or some other change in the area has obliterated the monument. In these instances,
the next closest ERM may be used. Alternatively, USGS, USC&GS, or NGS
bench marks, which are marked on most USGS 7.5 minute series topographic
maps, may be used.
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FIRM Zones
FIRMs show different floodplains with different zone designations. These are
primarily for insurance rating purposes, but the zone differentiation can be very
helpful for other floodplain management purposes. The more common zones are
listed in Figure 3-10.
Zone A
Zone V and
VE
The 100-year or base floodplain. There are six types of A Zones:
A
The base floodplain mapped by approximate methods, i.e., BFEs are
not determined. This is often called an unnumbered A Zone or an
approximate A Zone.
A1-30
These are known as numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14). This is the
base floodplain where the FIRM shows a BFE (old format).
AE
The base floodplain where base flood elevations are provided. AE
Zones are now used on new format FIRMs instead of A1-A30 Zones.
AO
The base floodplain with sheet flow, ponding, or shallow flooding.
Base flood depths (feet above ground) are provided.
AH
Shallow flooding base floodplain. BFEs are provided.
A99
Area to be protected from base flood by levees or Federal Flood
Protection Systems under construction. BFEs are not determined.
AR
The base floodplain that results from the decertification of a
previously accredited flood protection system that is in the process of
being restored to provide a 100-year or greater level of flood
protection.
V
The coastal area subject to a velocity hazard (wave action) where
BFEs are not determined on the FIRM.
VE
The coastal area subject to a velocity hazard (wave action) where
BFEs are provided on the FIRM.
Zone B and
Zone X
(shaded)
Area of moderate flood hazard, usually the area between the limits of the 100year and 500-year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base floodplains
of lesser hazards, such as areas protected by levees from the 100-year flood, or
shallow flooding areas with average depths of less than one foot or drainage
areas less than 1 square mile.
Zone C and
Zone X
(unshaded)
Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on FIRMs as above the 500year flood level. Zone C may have ponding and local drainage problems that
don’t warrant a detailed study or designation as base floodplain. Zone X is the
area determined to be outside the 500-year flood and protected by levee from
100-year flood.
Zone D
Area of undetermined but possible flood hazards.
Figure 3-10: Flood Insurance Rate Map Zones
Note that the special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) includes only A and V Zones.
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FLOOD HAZARD BOUNDARY MAP (FHBM)
FHBMs (Figure 3-18) were initially prepared to provide flood maps to many
communities in a short period of time. They were made in the 1970s and early
1980s without benefit of detailed studies or hydraulic analyses for nearly all
floodprone communities in the nation (over 21,000). They were intended for
interim use in most communities until more detailed studies could be carried out.
FHBMs are still being used where detailed Flood Insurance Studies have not
been prepared or cannot be justified. They are to be used for floodplain
management, in conjunction with other local studies and other available data.
On the FHBM, the SFHA is designated as a shaded area labeled “Zone A,”
and no base flood elevations are given (see Figure 3-18).
Figure 3-18: Flood Hazard Boundary Map
In some cases, FEMA simply converted the FHBM to a FIRM by issuing a
letter to the community stating that the FHBM shall be considered a FIRM. In
those cases, the community was instructed to line out FHBM on the map’s title
box and write in FIRM.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM) — OLD FORMAT
(PRE 1986)
The FIRM is used to generally determine:
♦ Whether a property is in the floodplain.
♦ The flood insurance zone that applies to the property.
♦ The approximate base flood elevation (BFE) at the site.
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Date: Several dates may be listed in the FIRM legend, including:
♦ Initial Identification — date of the first Flood Hazard Boundary Map
(FHBM).
♦ Any dates of revisions to the FHBM that have occurred since the initial
identification.
♦ Flood Insurance Rate Map Effective — the date of the initial or first
FIRM. This is the date used to determine whether a building is “preFIRM” or “post-FIRM.”
♦ Flood Insurance Rate Map Revisions — dates of subsequent revisions to
the FIRM.
The FIRM also will show:
Base (100-year) floodplain or SFHA: Designated by the dark-shaded areas
(Insurance Zones A, A1–A30, A99, AO, AH, AR, V, V1–V30).
500-year floodplain:
Zone B).
Designated by the lighter-shaded areas (Insurance
Base Flood Elevation (BFE): The water surface elevation of the base flood
at that point of the stream is denoted in whole numbers by wavy lines running
across the floodplain. Coastal Zones within the area of 100-year tidal flooding, as
well as some AH Zones, may have BFE lines, and some lake AE Zones have the
base flood elevation noted in parentheses beneath the zone designations.
Zone break line (Gutter line): The thin white line separates flood insurance
rate zones within the 100-year floodplain.
Approximate floodplain areas: The 100-year floodplain areas are delineated
using approximate methods. No BFEs are shown in approximate floodplain areas;
these areas are classified as (unnumbered) A Zones.
An example of an approximate floodplain may be found in the upper left
corner of Flood County FIRM Panel 0040, on Rocky River. The detailed study
does not extend upstream of cross section K. Note that there are no cross sections
or BFEs shown in this A Zone, which extends onto Panel 0025.
FLOOD BOUNDARY AND FLOODWAY MAP (FLOODWAY
MAP) – OLD FORMAT (PRE 1986)
The Flood Boundary and Floodway Map is also known as the FBFM or,
simply, the Floodway Map. The Floodway Map shows how the floodplain is
divided into the floodway and flood fringe where streams are studied in detail.
They also show general floodplain areas where floodplains have been studied by
approximate methods.
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Floodway Maps have these features:
Title block: Includes the community name, county name, panel number,
community number, and the map date. The panel numbers may be different from
the FIRM panel numbers.
Map scale: The Floodway Map may have the same or a different scale than
the FIRM for the same community.
Cross section line: These lines represent the location of some of the
surveyed cross sections used in the computer model of the stream for calculating
100-year flood elevations. These cross sections can be used to relate a specific
point on the Floodway Map to the flood profile and floodway data table.
Floodway: The 100-year floodplain has been divided into two areas, the
floodway and the flood fringe. The white area adjacent to and including the
channel is the floodway. The shaded
area is the fringe.
One problem with this method of
delineating floodways is that
sometimes people confuse the white
floodway with the white area
representing land that is free from
flooding.
Also,
because
the
floodway is mapped separately,
often property owners, lenders, real
estate agents, and others do not have
easy access to the Floodway Maps
and do not know of the severe flood
hazard associated with the floodway.
FISs published since 1986 have corrected this problem — they do not have
separate FIRM and Floodway Maps. Floodways are delineated on the newer
FIRMs as a diagonally hatched area (see Figures 3-11 and 3-12).
Note that no BFEs or flood zone names are shown on the Floodway Map.
The floodway is usually wider in flatter, wider floodplains and narrower in
steeper areas where floodplains are narrower.
If a map panel area does not include any detailed study streams or floodways,
a Floodway Map will not be printed; only a FIRM panel will be printed. Because
coastal studies do not have floodways, all of the data needed are shown in the FIS
report and on the FIRM.
Flood fringe: The fringe is shown as a shaded area outside of the floodway
but still within the 100-year floodplain. The flood fringe and the floodway
together comprise the special flood hazard area.
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500-year floodplain: More lightly shaded areas adjacent to, but outside of,
the 100-year floodplain delineate the 500-year floodplain for streams studied in
detail.
Approximate floodplain areas:
The 100-year floodplain areas are
determined using approximate methods. The boundaries of the approximate
floodplain on the Floodway Map are shown as dashed lines.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP — NEW FORMAT (SINCE
1986)
Flood maps have been redesigned over the years since the first FISs were
prepared in the late 1960s, making them easier to use. A new format for FIRMs
was introduced in 1986 that includes:
♦ Floodways and other floodplain management information, such as cross
sections, that were previously provided on separate Flood Boundary and
Floodway Maps (Floodway Maps). (Except in a few instances, Floodway
Maps are no longer being prepared.)
♦ Simplified flood insurance zone designations. The previous Zones A1-A30
and V1-V30 were replaced by the designations AE and VE; Zones B and C
were replaced by Zone X. The 500-year floodplain is still shown as “shaded”
portions of Zone X.
Figure 3-11 shows the legend for the new FIRM format. Figure 3-12 is an
example of a new format FIRM with a floodway. With these changes, the FIRMs
are more easily used by community officials for floodplain management, by
lenders to determine the need for flood insurance, by insurance agents to rate
policy applications, and by land surveyors, engineers, property owners and others
to determine flood hazards in a given location. The Flood County, USA and
Incorporated Areas map uses the newer format.
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Figure 3-11: New format FIRM legend
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Figure 3-12: Floodway in new FIRM format
PARTIAL MAP INITIATIVES FIRM
In some cases, it is more cost efficient for FEMA to update and print only a
portion of the total FIRM and FBFM panels for a community in the new format.
This is referred to as Partial Map Initiatives FIRM. Here, instead of printing the
entire set of separate FIRM and FBFM panels for the community, only those
panels affected by the revision elements are combined into the new format FIRM
panel. To clarify this for the community, the FBFM index would show that those
FBFM panels were no longer printed and that the floodway mapping information
would appear on the new format FIRM showing that same area. The FIS report
would also indicate on the Notice to User Page the combination of FIRM and
FBFM panels and the differentiation between the old and new format zone
labeling.
FIRMS WITH COASTAL AND LAKE FLOODPLAINS
Coastal FIRMs
Coastal areas include the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf
of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, and inlets subject to tides. They also include
the shorelines of the Great Lakes.
Coastal high hazard areas subject to flooding and wave action of three feet or
more are designated as V Zones. The number in parentheses after or below the V
Zone designation is the BFE. There are several V Zones on Panel 0040 of Flood
County FIRM.
Coastal Barrier Resources System
Undeveloped portions of coastal barrier islands and similar land forms in the
Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS) — such as coastal mainland along the
shore of the Great Lakes, along bays, inlets, or estuaries — have been identified
and included on applicable map panels. They are called CBRA areas, established
by the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 and the Coastal Barrier
Improvement Act of 1990.
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The Acts provide protection to CBRA areas by prohibiting most expenditures
of federal funds including the provision of flood insurance for new and
substantially improved buildings in the mapped area. The restrictions are covered
in more detail in Unit 9, Section D.
The designations for these undeveloped coastal barriers depend on when they
were designated by the acts; therefore, not all CBRA areas have the same date of
designation. Examples of the three different screens used on the FIRM are shown
in the legend for Flood County FIRM Panel 0040. The prohibition date is
indicated for each CBRA zone on the FIRM. It should be noted that although
FEMA shows CBRA areas on its FIRMs, only Congress can authorize a revision
to their boundaries.
Flood County has an extensive CBRA area, which appears on FIRM Panels
0038 and 0040. Note that the designation and delineation of CBRS units are not
directly related to the floodplain.
Lakes
Most lakes have a BFE, shown in parentheses below the flood zone that has
been rounded off to the nearest whole number (see Figure 3-13). The actual BFE,
to the nearest tenth of a foot, can be obtained from the FIS report. However, many
long lakes, especially reservoirs, have a higher BFE at the upstream end than at
the outfall. These types of lakes and reservoirs have BFEs shown with wavy lines,
the same as riverine BFEs. They also appear on the stream profiles in the FIS
report.
Figure 3-13: FIRM with lake floodplain
Where studies have been carried out for lakes and reservoirs, information on
BFEs is contained in Section 3.0 of the FIS report. A Summary of Stillwater
Elevations table is provided in the FIS report (Figure 3-14). Note that the actual
BFEs to the nearest one-tenth of a foot appear in the table, but the BFE on the
FIRM is shown in parentheses rounded to the nearest whole number. For the most
accurate BFE, use the “100-year flood elevation” from the table, not the FIRM.
For a shortcut method, you can add 0.4 foot to the elevation shown on the FIRM.
This will get you an elevation at least as high as the number shown in the table.
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FLOODING SOURCE
AND LOCATION
STONE LAKE
Entire shoreline within Flood
County
ELEVATION (ft. NGVD)
10-YEAR
7.0
50-YEAR
100-YEAR
500-YEAR
9.0
10.2
12.8
Figure 3-14: Summary of stillwater elevations for a lake
SHALLOW FLOODING FIRMS
Under the NFIP, ponding or sheet flow constitutes shallow flooding, which is
mapped based on historic flood experiences and study of the topography.
An example of a shallow flooding area is on the Flood County FIRM, panel
0038, upstream of Argyle Way, in an area marked “Zone AO (Depth 2’).” Also,
Panel 0040 shows an area where wave runup overtops and ponds behind a
seawall, berm, or other feature that keeps the water from flowing back to the
ocean.
We don’t know how high the base flood is in relation to sea level in Flood
County “Zone AO (Depth 2’).” However, we do know that the base flood should
be no deeper than two feet above the ground.
FIRMS WITH FLOOD PROTECTION PROJECTS
Some FIRMs may show areas protected from flooding by the 100-year flood
because of the presence of a levee, concrete dike, floodwall, seawall, or other
structure. These areas are usually designated as shaded Zone X and marked with
the following note:
♦ This area protected from the 100-year flood from (Flooding Source Name)
by LEVEE, DIKE, or other structure subject to failure or overtopping
during larger floods.
♦ This is an indication that the flood protection structure has either been
evaluated and found to meet all of the NFIP requirements for flood control
structures, or has been certified by a Federal agency with levee design
responsibility as having been adequately designed and constructed to
provide protection from the 100-year flood.
♦ Floodways will be delineated at the landside toe of a levee that is
recognized as providing 100-year flood protection.
♦ A levee that provides a lower level of protection, and that is not certified
or does not meet the requirements for levees, may be shown on the FIRM,
and flood elevations are computed as if the levee did not exist.
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COUNTYWIDE FIRMS
The Flood County FIS report and FIRM covers the unincorporated areas of
Flood County and all incorporated areas within Flood County. Therefore, it is
referred to as a countywide FIRM. Countywide FIRMs show flood hazard
information for all geographic areas of the county, including other jurisdictions
such as villages, towns, and cities.
Previously, FHBM, FIRM and FBFM maps were prepared separately for each
jurisdiction. County FIRMs, for example, showed the flood hazards identified
only in the unincorporated areas of the county and did not show any flood
information inside the corporate limits of a municipality. In countywide mapping,
once the countywide map is produced, all of the identified flood hazard areas
within the boundaries of the county are shown on one set of maps along with all
floodway information maps (see section titled Flood Insurance Rate Map—New
Format).
The countywide FIRM format has a number of advantages, and one in
particular is that the user can see the relationship and simultaneous effect of each
floodplain on a number of communities. In addition, FIRMs do not need to be
updated when municipal boundaries change. Although boundaries might change,
communities will continue to find the flood hazard information they need on the
same countywide FIRM.
Figure 3-15 shows the title block of a countywide FIRM panel. The title block
lists the communities mapped on that panel and their six-digit NFIP community
ID numbers. The FIRM panel has a map number with five digits consisting of the
NFIP-assigned state number as the first two digits and the NFIP-assigned county
number as the next three digits followed by the letter “C,” which stands for
“countywide,” and then the four digit panel number and suffix. Do not confuse
the map panel number with the community number.
All previous map dates for each floodprone community in a countywide FIS
are located on the community map history Table (Figure ).The initial FIRM date
for each community is shown on the FIRM index. These are the “post-FIRM”
dates for insurance rating. Don’t confuse them with the effective date of the latest
FIRM panel, which is shown in the title block.
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Figure 3-15: Title block of countywide FIRM panel
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DIGITAL FIRMS
The conversion of FIRMs to a digital format has many benefits. For example,
they can be revised and updated easily with just a few keystrokes, and they can be
incorporated in the community’s mapping system and tied in with other
geographic information systems, such as the zoning map.
Users must bear in mind that the simple conversion of FIRMs to a digital
format does not inherently improve the engineering quality of the product. Many
of the same difficulties with interpretation of flood risk data — and the
requirement that users apply sound judgment in methods selected for decision
making and map interpretation — remain unchanged.
FEMA charges a fee for all digital FIRM data products. Any questions
regarding these products may be directed to:
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Map Service Center
P.O. Box 1038
Jessup, Maryland 20794-1038
Phone: 800/358-9616
Fax: 800/358-9620
Internet: http://www.fema.gov
Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM)
The FIRM for Flood County, USA and
Incorporated Areas is actually a Digital
Flood Insurance Rate Map, or DFIRM. This
is because it is a more recent publication,
created with new digital methods; however,
whether the maps are new DFIRMs or
conventional FIRMs, they are still generally
referred to as FIRMs. The DFIRM is
comprised of all digital data required to
create the hardcopy FIRM. These data
include base map information, graphics, text,
shading, and other geographic and graphic
data. An example of a hardcopy paper
DFIRM is shown in Figure 3-16.
Figure 3-16: Hardcopy DFIRM
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The majority of DFIRMs are produced in a countywide format, where all
flood hazards for the county and incorporated communities are shown on one set
of maps. It can be used for floodplain management purposes in a manner similar
to other flood maps, but it can also be combined with other digital map
information to create new information for planning purposes. DFIRMs are also
produced for single jurisdictions when producing a countywide map would not be
cost effective.
Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map – Digital Line Graph
The Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map - Digital Line Graph (DFIRM-DLG) is
intended to be the primary means of transferring flood-risk data depicted on
FIRMs to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GISs are computer-based map
systems that allow the user to keep a map updated easily and to correlate
geographic information with other data, such as tax records on properties.
The Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map - Digital Line Graph (DFIRM-DLG) is
a database created by extracting certain flood risk data from the DFIRM. The
DFIRM-DLG does not include base map information, nor does it include graphic
data required to create a hardcopy FIRM.
Communities whose digital base mapping files were used as the base map for
the DFIRM will find that they may easily use the DFIRM-DLG files for determination of flood zones and for enforcement of regulations. A graphic image of a
DFIRM-DLG is shown in
Figure 3-17.
The digital data captured
from the hardcopy DFIRM
consists
of
FEMA
hydrography (location of water
bodies), flood hazard zones,
BFEs, cross-section locations,
and elevation reference marks.
All lines and area features
in DLG files are encoded with
one or more seven-digit
attribute codes that provide the
user with detailed information
about the features. FEMA
intends to make the DFIRMDLG available on CD-ROM
compatible with Insurance
Services Office (ISO) 9660
standards.
Flood Studies and Maps
Figure 3-17: Graphic image of a
DFIRM-DLG
3-41
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With many commercially available GIS software packages, DLG data can be
directly converted into vector data usable within the GIS environment. Thirdparty conversion software is also available that will convert DLG data to other
proprietary GIS formats.
The DFIRM-DLG, when coupled with digital base map files or the local
community digital base, can be used in a GIS to determine whether a structure is
located within an SFHA. It should be noted that if a GIS is used to determine that
a structure is within or near an SFHA, and a different base map source was used
to generate the hardcopy DFIRM, the determination should be confirmed by
referencing the printed hardcopy DFIRM.
Q3 Flood Data
In the Q3 Flood Data Product, FEMA has developed a graphical
representation of certain features of the FIRM. The Q3 Flood Data are in three
formats that are usable with desktop mapping and GIS software packages. These
formats are:
♦ Digital Line Graph
♦ ARC/INFO
♦ MapInfo
Q3 Flood Data are created by digitally capturing certain key features from the
current effective paper FIRMs. These features are converted into area features in
one countywide data layer. The following vectorized (lines and areas) data
features are included:
♦ SFHA and 500-year floodplain,
♦ Flood insurance zone designations,
♦ Floodway boundaries (if available),
♦ COBRA zones,
♦ Political boundaries,
♦ Community/map panel identification numbers,
♦ Boundaries between FIRM panels, and
♦ U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 minute (1:24,000 scale) quadrangle neatlines.
Several features are not included. They are:
♦ Hydrographic features,
♦ Base flood elevations,
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♦ Cross section lines,
♦ Roads, road names or address ranges, and
♦ Elevation reference mark locations and elevations.
Q3s were developed to support insurance-related activities and are designed to
provide guidance and a general proximity of the location of SFHAs. Q3s do not
replace paper FIRMs as the legal document.
The data are not suitable for applications such as detailed site design and
development plans or flood risk determinations. They cannot be used to determine
absolute delineations of floodplain boundaries, but instead should be seen as
portraying zones of uncertainty and possible risks associated with flooding.
Q3 Flood Data incorporate map revisions and letters of map revision and
amendment. However, they do not correct for edge-matching errors, overlaps,
etc., that were in the original paper FIRMs.
FEMA has produced Q3s for almost 900 counties nationwide. They are
organized by county and contain data from all existing paper FIRM panels for the
incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county.
Q3 Flood Data are available on CD-ROM from the FEMA Map Service
Center. You can access the list of Q3 counties on the Internet and download
sample data, data standards, and other Q3 information (http://www.fema.gov).
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UNIT 4:
USING NFIP STUDIES AND MAPS
In this unit
This unit covers how to use the materials introduced in Unit 3:
♦ How to find and use the data provided in a Flood Insurance Study
♦ How to find a site on a flood map
♦ How to obtain flood elevations from a profile
♦ How to keep the maps and data up-to-date over the years
Materials needed for this Unit
♦ Flood Insurance Study, Flood County, USA, and Incorporated Areas
♦ Flood Insurance Rate Map, Flood County, USA, and Incorporated
Areas
♦ Engineer’s scale
♦ Additional information can be found in Answers
to Questions About the National Flood Insurance
Program, questions 81 – 95.
Using NFIP Studies and Maps
4-1
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Contents
A. Using FIS Reports....................................................................................................... 4-3
FIS Report Contents............................................................................................. 4-3
Using Flood Data and Tables............................................................................... 4-4
Flood discharges ...................................................................................... 4-4
Floodway Data Table............................................................................... 4-5
Coastal and Lake Elevations................................................................................ 4-6
Relating Report Data to Maps and Profiles ......................................................... 4-7
B. Using the Flood Maps ................................................................................................. 4-9
Locating a Site ..................................................................................................... 4-9
Determining Stationing...................................................................................... 4-10
Base Flood Elevations from Maps..................................................................... 4-11
Locating the Floodway Boundary...................................................................... 4-11
C. Using Profiles............................................................................................................ 4-13
Profile Features .................................................................................................. 4-13
Determining Base Flood Elevations .................................................................. 4-14
Profiles ................................................................................................... 4-14
Other types of floodplains...................................................................... 4-15
Relating flood elevations to the ground ................................................. 4-15
Relating Profiles to Maps................................................................................... 4-16
D. Maintaining and Revising NFIP Maps...................................................................... 4-17
Ordering Maps ................................................................................................... 4-17
Changing NFIP Maps ........................................................................................ 4-17
Types of Changes............................................................................................... 4-19
Maps and Letters................................................................................................ 4-20
Requesting Map Changes .................................................................................. 4-22
Using NFIP Studies and Maps
4-2
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A. USING FIS REPORTS
The majority of Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports use the same outline and
numbering system. In this section, we will highlight the report’s contents; explore the
report’s data, tables, and profiles; and describe how they are related to the Flood
Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and Floodway Map.
The most important reason for using a FIS report, in conjunction with a Floodway
Map and/or a FIRM, is to determine whether or not a site is located in a Special Flood
Hazard Area (SFHA), a V Zone, and/or a floodway, and to determine the Base Flood
Elevation (BFE).
Important: Because the elevation determinations for riverine or coastal floodplains are
typically used to establish flood elevations for construction in SFHAs and other purposes,
accuracy is critical. You may want to have another person double check your
determinations before using them in the permit application process.
FIS REPORT CONTENTS
The Flood County FIS report cover has an
outline map. Note that the location of Flood County
is pinpointed on the outline map. The date of the
FIS and the community identification numbers are
also indicated on the cover page.
Section 1.0 of all FIS reports states the purpose
of the FIS, authority of and acknowledgments by its
authors, and coordination steps taken during the
preparation of the study.
Section 2.0 provides background information on
the community, its flood problems, which areas
were studied, and what flood protection measures
are in effect.
Section 3.0 discusses the engineering methods
used. Section 3.1 covers the hydrologic analysis — how much water will flow through
the floodplain during peak floods. Section 3.2 describes the hydraulic analysis — how
high the water will get. Development of this information was described in Unit 3.
Section 4.0 discusses how the flood map was prepared from flood data for floodplain
management applications. Section 4.1 covers mapping the floodplain boundaries —
where the water will go. If the study included a floodway determination, Section 4.2
describes the floodway study and mapping. Section 4.0 also includes the Floodway Data
Table. How to interpret and use these and other data is covered later in this unit.
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Section 5.0 covers data related to flood insurance, some of which you will not need to
use. This section can be a useful reference, as it describes the flood insurance zones
identified on the map.
Completing the FIS report are the following four sections: Section 6.0, Flood
Insurance Rate Map; Section 7.0, Other Studies; Section 8.0, Location of Data; and,
Section 8.0, Bibliography and References.
Most riverine FIS reports include flood profiles as an exhibit at the end of the
document. Coastal analyses include a map of transect locations and tables containing data
relating the transects to the stillwater and base flood elevations. The Flood County FIS
report has both.
USING FLOOD DATA AND TABLES
Flood discharges
Turn to Table 3, Summary of Discharges, in Section 3.1 on page 9 of the Flood
County FIS report. An excerpt from that table is shown below (Figure 4-1).
TABLE 3 - SUMMARY OF DISCHARGES
FLOODING SOURCE
AND LOCATION
PEAK DISCHARGES (cfs)
DRAINAGE AREA
(sq. miles)
10-YEAR 50-YEAR 100-YEAR 500-YEAR
COBB BROOK
At the confluence with
the Rocky River
4.2
560
910
1,080
1,550
Figure 4-1: Flood County, FIS Report Table 3 - Summary of Discharges
Figure 4-1 (Table 3 – Summary of Discharges) summarizes the peak amount of water
discharge for various flood frequencies at locations within the study area. The hydrologic
study procedures for arriving at these amounts were discussed in Unit 3, Section B. The
sizes of the drainage areas (watersheds) contributing to the water runoff producing the
floods are also shown in the table.
The 100-year flood discharge for Cobb Brook at its confluence with the Rocky River
is 1,080 cubic feet per second (cfs). This means that during the peak of the base or 100year flood 1,080 cubic feet of water will pass this point each second.
Those administering the local ordinance may never have a need for these data. They
are, however, important in making subsequent calculations of flood elevations as part of
the hydraulic engineering study.
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Floodway Data Table
The Floodway Data Table in Section 4.2 of the FIS report presents data from the
hydraulic analysis (Table 6, page 17 in the report). Part of this table is reproduced below
(Figure 4-2).
Figure 4-2: Flood County, USA, FIS Report Table 6 - Floodway Data
All numbers in the table are calculated at each floodplain cross section. The first two
columns under “Flooding Source” identify the stream name and the cross sections used in
the FIS, and the distance of the given cross section from some reference point, usually the
mouth of the flooding source, a corporate limit, or a county boundary. The footnotes at
the bottom of the Floodway Data Table identify this reference point.
The locations of these cross sections are shown on the accompanying FIRM and
Flood Profile (unless otherwise indicated on the Floodway Data Table). Cross-section A
of the Rocky River is approximately 500 feet below (or downstream of) Glebe Way. You
can find cross-section A on FIRM panel 38. It is the line that crosses the Rocky River and
has the letter “A” in a hexagon at each end.
Remember that a floodway’s width usually is not symmetrical; it varies with the
topography at each cross section. The next three columns (“Floodway”) provide data at
each cross section. At cross-section A, on the Rocky River, the floodway is 115 feet
wide. This means that from the floodway boundary on one side of the stream of this cross
section to the floodway boundary on the other side of the stream is 115 feet. This is
useful for double-checking the width of the floodway portrayed on the FIRM.
Figure 4-3 is a representation of the description of cross-section A given in Table 6.
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Figure 4-3: Representation of cross-section A of the Rocky River
The cross sectional area of the floodway here is 1,233 square feet. This is the cross
sectional area of the floodway below the elevation of the base flood at this location (the
shaded area of Figure 4-3). The average or mean velocity of the base flood in the
floodway is 6.1 feet per second. This is an average velocity. Velocities will generally be
higher in the channel than in the over bank areas.
Of the last four columns under “Base Flood Water Surface Elevation,” you should be
primarily concerned with the first one, “Regulatory,” which provides the regulatory flood
elevation. This is equivalent to the 100-year flood elevation or BFE. The other columns
depict the increase in water-surface elevation if the floodplain is encroached upon so that
the water-surface elevation is increased no more than 1 foot. This amount of
encroachment is used to define the floodway width. Notice that no cross section has an
increase of more than 1.0 foot, in accordance with NFIP standards. Some States and
communities regulate to the “With Floodway” elevation to take into account possible
future increases in flood stage that will occur as the floodplain is developed.
COASTAL AND LAKE ELEVATIONS
Coastal flood elevations. Table 4, Transect Descriptions, on page 12 in the FIS
report for Flood County, shows the stillwater elevations and the maximum wave crest
elevations of 100-year flood events along the coast.
Coastal regulatory flood elevations include the increase due to wave height.
Therefore, use the BFE from the FIRM, not the stillwater elevations in the table.
The base flood elevations on the FIRM are rounded to the nearest foot, which means
that if a base flood elevation was actually 8.3 feet, it would show as 8 feet on the FIRM.
To correct for this, the recommended rule of thumb is to add 0.4 foot to the rounded BFE
on the FIRM. This makes sure that the regulatory elevation you use will be high enough.
For the coast, use the base flood elevation from the FIRM (plus 0.4 foot), not the
table.
Lake flood elevations. On inland lakes and reservoirs, the FIS generally does not
include the effects of waves. For these areas, information on base flood elevations is
contained in Section 3.0 of the FIS report, and data is presented in a table titled Summary
of Stillwater Elevations. Note that in this table the BFE is shown to the nearest one-tenth
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of a foot, but the BFE shown in parentheses on the FIRM is rounded to the nearest whole
number (Figure 3-13).
For lakes and reservoirs, use the base flood elevation from the table, not the FIRM.
RELATING REPORT DATA TO MAPS AND PROFILES
Unit 3 described the data that are developed and used in preparing an FIS for a
community. Each set of data is used for calculations needed to produce additional data
for the FIS.
The data contained in the FIS report are consistent with those found on the
accompanying profiles and FIRM. For example, the base flood water-surface elevations
at each identified cross section can be found in the Floodway Data Table, read from the
flood profiles, and interpolated from the FIRM. Within the limits of map accuracy, you
should obtain the same answer regardless of which source you use.
In the same way, the distances between cross sections, or their distance from some
reference, can be found using any or all of the above data sources. Again, the answers
should be about the same.
The elevations of the computed profiles contained in the FIS report are used with
ground elevation data to determine the limits of the various zones shown on the FIRM.
Again, flood elevations can be determined at any location along the studied stream using
either the flood profiles or the FIRM. All the data fit one another. If obvious mistakes are
found, please advise the FEMA Regional Office.
Note: Due to the limited detail and large scale of the base maps used for most
FIRMs, much interpolation between contour lines is done in mapping the floodplain
boundaries. This is why you may find discrepancies when actual ground elevations are
surveyed: the maps are just the best available graphic representations of the BFEs.
Here’s the order of precedence for identifying the BFE at a particular location:
♦ The most accurate BFEs are found in the Floodway Data Table (for a riverine
floodplain) and the Summary of Stillwater Elevations table (for a lake). These BFEs
are listed to 0.1 foot. However, the Floodway Data Table is only good for sites on or
next to a cross section.
♦ The next most accurate source of elevation data is the profile. This plot of the crosssection data is difficult to read accurately.
♦ The least accurate source of elevation data for a riverine floodplain is the FIRM.
BFEs are rounded to the nearest whole foot. However, the FIRM is the only source of
base flood elevations for coastal floodplains and AO and AH Zones.
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BFEs take precedence if there is a dispute between the BFE and the boundaries of the
SFHA shown on the maps. As a local permit administrator, you can make your decisions
based on the most accurate source of data.
It must be noted that banks (and others who must read the FIRM to determine if flood insurance
is required) must go by the map. They cannot make on-site interpretations based on data other
than the FIRM. However, they may recommend that the property owner submit a request for a
Letter of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMR-F) or a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) so the
map can be officially changed to reflect the more accurate data (see Unit 4, Section D).
Again, only FEMA can amend or correct the maps. Discrepancies should be brought
to FEMA’s attention through a request for a map change, such as a Letter of Map
Amendment (LOMA) (see Section D in this unit).
Reading and using flood profiles, the last set of data contained in a Flood Insurance
Study report, will be covered in Section C of this unit.
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B. USING THE FLOOD MAPS
LOCATING A SITE
How easily you can locate a site on an NFIP map will depend on your familiarity with
properties in the community and with the scale of the flood maps.
For our exercise purposes here, the general location of the sites are shown on the
Flood County Map Index. The site is adjacent to the Rocky River, just downstream of the
corporate limits of Floodville. (Remember to check your north arrow. The top of the map
is not always north.)
To locate a site, follow these steps:
The steps for a site in Flood County are shown in italics. The general location of the sites
are shown on the Flood County Map Index. Site A is close to Floodville Lake.
♦ If your community has more than one map panel, use the map index to determine
which panel to use. Use map landmarks —highways, streets, or streams —to find the
site on the index.
The Map Index for Flood County shows the site adjacent to Floodville
Lake on panel 38.
♦ Find the area containing Floodville Lake on the map panel. Be sure the map panel is
the most recent one — compare its suffix letter with the suffix letter for that panel on
the current Map Index. Remember, in many communities, panels will have different
effective dates due to revisions that do not affect the whole community.
Floodville Lake is shown at the top right side of panel 38.
♦ If there is an asterisk on the panel number, either no flood hazard has been identified
in that area or it is entirely one flood zone and the panel was not printed.
See panel 30 on the Map Index for Flood County as an example.
♦ Locate the site as accurately as possible. Use a detailed street or road map as well as
the tax appraiser’s plat map to identify the property boundaries, if necessary. You will
probably have to obtain the distance on the ground between the site and one or more
identifiable points, such as the centerline of a road or street, a bridge, or some other
feature on the map. Locate these points on the flood map.
Site A is bounded to the north by Good Place, to the south by Kalef Lane,
beginning 200 feet west of Barclay Lane and extending west for 200 feet.
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♦ Convert the distance to the map scale and plot the site on the map.
Flood County FIRM panel 38 has a scale of 1 inch = 500 feet. This means
you should use the “50” scale on the engineer’s scale provided with this
course. Example: If you read a length of 5 on the scale, this would be
equivalent to 500 feet on the map.
DETERMINING STATIONING
In order to identify the BFE at a development site, the stream stationing for the site
must be determined. The stationing of a site will allow us to read the flood profiles. In
some cases stationing may be referred to as mileage.
♦ Locate Site B on the Flood County FIRM that shows cross sections. Identify which
labeled cross sections are nearest to your site, both upstream and downstream.
Site B is near Glebe Way adjacent to the Rocky River. It is located
approximately 100' south of the southern portion of Glebe Way and
approximately 350' west of the intersection of Foley Drive and Chris
Drive. Follow the steps in the previous discussion to locate this site on the
Flood County FIRM.
♦ Check the map scale used for the panel. The scale is in the map legend or key.
For Flood County panel 38 the map scale is 1 inch = 500 feet.
Use an engineer’s scale to measure the distance along the
stream from the site to the nearest cross section, following all
bends and curves of the stream. It would be worthwhile to
measure the distances to both cross sections to check accuracy.
Site B is approximately 650' downstream of cross-section B and
approximately 300' upstream (north) of cross-section A, East of the Rocky
River.
♦ If the stationing is based on mileage, convert these distances to miles by dividing by
5,280. In the case of Flood County, the stationing is based on feet.
When converting to miles, we lose a little accuracy. Rounding the
numbers, our site is 0.12 mile downstream of cross-section B and 0.06
mile upstream of cross-section A.
Keep these numbers in mind; they will be used shortly. This approach will also work
by measuring from another point that shows up on the profile, such as a bridge or
confluence with another stream.
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BASE FLOOD ELEVATIONS FROM MAPS
BFEs are shown on the FIRMs as whole numbers. For AE Zones, or coastal and lake
floodplains, use the BFE printed in parentheses below the flood zone designation. No
interpolation is necessary. The same holds true for AH Zones with whole number base
flood elevations.
The base flood elevation for properties in the vicinity of the Rocky River at
the confluence of Cobb Brook is 10 feet (NGVD or above mean sea level).
For other numbered AE Zones, read the BFE from the nearest wavy “base flood
elevation line.” Refer to the map legend or key if you are unsure of the line markings.
For the Site B example, the base flood elevations on the FIRM, are
marked “10,” above and below the site. If the site fell between the base
flood elevations of 10 and 11, such as the area north of Site B between
Glebe Way and Martling Way along the Rocky River, we could interpolate
to find a correct base flood elevation based on the distance of the site from
the base flood elevation lines. We could also locate the site on the profile
based on how far upstream or downstream it is from cross-section A or B.
Lastly, we could chose the higher base flood elevation, (e.g., 11) to best
ensure protection from flooding.
Zone A areas indicate approximate floodplain boundaries. No detailed study has been
performed to determine base flood elevations in these areas.
There are no base flood elevations in AO Zones with base flood depths. Instead, the
equivalent flood protection level is the number of feet shown in parentheses after the
“Zone AO.” This is not an elevation above sea level, it is the depth of flooding measured
above ground level. The zones are also described in the Flood County FIS report Section
5.0, page 18, Insurance Applications.
West of the intersection between Barclay Lane and Argyle Way on FIRM
panel 38 is a small Zone AO (Depth 2 feet). The base flood elevation for a
site in this zone would be two feet above the grade of any adjacent
building.
LOCATING THE FLOODWAY BOUNDARY
If the site is at a surveyed cross section, floodway width data from the Floodway Data
Table may be used as a more accurate measure than field and map measurements.
Remember that the width listed in the table is the distance from the floodway boundary
on one side of the stream to the floodway boundary on the other side of the stream.
If the floodway width measured on the map at that site is at a cross section, the map
should be used because it is the floodway officially adopted by the community. If there is
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a significant difference between the map width at the site and the closest cross section
width in the Floodway Data Table, contact the FEMA Regional Office for an
interpretation.
Most sites won’t fall conveniently on a cross section, so here are the steps using the
map as shown in the video:
♦ Locate Site C on the map and select the correct engineer’s scale for the map scale.
Site C is located between Floodville Lake and Barclay Lane on Flood
County FIRM panel 38. It is approximately 1,130 feet upstream of Argyle
Way, and approximately 230 feet east of the intersection of Good Place
and Barclay Lane.
Using the engineer’s scale, measure the distance from the
floodway boundary to a nearby feature on the ground. For
streets, use the center of the street, both on the map and on the
ground.
The floodway boundary is approximately 105 feet from the intersection of
Barclay Lane and Good Place.
♦ If any portion of the building site, proposed grading, fill, bridge, or other obstruction
is determined to be within the floodway, the floodway provisions of your ordinance
also apply.
♦ Site C falls inside of the floodway.
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C. USING PROFILES
As discussed in Unit 3, Section B, a flood profile is a graph of computed flood
elevations at the floodplain cross sections. It can be used to determine elevations of
floods of various frequencies at any location along the studied stream.
PROFILE FEATURES
Four flood levels are typically shown on the flood profile fold-out sheets at the back
of the FIS report: the 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year (10%, 2%, 1%, and 0.2%) floods. Only
the 100- year flood is used for compliance with NFIP standards; the others are useful for
other floodplain management applications, such as septic system design and location,
bridge and culvert design, urban stormwater management, selecting sites for critical
facilities, and determining how frequently a site or facility will flood.
In addition to the flood elevation lines, FIS profile sheets contain:
♦ a plot of the stream bed elevation,
♦ the locations of the cross sections used in the FIS and shown on the FIRM (a letter
within a hexagon),
♦ the locations of roads, and
♦ culverts and bridges (usually depicted as a large “I”).
The data are plotted on a grid to facilitate their interpretation. With few exceptions,
the large grid squares are one inch on each side and are divided into 10 squares in both
directions. This grid pattern makes taking measurements much easier.
Refer to the profile for Cobb Brook at the back of the Flood County FIS report. The
bottom, or x-axis, shows the distance along the river in feet upstream of the confluence
with the Rocky River. For this profile, each large square is 200 feet and each little square
is 20 feet.
The left side, or y-axis, shows the elevation in feet NGVD. Each large square
represents 10 feet and each small square is 1.0 foot. Be aware that profiles in other FIS
reports may have different scales.
Figure 4-5 shows a sample of the data that are plotted on the profile shown for Cobb
Brook in Flood County. Before you look at it, measure the distance (in feet) and base
flood elevations from the profile for cross-sections A, B, and C.
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Cross section
A
B
C
Feet above
confluence with
Rocky River
1,080
1,880
2,600
100-Year
Flood elevation
10.14
23.8
31.1
Figure 4-5: Plotted Data, Flood Profile 01P, Cobb Brook
DETERMINING BASE FLOOD ELEVATIONS
Profiles
Here are the steps to determine the BFE for a site using the flood profiles in the FIS
report:
♦ Using the FIRM, locate features near the site that appear on the profile, such as a
bridge or cross section.
We’ll work with the Rocky River profile at Site D, just south of the
footbridge. The footbridge is located on Flood Profile 04P, at a point
approximately 21,700 feet above the county boundary.
♦ Follow the stationing procedures described in the previous section to determine the
site’s distance from a cross section or other feature that appears on the profile.
Site D is north of the Rocky River, approximately 850 feet upstream of
cross-section J and approximately 3,600 feet downstream of cross-section
K. The footbridge also appears on the profile.
♦ Find the feature(s) on the flood profile for that stream.
The footbridge is located between cross-sections J and K. These cross
sections are shown on Flood Profiles 04P and 05P at stream distances of
20,850 and 25,360.
♦ Check the scale used for the profile, and, using the engineer’s scale, measure the
distance from the feature(s) to the site.
You can use the “50” scale on the engineer’s scale, or you can
count squares. At this scale, each little square is 50 feet, so Site D
is approximately 17 little squares upstream (right) of crosssection J.
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♦ Find the site’s location on the appropriate flood profile line and read the elevation on
the y-axis. You can count squares or use the engineer’s scale. Don’t forget, the scale
on the y-axis is different from the x-axis scale.
For the Rocky River profile, you may find it easiest to use the “50” scale
on the y-axis because it is five feet to the inch.
♦ Find where the site intersects the profile. Draw a straight line to the left or right edge
of the graph.
The second line down is the base (100-year) flood profile. Read the flood
elevation off either the left or right edge of the page. At Site D, the base
flood elevation is 13.8 feet. Check the 10-, 50-, and 500- year elevations
and see if you get: 11.3, 12.7 and 15.3, respectively.
Note how this produces a more accurate number than interpolating
between the two wavy lines on the FIRM. Instead of guessing the elevation
of the site between the BFE lines, we can tell that it is 13.8.
♦ A surveyor can establish the flood elevation at the site so the owner or builder will
know how high the base flood elevation is predicted to be.
A surveyor can either shoot 13.8 feet at the site or shoot any elevation and
tell the owner how high the base flood is in relation to the mark.
Be sure to check each profile’s scale before you use it. On Flood Profile 02P in the
FIS report for Flood County, the x-axis scale is 1 inch = 500 feet and the y-axis scale is 1
inch = 5 feet. Flood Profile 01P covers steeper terrain and the y-axis is at a scale of (1
inch = 10) feet (each little square represents one foot).
Other types of floodplains
In coastal floodplains and areas of shallow flooding (AH or AO Zones), the base
flood elevation or depth number is listed in parentheses below the zone designation on
the FIRM. Use that elevation because there is no profile for these zones. Except for lake
floodplains with stillwater elevation tables to 0.1 foot, the FIRM is the most accurate
source for base flood elevations.
Relating flood elevations to the ground
If the site is clearly outside the boundary of the base floodplain, as with Site A, no
floodplain regulations apply unless the site adjoins the SFHA and surveyed ground
elevations are below the base flood elevation.
If it cannot be determined whether the site is in or out of the floodplain, additional
information and/or investigation will be needed. In this instance, ground elevation and
lowest floor elevations of any structures will be needed for the site, so one who wishes to
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apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) of Letter of Map Revision based on Fill
(LOMR-F) may need to hire a surveyor.
A field visit by the local administrator or designee and measurements on the ground
may also be required. The actual site elevations are compared to the base flood elevation,
read from the FIS flood profiles, for that location.
If the site elevations are above the base flood elevation, the site is outside the
floodplain and the applicant should be advised about the map amendment/revision
process. If they are lower, it is within the floodplain and subject to the provisions of the
ordinance.
It must be noted that banks (and others who must read the FIRM to determine if flood insurance
is required) must go by the map. They cannot make on-site interpretations based on data other
than the FIRM. However, they may recommend that the property owner submit a request for a
LOMR-F or LOMA so the map can be officially changed to reflect the more accurate data (see
Unit 4, Section D).
RELATING PROFILES TO MAPS
Base flood elevations shown on the FIRM are directly related to elevation data shown
on the flood profiles. Within the limits of map accuracy, you should obtain the same
elevation whether you use the map or profile.
However, the flood profiles should always be used to determine flood elevations
along rivers and streams.
If you find obvious mistakes or discrepancies between the tables, profiles, and FIRM,
contact the FEMA Regional Office.
From reading the profile in Section C of this Unit, Determining Base Flood
Elevations, we determined the base flood elevation to be 13.8 feet. From reading the
FIRM, we can only establish that the base flood elevation for Site D should be between
13 and 14 feet.
These computations show that the FIRM and the FIS report profile are consistent and
provide a double check to make you comfortable with your determination.
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D. MAINTAINING AND REVISING NFIP MAPS
NFIP maps are vital to effective enforcement of your floodplain management
responsibilities. They are also key to accurate flood insurance rating and fair
determinations of the flood insurance purchase requirement.
As the primary repository for NFIP maps, it is important that the community maintain
adequate copies and keep them updated. You should have at least one master map that
includes all the changes, annexations, map revisions, etc.
It is also important that you keep copies of old, revised maps. They provide a
historical record of what was known and the basis of what was required in the past. For
example, a property may not have been shown in the SFHA on an old FIRM, so there
were no building requirements. If that property is later flooded, you will need to show the
old map as the basis for the community’s action.
Similarly, people who purchased flood insurance based on the FIRM zone in effect at
the time are entitled to keep that FIRM zone as the basis for their rates. You will be doing
your citizens a valuable service if you have a copy of an old FIRM.
ORDERING MAPS
Additional copies of your community’s FIS report, FIRM, and Floodway Map can be
ordered by calling 1-800-358-9616. The toll-free map distribution center number is
staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Requests may be faxed to 1-800-358-9620, or mailed to:
Map Service Center
P.O. Box 1038
Jessup, MD 20794-1038
Maps are provided at no charge to local government officials. The FIS report and
Floodway Maps must be specifically requested, or only the FIRMs will be sent.
Be prepared to give your Community Identification Number.
CHANGING NFIP MAPS
No map is perfect and no flood situation is static. From time to time, FEMA,
communities, or individuals may find it necessary for a FIRM or Floodway Map to be
updated, corrected, or changed.
Common reasons why a map may need to be changed include:
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♦ To correct non-flood-related features, such as a change in the community’s
corporate limits. The local government should send the correct information to its
FEMA Regional Office. However, the community does not need a new map if it has
annexed an area that is shown on an adjacent community's FIRM. It can regulate
floodplain development using that FIRM and flood data.
♦ Since it is expensive to reprint and redistribute flood maps, corporate boundary
changes are usually made only when maps are revised for new or better flood data.
One way to minimize the need for such changes is for a municipality to adopt the
adjacent community’s FIRM. This would clarify the regulatory flood data for newly
annexed properties and areas in the community’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
♦ To include better ground elevation data. As noted earlier, maps do not always
represent site-specific ground elevations. If there is better information on natural
ground elevations, the applicant may apply to have the map reflect the better
topographic information.
♦ To reflect changes in ground elevations in the floodplain. If there has been a
substantial change in ground elevation — for example, fill has been placed in the
floodplain to raise building sites above the base flood elevation — the applicant may
request a map change to reflect the new ground information.
♦ To revise flood data. A request may be made to revise the existing study, based on a
new flood study. The applicant must demonstrate that the original study was in error
or that the new study is based on more accurate or better technical data.
♦ To submit new flood data. When a flood study is prepared for a development in an
unnumbered A Zone, the data can be submitted to FEMA for later incorporation into
the FIS or revised FIRM.
♦ To reflect a flood control project. If a new levee, reservoir, or channel modification
affects the flow of the base flood, the community must request that the map be
revised to reflect the new conditions or new (lower) base flood elevations. The map
cannot be changed until the project is constructed and/or operating.
It is important to note that many small projects, such as channel clearing or retention
basins in new subdivisions, do not have a measurable effect on the base flood and,
therefore, do not warrant a map change. The request for a change needs to be carefully
prepared by an engineer who knows FEMA’s flood study guidelines.
It must be remembered that a community participating in the NFIP is obligated by its
agreement with FEMA to submit new or revised map information when it becomes
available. Section 65.3 of the NFIP regulations states:
A community's base flood elevations may increase or decrease resulting from physical
changes affecting flooding conditions. As soon as practicable, but not later than six
months after the date such information becomes available, a community shall notify
[FEMA] of the changes by submitting technical or scientific data…
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Another point to keep in mind is that lenders, insurance agents, and communities
must use the published flood maps. Lenders are affected by changes in a FIRM as they
enforce the mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements. Communities are affected
by changes in a FIRM and a Floodway Map as they enforce floodplain management
regulations.
Consequently, uniform procedures have been established for requesting and
administering map changes.
TYPES OF CHANGES
FEMA has four approaches to changing NFIP maps: restudies, limited map
maintenance projects, amendments, and revisions. Requests for a restudy, amendment, or
revision must be approved or made by the community, since they affect the local
floodplain management program.
A restudy is a new Flood Insurance Study for some or all of the community. For
example, FEMA may decide to conduct a restudy where development in a small
watershed has substantially changed stormwater runoff conditions over the 15 or 20 years
since the original FIS was completed. Or a restudy may be needed where growth is
occurring along streams without base flood elevations.
A limited map maintenance project (LMMP) is a small-scale restudy that is limited in
size and cost. It is frequently used for studies in unnumbered A Zones.
A map revision is used for other cases, including:
♦ scientifically based challenges to the flood elevations
♦ to incorporate new data that become effective after the construction of a flood control
project
♦ to reflect fill placed in the floodplain after the flood study currently in effect was
completed
♦ to change the floodplain or floodway boundaries
♦ to include new flood data
An amendment is used to remove an area that was inadvertently included in the
SFHA. Often the ground is higher than depicted on the base map used for the FIRM. This
typically happens because of the problem of accurately locating the floodplain boundary
on a topographic map. For example, more detailed ground elevation data can be used to
amend a FIRM to show a property that is higher than the BFE to be outside the SFHA.
FEMA will make map amendments based on the information submitted by the
applicant. Unlike the three other types of changes, an amendment doesn’t challenge the
FIS or FIRM; it simply removes certain areas or buildings from the SFHA because they
are higher than the base flood elevation.
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MAPS AND LETTERS
FEMA uses two methods to make flood map changes.
The first is to actually change the map and publish new copies. Here the effective date
of a map is changed. A restudy or limited map maintenance project will generally result
in a new map. Sometimes revisions and amendments result in a reprinted map. However,
republishing the map can be expensive and is done only if the change affects a large area.
The other method is to issue a letter that describes the map change. FEMA does this
when the revision can be adequately described in writing or through use of a small,
annotated map panel, such as when only one lot or building is affected.
There are two types of Letters of Map Change (LOMC): a Letter of Map Revision, or
LOMR, and a Letter of Map Amendment, or LOMA. The terms relate to the map changes
described in the previous section. A “LOMR-F” refers to a LOMR based on new fill in
the floodplain.
Because such a letter officially amends or revises the effective NFIP map, it is a
public record that the community must maintain. Any LOMC should be noted on the
community’s master flood maps and filed by panel number in an accessible location.
If provided with a legal description of the land area above the BFE, FEMA can issue
a LOMC for only a portion of the parcel. Or, a LOMC might state that only a specifically
described portion (i.e. the front 70 feet with the exception of any recorded easements), is
removed from the SFHA. However, the LOMC might then also state that portions of the
rest of the property remain within the SFHA, subject to all floodplain management
regulations.
NFIP maps are not changed based on proposed projects. However, an applicant may
request a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) or a Conditional Letter of Map
Revision based on Fill (CLOMR-F) based on proposed plans. A Conditional Letter of
Map Amendment (CLOMA) can be requested for a vacant lot. These conditional letters
inform the builder and others (such as the bank financing the project) that when the
project is completed, it will qualify for a LOMR, LOMR-F, or LOMA. A LOMR,
LOMR-F, or LOMA will still be required to officially change the NFIP map.
A processing fee is charged for LOMRs, CLOMRs , LOMR-Fs, and CLOMR-Fs and
CLOMAs. There is no fee for requesting a LOMA.
An example of a LOMA is in Figure 4-6. For this site, the owner supplied the survey
data needed to show that the lowest grade adjacent to his house was higher than the base
flood elevation shown on the FIRM. Because the request affects only one property, a
letter can be issued that describes the property and the type of map change (“This letter
amends the above-referenced NFIP map to remove the structure from the SFHA.”).
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Figure 4-6: First page from a Letter of Map Amendment
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REQUESTING MAP CHANGES
If you want a restudy or a limited map maintenance project, call your FEMA
Regional Office or State NFIP coordinator and ask about the procedures.
If you want a map changed to reflect a new study that has already been done or to
reflect better ground elevation data, use one of the following FEMA forms.
MT-1: Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)
Conditional Letter of Map Amendment (CLOMA)
Letter of Map Revision (Based on Fill) (LOMR-F)
Conditional Letter of Map Revision (Based on Fill) (CLOMR-F)
MT-2: Letter of Map Revision (LOMR)
Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR)
Physical Map Revision
MT-EZ: Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) for a single lot
Letter of Map Revision (Based on Fill) (LOMR-F) for a single lot
The MT-EZ is the shortest and simplest of the three forms. A copy is included in
Appendix F. This is the form that would be used to request a LOMA like the one in
Figure 4-6. A land surveyor is needed to certify the elevation data. Appendix F also
includes a handout that explains the map change policies to property owners.
The building elevation certification requires some information not normally required
on a FEMA Elevation Certificate, specifically, the lowest elevation on the parcel. This
requirement is in addition to the lowest grade adjacent to the structure (including attached
decks) and the lowest floor elevation (including the garage, crawlspace, or basement).
If the garage, crawlspace, or basement floor is below the base flood elevation and the
building was built on fill that was placed in an identified SFHA, FEMA cannot issue a
LOMA or LOMR even though the post-fill lowest adjacent grade is above the base flood
elevation.
Except for the MT-EZ, requests for map changes should be completed by a qualified
engineer or surveyor. The most common reason that a map change request is not
completed is that the applicant did not submit adequate technical data to validate the
change.
Note that a bank still has the prerogative to require the purchase of a flood insurance policy on a
building that has been removed from the SFHA. The bank can require flood insurance as a
condition of the loan in order to protect its investment in the property. For example, lenders in
Florida typically still require flood insurance coverage for structures determined to be in shaded
Zone X or Zone B.
Filled, unimproved land can be removed from SFHA on only the basis of the filled
elevation, if no construction of a structure has begun when the request is submitted to
FEMA.
Effective June 4, 2001, FEMA revised to process for issuing Letters of Map Revision
(Based on Fill) (LOMR-F) to require assurances from the community that, for the area to
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be remove from the floodplain, all requirements of 44 CFR 60.3 have been met and that
any existing or proposed structures in that area will be “reasonably safe from flooding.”
If the community cannot make these assurances, the LOMR-F will not be processed.
Further guidance on the community’s responsibility for making these assurances can be
found in Unit 5 and in the MT-2 instructions and Technical Bulletin 10-01 Ensuring That
Structures Built on Fill in or Near Special Flood Hazard Areas Are Reasonably Safe
From Flooding.
Additional information on map changes can be found in Answers to Questions About
the National Flood Insurance Program, questions 81 – 95.
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UNIT 5:
THE NFIP FLOODPLAIN
MANAGEMENT REQUIREMENTS
In this unit
This unit reviews the NFIP standards for floodplain development,
including:
♦ What maps, base flood elevations and other flood data must be
used,
♦ When permits are required,
♦ Ensuring that new development does not cause increased flooding elsewhere,
♦ Standards to ensure that new buildings will be protected from
the base flood, and
♦ Additional requirements for certain types of development.
Unit 6 reviews more restrictive standards that may be required or
recommended for your community. Units 7 through 10 provide guidance on how to administer a program that fulfills the requirements
spelled out in this unit.
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Contents
A. The NFIP’s Regulations.................................................................................. 5-4
NFIP Regulations........................................................................................... 5-4
Community Types.......................................................................................... 5-6
B. Maps and Data................................................................................................. 5-8
NFIP Maps and Data...................................................................................... 5-8
When FIRM and Ground Data Disagree ....................................................... 5-9
Regulating Approximate A Zones ...................................................................10
Small developments ............................................................................... 5-11
Larger developments.............................................................................. 5-12
Draft Revised NFIP Data ............................................................................. 5-14
Advisory Flood Hazard Data ....................................................................... 5-15
C. Permit Requirements ..................................................................................... 5-17
Development Permit .................................................................................... 5-17
Building permits..................................................................................... 5-18
Small projects......................................................................................... 5-18
Permits from Other Agencies....................................................................... 5-19
D. Encroachments .............................................................................................. 5-21
Regulatory Floodways ................................................................................. 5-21
Encroachment Review ................................................................................. 5-21
Streams without Floodway Maps................................................................. 5-24
Allowable increases in Flood Heights ......................................................... 5-25
E. New Buildings in A Zones Buildings........................................................... 5-27
Elevation ...................................................................................................... 5-27
Fill .......................................................................................................... 5-27
Piles, posts, piers or columns................................................................. 5-28
Walls or crawlspace ............................................................................... 5-29
How high?.............................................................................................. 5-31
Elevation Certificate .............................................................................. 5-32
Enclosures .................................................................................................... 5-32
Openings ................................................................................................ 5-33
Use ......................................................................................................... 5-36
Floodproofing .............................................................................................. 5-38
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How high?.............................................................................................. 5-39
Basements .................................................................................................... 5-40
Basement Exceptions ................................................................................... 5-40
Basements and LOMR-F Areas ................................................................... 5-41
Anchoring .................................................................................................... 5-42
Flood-Resistant Material.............................................................................. 5-43
Accessory Structures.................................................................................... 5-44
Manufactured Homes................................................................................... 5-45
Elevation ................................................................................................ 5-45
Anchoring .............................................................................................. 5-47
Recreational Vehicles .................................................................................. 5-48
AO and AH Zones ....................................................................................... 5-49
A99 and AR Zones....................................................................................... 5-49
F. New Buildings in V Zones ............................................................................ 5-51
Building Location ........................................................................................ 5-51
Elevation on Piles or Columns..................................................................... 5-51
Wind and water loads............................................................................. 5-52
Certification ........................................................................................... 5-54
Breakaway Walls ......................................................................................... 5-54
Coastal AE Zones ........................................................................................ 5-56
G. Other Requirements ...................................................................................... 5-57
Subdivisions................................................................................................. 5-57
Water and Sewer Systems............................................................................ 5-58
Watercourse alterations................................................................................ 5-58
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A. THE NFIP’S REGULATIONS
For a community to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program, it
must adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations that meet or exceed
the minimum NFIP standards and requirements. These standards are intended to
prevent loss of life and property, as well as economic and social hardships that
result from flooding.
The NFIP standards work – as witnessed during floods in areas where buildings and other developments are in compliance with them. Nationwide each year,
NFIP-based floodplain management regulations help prevent more than $1 billion
in flood damages.
This unit focuses on the minimum NFIP criteria. In some instances, more restrictive state standards may exist, and they must also be met by communities in
the NFIP. They are the subject of the next unit.
NFIP REGULATIONS
The NFIP requirements can be found in Chapter 44 of the Code of Federal
Regulations (44 CFR). Revisions to these requirements are first published in the
Federal Register, a publication the Federal Government uses to disseminate rules,
regulations and announcements.
Most of the requirements related to your community’s ordinance are in Parts
59 and 60. These are included in Appendix E along with the mapping regulations
of Parts 65 and 70.
Figure 5-1 shows how the regulations are organized. The sections are referred
to in shorthand, such as 44 CFR 60.1—Chapter 44, Code of Federal Regulations,
Part 60, Section 1. In this course, excerpts are shown in boxes:
44 CFR 59.2(b) To qualify for the sale of federally-subsidized flood insurance a
community must adopt and submit to the Administrator as part of its application,
flood plain management regulations, satisfying at a minimum the criteria set forth
at Part 60 of this subchapter, designed to reduce or avoid future flood, mudslide
(i.e., mudflow) or flood-related erosion damages. These regulations must include
effective enforcement provisions.
As noted in Unit 2, when your community joined the NFIP, it agreed to abide
by these regulations. When your community’s FIRM was published, it had to
submit its ordinance to FEMA to ensure that it met these requirements.
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Part 59—General Provisions
Subpart A—General
59.1
59.2
59.3
59.4
Definitions
Description of program
Emergency program
References
Subpart B—Eligibility Requirements
59.21
59.22
59.23
59.24
Purpose of subpart
Prerequisites for the sale of flood insurance
Priorities for the sale of flood insurance under the regular program
Suspension of community eligibility
Part 60—Criteria for Land Management and Use
Subpart A—Requirements for Flood Plain Management Regulations
60.1 Purpose of subpart
60.2 Minimum compliance with floodplain management criteria
60.3 Floodplain management criteria for floodprone areas
(a) When there is no floodplain map
(b) When there is a map, but not flood elevations
(c) When there are flood elevations
(d) When there is a floodway mapped
(e) When there is a map with coastal high hazard areas
60.4 Floodplain management criteria for mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone areas
60.5 Floodplain management criteria for flood-related erosion-prone areas.
60.6 Variances and exceptions
60.7 Revisions of criteria for floodplain management regulations
60.8 Definitions
Subpart B—Requirements for State Floodplain Management Regulations
Subpart C—Additional Considerations in Managing Flood-Prone, Mudslide (i.e.,
Mudflow)-Prone, and Flood-Related Erosion-Prone Areas
Figure 5-1. 44 CFR Parts 59 and 60
Many state NFIP coordinators have prepared model flood damage prevention
ordinances to assist communities in meeting the NFIP requirements, so it is likely
that your community adopted an ordinance based on the state model.
NOTE: Periodically, the NFIP regulations are revised to incorporate new requirements or
clarify old ones. These changes are published in the Federal Register. Some revisions
require local ordinance amendments. Your community may or may not have made the
amendments needed to stay updated. Before you complete this unit, you should check
with your state NFIP coordinator or FEMA Regional Office to verify that your ordinance is
currently in full compliance with the latest NFIP requirements.
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COMMUNITY TYPES
NFIP regulations identify minimum requirements that communities must fulfill to join and stay in the program. The requirements that apply to a particular
community depend on its flood hazard and the level of detail of the data FEMA
provides to the community. The specific requirements are in Section 60.3, and
apply to communities as follows:
♦ 60.3(a) FEMA has not provided any maps or data.
♦ 60.3(b) FEMA has provided a map with approximate A Zones
♦ 60.3(c) FEMA has provided a FIRM with base flood elevations
♦ 60.3(d) FEMA has provided a FIRM with base flood elevations and a map
that shows a floodway
♦ 60.3(e) FEMA has provided a FIRM that shows coastal high hazard areas
(V Zones)
Two important notes:
The NFIP requirements are minimums. As noted in 44 CFR 60.1(d), “Any
floodplain management regulations adopted by a State or a community which are
more restrictive than the criteria set forth in this part are encouraged and shall take
precedence.”
These requirements are cumulative. A 60.3(c) community must comply with
all appropriate requirements of sections 60.3(a) and (b). For example, 60.3(a) includes basic requirements for subdivisions and utilities that are not repeated in the
later sections. All communities in the NFIP must comply with these subdivision
and utility requirements.
For example, a 60.3(c) community must use the base flood elevations provided on the FIRM. If that community has an approximate A Zone without a BFE,
it must comply with the requirements of 60.3(b) for that area.
The rest of this unit explores the requirements of 44 CFR 60.3. It is organized
by subject matter, so it will not correspond with the sections in 44 CFR. Where
appropriate, the specific section numbers are referenced.
You should be able to identify where the requirements discussed in this unit
appear in your ordinance. If you cannot find a specific reference or if you are not
comfortable with your ordinance’s regulatory language, contact your state NFIP
coordinator or FEMA Regional Office. FEMA and your state will expect you to
enforce these minimum requirements as agreed to. If you don’t think your ordinance language is clear or up to date, you should consider an amendment to remove any doubt.
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This unit covers the minimum requirements for participation in the NFIP. As
noted, communities are encouraged to enact regulatory standards that exceed
these minimums and that are more appropriate for local conditions.
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a part of the
NFIP that rewards communities that implement programs
that exceed the minimums. It is explained in more detail in
Unit 9, Section C. Where provisions that can receive CRS
credit are mentioned in this course, they are highlighted with
the CRS logo.
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B. MAPS AND DATA
Flood maps and flood data were discussed in Units 3 and 4. This section
builds on that information, covering the NFIP requirements as to when and how a
community must use those maps and data.
Basic rule #1: Check to make sure you have the latest flood maps and data
published by FEMA. You must use the latest maps to administer your floodplain management ordinance.
NFIP MAPS AND DATA
A community must adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations
based on data provided by FEMA (44 CFR 60.2(h)). This includes the floodplain
boundaries, base flood elevations, FIRM zones and floodway boundaries shown
on your current Flood Insurance Rate Map, Flood Boundary Floodway Map
and/or Flood Insurance Study.
44 CFR 60.2(h): The community shall adopt and enforce flood plain management regulations based on data provided by the [Federal Insurance] Administrator. Without prior approval of the Administrator, the community shall not adopt
and enforce flood plain management regulations based upon modified data reflecting natural or man-made physical changes.
This requirement does not prevent a community from adopting and enforcing
regulations based on data more restrictive than that provided by FEMA. For example, a community may want to regulate to an historical flood which was higher
than the BFEs shown on the FIRM. However, such data must be approved by the
FEMA Regional Office before it is used.
This requirement also does not prevent a community from using other technical data to identify and regulate floodprone areas not shown on FEMA maps. For
example, many cities and urban counties map and regulate areas on small tributary streams that are not shown on the FIRM.
The community always has a say in what the latest maps and data should be.
FEMA will send you proposed revisions to the official FIRM and you will have
time to review them and submit your comments to FEMA before they are published. You also have a formal 90-day appeals period during which to submit your
appeals before BFEs are made final. If you disagree with the FEMA data at any
time and have scientific or technical data to support your position, you should
submit a request for a map revision as noted in Unit 4, Section D, Maintaining
and Revising NFIP Maps.
Annexations: If a property is in a recently annexed area that does not show up
on your community’s map, use the county’s map and base flood elevations
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(BFEs) to determine the flood protection requirements. In fact, you should formally adopt the county’s FIRM in your ordinance to strengthen your basis for
regulating areas not currently shown on your FIRM.
Exceptions: The basic rule does not cover every situation. Four occasions
where a community may vary from the effective FIRM and other data provided
by FEMA are:
♦ When the FEMA data disagree with ground elevations.
♦ When the FEMA data are insufficient. This occurs in approximate A
Zones where base flood elevations and floodway boundaries are not provided with the FIRM.
♦ When FEMA has provided draft revised data.
♦ When FEMA provides “advisory” flood hazard data.
These situations are discussed below.
Note: these situations only apply to the use of flood data for floodplain management purposes. Insurance agents and lenders must use the current FIRM when
determining insurance rates and whether flood insurance is required. If a person
wants to vary from the current FIRM to obtain different premium rates or to not
have to purchase a flood insurance policy, the FIRM must be officially revised or
amended.
WHEN FIRM AND GROUND DATA DISAGREE
The BFEs published in the Flood Insurance Study set the level for flood protection purposes. The maps are a graphic portrayal of that information.
Since FEMA usually does not have detailed topographic mapping to use in
preparing the flood maps, the flood boundaries are interpolated between cross sections using whatever topographical information is available. This can result in inaccuracies in drawing the boundaries on the map.
The BFE in relation to the actual ground elevation sets the floodplain limits
for regulatory purposes. When ground surveys show that a development site is
above the BFE, you can record the data and issue the permit. Then, if the developer or owner wants the property removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area
designation, he or she can request a Letter of Map Amendment.
It is up to them to apply for a map change, not you. The procedure is discussed in Unit 4, Section D.
Conversely, if site surveys show that areas considered outside the 100-year
floodplain on published maps are in fact below the BFE, you should require protection of new buildings to the BFE. Even though a site may be technically out-
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side the mapped SFHA, you are not doing future occupants any favors by ignoring the known flood hazard.
REGULATING APPROXIMATE A ZONES
The second occasion where you may vary from the data provided by FEMA is
in approximate A Zones. Approximate A Zones are those areas not studied by the
detailed hydrologic/hydraulic methods. These areas are shown as “unnumbered A
zones” on the FIRM and “approximate 100-year flood zones” on the Flood
Boundary Floodway Map. The FIS will not contain specific base flood elevations
for approximate study areas nor will there be a floodway/fringe designation on the
FBFM.
44 CFR 60.3(b) When the Administrator has designated areas of special flood
hazards (A zones) by the publication of a community's FHBM or FIRM, but has
neither produced water surface elevation data nor identified a floodway or coastal
high hazard area, the community shall:…
(3) Require that all new subdivision proposals and other proposed developments
(including proposals for manufactured home parks and subdivisions) greater than
50 lots or 5 acres, whichever is the lesser, include within such proposals base
flood elevation data;
(4) Obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway
data available from a Federal, State, or other source, including data developed
pursuant to paragraph (b)(3) of this section, as criteria for requiring that new construction, substantial improvements, or other development in Zone A on the
community's FHBM or FIRM meet the standards …
Regulating development in approximate or unnumbered A Zones is one of the
tougher jobs you’ll face, especially in counties that have large areas of such
zones. 44 CFR Section 60.3(b)(4) requires that you make every effort to use any
flood data available in order to achieve a reasonable measure of flood protection.
Further, many states and local ordinances require a base flood elevation before a
permit can be issued for any development.
Here are some tips in obtaining data needed for unnumbered A Zones. Whichever method you use, be sure to record on the permit records where the flood elevation came from. This will help you be consistent with future development in the
same area.
♦ Check with your state NFIP coordinator. Some states have regulations or
guidance on how to obtain regulatory data. Some have repositories of data
or may help conduct a new study.
♦ Check with local flood control, sanitary or watershed districts. Like state
agencies, they may have their own programs for developing new flood
data.
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♦ If a body of water forms a boundary between two communities, the community on the other side may have a detailed study. Such base flood data
are valid for both sides of a body of water.
♦ Ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service, or U.S. Geological Survey if
they have knowledge of any flood studies, unpublished reports, or any
data that may pertain to the area in question.
♦ If the property is along a stream that is near state highway structures such
as bridges or culverts, the state highway department may have done a
flood study to properly size the structure.
♦ If the property is on a river with a power-generating dam, the dam owner
may have had to conduct a study for federal licensing.
♦ See if your engineer or the developer will conduct a study to calculate
BFEs.
Data obtained from one of these other sources should be used as long as they:
♦ Reasonably reflect flooding conditions expected during the base flood,
♦ Are not known to be technically incorrect, and
♦ Represent the best data available.
The FEMA publication Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate
Zone A Areas: A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base (100-Year) Flood
Elevations provides information on a number of methodologies for developing
BFEs in approximate A zones. These methodologies range from detailed methods
that produce BFEs and perform floodway analyses similar to those developed for
a Flood Insurance Study to simplified methods that can be used in isolated areas
where more costly studies cannot be justified.
If your community has approximate A Zones that are likely to be developed,
you should get a copy of this document and have your engineer review it. You can
also download FEMA’s Quick-2 software for computing flood elevations from
the FEMA flood hazard mapping website.
Small developments
If the project is an isolated building, such as a single-family home in an undeveloped area or a subdivision or other development that does not meet the thresholds in 44 CFR Section 60.3(b)(3), you still must ensure that the building is protected from flood damages by meeting the requirements of 44 CFR 60.3(a)(3).
This paragraph requires you to determine if the site is reasonably safe from flooding and, if it is not, that you ensure the building is constructed with methods and
practices that minimize flood damages and meets other construction requirements.
In nearly all cases the only way to do this is to require that the building be elevated to above an elevation that you determine.
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There are several possible ways of establishing this elevation:
♦ Walk the site with the property owner and find a site on high ground for
the building. Sometimes by this method alone you can determine a safe
building site or establish a safe building elevation, particularly in the
floodplain of a small stream. Sometimes detailed topographic maps are
available that may help.
♦ Use historical records or the flood of record (the highest known flood level
for the area). It may be that a recent flood was close to the base flood. If
records of the recent flood can be used, base your regulatory flood elevations on them (or add a foot or two to the historical flood levels to provide
a margin of error). Before you do this, get a second opinion from your
state NFIP coordinator, FEMA Regional Office or other agency that is familiar with the flood data you want to use.
♦ Require protection to a set elevation such as at least five feet above grade.
Only use this approach if you feel confident that the five feet of elevation
will provide adequate flood protection to the building.
♦ Require the permit applicant to develop a base flood elevation or develop
one yourself using one of the methods in the FEMA publication Managing
Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas: A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base (100-Year) Flood Elevations. This will usually require the services of an engineer, but will be worth the additional
expense if it is the only way to make sure the building is protected from
flood damage. There are several methods of determining BFEs at varying
costs and levels of detail.
The first three methods are not as good as requiring protection to a BFE.
However, they may be more appropriate for small isolated projects where the
costs of developing BFE information will be high relative to the cost of the building. The third approach will result in lower flood insurance rates than if the building had no protection, but the rates are not as favorable as they would be if a BFE
were calculated. Examples of the possible rates are discussed in Unit 9, Section B.
Larger developments
You are encouraged to discuss the flood hazard as early as possible in discussions with subdividers and developers of large areas. If a subdivision or planned
unit development will be partially in the floodplain, there may be ways to avoid
building in the flood hazard area, which can save the developer the cost of a flood
study.
44 CFR 60.3(b)(3): [Communities must] Require that all new subdivision proposals and other proposed development (including proposals for manufactured
home parks and subdivisions) greater than 50 lots or 5 acres, whichever is the
lesser, include within such proposals BFE data.
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Any subdivision or other large development that meets this threshold must be
evaluated to determine if the proposed site is in an approximate A Zone and
whether BFEs are required. If BFEs are required, the developer must conduct the
required study (the community, state or other agency may provide assistance).
While the study must provide BFEs, you may want to require a floodway delineation and inclusion of other data needed to ensure that the building sites will be
reasonably safe from flooding.
BFE data are required for the affected lots in the subdivisions shown in Figure
5-2 and Figure 5-3. Figure 5-2 shows a 76-lot subdivision with several lots clearly
affected by an approximate Zone A area. The subdivision depicted in Figure 5-3
is only 12 lots, but BFEs are required because the subdivision covers more than
five acres and clearly shows buildable sites affected by an approximate Zone A
area.
Figure 5-2: Proposed 76-lot subdivision
Figure 5-3: Proposed 6.7-acre subdivision
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In Figure 5-4, the entire approximate Zone A area is to be left as open space.
If the planned subdivision shows the floodplain is contained entirely within an
open space lot, it may not be necessary to conduct a detailed engineering analysis
to develop BFE data.
Figure 5-4: Proposed 76-lot subdivision
44 CFR 65.3: As soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the date
such information becomes available, a community shall notify the Administrator
of [map] changes by submitting technical or scientific data in accordance with this
part.
When a developer prepares a detailed flood study in an approximate A Zone,
you must submit the new flood information to FEMA within six months. The
community can pass that cost on to the developer by requiring that he or she submit a request for a Letter of Map Revision as a condition of approving the development.
CRS credit is provided if BFEs, floodways and related regulatory data are provided in areas not mapped by the NFIP. This
credit can be found in Activity 410, Section 411, of the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual or the CRS Application.
DRAFT REVISED NFIP DATA
The third situation where a community may vary from the official FEMA data
is when FEMA has sent some preliminary data to the community for review.
Communities are required to “reasonably utilize” the data from a draft or preliminary FIRM or flood insurance study.
Four scenarios are possible:
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♦ Where the original FIRM shows an A or V Zone with no BFEs: Use the
draft information. In the absence of other elevation or floodway data, the
draft information is presumed to be the best available.
♦ Where the original FIRM shows an AE or VE Zone with a BFE or floodway and the revision increases the BFE or widens the floodway: The draft
revised data should be used. However, if the community disagrees with
the data and intends to appeal, the existing data can be presumed to be
valid and may still be used until the appeal is resolved.
♦ Where the original FIRM shows an AE or VE Zone with a base flood elevation or floodway and the revision decreases the BFE or shrinks the
floodway: The existing data should be used. Because appeals may change
the draft data, the final BFE may be higher than the draft. If you were to
allow new construction at the lower level as shown in the draft, the owners
may have to pay higher flood insurance premiums.
♦ Where the original FIRM shows a B, C or X Zone: NFIP regulations do
not require that the draft revised data be used. However, you are encouraged to use the draft data to regulate development, since these areas are
subject to a flood hazard.
If the community intends to appeal preliminary data, it must be done during
the official appeals period. Otherwise, you will have to wait for the new map to
become official and submit a request for a map amendment or revision.
For more information on this issue, see Use of Flood Insurance Study (FIS)
Data As Available Data, FEMA Floodplain Management Bulletin 1-98.
CLOMRs: The above four scenarios are also relevant for a Conditional Letter
of Map Revision or CLOMR. Note the conditional part of a CLOMR. A CLOMR
provides that if a project is constructed as designed, the BFEs can be revised or
modified (or the property in question can be removed from the SFHA) AFTER the
as-built specifications are submitted AND the final LOMR is issued.
A permit cannot be issued based on a lower BFE proposed by a CLOMR until
the final LOMR is issued. However, you can issue a permit for that part of the
work not dependent on the changes that will result from the LOMR and condition
the full permit upon receipt of the final LOMR.
ADVISORY FLOOD HAZARD DATA
Sometimes FEMA issues advisory data after a major flood where it was found
that the FIRM and/or flood insurance study underestimated the hazard. This information is provided so communities can ensure that reconstructed buildings are
protected from the true hazard, not the one shown on the FIRM.
When you receive such advisory information, you should “reasonably utilize”
it. If your community agrees with the information, the ordinance should be reNFIP Requirements
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vised to adopt it. If it disagrees with the data, you should be ready to explain why
the community is not requiring construction and reconstruction to be protected.
You and your community are not helping residents if you allow them to rebuild
without protection from a known hazard.
For more information on this issue, see Use of Flood Insurance Study (FIS)
Data As Available Data, FEMA Floodplain Management Bulletin 1-98.
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C. PERMIT REQUIREMENTS
Permits are required to ensure that proposed development projects meet the
requirements of the NFIP and your ordinance. Once a person applies for a permit,
you can review the plans and make sure the project complies.
Basic rule #2: A permit is required for all development in the SFHA shown
on your FIRM.
The first step, therefore, is to get people to apply for a permit.
DEVELOPMENT PERMIT
44 CFR 59. Definitions: "Development" means any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other
structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.
The NFIP requirements are keyed to “development” in the floodplain. “Development” means “any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate.” This includes, but is not limited to:
♦ Construction of new structures
♦ Modifications or improvements to existing structures
♦ Excavation
♦ Filling
♦ Paving
♦ Drilling
♦ Driving of piles
♦ Mining
♦ Dredging
♦ Land clearing
♦ Grading
♦ Permanent storage of materials and/or equipment
44 CFR 60.3(a)(1) [“60.3(a) communities” that do not have a FIRM must] Require
permits for all proposed construction or other development in the community, including the placement of manufactured homes, so that it may determine whether
such construction or other development is proposed within flood-prone areas;
If you are a 60.3(a) community, you do not have a FIRM. Consequently, you
must require a permit for all development projects throughout your community.
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You must review each project’s location to determine if it has a flood risk. If it
does, the best way to protect a new building from flood damage is to obtain a BFE
for the site and require that the building be elevated or protected to or above that
BFE.
Building permits
Most communities have long had a system for issuing building permits, but
many have not had a permit system for “development.” Regulating all development in floodplains is essential because fill or other material can obstruct flood
flows just as structures can.
Because a “building permit” often covers only construction or modifications
of buildings, this study guide uses the term “development permit.” You should
check your permit system to ensure that in the floodplain, permits are being required for ALL projects that meet the definition of development, not just “building”
projects. Make sure you regulate the following in addition to the traditional building projects:
♦ Filling and grading.
♦ Excavation, mining and drilling.
♦ Storage of materials.
♦ Repairs to a damaged building that do not affect structural members.
♦ Temporary stream crossings
♦ Activities by other government agencies, such as roads, bridges and school
buildings
If your building permit system does not require permits for these activities,
you need to revise your system, enact a new type of “development permit” or otherwise ensure that people apply for a permit for these non-building projects.
Small projects
You have some discretion to exempt obviously insignificant activities from
the permit requirement, such as planting a garden, farming, putting up a mailbox
or erecting a flagpole. You may also want to exempt routine maintenance, such as
painting or re-roofing.
The key is whether the project will present a new obstruction to flood flows,
alter drainage or have the potential to be a substantial improvement. These determinations can only be made by the permit official, not the builder, so make sure
your exemptions are clear. There should be no possibility of a misunderstanding
resulting in construction of a flood flow obstruction or a substantial improvement
without a permit.
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Some communities specifically exempt small projects in their ordinances.
This is the recommended approach, as it avoids challenges that the permit official
arbitrarily decides what projects need permits. Check with your state coordinating
agency and/or FEMA Regional Office before you do this. You may be able to exempt projects (other than filling, grading or excavating) valued at less than, say,
$500.
PERMITS FROM OTHER AGENCIES
44 CFR 60.3(a)(2) requires all NFIP communities to ensure that other federal
and state permits have been obtained. You should not issue your local permit until
you are certain that the other agencies’ requirements are met.
The purpose of this requirement is to help assure that coordination occurs between various levels of government on projects impacting on floodplains. The
requirement has the added benefit of protecting permit applicants by making sure
they are aware of and obtain all of the permits necessary for a floodplain development prior to making irreversible financial investments. Permit applicants are
not well served if they are allowed to proceed with a project only to have work
stopped later by a Federal or State agency because they have not obtained proper
permits.
Some communities allow their permit officials to issue the local permit on the
condition that other required permits are obtained. However, this is not as effective as holding the local permit until the applicant can show that the other agencies have issued or will issue their permits.
Otherwise, the project may get under way before you are sure that it meets all
legal requirements.
To implement this requirement, you’re encouraged to develop a list of what
permits are required in your jurisdiction. Your state NFIP coordinator should be
able to help.
These development activities may require a state permit:
♦ Construction in the coastal zone.
♦ Construction in floodways or other designated areas.
♦ Stream crossings or projects that affect navigable rivers.
♦ Installation of septic systems.
♦ Subdivision standards or subdivision plat or lot filing requirements.
♦ Manufactured housing (mobile home) park or tie-down requirements.
♦ Public health facilities, such as hospitals and nursing homes.
♦ Alteration of sand dunes.
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♦ Operating a landfill or hazardous materials storage facility.
The more common federal regulations that may require a permit include:
♦ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404—permits for wetlands filling
♦ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 10—permits for work in navigable
waterways
♦ U.S. Coast Guard—permits for bridges and causeways that may affect
navigation.
♦ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—consultations required under Sections 7
and 10 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
You should also check with your county; sewer, sanitary or flood control district; water management district; and any other local or regional agency that may
regulate certain types of development in the floodplain.
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D. ENCROACHMENTS
Once a permit application is received and the proposed project is ready for review, the next job is to ensure that the project will not impose flood problems on
other properties.
Basic rule #3: Development must not increase the flood hazard on other
properties.
This is more of a concern in riverine situations where a project may dam or
divert flowing water onto other properties or increase flood flows downstream. To
prevent this, communities adopt floodways to designate those areas where flood
flows are most sensitive to changes brought by development.
Communities must regulate development in these floodways to ensure that
there are no increases in upstream flood elevations. For streams and other watercourses where FEMA has provided BFEs, but no floodway has been designated,
the community must review developments on a case-by-case basis to ensure that
these increases do not occur.
REGULATORY FLOODWAYS
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Regulatory floodway" means the channel of a river or
other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to
discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height.
As explained in Unit 3, Section B, the floodway is the central portion of a riverine floodplain needed to carry the deeper, faster moving water. Buildings, structures and other development activities—such as fill—placed within the floodway
are more likely to obstruct flood flows, causing the water to slow down and back
up, resulting in higher flood elevations.
A floodway is included with most riverine Flood Insurance Studies and will
generally be shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Some of the older
Flood Insurance Studies will have a separate floodway map. The community officially adopts its “regulatory floodway” in its floodplain management ordinance.
ENCROACHMENT REVIEW
All projects in the regulatory floodway must undergo an encroachment review
to determine their effect on flood flows and ensure that they do not cause problems. Development projects in the flood fringe by definition do not increase flood
heights above the allowable level, so encroachment reviews are not needed.
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44 CFR 60.3(d)(3): [In the regulatory floodway, communities must] Prohibit encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements, and
other development within the adopted regulatory floodway unless it has been
demonstrated through hydrologic and hydraulic analyses performed in accordance with standard engineering practice that the proposed encroachment would
not result in any increase in flood levels within the community during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
The objective of this requirement and the floodplain management ordinance to
ensure that the floodway is reserved to do its natural job: carrying floodwater. The
preferred approach is to avoid all development there.
Once your community adopts its floodway, you must fulfill the requirements
of 44 CFR 60.3(d). The key concern is that each project proposed in the floodway
must receive an encroachment review, i.e., an analysis to determine if the project
will increase flood heights. You may also want to require that this review determine if the project will cause increased flooding downstream. Note that the regulations call for preventing ANY increase in flood heights. This doesn’t mean you
can allow a foot or a tenth of a foot – it means zero increase. If you do not limit
the increase to zero, small increases in flood heights from individual developments will cumulatively have significant impacts on flood stages and flood damages. Under NFIP minimum requirements, it is assumed that there will be no cumulative effects since the permissible rise for any single encroachment is zero.
Projects, such as filling, grading or construction of a new building, must be
reviewed to determine whether they will obstruct flood flows and cause an increase in flood heights upstream or adjacent to the project site.
Projects, such as such as grading, large excavations, channel improvements,
and bridge and culvert replacements, should also be reviewed to determine
whether they will remove an existing obstruction, resulting in increases in flood
flows downstream.
Your community may conduct the encroachment review, or you may require
the developer to conduct it. Most local permit officials are not qualified to make
an encroachment review, so most require that this be done by an engineer at the
developer’s expense.
As the permit reviewer, it is the community’s job to ensure that an activity
will not cause a problem. You have two options for doing this: For every project
you could require the applicant’s engineer to certify that there will be no rise in
flood heights or you can make the determination for minor projects.
Encroachment certification: To ensure that the encroachment review is done
right, you may want to require the developer to provide an encroachment certification. This is often called a “no-rise” certification because it certifies that the development project will not affect flood heights. An example of a form developed
by the North Carolina state coordinating agency is shown in Figure 5-5.
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The certification must be supported by technical data, which should be based
on the same computer model used to develop the floodway shown on the community's map.
“NO-RISE” CERTIFICATION
This is to certify that I am a duly qualified registered professional engineer licensed to practice in the State of
It is further to certify that the attached technical data supports the fact that
proposed
(Name of Development) will not impact the 100-year flood
elevations, floodway elevations, or floodway widths on
(Name of Stream) at published sections in the Flood Insurance Study for
_______________(Name of Community) dated
(Study Date) and will not impact the 100-year flood elevations, floodway elevations, or floodway widths at unpublished cross-sections in the vicinity of the proposed development.
Attached are the following documents that support my findings:
Date:
_____
Signature:
Title:
{SEAL}
Figure 5-5: Example no-rise certification
Although your community is required to review and approve the encroachment review, you may request technical assistance and review from the FEMA
Regional Office or state NFIP Coordinator. If this alternative is chosen, you must
review the technical submittal package and verify that all supporting data are included in the package before sending it to FEMA.
Minor projects: Some projects are too small to warrant an engineering study
and the certification. Many of these can be determined using logic and common
sense: a sign post or telephone pole will not block flood flows. Barbed wire farm
fences that will be pushed over or ripped out early in the flood may also be permitted without a certification; however, larger more massive fences could be an
obstruction to flood flows and may require an engineering study and certification.
A driveway, road or parking lot at grade (without any filling) won’t cause an obstruction, either.
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Building additions, accessory buildings, and similar small projects can be located in the conveyance shadow. This is the area upstream and downstream of an
existing building or other obstruction to flood flows. Flood water is already flowing around the larger obstruction, so the addition of a new structure will not
change existing flood flow.
Determining the limits of the conveyance shadow is illustrated in Figure 5-6.
Small structures located completely within the shadow can be permitted without
the engineering analysis needed for a no-rise certification.
Note: Just because a small structure can be located in the conveyance shadow,
it is still preferable to keep all development out of the floodway. Don’t forget: all
buildings must be elevated or otherwise protected from the base flood.
Figure 5-6. Determining the conveyance shadow
STREAMS WITHOUT FLOODWAY MAPS
If your community has a FIRM with base flood elevations along rivers or
streams, but no mapped floodway, you must evaluate all development to ensure
that it will not increase flood stages by more than one foot.
44 CFR 60.3(c)(10): [Communities must] Require until a regulatory floodway is
designated, that no new construction, substantial improvements, or other development (including fill) shall be permitted within Zones A1-30 and AE on the
community's FIRM, unless it is demonstrated that the cumulative effect of the
proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated
development, will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more
than one foot at any point within the community.
For the purposes of administering your ordinance, you should treat the entire
riverine floodplain as a floodway. You should require the same encroachment cerNFIP Requirements
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tification to ensure that a development project will not obstruct flood flows and
cause increased flooding on other property. This approach is recommended for all
other riverine floodplains without a mapped floodway.
In riverine floodplains where no floodway has been designated, the review
must demonstrate that the cumulative effect of the proposed development, when
combined with all other existing and anticipated development:
♦ Will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than
one foot at any point within the community, and
♦ Is consistent with the technical criteria contained in Chapter 5 (Hydraulic
Analyses) of the Flood Insurance Study: Guidelines and Specifications for
Study Contractors, FEMA-37, 1995.
This review must be required for all development projects, although you may
make the same judgments on minor projects as for floodways. You should pay
particular attention to developments that may create a greater than one-foot increase in flood stages, such as bridges, road embankments, buildings and large
fills.
Note: In some states, floodways are mapped based on allowing flood heights
to increase by less than one foot. In those states, the encroachment certification
must be based on that more restrictive state standard, not the FEMA standard that
allows a one-foot rise.
ALLOWABLE INCREASES IN FLOOD HEIGHTS
In some situations, it may be in the public interest to allow increase in flood
heights greater than those allowed under the NFIP regulations.
For example, it would be hard to build a flood control reservoir without affecting flood heights. Because a dam would have a major impact on flood heights,
there needs to be a way to permit such projects, especially those that are intended
to reduce flooding.
However, when the project will change the flood level, maps must be changed
to reflect the new hazard.
44 CFR 60.3(d)(4) Notwithstanding any other provisions of § 60.3, a community
may permit encroachments within the adopted regulatory floodway that would result in an increase in base flood elevations, provided that the community first applies for a conditional FIRM and floodway revision, fulfills the requirements for
such revisions as established under the provisions of § 65.12, and receives the
approval of the Administrator.
If your community proposes to permit an encroachment in the floodway or the
floodplain that will cause increases in the BFE in excess of the allowable level,
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you’re required to apply to the FEMA Regional Office for conditional approval of
such action prior to permitting the project to occur.
As part of your application for conditional approval, you must submit:
♦ A complete application and letter of request for conditional approval of a
change in the FIRM or a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR),
along with the appropriate fee for the change (contact the FEMA Regional
Office for the fee amount).
♦ An evaluation of alternatives which, if carried out, would not result in an
increase in the BFE more than allowed, along with documentation as to
why these alternatives are not feasible.
♦ Documentation of individual legal notice to all affected property owners
(anyone affected by the increased flood elevations, within and outside of
the community) explaining the impact of the proposed action on their
properties.
♦ Concurrence, in writing, from the chief executive officer of any other
communities affected by the proposed actions.
♦ Certification that no structures are located in areas which would be affected by the increased BFE (unless they have been purchased for relocation or demolition).
♦ A request for revision of BFE determinations in accordance with the provisions of 44 CFR 65.6 of the FEMA regulations.
Upon receipt of the FEMA conditional approval of the map change and prior
to approving the proposed encroachments, you must provide evidence to FEMA
that your community’s floodplain management ordinance incorporates the postproject condition BFEs.
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E. NEW BUILDINGS IN A ZONES BUILDINGS
Basic rule #4: New, substantially improved or substantially damaged buildings must be protected from damage by the base flood.
In this course, the term “building” is the same as the term “structure” in the
NFIP regulations. Your ordinance may use either term.
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Structure" means, for flood plain management purposes, a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is
principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home.
The term “building” or “structure” does not include open pavilions, bleachers,
carports and similar structures that do not have at least two rigid walls and a roof.
How to determine if a building is substantially improved or substantially damaged is discussed in Unit 8. In this unit, consider the term “building” as an allencompassing term that includes substantial improvements and repairs of substantial damage to a building.
Residential and nonresidential buildings are treated differently. A residential
building must have a higher level of protection—if it is to be built in the floodplain, it must be elevated above the BFE. Nonresidential buildings, on the other
hand, may be elevated or floodproofed (made watertight below the BFE).
ELEVATION
44 CFR 60.3(c)(2) [Communities must] Require that all new construction and
substantial improvements of residential structures within Zones A1-30, AE and
AH zones on the community's FIRM have the lowest floor (including basement)
elevated to or above the base flood level…
In Zones A1-A30, AE and AH, all new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures must be elevated so that the lowest floor (including
the basement) is elevated to or above the BFE. This can be done in one of three
ways:
♦ Elevation on fill.
♦ Elevation on piles, posts, piers or columns.
♦ Elevation on walls or a crawlspace.
Fill
Fill can be used by itself or in conjunction with other types of foundations to
raise the lowest floor of a building above the BFE. However, restrictions to the
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use of fill apply in floodways where fill would cause an increase in flood heights
and in V zones where it would act as an obstruction to waves.
Some communities require or encourage the use of fill to elevate residential
buildings because they consider fill a safer construction method since the building
itself is not in contact with floodwaters. Other communities limit the use of fill in
the flood fringe to protect flood storage capacity or require compensatory storage,
which is discussed in Unit 6, Section C.
Where fill is the method of choice, it should be properly designed, installed in
layers and compacted. Simply adding dirt to the building site may result in differential settling over time.
The fill should also be properly
sloped and protected from erosion
and scour during flooding. To
provide a factor of safety for the
building and its residents, it is recommended that the fill extend 10 – 15
feet beyond the walls of the building
before it drops below the BFE.
Piles, posts, piers or
columns
Piles, piers, posts or columns are
appropriate foundations for elevating
buildings above the BFE where there
is deeper flooding, fill is not feasible
or not allowed, or for areas with high
velocity flooding. Where flooding is
likely to have high velocities or
waves, leaving the area below the
building free of obstruction with no
lower area enclosure is preferred. As
illustrated in Figure 5-8, this permits
unrestricted flow of floodwater under
the building. There will be less force
applied to the building by
floodwaters and less impact on flood
heights than if solid walls were used.
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Figure 5-7. These two new buildings elevated on fill were not
damaged by this 100-year flood.
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Figure 5-8. Elevation on piers
Walls or crawlspace
The third elevation technique is to build on solid walls. In shallower flooding
areas, this elevation technique is the same as creating a crawlspace—a foundation
of solid walls that puts the lowest floor above the flood level. In deeper flooding
areas this often results in elevating the building a full story and creation of an enclosed area below the BFE.
When solid walls are used, care must be taken to ensure that hydrostatic or
hydrodynamic pressure does not damage the walls. As discussed in Unit 1, Section B, these water pressures can cause a solid wall to collapse damaging the elevated portion of the building.
There are two ways to prevent this:
♦ Stem walls can be used on two sides parallel to the flow of water. The
other two sides are kept open (Figure 5-9). This minimizes the obstruction
to floodwaters and lessens pressure on the foundation.
♦ The walls can be built with openings large enough to allow floodwaters to
flow in and out, preventing differential pressures on the walls. Openings
are required any time there is a fully enclosed area below the BFE. This is
discussed in more detail in the later section on enclosures.
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Figure 5-9: Building elevated on parallel stem walls.
Figure 5-10: Building elevated on crawlspace with openings.
When a crawlspace is used to elevate the building above the base flood elevation, it creates an enclosed area below the BFE that must meet all requirements
that apply to enclosures including the openings requirement (see the sections of
this Unit on Enclosures and Openings). In addition the floor of the crawlspace
must be at or above the lowest adjacent grade to the building to minimize hydro-
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static pressures against the crawlspace walls and the ponding of water within the
crawl space after a flood.
Recently FEMA issued a policy allowing communities to permit construction
of crawlspaces with their floors below grade in the Special Flood Hazard Area
(SFHA) under certain conditions. Communities that wish to allow below-grade
residential crawlspace construction must require that the interior grade of the
crawlspace is no more than two feet below the lowest adjacent grade, the height
of the crawlspace measured from the interior grade of the crawlspace to the top of
the crawlspace wall does not exceed four feet at any point, and the building meets
other limitations. These communities must adopt these requirements as part of
their floodplain management ordinance. Below-grade crawlspaces that meet these
requirements will not be considered basements, but the buildings will still have
higher flood insurance rates than if the same crawlspace had its floor at or above
lowest adjacent grade.
Technical Bulletin 11-01 Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in
Special Flood Hazard Areas provides a best practices approach for crawlspace
construction. While communities may allow below-grade crawlspace construction, the Technical Bulletin continues to recommend that the interior of the crawlspace be backfilled so that the interior grade is level to or higher than the lowest
adjacent grade (LAG) to the building. The Technical Bulletin offers appropriate
considerations and guidance for below-grade crawlspace construction. Communities that wish to allow below-grade crawlspaces should refer to the Technical Bulletin for the specific requirements that must be incorporated into their floodplain
management ordinance.
How high?
NFIP regulations require that the lowest floor of a building must be elevated
above the BFE. Note three things about this minimum requirement:
1. The term “lowest floor” includes a basement because all usable portions of
a building must be protected from flood damage.
44 CFR 59.1. Definitions: "Lowest Floor" means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other
than a basement area is not considered a building's lowest floor; provided, that
such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable non-elevation design requirements of section 60.3.
2. The minimum requirement is to elevate to the BFE. In the next unit, we
will discuss freeboard, an extra margin of protection that requires the lowest floors to be one or more feet above the BFE.
3. In A Zones, under the minimum NFIP requirement, the lowest floor is
measured from the top of the floor (Figure 5-11). However, all portions of
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the building below the BFE must be constructed with flood resistant materials and building utility systems (including ductwork) must be elevated
above the BFE or floodproofed (made watertight) to that elevation. To
meet these requirements, it is recommended that buildings on elevated
foundations, such as piles or a crawlspace, have supporting beams or floor
joists and building utility systems elevated to or above the BFE to protect
them from flood damage. This is generally easier than using flood resis-
tant materials for floor support systems or floodproofing building utility
systems.
Figure 5-11. In A Zones: the top of the
floor is the reference level
Elevation Certificate
Because most new buildings built in the floodplain are residences, elevating
them is one of the most important requirements of the NFIP. To ensure that a
building is elevated above the BFE, the lowest floor is surveyed and an elevation
certificate is obtained and kept by the local permit office. This is discussed in
more detail in Unit 7, Section G.
ENCLOSURES
Enclosures are areas created by a crawlspace or solid walls that fully enclose
areas below the BFE. They deserve special attention for two reasons:
♦ The walls of enclosed areas are subject to flood damage from hydrostatic
and hydrodynamic forces.
♦ People are tempted to convert enclosures that are intended to be flooded
into areas that can sustain damage in a flood.
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NFIP regulations allow certain uses in enclosures below the BFE because they
can be designed so that they are subject to minimal flood damage. Three uses are
allowed:
♦ building access
♦ vehicle parking
♦ storage.
The storage permitted in an enclosed lower area should be limited to that
which is incidental and accessory to the principal use of the structure. For example, if the structure is a residence, storage should be limited to items such as lawn
and garden equipment, bicycles, and snow tires which either have a low damage
potential or that can be easily moved to the elevated portion of the building if
there is a flood.
The floodplain regulation requirements can be easier to accept if owners and
builders are encouraged to think about the enclosed lower areas as usable space. If
a building has to be elevated, say, five feet above grade, the owner should be encouraged to go up eight feet. This allows the lower area to be used for parking—
and provides three extra feet of flood protection.
However, if the lower area is enclosed, there is a tendency for the owner to
forget about the flood hazard and convert the enclosure to a bedroom or other finished room. This must be prevented.
Since floodwaters are intended to enter the enclosure—it must be built of
flood-resistant materials (see the section on flood-resistant materials do determine
which are acceptable). Not allowed are finishings such as carpeting, paneling, insulation (both cellulose and fiberglass) and gypsum wallboard (also known as
drywall and sheet rock).
Utilities that serve the upper level also must be protected from flood damage.
Consequently, a furnace cannot be put in an enclosure unless it is located above
the BFE. This is explained in more detail in Engineering Principles and Practices
for Flood Damage-Resistant Building Support Utility Systems, FEMA 348, and
November 1999. When the lower area enclosure is used to provide access to the
upper level, a stairway can be designed that provides this access yet is resistant to
flood damage. Installing an elevator is more difficult, but there are ways to design
and install an elevator that will face minimal flood damage, as explained in Elevator Installation for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas, FIA-TB-4,
FEMA 1993.
Openings
As noted in Unit 1, solid walls can collapse from hydrostatic pressure if
floodwaters get too deep outside the building. To prevent this, an enclosure must
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have openings to allow floodwaters to enter and leave, thus automatically equalizing hydrostatic flood forces on both sides of the walls.
44 CFR 60.3(c)(5) [Communities must] Require, for all new construction and
substantial improvements, that fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor that
are usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area
other than a basement and which are subject to flooding shall be designed to
automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for
the entry and exit of floodwaters. Designs for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect or meet or exceed the following minimum criteria: A minimum of two openings having a total
net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area
subject to flooding shall be provided. The bottom of all openings shall be no
higher than one foot above grade. Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves, or other coverings or devices provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
You can be sure the openings are adequate by using one of two methods.
The first method is to have the design meet or exceed the following three criteria:
1. The bottom of the openings must be no higher than one foot above grade
(see Figure 5-12).
2. The openings shall be installed on at least two walls of the enclosure to
ensure that at least one will work if others get blocked or plugged.
3. Provide a minimum of two openings having a net area of not less than one
square inch for every square foot of enclosed area that is subject to flooding. If the area of the enclosure is 1,000 square feet, the area of the openings combined must total at least 1,000 square inches.
For example, removing a concrete block from a block wall results in an 8”
x 16” or 128 square inches opening (see Figure 5-12). To determine how
many openings would be needed, divide the square footage of the floor
area by 128.
Example 1: 1,280 square foot house = 10
128 square inches/opening
10 openings will be needed
Example 2: 2,000 square foot house = 15.62
128 square inches/opening
16 openings will be needed
If the opening is covered by a standard crawlspace vent cover or grate, the
net area of the opening must be used and the number of openings increased
accordingly. Net areas can be found on manufacturers specifications or estimated if specifications are not available.
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The second method of meeting the requirement is to have the design certified
by a registered professional engineer or architect as meeting the requirement to
automatically equalize hydrostatic forces on exterior walls by allowing for the
entry and exit of floodwaters. Under some circumstances it may be possible to
vary the size or location of the openings based on this certification.
Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves or other coverings or
devices to keep animals out of the enclosure. However, any covering must permit
the automatic flow of floodwater in both directions.
The opening sizes in the previous examples and in Figure 5-12 are based on
the size of standard crawlspace vents, which most building codes require to be
installed in a crawlspace for ventilation purposes. Often these are located close to
the floor in order to circulate air around the floor joists.
Figure 5-12. Opening location in solid foundation wall
Air vents are located well above the ground in an elevated house and would
not meet the NFIP requirement that the bottom of the opening be within one foot
of grade. However, NFIP requirements and building codes can be satisfied by the
same vents if they meet the three criteria listed above.
Garage doors cannot be used to satisfy this requirement because they do not
permit the automatic flow of floodwaters. However, garage doors may have vents
in them that meet the above criteria.
Openings are not required for stem wall foundations that have been backfilled
with a concrete floor slab poured that is supported by the fill.
For further guidance, refer to Openings in Foundation Walls, FIA-TB-1
(FEMA 1993).
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Use
Enclosed areas are designed to be flooded and can be used only for parking
vehicles, storage or access to the elevated living area—uses that can be designed
so they are subject to little or no flood damage.
The type of storage permitted in an enclosed lower area should be limited to
that which is incidental and accessory to the principal use of the structure. For instance, if the structure is a residence, the enclosure should be limited to storage of
lawn and garden equipment, snow tires, and other low damage items, which can
be conveniently moved to the elevated part of the building.
The interior portion of an enclosed area should not be partitioned or finished
into separate rooms, except to separate the garage from the access and storage areas.
If a building is elevated eight feet or more, regulating the use of the enclosure
presents special problems. Over time, the owner may forget the flood hazard and
want to convert the floodable area into a finished room. Such an action would increase the flood damage potential for the building and violate the conditions of
the building permit.
However, because the room is hidden behind walls, it can be very hard for the
permit office to catch such a conversion. You should carefully check new building plans for signs, such as roughed in plumbing and sliding glass doors that indicate that the owner may expect to finish the area in the future. You should also
clearly state on your permit what the limitations are on construction and use of the
enclosed area.
One way to help prevent conversions is to have the owner sign a nonconversion agreement. An example developed by the North Carolina State NFIP Coordinator is in Figure 5-13.
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This DECLARATION made this ___ day of __________, 20__, by __________________
(“Owner”) having an address at _________________________________________________
WITNESSETH:
WHEREAS, the Owner is the record owner of all that real property located at
____________________________ in the City of ______________________ in the County of
__________________, designated in the Tax Records as ___________________________.
WHEREAS, the Owner has applied for a permit or variance to place a structure on that property that either (I) does not conform, or (2) may be noncompliant by later conversion, to the strict
elevation requirements of Article _______ Section _______ of the Floodplain Management Ordinance of ______________ (“Ordinance”) and under Permit Number _______ (“Permit”).
WHEREAS, the Owner agrees to record this DECLARATION and certifies and declares that
the following covenants, conditions and restrictions are placed on the affected property as a condition of granting the Permit, and affects rights and obligations of the Owner and shall be binding on
the Owner, his heirs, personal representatives, successors and assigns.
UPON THE TERMS AND SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS, as follows:
1. The structure or part thereof to which these conditions apply is: __________________
_________________________________________________________________________ .
2. At this site, the Base Flood Elevation is _______ feet above mean sea level, National Geodetic Vertical Datum.
3. Enclosed areas below the Base Flood Elevation shall be used solely for parking of vehicles,
limited storage, or access to the building. All interior walls, ceilings and floors below the Base Flood
Elevation shall be unfinished or constructed of flood resistant materials. Mechanical, electrical or
plumbing devices shall not be installed below the Base Flood Elevation.
4. The walls of the enclosed areas below the Base Flood Elevation shall be equipped and remain equipped with vents as shown on the Permit.
5. Any alterations or changes from these conditions constitute a violation of the Permit and
may render the structure uninsurable or increase the cost for flood insurance. The jurisdiction issuing the Permit and enforcing the Ordinance may take any appropriate legal action to correct any
violation.
6.
Other
conditions:
_________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________
In witness whereof the undersigned set their hands and seals this _______ day of
______________, 20 __.
____________________________
Owner
____________________________
Witness
____________________________ (Seal)
____________________________ (Seal)
Figure 5-13: Example Nonconversion agreement
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FLOODPROOFING
Nonresidential buildings must be elevated or floodproofed. If they are elevated, they must meet the same standards as for residential buildings that were
just reviewed. Elevation is the preferred method of flood protection because it is
more dependable. Elevated commercial and industrial buildings can often be designed so that they can continue to operate during a flood reducing or eliminating
business disruptions. Also, it will generally prove to be less expensive to elevate
a non-residential building than to floodproof it. However, there will be situations
where floodproofing may be the only feasible alternative for protecting a nonresidential building.
44 CFR 59.1. Definitions: "Flood proofing" means any combination of structural
and non-structural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures which reduce
or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and
sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
44 CFR 60.3(c)(3) [Communities must] Require that all new construction and
substantial improvements of non-residential structures within Zones A1-30, AE
and AH zones on the community's firm (i) have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or above the base flood level or, (ii) together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities, be designed so that below the base flood level the
structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and with structural components having the capability of resisting hydrostatic
and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy;
44 CFR 60.3(c)(4) [Communities must] Provide that where a non-residential
structure is intended to be made watertight below the base flood level, (i) a registered professional engineer or architect shall develop and/or review structural
design, specifications, and plans for the construction, and shall certify that the
design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards
of practice for meeting the applicable provisions of paragraph (c)(3)(ii) or (c)(8)(ii)
of this section, and (ii) a record of such certificates which includes the specific
elevation (in relation to mean sea level) to which such structures are floodproofed
shall be maintained with the official designated by the community under
§59.22(a)(9)(iii);
For the purposes of regulating new construction, floodproofing is defined
measures incorporated in the design of the building so that below the BFE:
♦ Walls are watertight (substantially impermeable to the passage of water),
♦ Structural components can resist hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and
effects of buoyancy, and
♦ Utilities are protected from flood damage.
Most floodproofing is appropriate only where floodwaters are less than three
feet deep, since walls and floors may collapse under higher water levels.
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A registered professional engineer or architect must prepare the building plans
and certify the floodproofing measures, preferably using the FEMA Floodproofing Certificate form. This is discussed in more detail in Unit 7, Section G.
Floodproofing techniques that require human intervention are allowed but
should be discouraged. Human intervention means that a person has to take some
action before the floodwater arrives, such as turn a valve, close an opening or
switch on a pump. There are many potential causes of failure for these techniques,
including inadequate warning time, no person on duty when the warning is issued,
the responsible person can’t find the right parts or tools, the person is too excited
or too weak to install things correctly, and/or the electricity fails.
Before you approve plans for a building that relies on human intervention to
be floodproofed, you should make sure that there are plans and precautions to
keep such problems from occurring. Techniques that rely on human intervention
should only be allowed in areas with adequate warning time and in situations
where there will be someone present who is capable of implementing or installing
the required measures.
More information on floodproofing can be found in FEMA’s Technical Bulletin 3-93, Non-Residential Floodproofing Requirements and Certification for
Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (FIA-TB-3. 1993)
How high?
The minimum NFIP requirement is to floodproof a building to the BFE. However, when it is rated for flood insurance, one foot is subtracted from the floodproofed elevation. Therefore, a building has to be floodproofed to one foot above
the BFE to receive the same favorable insurance rates as a building elevated to the
BFE. Unit 9, Section B, discusses this in more detail.
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BASEMENTS
For the purposes of the NFIP, a basement is defined as any area that is subgrade on all sides. The “lowest floor” of a building is the top of the floor of the
basement if there is a basement. Since the “lowest floor” of a residential building
must be at or above the BFE, it will be highly unusual to construct a basement in a
floodplain that met these requirements.
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Basement" means any area of the building having its
floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
Note that “walkout basements,” "daylight basements" or "terrace levels" are
usually subgrade on only three sides, with the downhill side at or above grade.
Thus, they are not considered basements for either floodplain management or
flood insurance rating purposes (but they are still the lowest floor of a building for
floodplain management and insurance rating purposes). If these areas are used
only for parking, access, or storage and they meet other ordinance requirements,
they can be regulated as enclosures below an elevated building and not be considered the lowest floor of the building.
On the other hand, cellars, the lower level of a split-level or bi-level house,
garden apartments and other finished floors below grade are considered basements under NFIP regulations.
Since the lowest floor of a residential building must be above the BFE, the
only way to build a residential basement in the floodplain under NFIP minimum
requirements is if it is elevated on fill and surrounded by fill. Floodproofed nonresidential basement are allowed, provided they meet the requirements discussed
in the previous section on floodproofing.
BASEMENT EXCEPTIONS
A few communities have obtained exceptions to the NFIP regulations that allow them to permit floodproofed residential basements. The soil types and flooding conditions in these communities allow construction of floodproofed basements that are not subject to damage by hydrostatic or hydrodynamic forces.
A community may apply for an exception to allow floodproofed residential
basements if it can demonstrate flood depths are less than five feet, velocities are
less than five feet per second, there is adequate warning time for the site and it has
appropriate construction requirements. This exception is explained in 44 CFR
60.6(c).
Buildings with floodproofed basements must have their design certified by a
registered engineer or architect and are more difficult and more expensive to construct than buildings elevated above the BFE. Improperly designed or constructed
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basements can collapse or otherwise fail resulting in major damage to the structure.
BASEMENTS AND LOMR-F AREAS
It has become a common practice in some areas of the country to fill an area
to above the BFE and then obtain a Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMRF) to remove the land from the floodplain. Once the land is no longer in the
floodplain, the builder obtains permits to build residences with basements below
the BFE. This practice has raised a number of issues and concerns:
♦ The procedure was being used to get around community floodplain management ordinances.
♦ Buildings with basements below BFE were being built too close to the
edges of these fills that could be subject to severe flood damage if the
basement walls are subjected to hydrostatic pressure from surface water or
groundwater during flooding.
♦ LOMR-Fs for nearly identical buildings were being granted or not granted
based on the date the LOMR was applied for and not on the risk to the
building.
FEMA issued a final rule on May 4, 2001 revising LOMR-F procedures to
address these issues. The new procedure places responsibility back in the hands
of the community by requiring that, before a LOMR-F is granted, the community
sign a community acknowledgement form and make findings that:
♦ The project, including any buildings, meets all the requirements of the
community’s floodplain management ordinance, and
♦ Any existing or future development on the filled area is “reasonably safe
from flooding”.
FEMA will not act on a LOMR-F request without this acknowledgement.
44 CFR 65.2(c) “Reasonably safe from flooding” means that base flood waters
will not inundate the land or damage structures to be removed from the SFHA
and that any subsurface waters related to the base flood will not damage existing or proposed buildings.”
FEMA has issued Technical Bulletin 10-01 Ensuring That Structures Built on
Fill In or Near Special Flood Hazard Areas Are Reasonably Safe From Flooding
to provide guidance on how to make the determination that an area is “reasonably
safe from flooding”. The risk to buildings built in these areas will vary depending on soil conditions, the location of the building relative to the edge of the fill,
and whether the building will have a basement below the BFE.
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The safest method of constructing a building on filled land removed from the
SFHA is to elevate the entire building above BFE. If basements are to be built in
these areas, Technical Bulletin 10-01 provides a simplified method for determining whether those basements will be “reasonably safe from flooding”.
Communities have asked for guidance on how they can ensure that future
buildings placed on the property will be “reasonably safe from flooding” since,
once the LOMR-F is issued, the land is no longer in the SFHA and generally is
not subject to their floodplain management ordinance. Communities have several
options they can use.
They can withhold signing the acknowledgement until the LOMR-F applicant
provides sufficient information on the location and type of proposed buildings to
evaluate those building sites against the criteria in Technical Bulletin 10-01. For
example, the community could require submission of a subdivision plat or grading
plan showing future building locations.
They could adopt or use other requirements that allow them to ensure any future buildings on the filled property remain reasonably safe from flooding. For
example, a community may have building code requirements to ensure that any
future basements are properly constructed to resist damage from groundwater.
Technical Bulletin 10-01 provides a number of other alternatives for ensuring
that unimproved land is “reasonably safe from flooding” and stays that way.
Communities have the option of requiring that the applicant submit any engineering information necessary to make the determination.
The criteria in Technical Bulletin 10-01 can also be used to ensure that buildings built with basements that are adjacent to the floodplain are constructed in a
way that minimizes potential damages from groundwater during a flood.
For further information, see Technical Bulletin 10-01 Ensuring that structures
Built on Fill in or Near Special Flood Hazard Areas are Reasonably Safe from
Flooding in Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program (TB 10-01).
ANCHORING
44 CFR 60.3(a)(3) …If a proposed building site is in a flood-prone area, all new
construction and substantial improvements shall (i) be designed (or modified)
and adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement of
the structure resulting from hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including the effects of buoyancy…
Both elevated and floodproofed buildings must be properly anchored to stabilize them against flood forces. This means anchoring the building to its foundation and ensuring that the foundation won’t move. Therefore, you need to make
sure there is adequate protection against hydrostatic and hydrodynamic forces and
erosion and scour that can undercut the foundation.
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In areas of shallow flooding and low flood velocities, normal construction
practices suffice. Additional anchoring measures, such as reinforcing crawlspace
walls, using deeper footings, using extra bolts to connect the sill to the foundation,
or installing rods to connect the cap to the sill, should be required in three situations:
♦ Where the flood flows faster than five feet per second.
♦ In coastal areas subject to waves and high winds.
♦ In manufactured or mobile homes (see the section on Manufactured Homes for details).
In some areas it may be necessary to use foundations such as piles or piers
which provide less resistance to floodwaters.
If your community has any of these conditions, you should see if there are
state standards that take these into account, such as state coastal construction or
manufactured housing (mobile home) tie-down regulations. If not, it is recommended that the builder’s architect or engineer sign a statement saying the design
of the building includes “anchoring adequate to prevent flotation, collapse and
lateral movement” during the base flood.
FLOOD-RESISTANT MATERIAL
Whether a building is elevated or floodproofed, it is important that all parts
exposed to floodwaters be made of flood-resistant materials (Figure 5-14). This
includes all portions of the building below the BFE including foundation elements
such as floor beams and joists and any below BFE enclosures.
44 CFR 60.3(a) (3) …If a proposed building site is in a flood-prone area, all new
construction and substantial improvements shall (ii) be constructed with materials
resistant to flood damage…
“Flood-resistant materials” include any building product capable of withstanding direct and prolonged contact with floodwaters without sustaining significant
damage. “Prolonged contact” means at least 72 hours, and “significant damage” is
any damage requiring more than low-cost cosmetic repair (such as painting).
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♦ Concrete, concrete block or glazed brick
♦ Clay, concrete or ceramic tile
♦ Galvanized or stainless steel nails, hurricane clips and connectors (in areas
subject to saltwater flooding)
♦ Indoor-outdoor carpeting with synthetic backing (do not fasten down)
♦ Vinyl, terrazzo, rubber or vinyl floor covering with waterproof adhesives.
♦ Metal doors and window frames.
♦ Polyester-epoxy paint (do not use mildew-resistant paint indoors, especially on cribs, playpens or toys because it contains an ingredient that is
toxic)
♦ Stone, slate or cast stone (with waterproof mortar)
♦ Mastic, silicone or polyurethane formed-in-place flooring. Styrofoam insulation
♦ Water-resistant glue
♦ Pressure treated (.40 CCA minimum) or naturally decay resistant lumber,
marine grade plywood
Figure 5-14: Flood-resistant materials
For further details on flood-resistant material requirements, refer to FEMA
Technical Bulletin 2-93, Flood-Resistant Materials Requirements for Buildings
Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas.
ACCESSORY STRUCTURES
Certain accessory structures may not qualify as “buildings.” For example,
open structures, such as carports, gazebos and picnic pavilions that do not have at
least two rigid walls, are not “buildings” and do not have to be elevated or floodproofed.
In some cases, low-cost accessory buildings may be wet-floodproofed and do
not have to be elevated or dry floodproofed. These structures could include detached garages and small boathouses, pole barns and storage sheds. Such structures must meet these requirements:
♦ The owner must obtain a variance (contact your FEMA Regional Office
on procedures for this type of variance),
♦ The building must be used only for parking or storage,
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♦ The building must have the required openings to allow floodwaters in and
out,
♦ The building must be constructed using flood resistant materials below the
BFE,
♦ The building must be adequately anchored to resist floatation, collapse,
and lateral movement, and
♦ All building utility equipment including electrical and heating must be
elevated or floodproofed.
Wet floodproofing involves using flood-resistant materials below the BFE and
elevating things subject to flood damage above the BFE. Items that should be installed above the BFE include electrical boxes, switches and outlets. Only the
minimum amount of electrical equipment required by code may be located below
the BFE, and that equipment must be flood damage resistant.
For additional guidance, see Wet Floodproofing Requirements, FIA-TB-7,
FEMA 1994, and Engineering Principles and Practices for Flood DamageResistant Building Support Utility Systems.
MANUFACTURED HOMES
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Manufactured home" means a structure, transportable
in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed
for use with or without a permanent foundation when attached to the required
utilities. The term "manufactured home" does not include a "recreational vehicle".
Manufactured homes include not only manufactured homes that meet HUD
manufactured home standards, but also older mobile homes that pre-date these
standards.
Elevation
Generally, manufactured homes must meet the same flood protection requirement as “stick built” or conventional housing. Since they are usually residential
buildings, they must be elevated so the lowest floor is above the BFE.
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44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Manufactured home park or subdivision" means a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home
lots for rent or sale.
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: “Existing manufactured home park or subdivision”
means a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed
(including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets,
and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed before
the effective date of the floodplain management regulations adopted by the
community.
44 CFR 60.3(c)(6) Require that manufactured homes placed or substantially improved within Zones A1-30, AH, and AE on the communities FIRM on sites (i)
Outside of a manufactured home park or subdivision, (ii) In a new manufactured
home park or subdivision, (iii) In an expansion to an existing manufactured home
park or subdivision, or (iv) In an existing manufactured home or subdivision on
which a manufactured home has sustained “substantial damage” as the result of
a flood, be elevated on a permanent foundation such the lowest floor of the
manufactured home is elevated to or above the base flood elevation and be securely anchored to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist floatation
collapse and lateral movement.
44 CFR 60.3(c)(12) Require that manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved on sites in an existing manufactured home park or subdivision
within Zones A-1-30, AH, and AE on the community's FIRM that are not subject
to the provisions of paragraph (c)(6) of this section be elevated so that either (I)
the lowest floor of the manufactured home is at or above the base flood elevation, or (ii) the manufactured home chassis is supported by reinforced piers or
other foundation elements of at least equivalent strength that are no less than 36
inches in height above grade and be securely anchored to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist floatation, collapse, and lateral movement.
44 CFR Section 60.3(c)(6) establishes the basic elevation and anchoring requirements that apply to most manufactured home placements including those
outside of manufactured home parks and subdivision and in new manufactured
home parks and subdivisions. These manufactured homes must have their lowest
floors at or above the BFE. These requirements also apply to manufactured
homes placed in expansions to existing manufactured home parks and on sites
where manufactured homes are substantially damaged by a flood. As with stickbuilt housing, all parts of the manufactured home below the BFE must be constructed with flood resistant materials and building utility systems must either be
elevated or made watertight to the BFE. The best way to meet this requirement is
to elevate the bottom of the manufactured home chassis to this elevation. See
FEMA’s Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas, FEMA-85, for
additional guidance
44 CFR Section 60.3(c)(12) allows for a limited exemption to elevating to the
BFE for sites in existing manufactured housing (mobile home) parks. These older
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manufactured home parks were established before Flood Insurance Rate Maps
(FIRMs) were issued for the community and before the community adopted a
floodplain management ordinance that meets NFIP requirements. In such older
parks, a newly placed manufactured home chassis must be “supported by reinforced piers or other foundation elements of at least equivalent strength that are
no less than 36 inches in height above grade.”
This exemption does not apply to repairing or replacing a manufactured home
on a site in an existing manufactured home park where a manufactured home has
been substantially damaged by a flood.
This exemption is a compromise that tries to balance the flood hazard against
the severe economic impacts on some manufactured home park owners that
would result if elevation to the BFE were required. There are often practical difficulties in elevating manufactured homes to the BFE in many of the older parks
due to small lot sizes and the split ownership of the manufactured home and the
lot itself. The exemption may not be necessary or appropriate for your community, especially if manufactured home parks are able to meet the requirement to
elevate to the BFE. In other areas, the flood hazard may be so severe that the exemption may put lives and property at too great a risk. Many states have not included this exemption in their model ordinances and it may not be in your regulations.
Anchoring
44 CFR 60.3(c)(6) …[Manufactured homes must] be elevated on a permanent
foundation … and be securely anchored to an adequately anchored foundation
system to resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement.
A “permanent foundation” means more than a stack of concrete blocks. It
should include a below-grade footing capable of resisting overturning, the depth
needs to account for frost depth and expected scour, the footing must be sized appropriately for the site’s soil bearing capacity, and the design needs to account for
seismic and other hazards.
The following types of permanent foundations can be used:
♦ Reinforced piers,
♦ Post-tensioned piers
♦ Posts,
♦ Piles,
♦ Poured concrete walls,
♦ Reinforced block walls, or
♦ Compacted fill.
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“Adequately anchored” means a system of ties, anchors and anchoring equipment that will withstand flood and wind forces. The system must work in saturated soil conditions. Usually this means over-the-top or frame tie-downs in addition to standard connections to the foundation.
Most states have manufactured home tie-down regulations. Check with your
state NFIP coordinator to see if your state’s regulations also meet the NFIP anchoring standard. If so, you need only make sure that the state requirement is met
for each new manufactured home installed in your floodplain.
If not, see FEMA’s Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas,
FEMA-85, for additional guidance on anchoring. The anchoring requirement
does apply in an existing (pre-FIRM) manufactured housing or mobile home park.
Even if the manufactured home is not elevated above the BFE, the anchoring system must still withstand the forces of a flood over the first floor.
Evacuation: In some areas, there is adequate warning time to remove a manufactured home from harm’s way. Protecting such property should not be discouraged, so FEMA allows an evacuated manufactured home to be put back on the
original site in an existing manufactured home park without having to meet the
requirements for siting a new manufactured home. Since much can go wrong in
trying to evacuate a manufactured home, evacuation is not a substitute for permanently protecting the manufactured home by elevating it to or above the BFE.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLES
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Recreational vehicle" means a vehicle which is:
(a) built on a single chassis;
(b) 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;
(c) designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck;
and
(d) designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
A recreational vehicle placed on a site in an SFHA must:
♦ Meet the elevation and anchoring requirements for manufactured homes,
OR
♦ Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days, OR
♦ Be fully licensed and ready for highway use. “Ready for highway use”
means that it is on its wheels or jacking system is attached to the site only
by quick disconnect type utilities and has no permanently attached additions.
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The purpose of this requirement is to prevent recreational vehicles from being
permanently placed in the floodplain unless they are as well protected from flooding as a manufactured home.
The NFIP does not have minimum requirements for recreational vehicle parks
or campgrounds other than the limitations on the placement of recreational vehicles. Recreational vehicle parks and campgrounds are often good uses for floodplains, particularly when flooding usually occurs during seasons when these facilities are not in use or where there is plenty of warning time prior to a flood.
These facilities should not be permitted in flash flood areas since there may be
loss of life if flooding occurs as well as loss of the recreational vehicles.
AO AND AH ZONES
AO Zones are shallow flooding areas where FEMA provides a base flood
depth. Since there is no BFE, the rules read a little differently.
All new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures
shall have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated above the highest adjacent grade:
♦ At least as high as the depth number specified in feet on the community's
FIRM, or
♦ At least two feet if no depth number is specified.
All new construction or substantial improvements of nonresidential structures
shall meet the above requirements or, together with attendant utility and sanitary
facilities, be floodproofed to the same elevation.
AH Zones are also shallow flooding areas, but have BFEs. Buildings in AH
zones must meet the same requirements as in AE zones.
In AO and AH Zones, adequate drainage paths are required around structures
on slopes to guide floodwater around and away from proposed structures. (Requiring this throughout the community is a good idea, as it will prevent local
drainage problems from causing surface flooding.)
A99 AND AR ZONES
An A99 Zone is an SFHA that will be protected by a Federal flood control
project that is currently under construction and which meets specified conditions.
An AR Zone is an SFHA that used to be a B, C or X Zone that used to be protected by an accredited flood control system. The system has been decertified but
is in the process of being restored to provide protection to the base flood level.
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When the flood control systems are completed or restored, the areas in A99
and AR Zones are expected to be remapped and taken out of the SFHA. Until
then, they are treated as SFHA for insurance purposes and there are some floodplain management requirements.
A99 and AR Zones are special situations—few exist. If you have one, you
should contact your state NFIP coordinating agency or FEMA Regional Office for
guidance on regulatory requirements for you situation.
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F. NEW BUILDINGS IN V ZONES
Zones V1-30, VE and/or V identified on FIRMs designate high hazard areas
along coastlines that are subject to flooding from storm surge and wave impacts
during coastal storms and hurricanes. Different construction standards apply in
V-zones to help buildings withstand these wave impacts. See Unit 3 for information on how V-zones are designated. Many V Zones are also subject to erosion
and scour which can undercut building foundations.
Basic rule #5: Due to wave impacts, V Zones have special building protection standards in addition to the requirements for A Zones.
This section identifies only those building protection requirements that differ
from the A Zone criteria. Unless mentioned in this section, all A Zone standards
apply for new and substantially improved buildings in V Zones. If your community contains V-zones, you will need more information than is contained in this
section to adequately regulate coastal construction. You should obtain a copy of
FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual, FEMA-55 (May 2000) and, if possible,
attend a course on coastal construction offered by FEMA, your state, or a building
code organization.
BUILDING LOCATION
New or substantially improved buildings in V Zones must be located landward of the reach of mean high tide. They cannot be built over water. In fact, it’s
best to be as far back from the shore as possible in order to avoid the more dangerous areas subject to waves and erosion. The ability of a building to withstand
wave impacts increases the farther it is set back from the shore.
Avoid areas of sand dunes and mangroves. Human alteration of sand dunes
and mangrove stands within V Zones is prohibited unless it can be demonstrated
that such alterations will not increase potential flood damage.
Both of these natural features are protected against alteration because they are
important first lines of defense against coastal storms and can do much to reduce
losses to inland coastal development.
Generally, you can assume that any removal or other alteration of a sand dune
will increase flood damage. The burden should be placed on the permit applicant
to demonstrate that this will not occur. This will require a report by a coastal engineer or geologist.
ELEVATION ON PILES OR COLUMNS
All new construction and substantial improvements to buildings in V Zones
must be elevated on pilings, posts, piers or columns.
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44 CFR 60.3(e)(4) [The community must] Provide that all new construction and
substantial improvements in Zones V1-30 and VE, and also Zone V if base flood
elevation data is available, on the community's FIRM, are elevated on pilings and
columns so that (i) the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the
lowest floor (excluding the pilings or columns) is elevated to or above the base
flood level…
Other methods of elevating buildings —on fill, solid walls or crawlspaces—
and floodproofing are prohibited because these techniques present obstructions to
wave action. The force of a breaking wave is so great that these types of foundations would be severely damaged, resulting in collapse of the building. Waves
can also ramp up on fill and reach the elevated portions of the building.
Construction on piles or columns allows waves to pass under the building
without transmitting the full force of the waves to the building’s foundation. A
special case is made for installing breakaway walls between the pilings or columns, but such walls are not supporting foundation walls.
While fill is not allowed for structural support for buildings within V Zones
because of the severe erosion potential of such locations, limited fill is allowed for
landscaping, local drainage needs, and to smooth out a site for an unreinforced
concrete pad. However, this fill cannot in any way obstruct the flow of water under the building.
How high? Within V
Zones, the controlling elevation is the bottom of the lowest
horizontal
structural
member of the lowest floor.
(In comparison, within A
Zones, the controlling elevation is the top of the lowest
floor.) This is to keep the
entire building above the anticipated breaking wave
height of a base flood storm
surge.
Figure 5-15: In V Zones, the lowest floor is
measured from the bottom of the lowest
horizontal structural member
Wind and water loads
The design of the supporting foundation must account for wind loads in combination with the forces that accompany the base flood. Cross bracing and proper
connections are key to doing this.
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44 CFR 60.3(e)(4) …(ii) [The community must ensure that] the pile or column
foundation and structure attached thereto is anchored to resist flotation, collapse
and lateral movement due to the effects of wind and water loads acting simultaneously on all building components. Water loading values used shall be those
associated with the base flood. Wind loading values used shall be those required
by applicable State or local building standards. A registered professional engineer or architect shall develop or review the structural design, specifications and
plans for the construction, and shall certify that the design and methods of construction to be used are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for
meeting the provisions of (e)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section.
Piles made of wood, steel, or pre-cast concrete are preferred over block columns and similar foundations that are less resistant to lateral forces. Pilings are
necessary in areas subject to erosion and scour, but it is critical that they be embedded deep enough (Figure 5-16).
Figure 5-16: Piles must be embedded well below the scour depth
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Figure 5-17: This house had inadequate
pile embedment and cross bracing
Certification
Designing and constructing a V-zone building requires the involvement of a
design professional to ensure that the building will withstand the combined forces
of wind and wave impact. A registered professional engineer or architect must
develop or review the structural design, specifications and plans for the construction, and certify that the design and planned methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the above provisions.
You must maintain a copy of the engineer’s or architect’s certification in the
permit file for all structures built or substantially improved in the V Zone.
The North Carolina Division of Emergency Management has prepared a VZone certification form (Figure 5-18) to ensure that these requirements are met.
This is provided as an example. Check with your state NFIP coordinator to see if
your state has developed a V Zone certification form.
BREAKAWAY WALLS
The preferred method of constructing a V-zone building is to leave the area
below the elevated floor free of obstruction or to enclose the area only with latticework or insect screening. That way waves can freely flow under the building
without placing additional loads on the foundation. The only solid walls allowed
below the lowest floor in a building in a V Zone are breakaway walls that will
give way under wind and water loads without causing collapse, displacement or
other damage to the elevated portion of the building or the supporting pilings or
columns. Just as in A Zones, this space enclosed by these walls is to be used
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solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage, and must be constructed
of flood-resistant material.
Figure 5-18: Sample V Zone certification
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44 CFR 60.3(e)(5) [The community must] Provide that all new construction and
substantial improvements within Zones V1-30, VE, and V on the community's
FIRM have the space below the lowest floor either free of obstruction or constructed with non-supporting breakaway walls, open wood lattice-work, or insect
screening intended to collapse under wind and water loads without causing collapse, displacement, or other structural damage to the elevated portion of the
building or supporting foundation system. For the purposes of this section, a
breakaway wall shall have a design safe loading resistance of not less than 10
and no more than 20 pounds per square foot. Use of breakaway walls which exceed a design safe loading resistance of 20 pounds per square foot (either by
design or when so required by local or State codes) may be permitted only if a
registered professional engineer or architect certifies that the designs proposed
meet the following conditions:…
Solid breakaway walls are allowed, as are garage doors that meet the same
breakaway requirements. Solid breakaway walls are intended to collapse under
the force of wave impacts without damaging the buildings foundation or the elevated portion of the building. All solid breakaway walls should have their designs
certified by a registered professional engineer or architect. This can be done as
part of the anchoring certification discussed earlier in this section.
The area enclosed by solid breakaway walls should be limited to less than 300
square feet because:
♦ Flood insurance rates increase dramatically for enclosures larger than 300
square feet.
♦ Larger areas encourage conversion to habitable living areas, which are difficult to detect and enforce as violations and which can sustain significant
damage during a storm.
COASTAL AE ZONES
NFIP regulations apply the same minimum requirements to both coastal AE
zones and riverine AE zones. FEMA has concluded that these standards may not
provide adequate protection in coastal AE zones subject to wave effects, velocity
flows, erosion, scour, or combinations of these forces. Wave tank studies have
shown that breaking waves considerably less than the 3-foot criteria used to designate VE zones can cause considerable damage.
FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual, FEMA-55 (May 2000) and other recent FEMA publications have introduced the concept of Coastal AE Zone to encourage use of V-zone construction methods and standards in these areas. For
example, pile or column or other open foundations are more likely to withstand
wave impacts than other types of foundations. If your community contains
Coastal AE Zones, you are encouraged to revise your ordinances to apply all or
some of the VE zone standards to these areas.
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G. OTHER REQUIREMENTS
The primary thrust of the NFIP regulations is to protect insurable buildings
and reduce future exposure to flood hazards. However, there are some additional
requirements that help ensure that the buildings stay habitable and additional
flood problems are not created.
SUBDIVISIONS
As noted in Section B of this unit, once you obtain base flood elevations for a
subdivision or other large development, new buildings must be properly elevated
or floodproofed. These subdivisions and developments must also be reviewed to
ensure they are reasonably safe from flood damage.
44 CFR 60.3(a)(4) [The community must] Review subdivision proposals and
other proposed new development including manufactured home parks or subdivisions, to determine whether such proposals will be reasonably safe from flooding. If a subdivision proposal or other proposed new development is in a floodprone area, any such proposals shall be reviewed to assure that (i) all such proposals are consistent with the need to minimize flood damage within the floodprone area, (ii) all public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical, and
water systems are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage, and (iii) adequate drainage is provided to reduce exposure to flood hazards;
This review applies to subdivisions and other development, such as apartments, parks, shopping centers, schools and other projects.
If a site is floodprone, the builder should:
♦ Minimize flood damage by locating structures on the highest naturalground.
♦ Have public utilities and facilities located and constructed so as to minimize flood damage.
♦ Provide adequate drainage for each building site.
The site plans of new development and proposed plats for subdivisions can
usually be designed to minimize the potential for flood damage while still achieving the economic goals of the project. For example, lot size could be reduced and
the lots clustered on high ground, with building sites having views of the floodplain. See Unit 6 for ideas on how subdivisions can be designed to minimize
flood damages.
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WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS
44 CFR 60.3(a)(5) [The community must] Require within flood-prone areas new
and replacement water supply systems to be designed to minimize or eliminate
infiltration of flood waters into the systems; and
44 CFR 60.3(a)(6) [The community must] Require within flood-prone areas (i)
new and replacement sanitary sewage systems to be designed to minimize or
eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems and discharges from the systems into flood waters and (ii) onsite waste disposal systems to be located to
avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
The objective of these requirements is to ensure that a building that is protected from flood damage can still be used after the flood recedes.
In most instances, these criteria can be met through careful system design.
Manholes should be raised above the 100-year flood level or equipped with seals
to prevent leakage. Pumping stations should have electrical panels elevated above
the BFE.
On-site waste disposal systems should be located to ensure they will not release contamination in a flood and can be used after flood waters recede. The first
objective should be to locate the system outside the flood hazard area, if that is
feasible. At a minimum, an automatic backflow valve should be installed to prevent sewage from backing up into the building during flooding.
WATERCOURSE ALTERATIONS
44 CFR 60.3(b)(6) [The community must] Notify, in riverine situations, adjacent
communities and the State Coordinating Office prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse, and submit copies of such notifications to the [Federal Insurance] Administrator;
The community must notify adjacent communities and the appropriate state
agency prior to altering or relocating any river or stream within its jurisdiction.
Copies of such notifications must be submitted to the FEMA Regional Office.
44 CFR 60.3(b)(7) [The community must] Assure that the flood carrying capacity
within the altered or relocated portion of any watercourse is maintained;
Any alteration or relocation of a watercourse should not increase the community's flood risks or those of any adjacent community. This could happen if the
watercourse's capacity to carry flood flow is reduced because a smaller or lessefficient channel is created, or by modifications to the floodway as a result of the
project. You must ensure that the altered or relocated channel has at least the capacity of the old channel. For any significant alteration or relocation, you should
consider requiring the applicant to have an engineer certify that the flood-flow
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carrying capacity is maintained and that there will be no increase in flood flows
downstream.
After altering a watercourse, the developer has created an artificial situation
and must assume responsibility for maintaining the capacity of the modified
channel in the future. Otherwise, flooding is likely to increase as the channel silts
in, meanders or tries to go back to its old location.
Federal and state permits may be required for any alteration or relocation activity. It is recommended that the community require the submittal and approval
of a CLOMR from FEMA for large-scale proposals (see CLOMR procedures discussion in Unit 4, Section D).
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UNIT 6:
ADDITIONAL REGULATORY
MEASURES
In this unit
The NFIP encourages states and communities to implement floodplain management programs that go beyond NFIP minimum
requirements since local flood hazards vary and what makes sense in
one state or community may not make sense in another. This unit
begins with a discussion of the problems that can arise when regulations are so restrictive they effectively “take” people’s freedom to use
their properties. Although NFIP minimum requirements have not
been held by the Courts as a “taking”, it may become an issue in
States and communities that adopt more restrictive regulations.
It then describes some of the more common regulatory approaches
that exceed the NFIP’s minimum standards that result in a better and
more appropriate local floodplain management program. These include:
♦ State required regulatory standards,
♦ Higher local standards,
♦ Regulations that address special flood hazards, and
♦ Environmental protection regulations.
Additional Regulatory Measures
6-1
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Contents
Introduction.................................................................................................... 6-4
A. Taking ............................................................................................................. 6-5
B. State Regulatory Standards ............................................................................. 6-9
C. Higher Regulatory Standards ........................................................................ 6-11
Location Restrictions ................................................................................... 6-12
Highly hazardous areas .......................................................................... 6-12
Subdivision design ................................................................................. 6-12
Setbacks ................................................................................................. 6-14
Manufactured homes.............................................................................. 6-15
Natural areas .......................................................................................... 6-15
Low-density zoning ............................................................................... 6-15
Bulding Requirements ................................................................................. 6-16
Freeboard ............................................................................................... 6-16
Foundation standards ............................................................................. 6-17
Safety Requirements .................................................................................... 6-18
Critical facilities..................................................................................... 6-18
Hazardous materials............................................................................... 6-19
Dry land access ...................................................................................... 6-19
Encroachment Standards.............................................................................. 6-20
Compensatory Storage ................................................................................. 6-21
Stormwater Management ............................................................................. 6-22
Temporary Moratorium ............................................................................... 6-23
D. Flood Hazards of Special Concern................................................................ 6-24
Coastal Erosion ............................................................................................ 6-24
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-25
Tsunamis ...................................................................................................... 6-25
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-25
Closed Basin Lakes...................................................................................... 6-26
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-26
Uncertain Flow Paths................................................................................... 6-27
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-27
Dam Breaks.................................................................................................. 6-28
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-28
Additional Regulatory Measures
6-2
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Ice Jams........................................................................................................ 6-29
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-29
Mudflows ..................................................................................................... 6-29
Regulatory standards.............................................................................. 6-29
E. Environmental Protection Measures.............................................................. 6-31
Strategies...................................................................................................... 6-31
Federal Regulations ..................................................................................... 6-32
Wetland Protection....................................................................................... 6-32
Rare and Endangered Species...................................................................... 6-33
On-site Sewage Disposal ............................................................................. 6-33
Facilities Siting ............................................................................................ 6-33
Water Quality Regulations........................................................................... 6-33
Special Designations.................................................................................... 6-34
Additional Regulatory Measures
6-3
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INTRODUCTION
44 CFR 60.1(d) The criteria set forth in this subpart are minimum standards for
the adoption of flood plain management regulations by flood-prone… communities. Any community may exceed the minimum criteria under this Part by
adopting more comprehensive flood plain management regulations utilizing the
standards such as contained in Subpart C of this part. In some instances, community officials may have access to information or knowledge of conditions that
require, particularly for human safety, higher standards than the minimum criteria
set forth in Subpart A of this part. Therefore, any flood plain management regulations adopted by a State or a community which are more restrictive than the
criteria set forth in this part are encouraged and shall take precedence.
The NFIP regulatory standards are minimums. They may not be appropriate
for every local situation or unique circumstances.
Therefore, states and communities are encouraged to enact more restrictive
requirements where needed to better protect people and properties from the local
flood hazard.
This unit reviews the more common approaches to this.
Many of these more restrictive requirements are eligible
for credit under the Community Rating System (CRS), a
program which provides insurance premium discounts to
policyholders in communities with more restrictive floodplain management programs (see Unit 9, Section C). Where
CRS credit is provided, it is highlighted with this CRS
logo.
Additional Regulatory Measures
6-4
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A. TAKING
Why not simply tell people that they can’t build in the floodplain? If we did,
we wouldn’t have to worry about new buildings getting flooded and the regulations would be simple to administer: Just say “No.”
While this regulatory standard appears desirable, it has one fatal legal problem: It could be a “taking.”
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states, “Nor shall property be taken
for public use without just compensation.” The Constitution contains this provision because in England, the king could take property and use it for his own
purpose—such as quartering troops or hunting— without compensation.
The term “taking” has come to mean any action by a government agency that
relieves a person of his or her property without payment.
Government agencies possess the authority to acquire privately owned land.
Under the power of eminent domain, they can acquire land without the owner’s
agreement provided the acquisition clearly is for a demonstrably public purpose
and official condemnation proceedings are followed. Some common examples of
eminent domain actions are:
♦ Purchase of land for roads and public works projects.
♦ The development of public park land.
♦ Utility acquisition of rights of way for transmission lines, etc.
Courts have ruled that a taking may also occur when the government enacts a
law, standard or regulation that limits the use of the land to the extent that the
owner has been deprived of all of his or her economic interest in using the property. Thus, the government has “taken” the property under a legal provision
known as inverse condemnation.
In cases where a court has found a taking, the governmental body has been required to compensate the property owner. Often, though, the regulations are
retracted as applied to that property.
Usually, courts undertake a complicated balancing of public and private interests in deciding a taking issue. The courts will consider such factors as:
♦ Regulatory objectives.
♦ The harm posed by uncontrollable development.
♦ Reasonableness of the regulations.
♦ Severity of the economic impact upon the private property owner.
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Figure 6-1. Selected cases of challenges to land use regulations
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Very restrictive floodplain regulations and the regulatory standards of the
NFIP have been challenged as a taking in a number of cases. Figure 6-1 summarizes important cases challenging the legality or constitutionality of NFIP or
similar land use regulations.
Most NFIP criteria are performance standards that do not prohibit development of a floodplain site provided the performance standards are met. For
example, development in the floodway is prohibited only if it increases flood
heights. Permit applicants who can find a way to develop in the floodway without
increasing the flood problem are permitted to do so. These performance-oriented
standards of the NFIP have never been ruled as a taking. This is highly significant, given that more than 19,000 communities administer floodplain
management ordinances.
Although it may be more costly to build according to the NFIP standards and,
in some instances, it may not be economical to develop a property, the performance standard is a valid exercise of the police power because it is based on a
legitimate public purpose: preventing flood damage. Floodway requirements in
particular are defensible because they prevent the actions of one property owner
from increasing flood damage to his or her neighbors.
The NFIP regulatory criteria have not lost a taking case because they allow
any floodprone site to be built on as long as precautions are taken to protect new
structures and neighboring property from flood damage. The owners are not
denied all economic uses of their properties as long as their construction accounts
for the level of hazard.
Some courts have supported regulatory standards that are more restrictive than
NFIP regulations, such as complete prohibitions of new buildings or new residences in the floodway. These cases tied the prohibition to the hazard and the
need to protect the public from hazards created by the development.
Regulations need to be reasonable. For example, a complete prohibition of
development in a shallow flooding area where there is no velocity may not be
considered as “reasonable” by a court.
The rationale does not always have to be tied to property damage. For example, in upholding the State’s prohibition of new buildings in the floodway, the
Illinois Supreme Court noted that while buildings could be protected, the residents
would be surrounded by moving water during floods, preventing access by emergency vehicles.
“The prohibition takes into consideration not only the concern about preventing further flooding, but also the concern about the need to provide disaster relief
services and the need for the expenditure of state funds on shelters and rescue
services for victims of flooding.” (Beverly Bank v. Illinois Department of Transportation, September 19, 1991).
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The lesson is that before your community enacts a regulatory provision that
severely restricts the use of property, your community’s attorney should review
the provision to be sure it will not be overturned as a taking. Regulatory standards
that are reasonable, tied to the hazard and support public objectives should be
upheld.
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B. STATE REGULATORY STANDARDS
All states now allow communities to regulate development to the NFIP standards. Some states also require that their communities regulate to a higher
standard for certain aspects of floodplain management.
This section reviews the more common state requirements. If your ordinance
was based on a state model, you should be compliant with all state requirements
as well as the NFIP standards.
According to a 1995 survey by the Association of State Floodplain Managers
(ASFPM), 24 states have some kind of riverine standards more restrictive than
those of the NFIP. Of those, 10 require that communities regulate to the higher
standard; three states have opted to implement and enforce the higher standard
directly; and 10 states use a combination of both approaches.
Eight states prohibit buildings or residences from their floodways at least in
some areas. Twelve states allow less than the NFIP’s one-foot rise in the floodway. States are more likely to regulate some or all of the floodways than the flood
fringes, because they require more technical expertise than those that apply to the
fringe and because the impacts of floodway development are more extensive,
often going beyond local corporate limits.
The ASFPM survey found that 32 states have enacted some regulations governing shoreline development. For states with ocean or bay coasts, this regulatory
authority is usually implemented under the state's coastal zone management program. All the Great Lakes states have lakeshore regulatory standards or permit
programs, usually administered as part of state shoreland management programs.
Twenty-three states now have standards for their coastal high hazard areas
that exceed those of the NFIP. Sixteen states regulate areas subject to coastal
erosion. Sixteen states have regulations or standards to preserve or protect sand
dunes and 16 states regulate or set higher standards for lakeshore areas.
Nineteen states have stricter building construction requirements than does the
NFIP. The most common additional standard is freeboard (requiring new buildings to be elevated higher than the base (100-year) flood level). This standard may
apply to all buildings in the floodplain or only to certain types, such as new jails,
hospitals, nursing homes, mobile home parks, or hazardous materials facilities.
Here are some other common state regulatory requirements:
♦ 25 states either directly regulate the handling and storage of stormwater in
their jurisdictions or establish standards that communities must meet.
♦ 30 states have regulations or standards for the control of erosion and sediment.
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♦ 23 have either direct regulations or state standards to restrict or prohibit
some or all development within a certain distance from bodies of water.
♦ 16 of those have setbacks for coastal and/or lakeshore areas.
♦ 14 states have special rules for areas that lie below dams or are protected
by levees.
♦ 30 states have adopted measures to regulate hazardous materials in floodplains
♦ 29 states have special public health standards that apply to floodplains
Twenty-four state governors have issued a directive to their state agencies on
floodplain management. Most of these were implemented to meet the minimum
NFIP requirements but many go beyond them. Five states have wetlands policy
set by executive order, five have orders on hazard mitigation or disaster recovery,
and two states have other resource protection executive orders that affect floodplains.
For more information on which states have which requirements, see Floodplain Management 1995: State and Local Programs, Association of State
Floodplain Managers, 1995.
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C. HIGHER REGULATORY STANDARDS
FEMA has established minimum floodplain management requirements for
communities participating in the NFIP. Communities must also enforce more
restrictive State requirements. However, communities should seriously consider
enacting regulations that exceed the minimum state and federal criteria.
In fact, the NFIP requires communities to at least consider additional measures which are found in 44 CFR 60.22, Planning Considerations for Floodprone
Areas. They are summarized in Figure 6-2.
(a) The floodplain management regulations adopted by a community for floodprone areas
should:
(1)
Permit only that development of floodprone areas which
(i) is appropriate in light of the probability of flood damage
(ii) is an acceptable social and economic use of the land in relation to the hazards
involved
(iii) does not increase the danger to human life
(2) Prohibit nonessential or improper installation of public utilities and public facilities.
(b) In formulating community development goals after a flood, each community shall consider:
(1) Preservation of the floodprone areas for open space purposes
(2) Relocation of occupants away from floodprone areas
(3) Acquisition of land or land development rights for public purposes
(4) Acquisition of frequently flood-damaged structures.
(c) In formulating community development goals and in adopting floodplain management
regulations, each community shall consider at least the following factors:
(1) Human safety
(2) Diversion of development to areas safe from flooding
(3) Full disclosure to all prospective and interested parties
(4) Adverse effects of floodplain development on existing development
(5) Encouragement of floodproofing to reduce flood damage
(6) Flood warning and emergency preparedness plans
(7) Provision for alternative vehicular access and escape routes
(8) Minimum retrofitting requirements for critical facilities
(9) Improvement of local drainage to control increased runoff
(10) Coordination of plans with neighboring community’s floodplain management programs
(11) Requirements for new construction in areas subject to subsidence
(12) Requiring subdividers to furnish delineations for floodways
(13) Prohibition of any alteration or relocation of a watercourse
(14) Requirement of setbacks for new construction within V Zones
(15) Freeboard requirements
(16) Requirement of consistency between state, regional and local comprehensive plans
(17) Requirement of pilings or columns rather than fill to maintain storage capacity
(18) Prohibition of manufacturing plants or facilities with hazardous substances
(19) Requirements for evacuation plans
Figure 6-2: NFIP planning considerations (44 CFR 60.22)
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Some of the more common approaches taken by communities to better regulate floodplain development are explained in this section.
LOCATION RESTRICTIONS
Where the hazard is so severe that certain types of development should be
prohibited, a location restriction provision may be appropriate. Some communities prohibit some or all development in all or parts of their floodplains. A
common approach is to prohibit particular structures in the floodway or areas
exceeding certain flood depths or velocities.
Because this is the most restrictive higher regulatory provision, location restriction language has to be drafted carefully to avoid a taking challenge.
Sometimes, a community can tie transfers of development rights or other benefits
to a development that avoids the flood hazard area. These types of “win – win”
situations benefit everyone and reduce the potential for challenging the ordinance.
Highly hazardous areas
Prohibiting development makes sense in high hazard areas, where people are
exposed to a life-threatening situation even though buildings could be protected
from flood damage. For example, it would be appropriate to prohibit development
at the apex of an alluvial fan or along a narrow floodplain in a stream valley that
is susceptible to flash flooding.
Subdivision design
Undeveloped land, still in large tracts, offers the best opportunity to limit
where certain types of development will be located. When a developer wants to
subdivide the land, communities have many tools to arrange the development so
that buildings are kept out of the floodplain or at least the building sites are located in the least hazardous areas of the floodplain. This has two advantages over
simply requiring the buildings to be protected from flooding:
♦ Buildings aren’t isolated by floodwaters, putting a strain on local emergency services to guard them or evacuate or rescue their occupants, and
♦ The neighborhood will have waterfront open space and recreation areas –
a valuable amenity in most communities.
A housing development can be clustered, as shown in Figure 6-3, so the developer can sell the same number of home sites as a conventional subdivision.
Check your state laws on whether cluster development can be mandated or just
encouraged during the subdivision review process.
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Figure 6-3. Clustering can keep buildings out of smaller floodplains
(Source: Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas)
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As explained in pages 17-25 of the American Planning Association’s Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas, the planner’s toolbox contains other tools for
encouraging developers to avoid floodplains. A density transfer can be used to,
say, trade development rights with a flood-free site. Credits or bonuses can be
given to increase the allowable density if the developer puts building sites on high
ground or does not disturb a wetland.
The planned unit development (PUD) approach offers developers flexibility in
planning the entire area. For example, a PUD may have a cluster development
with houses closer together than allowed under normal zoning lot line setbacks.
Subdivision and planning regulations also can mandate that a certain portion
of a development be set aside as open space for recreation or stormwater management purposes. Developers find that it is cheaper to put the open space in the
floodplain than to put buildings there that have to incorporate the more expensive
floodplain requirements. Linear parks and greenways that connect the open space
areas through a community are becoming more and more popular and help sell
new developments.
The Community Rating System credits land development criteria that discourage development in floodplains
under Activity 430LD in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual
and the CRS Application. See also CRS Credit for Higher
Regulatory Standards for example regulatory language.
Setbacks
Setbacks may be used to keep development out of harm’s way while at the
same time achieving other community purposes. Setback standards establish
minimum distances that structures must be positioned—set back—from river
channels and coastal shorelines. Setbacks can be defined by vertical heights or
horizontal distances.
While floodplain boundaries are defined by vertical measures, horizontal setbacks also provide protection from flood damage, especially in coastal areas
where the effects of waves decrease further inland.
For coastal shorelines, setback distances act as buffer zones against beach erosion. In riverine situations, setbacks prevent disruption to the channel banks and
protect riparian habitat. Such setbacks are frequently created to serve as isolation
distances to protect water quality, and stream and wetland resources.
Setbacks from watercourses have been used to minimize the effect of nonpoint sources of pollution caused by land development activities, timber harvesting and agricultural activities. Solid waste landfills and on-site sewage disposal
systems often are restricted within certain distances of a body of water.
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The Community Rating System credits setbacks that
prevent disruption to shorelines, stream channels and their
banks under Activity 430, Section 431.g.2 in the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application. See also
CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards for example
regulatory language.
Manufactured homes
Many communities have adopted provisions prohibiting the placement of
manufactured (mobile) homes in the floodway. Check your ordinance. This used
to be a minimum requirement of the NFIP and may still be on your books.
Natural areas
The natural functions and values of floodplains coupled with their hazardous
nature have led communities to promote and guide the less intensive use and
development of floodplains. More and more municipalities are requiring that
important natural attributes such as wetlands, drainage ways and floodplain areas
be set aside as open space as a condition to approving subdivision proposals.
The Community Rating System provides substantial
credit for preserving floodplain areas as open space. If buildings and filling are prohibited, credit is found under Activity
420 Open Space Preservation, Section 421.a in the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application. If the area
has been kept in or restored to its natural state, more credit is
provided under Section 421.c.
Low-density zoning
When a community prepares its land use plan and zoning ordinance, it should
consider what uses and densities are appropriate for floodplains. If buildings are
not prohibited entirely, the community should zone its floodplains for agricultural
or other low-density use to reduce the number of new structures.
For example, it’s better to have a floodplain zoned for agricultural or conservation use with a minimum lot size of 20 or 40 acres than to allow four singlefamily homes to every acre. In some areas, “residential estate” zones with minimum lot sizes of two to five acres provide lots large enough that homes can be
built out of the floodplain.
Some states have land use planning laws that require local plans before enacting a zoning ordinance. Some—including Oregon, Florida, New Hampshire and
Hawaii—mandate that local plans account for floods and other natural hazards.
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The Community Rating System provides substantial
credit for zoning floodplains with low-density uses under
Activity 430LZ Low Density Zoning in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application.
BUILDING REQUIREMENTS
Freeboard
Freeboard is an additional height requirement above the base flood elevation
(BFE) that provides a margin of safety against extraordinary or unknown risks.
This reduces the risk of flooding and makes the structure eligible for a lower flood
insurance rate.
While not required by the NFIP standards, your community is encouraged to
adopt at least a one-foot freeboard to account for the one-foot rise built into the
concept of designating a regulatory floodway and the encroachment requirements
where floodways are not identified.
Other reasons for considering a freeboard are that it:
♦ Accounts for future increases in flood stages if additional development occurs in the floodplain.
♦ Accounts for future flood increases due to upstream watershed development.
♦ Acts as a hedge against backwater conditions caused by ice jams and debris dams.
♦ Reflects uncertainties inherent in flood hazard modeling, topography,
mapping limitations and floodplain encroachments.
♦ Provides an added measure of safety against flooding.
♦ Results in significantly lower flood insurance rates due to lower flood risk.
Freeboard safety factors are common in the design of flood control projects
and floodplain development. Many communities have incorporated freeboard
requirements into the elevation and floodproofing requirements stipulated by the
NFIP. Freeboard requirements adopted by communities range from six inches to
four feet.
When constructing a new elevated building, the additional cost of going up
another foot or two is usually negligible. Elevating buildings above the flood level
also reduces flood insurance costs for current and future owners.
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Figure 9-3 shows the insurance rates for a post-FIRM single-family dwelling.
Note that the higher the building is above the BFE, the lower the rate. These rates
are based on the true or actuarial cost of insuring a building in the floodplain. By
adding one foot of freeboard above the BFE, the cost for the first layer of coverage is reduced from 45 cents per $100 of coverage to 26 cents. This shows how
the extra foot reduces the potential for flood damage.
The Community Rating System credits freeboard under
Activity 430, Section 431.a in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application. See also CRS Credit for
Higher Regulatory Standards for example regulatory language.
Foundation standards
Without a safe and sound foundation, an elevated building can suffer damage
from a flood due to erosion, scour or settling. The NFIP regulations provide performance standards for anchoring new buildings and foundation and fill
placement standards for floodproofed buildings and V Zones.
However, the NFIP performance standards do not specify how a buildings’
foundations are to be constructed. Especially in areas where an engineer’s certificate is not required by the NFIP regulations, more specific foundation
construction standards would help protect buildings from flood damage.
One option is to require that a registered professional engineer or architect
certify the adequacy of elevated building foundations and the proper placement,
compaction and protection of fill when it is used in building elevation. This is an
ordinance requirement in the New Orleans area where subsidence threatens so
many buildings.
The national model building codes address building foundations and the
proper placement, compaction and protection of fill. You and your building department should review how these standards are enforced.
An alternative is to require a specific construction standard, such as requiring
the V Zone standard for new structures in coastal AE and AH Zones. Coastal AE
Zones are of particular concern, since they are subject to wave action of up to
three feet in height and the NFIP A Zone construction standards do not address
this hazard.
The Community Rating System credits foundation protection under Activity 430, Section 431.b in the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application. See also
CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards for example
regulatory language.
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SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
Critical facilities
For some activities and facilities, even a slight chance of flooding poses too
great a threat. These should be given special consideration when formulating
regulatory alternatives and floodplain management plans.
The following are examples of the types of critical facilities that should be
given special attention:
♦ Structures or facilities that produce, use, or store highly volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic and/or water-reactive materials.
♦ Hospitals, nursing homes and housing likely to have occupants who may
not be sufficiently mobile to avoid injury or death during a flood.
♦ Police stations, fire stations, vehicle and equipment storage facilities, and
emergency operations centers that are needed for flood response activities
before, during and after a flood.
♦ Public and private utility facilities that are vital to maintaining or restoring
normal services to flooded areas before, during and after a flood.
A critical facility should not be located in a floodplain. Communities often
prohibit critical or hazardous facilities or uses from the floodway, the V Zone, or
the entire floodplain. While a building may be considered protected from the base
flood, a higher flood or an error on the builder’s or operator’s part could result in
a greater risk than the community is willing to accept.
If a critical facility must be located in a floodplain, then it should be designed
to higher protection standards and have flood evacuation plans. The more common standards—freeboard, elevation above the 500-year floodplain and elevated
access ramps—should be required.
According to Executive Order 11988, federal agencies must meet rigorous alternative site evaluations and design standards before funding, leasing or building
critical facilities in the 500-year floodplain. Executive Order 11988 is discussed
further in Section E of this unit.
The Community Rating System provides credits
for prohibiting critical facilities from the 500-year
floodplain or requiring them to be protected from
damage by the 500-year flood in Activity 430. See the
CRS Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application.
See CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards for
example regulatory language.
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Hazardous materials
While prohibiting or protecting hazardous materials from the floodplain
makes sense, it would be wise to have specific standards in your ordinance. The
following lists were taken from the Corps of Engineers’ Flood Proofing Regulations. The first is of items that are extremely hazardous or vulnerable to flood
conditions so they should be prohibited from the SFHA or even the 500-year
floodplain:
Acetone
Ammonia
Benzene
Calcium carbide
Carbon disulfide
Celluloid
Chlorine
Hydrochloric acid
Prussic acid
Magnesium
Nitric acid
Oxides of nitrogen
Phosphorus
Potassium
Sodium
Sulfur
The following items are sufficiently hazardous that larger quantities they
should be prohibited in any space below the base flood elevation
Acetylene gas containers
Storage tanks
Lumber /buoyant items
Gasoline
Charcoal/coal dust
Petroleum products
Larger quantities of the following items should be prohibited in any space below the base flood elevation
Drugs
Food products
Matches/sulfur products
Soaps/detergents
Tires
Dry land access
Fire prevention, evacuation and rescue operations are common emergency response activities associated with flooding. The effectiveness and success of these
efforts greatly depend on readily available access. However, streets and roads are
usually the first things to be inundated in the event of a flood.
To ensure access, some communities have enacted ordinance provisions requiring that all roads and other access facilities be elevated to or above the BFE.
Some require elevation to within one foot of the BFE so at least fire and rescue
equipment can travel on them during a flood.
While some local officials may feel that this approach is too restrictive, it is
important to note that emergency response personnel die every year attempting to
rescue flood-stranded citizens. Also, others may die or be seriously injured because they cannot be rescued in time.
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Figure 6-4: Four people died in a 1978 flood in this critical facility.
This nursing home in Rochester, Minnesota, was isolated by high velocity
floodwaters. Because there was no dry land access, firefighters could not
rescue the occupants.
Naturally, there are some areas with floodplains so extensive that a developer
cannot be expected to connect his development to high ground. As with all regulatory standards, you must carefully weigh the local hazard, the regulation’s
objectives, and the costs and benefits of meeting the standard before you draft
new ordinance language.
The Community Rating System has credited dry land access provisions under Activity 430, Section 431.i in the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application.
ENCROACHMENT STANDARDS
Some states and communities are not comfortable with allowing development
in the flood fringe to increase flood heights by up to a foot. A one-foot increase in
flood heights will increase the potential for flood damage to floodprone buildings
and affect properties that were otherwise not threatened by the base flood. This is
especially true in flat areas where a one-foot increase can extend the floodplain
boundary by blocks.
These states and communities require floodway mapping and encroachment
studies to allow a smaller surcharge, usually 0.5 or 0.1 foot. Twelve states require
that regulatory maps use a smaller floodway mapping surcharge than the NFIP’s
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one-foot minimum standard. This results in a wider floodway, but less potential
for increased flood losses due to future development.
In Minnesota, one watershed district took another regulatory approach, enacting regulations that restricted encroachments in the flood fringe to 20 percent of
the total floodplain area. In Washington State, some communities treat higher
velocity and deeper flood fringe areas as floodways and make development in
those areas comply with the floodway construction standards.
The Community Rating System credits more restrictive
floodway mapping standards under Activity 410 Additional
Flood Data, Section 411.c in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual
and the CRS Application.
COMPENSATORY STORAGE
The NFIP floodway standard in 44 CFR 60.3(d) restricts new development
from obstructing the flow of water and increasing flood heights. However, this
provision does not address the need to maintain flood storage. Especially in flat
areas, the floodplain provides a valuable function by storing floodwaters. When
fill or buildings are placed in the flood fringe, the flood storage areas are lost and
flood heights will go up because there is less room for the floodwaters. This is
particularly important in smaller watersheds that respond sooner to changes in the
topography.
For this reason, some communities adopt more restrictive standards that regulate the amount of fill or buildings that can displace floodwater in the flood fringe.
One simple approach is to prohibit filling and buildings on fill—all new buildings
must be elevated on columns or flow-through crawlspaces.
Check your statutory authority, because in some states buildings are allowed
only if they are on fill. Some communities prefer buildings on fill because floodwaters do not come in contact with the building’s foundation and it provides a
safe spot above flood levels outside the building walls.
Another approach is to require compensatory storage to offset any loss of
flood storage capacity. The developer is required to offset new fill put in the
floodplain by excavating an additional floodable area to replace the lost flood
storage area. This should be done at “hydraulically equivalent” sites—fill put in
below the 10-year flood elevation should be compensated by removal of soil
below that elevation elsewhere in the floodplain.
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The Community Rating System credits prohibition of
fill and compensatory storage under Activity 430, Section
431.f in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application. See CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards
for example regulatory language.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
A floodplain management program in an urbanizing area must confront the
increase in flood flows caused by development within the watershed. As forests,
fields and farms are covered by impermeable surfaces like streets, rooftops and
parking lots, more rain runs off at a faster rate. In an urbanized area, the rate of
runoff can increase fivefold or more.
Changes in the surface drainage system compound this problem. Stormwater
runoff travels faster on streets and in storm drains than it did under predevelopment conditions. As a result, flooding is more frequent and more severe
(Figure 1-13). Efforts to reduce the impact of increased runoff that results from
new development in a watershed are known as stormwater management.
One way to reduce the impact of stormwater from new development is to require the developer to restrict the rate at which the increased runoff leaves the
property. The developer must build a facility to store stormwater runoff on the
site.
Under stormwater detention, the stored water is held for release at a restricted
rate after the storm subsides. Under stormwater retention, stormwater runoff is
held for later use in irrigation or groundwater recharge, or to reduce pollution.
As an alternative to using a uniform standard for all areas, many communities
regulate development according to a master plan that analyzes the combined
effects of existing and expected development on stormwater and flood flows in
the watershed. Such watershed-specific regulations may allow different amounts
of runoff for different areas in order to control the timing of increased flows into
the receiving streams.
Instead of requiring developers to build stormwater facilities on-site, a plan
may require them to contribute funds for a regional facility. By planning the
runoff from entire watersheds, this approach can be more effective in reducing
increases in downstream flooding.
Stormwater management also has water quality aspects, and includes efforts
to reduce erosion and the entry of sediment and pollutants into receiving streams.
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The Community Rating System credits both water quantity and water quality stormwater management regulations
and plans under Activity 450 in the CRS Coordinator’s
Manual and the CRS Application. See also CRS Credit for
Stormwater Management for example regulatory language.
TEMPORARY MORATORIUM
Following a flood, a number of communities have imposed moratoriums on
rebuilding in the damaged area, effectively prohibiting floodplain development.
Often, temporary measures are put in place after a flood to allow time to plan for
acquisition, relocation, or redevelopment of the area, or to install flood control
projects.
A temporary moratorium should specify when it will be lifted, such as “within
three months or when the plan is completed, whichever is sooner.” An open ended
moratorium may be viewed by a court as a taking, since the owner has no idea
when he or she will be allowed to build or rebuild.
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D. FLOOD HAZARDS OF SPECIAL CONCERN
The mapping and regulatory standards of the NFIP do not completely address
every flood problem in the United States. Certain floodplains and flood-related
hazards are more destructive and harder to map than riverine, coastal and shallow
flooding.
Unit 1 introduced these flood hazards, so we won’t discuss them in detail
here. This section reviews the more common regulatory standards appropriate to
each hazard.
In addition to regulations, communities should address these special hazards
in their planning, public information, hazard disclosure and flood warning programs.
More information on these hazards and the Community
Rating System credit for mapping and managing them is
found in CRS Credit for Special Hazard Areas.
COASTAL EROSION
Coastal erosion occurs to properties in the coastal floodplain and to properties
on bluffs above the floodplain. Estimates are that 24 percent of the Atlantic,
Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes coasts face significant erosion.
Special erosion rate maps are needed to regulate new construction to protect it
from coastal erosion. Normally, 30-, 60- or 100-year erosion zones are used.
Erosion zones are generally calculated by multiplying the annual rate of erosion
times the number of years of protection to be provided.
The 30-year erosion zone is the area that will likely erode over the next 30
years. It is measured inland from a known point, such as the dune or vegetation
line. Erosion zones are “moving targets.” They can change each year as the dune
or vegetation line moves inland (or seaward). Erosion rates also vary over the
years, moving at a faster or slower rate than the annual average.
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Regulatory standards
There are NFIP regulatory performance standards and planning considerations
for erosion-prone areas in 44 CFR 60.5 and 60.24, respectively. As with 44 CFR
60.3, the NFIP requirements are keyed to the type of hazard data provided by
FEMA. Since there are no FEMA erosion-prone maps published yet, there are no
NFIP requirements for managing erosion-prone areas. Therefore, Sections 60.5
and 60.24 should be viewed as advisory.
Several states have erosion management requirements. Their typical regulatory standards include:
♦ All new buildings must be located landward of
the 30-year erosion zone
♦ All larger buildings must be located landward of the 60-year erosion zone
♦ Deeper pilings and special foundation provisions
♦ Traffic restricted on sand dunes and other protective features
For more information, contact your state’s coastal zone management office.
See also FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual.
TSUNAMIS
A tsunami is a wave or series of waves generated at sea or near shore by an
earthquake, volcano or landslide. Tsunamis can move as fast as 1,000 kilometers
per hour from their point of origin, usually in the Pacific Ocean.
Tsunamis pose two special hazards: a short warning time and very deep flooding.
Tsunamis are hard to recognize at sea but when they reach shallow water, a
wave builds up. The effect is more like a rise in sea level than a breaking wave. In
narrow areas, where water is concentrated, the resulting water level can be very
high, in some areas as much as 20 or 30 feet above normal tides.
Tsunami inundation areas generally are not mapped by FEMA because they
are not considered a normal condition of flooding. However, recent federal-state
efforts have improved the availability of maps and data for the Pacific states. For
more information on tsunami maps, contact your state’s emergency management
or coastal zone management office.
Regulatory standards
The best regulatory approach is to use an estimated tsunami flood level or the
BFE, whichever is higher. Keeping new buildings out of the area that lies below
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that elevation, or protecting them from flood damage below that elevation, would
be appropriate. If not all new buildings can be prohibited, at least critical facilities
and/or high-occupancy buildings should be prevented from locating in the area
that will have little advance warning of a flood.
A community should also tie development of a tsunami-prone area to the
availability of a warning system. Without adequate warning, occupying such an
area can be deadly.
See also CRS Credit for Management of Pacific and Caribbean Tsunami Hazards.
CLOSED BASIN LAKES
Two types of lakes pose special hazards to adjacent development:
♦ Lakes with no outlets, like the Great Salt Lake, Utah, Devil’s Lake, North
Dakota, and the Salton Sea, California; and
♦ Lakes with inadequate, regulated or elevated outlets, such as the Great
Lakes and many glacial lakes.
These are referred to as “closed basin lakes.” Closed basin lakes are subject
to large fluctuations in elevation that can persist for weeks, months or years.
Closed basin lakes were formed in almost every part of the United States:
♦ Glaciers scoured out lakes in the northern tier of states and Alaska.
♦ Tectonic action created lakes with no outlets (playas) in the western U.S.
♦ Channel migration formed oxbow lakes along the Mississippi and other
large rivers.
♦ Sinkhole lakes formed where there are large limestone deposits at or near
the surface and adequate surface water and rainfall to dissolve the limestone.
Regulatory standards
As with tsunamis, the key to regulating these areas is to determine the appropriate regulatory flood elevation that will likely be higher than the BFE. The
elevation can be determined by studying historical or geological records, or identifying the elevation of the lowest point where water can leave.
Areas lower than the regulatory elevation should have construction standards
that protect buildings and their occupants from prolonged flooding. Other than
prohibiting new buildings entirely, the best approach is to require:
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♦ Construction of new buildings on fill above the regulatory elevation. The
fill should be engineered and placed to resist wave action.
♦ Protection of utilities
♦ Access from dry land.
♦ Alternatives to septic systems, which won’t work under water.
♦ Alternatives to on-site wells, which would be polluted when floodwater
mixes with ground water.
For more information, see CRS Credit for Management
of Areas Adjacent to Closed Basin Lakes and Reducing
Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas: A Guidebook for
Local Officials.
UNCERTAIN FLOW PATHS
This hazard includes alluvial fans and moveable bed streams. They occur in
hilly or mountainous areas rich in sediments and where precipitation is not sufficient to carry the sediments downstream as rapidly as they accumulate. In the
United States, these conditions exist primarily in the arid and semi-arid regions
west of the Great Plains, although there are alluvial fans in Alaska and Appalachia.
Both types of uncertain flow path floodwaters carry large amounts of sediment which can fill in a channel or move it to a new location. Regulatory
standards must address the three components of the hazard: velocity of the water,
sediment and debris; the volume and movement of sediment and debris during
floods; and the potential for channel migration during a flood.
Alluvial fans are currently designated on the FIRM as an AO Zone with Velocity. The NFIP AO Zone requirement that a building be elevated above the
highest adjacent grade to the depth number may not be adequate as velocities and
sediment loads increase.
Regulatory standards
A good study may be able to identify the limits of channel migration and require new buildings to be set back from that area. A permit applicant can be
required to prepare such a study.
Otherwise, because the characteristics of the hazard is site-specific, many ordinances simply require the builder to have an engineer certify that the project
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will be protected. In alluvial fans, a subdivider can be required to install debris
basins, channels and walls to keep debris and velocity flows away from houses.
For more information, see CRS Credit for Management
of Areas with Uncertain Flow Paths and Reducing Losses in
High Risk Flood Hazard Areas: A Guidebook for Local
Officials.
DAM BREAKS
Almost every state has a dam safety office that has identified high hazard
dams. The designation is based on both the height of the dam and the amount of
development at risk downstream.
Should a dam give way, the area covered by the resulting flood downstream is
called the dam breach inundation area. Dam breach analyses may have been done
for some of the dams upstream of your community, in which case you can obtain
a map of the area subject to inundation. (Check with your state dam safety office
that the map was prepared using an approved method.)
Close to the dam, the dam breach inundation area is likely to be larger than the
base floodplain. A regulatory program should encompass such areas outside the
base floodplain. It should also take into account the lack of warning time a dam
break would pose.
Regulatory standards
Typical measures include:
♦ Prohibiting construction of buildings in the dam breach inundation area.
♦ Prohibiting siting of critical facilities in the dam breach inundation area.
♦ Requiring new buildings to be elevated above the BFE or the dam breach
elevation, whichever is higher.
♦ Requiring dam owners to maintain their facilities.
♦ Requiring dam owners to establish warning systems if their dams are in
danger of failing.
For more information, contact your state dam safety office
or the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, Lexington,
Kentucky.
CRS credit for dam failure regulations is provided in Activity 630 Dam Safety, Section 631.b of the CRS
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Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application.
ICE JAMS
Ice jams form in several ways and at different times in winter and early
spring. Damage from ice jam flooding often exceeds that of clear water flooding
because of higher surface elevations, rapid increases in flood elevations and
physical damage caused by moving ice floes.
Regulatory standards
FEMA and the Corps of Engineers have developed an ice jam flood study
methodology (see Appendix 3 of Flood Insurance Study Guidelines and Specifications for Study Contractors). If your community has a study done following this
methodology, you should adopt the results as your regulatory flood elevation.
In the absence of such a detailed study, you should use the historic ice jam
flood of record plus a foot or two of freeboard as your building protection level.
Other standards should include requiring new buildings to be elevated on engineered fill or pilings, and prohibiting new buildings (or at least requiring them to
be on fill) in the floodway or other defined area subject to ice floes.
For more information, contact the Corps of Engineers,
which has ice jam expertise in its district offices and its
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in
Hanover, New Hampshire.
See also CRS Credit for Management of Areas Subject
to Ice Jam Floods.
MUDFLOWS
Because mudflows may not occur in mapped floodplains, additional mapping
may be required. This requirement can be keyed to steeper slopes or areas with
known unstable soils.
In addition to regulations, communities can undertake public information, fire
control and other programs to prevent mudflow conditions from developing.
Regulatory standards
If the hazard is not already mapped, developers in the identified areas of
steeper slopes or unstable soils should be required to prepare flow hazard studies.
Here are regulatory measures appropriate for areas with mudflow hazards or
potential:
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♦ Require designs that they work with natural flow channels, not cut across
them.
♦ Require engineered foundations on compacted fill or pilings.
♦ Avoid locating buildings on or below steep slopes.
♦ Require debris basins, channels and walls to keep the debris away from
houses.
♦ Require design, construction and drainage practices that direct runoff and
debris away from unstable areas.
♦ Enforce grading and cut and fill standards that minimize disruption of
natural drainage ways (Figure 6-5).
Figure 6-5. Los Angeles County’s hillside grading guidelines.
For more information, see Planning for Hillside Development.
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E. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION MEASURES
Flooding may not occur often enough in your area to be viewed as a problem
in need of a solution. This may make it difficult to obtain the public and political
support needed to carry out local floodplain management measures designed
solely to reduce future flood losses.
Support often can be gained by associating flood loss reduction with broader
community concerns and goals. A larger constituency for managing the community’s floodplains can be built if other interests realize that their needs can be met
through their involvement and support in flood protection. This, in turn, brings
more resources and expertise into play.
Then, too, designing and packaging funding proposals to meet a number of
community goals can boost your chances of obtaining outside resources. One
approach is to tie the need to manage the floodplain to protect your community’s
economic well-being with the need to protect and maintain the natural resources
and functions of the floodplain. These resources and functions can be of considerable benefit to the community, a benefit often unrealized or underestimated.
STRATEGIES
Preservation and restoration are the two basic approaches to protecting a
floodplain’s natural resources. Preservation strategies focus on strict control or
prohibition of development in sensitive or highly hazardous areas. Restoration
strategies focus on actions to improve the quality or functioning of degraded
floodplains.
It is not always possible—or necessary—to make a distinction between the
two strategies.
Unit 1 contained an overview of the tools that can be used to preserve and
protect a floodplain’s natural and cultural resources. They include:
♦ Floodplain, wetland and coastal barrier regulations.
♦ Development and redevelopment policies.
♦ Land acquisition and preservation.
♦ Information and education.
♦ Tax adjustments.
This section focuses on the development controls and regulatory standards
you can use to protect natural resources or minimize harm to them. These measures, used by all levels of government, are among the most effective means
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available for protecting natural resources of floodplains and reducing flood damage.
FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Federal regulations and those in many states protect resources by limiting the
ways, location and extent to which these resources may be modified. Two federal
regulations can have far-reaching impact:
♦ NEPA: When a federal agency proposes to fund a project located in a
flood hazard area, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires an evaluation of the project’s environmental impact as part of the
decision-making process. The evaluation should include the impact on
flooding as well as water and air quality.
♦ EO 11988: Executive Order 11988 Floodplain Management requires federal agencies to check NFIP maps to see if a proposed project will be in a
floodplain. If one is, the agency must follow an eight-step process to determine whether there is a feasible alternative to location in the floodplain.
If not, the project must include flood damage reduction measures. In short,
Federal agencies must meet the same or more restrictive development
standards as do private property owners under the community’s NFIP
regulations.
WETLAND PROTECTION
The federal regulation that local permit officials see most often is the program
established by Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Jointly administered by the
Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Section
404 program regulates the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters,
including adjacent wetlands.
The Section 404(b)(1) guidelines provide extensive environmental criteria for
judging permit applications while emphasizing the need to prevent avoidable
losses of aquatic resources, as well as the need to minimize adverse environmental impacts.
All coastal states and many inland states have their own wetlands regulations.
Because inland wetlands generally receive less protection than coastal or “tidal”
wetlands, many communities establish regulations that are more restrictive than
the Federal or state programs.
The desire to reduce the cumulative impacts of wetland losses has led many
jurisdictions to adopt a “no net loss of wetlands” policy. No net loss is addressed
either in terms of acreage or the functional value of the wetlands. Despite these
programs and other such efforts, as recent as 1989 it was estimated that the country was losing 300,000 – 450,000 acres of wetlands each year.
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RARE AND ENDANGERED SPECIES
Undeveloped floodplains may contain habitat for rare and endangered species
of plants and animals. On the federal level, the Endangered Species Act of 1973
directs federal agencies not to undertake or assist projects that would adversely
affect any endangered species.
The Act also requires an “incidental take permit” when it appears that the
habitat of a rare or endangered species will be “taken” or impacted by a nonfederal activity. Communities should coordinate their permit review with this
program which is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Many states have programs to identify rare and endangered species and to acquire or regulate tracts that are home to them. Some states and communities have
sensitive areas regulations or a similar approach that protects such habitats.
ON-SITE SEWAGE DISPOSAL
Most states and municipalities regulate the design, location and placement of
on-site sewage systems. Because the objective of such programs is to prevent
surface and subsurface contamination, there are many requirements to selecting a
proper site and designing a system that will work in a flood.
Less than desirable locations for on-site systems include areas with high
groundwater tables, impervious soils, certain types of porous soils, and the potential for flooding. These characteristics often coincide with floodplains.
Regulations that restrict where septic systems can go often mean that a property owner cannot build in or near the floodplain.
FACILITIES SITING
Stringent government regulations restrict the siting of critical facilities —
hazardous waste facilities, nuclear power plants, hospitals, police and fire stations
—in a floodplain area.
States and your community also may have siting regulations that discourage
or prevent dangerous or hazardous development in floodplain areas. These include storage of hazardous materials, sanitary landfills and related activities.
WATER QUALITY REGULATIONS
Since the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972 and related state legislation, more care is being given to the regulation of direct discharges of pollutants
into waterways. Federal and state point source regulations focus on wastewater
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treatment plants and industrial sites where polluted water is piped to a stream or
lake at a single point.
Non-point sources of pollutants are harder to regulate. If stormwater is not
collected and sent to a wastewater treatment plant, it flows directly into a body of
water. On its way, stormwater collects sediments from soil erosion as well as road
oil, pesticides, lawn treatment chemicals and other pollutants. There is no treatment facility to clean this runoff water.
Regulatory approaches for non-point sources include buffer zones or stream
setbacks where there are on-site disposal systems, timber harvesting, tilling of
soil, mining, or development in general. These requirements are often part of, or
complement, state or local stormwater management regulations.
Figure 6-6: Buffer strips.
Source: Environmental Management: A Guide for Town Officials, Maine
Department of Environmental Protection, 1992
SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS
Stream corridors often possess special value for an area, region or state. These
corridors are given special designations—such as a wild or scenic river—and are
afforded an extra level of recognition and protection.
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While such programs are not necessarily regulatory in nature, they do encourage proper planning and land use control, discourage unwanted development, and
guide federal and state actions.
The Community Rating System credits preserving areas
for their natural functions under Activity 420 Open Space
Preservation. Credit for prohibiting critical facilities in floodplains and for prohibiting on-site sewage treatment, landfills
and other hazardous use or threats to public health, is provided in Activity 430 Higher Regulatory Standards,
respectively. Water quality regulations are credited in Activity 450 Stormwater
management.
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UNIT 7:
ORDINANCE ADMINISTRATION
In this unit
This unit covers things you need to know to effectively administer
your floodplain management ordinance, including:
♦ The legal basis for your ordinance,
♦ The duties and qualifications of the person who administers it,
♦ How to process permits,
♦ Conducting inspections,
♦ Enforcement tools,
♦ Appeals and variances, and
♦ Record keeping.
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Contents
Introduction.................................................................................................... 7-4
A. The Ordinance................................................................................................. 7-5
Statutory Authority ........................................................................................ 7-5
Types of ordinances ....................................................................................... 7-6
Zoning ordinance ..................................................................................... 7-6
Building codes ......................................................................................... 7-7
Subdivision regulations............................................................................ 7-9
Sanitary regulations ................................................................................. 7-9
“Stand alone” ordinance .......................................................................... 7-9
Contents ....................................................................................................... 7-10
B. The Administrator ......................................................................................... 7-12
Duties ........................................................................................................... 7-12
Qualifications............................................................................................... 7-15
Training........................................................................................................ 7-15
Liability........................................................................................................ 7-17
C. Development Permits .................................................................................... 7-20
When a permit is required............................................................................ 7-20
Exemptions .................................................................................................. 7-22
Permit Application Form ............................................................................. 7-22
Application Review ..................................................................................... 7-23
Review for Completeness ............................................................................ 7-23
Review for Compliance ............................................................................... 7-26
Application Approval or Denial................................................................... 7-28
D. Inspections .................................................................................................... 7-36
First Inspection............................................................................................. 7-36
Second Inspection ........................................................................................ 7-36
Checking elevations ............................................................................... 7-37
Third Inspection ........................................................................................... 7-38
Certificate of occupancy ........................................................................ 7-38
Later Inspections.......................................................................................... 7-39
E. Enforcement .................................................................................................. 7-40
Voluntary Compliance ................................................................................. 7-40
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Administrative Steps.................................................................................... 7-40
Legal Recourses ........................................................................................... 7-41
Section 1316................................................................................................. 7-42
F. Appeals, Special Uses and Variances............................................................ 7-44
Appeals .................................................................................................. 7-44
Special uses............................................................................................ 7-44
Variances................................................................................................ 7-44
Boards .................................................................................................... 7-44
Variances...................................................................................................... 7-45
NFIP requirements ................................................................................. 7-45
Historic buildings................................................................................... 7-54
Functionally dependent use.................................................................... 7-54
Records .................................................................................................. 7-55
G. Records.......................................................................................................... 7-56
Permit File.................................................................................................... 7-56
Elevation Certificate .................................................................................... 7-57
Floodproofing Certificate............................................................................. 7-58
V Zone Certification .................................................................................... 7-59
No-rise Certification .................................................................................... 7-59
Biennial Report ............................................................................................ 7-60
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INTRODUCTION
Generally, the NFIP does not have specific requirements on how local ordinances should be administered. Administrative requirements vary from state to
state due to differences in state enabling legislation. In addition FEMA wants to
provide communities the flexibility to establish administrative procedures that are
compatible with their other regulations and ordinances.
The NFIP does require that the local ordinance be legally enforceable and enforced uniformly throughout the community (44 CFR 60.1(b)). There are also
some record keeping requirements that assist in verifying community and building
compliance with the regulations.
If FEMA finds that a community’s program is not in full compliance with its
NFIP obligation, then it may require certain administrative adjustments to the
program. How the program is administered, though, is dependent on the State’s
enabling legislation and the administrative practices currently used or established
by the community.
This unit, therefore, is primarily a series of recommended administrative procedures. Those items that are NFIP requirements are highlighted in the “44 CFR”
regulation boxes.
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A. THE ORDINANCE
This reference guide assumes that your community has a floodplain regulation
ordinance in effect. While the reference guide does not provide a model ordinance
or ordinance language, it does describe the significance of your ordinance, and
provides guidance on how to enforce some of its provisions.
If you need to enact or revise your floodplain regulations, contact your state
NFIP coordinator to see if there is a model appropriate to your state laws and
flooding conditions that you could use as a foundation for your local ordinance.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY
As used in this reference guide, ordinance is the generic term for a law passed
by a local government. In some states it is called a “by-law” or some other name.
In all states, the authority to enact an ordinance comes from state law.
Communities are created by their state. Their powers are granted by and limited by state law or statutory authority, which is also known as enabling
legislation. Your state has a specific law or set of laws authorizing your community to enact and enforce floodplain regulations. That law probably sets these
parameters:
♦ The purpose and limits of the regulatory authority—for example, your
community may not be able to regulate development projects undertaken
by state agencies or public utilities.
♦ Minimum regulatory standards—many states mandate a certain building
code or floodway encroachment standard.
♦ Prerequisites for enacting or amending the ordinance—a zoning ordinance
may have to be based on a comprehensive plan or be adopted only after a
public hearing.
♦ Requirements for issuing variances or allowing special uses.
♦ Prerequisites for the administering official—the community may have to
have a certified building official enforce its building code.
Some state laws provide for state oversight of local regulations. In some cases,
developers must apply to the state for a permit. In other cases, they may appeal to
the state if they feel the community has not interpreted the regulations correctly.
In most states, local laws are subject to “Dillon’s rule,” named after a judge
named Dillon who ruled in the 19th Century that because local governments are
created by state government, they can do only what state laws specifically authorize.
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If an action is not authorized by statute, a community cannot do it.
At one time, some communities did not have the statutory authority to implement the minimum NFIP regulatory requirements. FEMA worked with those
states, so now all communities (cities and counties) should have all the authority
they need to fulfill their NFIP obligations.
In some states, larger communities may be granted home rule. A home rule
community is authorized to do anything that is not prohibited by statute. However, zoning and building laws are usually specific enough that even home rule
communities must follow their provisions.
TYPES OF ORDINANCES
Floodplain regulations are usually found in one of four types of regulations:
zoning ordinances, building codes, subdivision regulations, sanitary regulations,
and “stand alone” ordinances. Each is explained below.
Zoning ordinance
A zoning ordinance regulates development by dividing the community into
zones or districts and setting development criteria for each district. Two approaches address development in floodprone areas: separate districts and overlay
zoning.
In a separate district, the floodplain can be designated as one or more separate
zoning districts that only allow development that is not susceptible to damage by
flooding. Appropriate districts include public use, conservation, agriculture, and
cluster or planned unit developments that keep buildings out of the floodplain,
wetlands and other areas that are not appropriate for intensive development.
Overlay zoning adds special requirements in areas subject to flooding. The areas can be developed in accordance with the underlying zone, provided the flood
protection requirements are met. As illustrated in Figure 7-1, there may also be
setbacks or buffers to protect stream banks and shorelines or to preserve the natural functions of the channels and adjacent areas.
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Figure 7-1. Example of overlay zoning
Building codes
A building code establishes construction standards for new buildings. Building codes generally do not establish site or location requirements. These
requirements are implemented through subdivision or zoning ordinances or other
land development regulations.
Many communities have adopted one of these national model building codes:
♦ The National Building Code of the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) has its flood resistant design and construction standards in
Chapter 31.
♦ The Standard Building Code of the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI) incorporates by reference the SBCCI Standard for
Floodplain Management as its flood resistant design and construction
standard.
♦ The Uniform Building Code of the International Conference of Building
Officials (ICBO) includes flood resistant design and construction standards in a separate appendix that must be adopted by reference.
♦ The One and Two Family Dwelling Code of the Code Administrators and
Building Officials (CABO) has no flood resistant design and construction
standards but does have drainage provisions.
♦ The International Codes (I-Codes) of the International Code Council include the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential
Code (IRC), and several codes covering building utility systems and exist-
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ing buildings. The I-Codes are consistent with all NFIP requirements related to the construction of flood resistant buildings.
♦ The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued the NFPA
5000 Building Construction and Safety Code. This code also is consistent
with all NFIP requirements related to the construction of flood resistant
buildings.
Many, but not all, NFIP regulatory requirements appear in parts of these codes
FEMA worked closely with the International Code Council and the National
Fire Protection Association in developing their codes to assure consistency with
NFIP requirements. Those NFIP requirements that relate to the actual construction of buildings are reflected in the bodies of the International Building Code and
International Residential Code. Requirements related to building utilities are
contained in the International Plumbing Code, International Mechanical Code,
International Fuel Gas Code, and the International Private Sewage Disposal Code.
The other NFIP requirements, such as administrative provisions, and requirements
that apply to floodways, subdivisions and manufactured homes are contained in
Appendix G of the International Building Code. Communities that adopt the Icodes have the option of either adopting Appendix G or addressing these other
NFIP requirements through other codes and regulations.
Similarly, NFIP requirements that relate to the actual construction of buildings
are reflected in the body of the NFPA 5000 Code. The other NFIP requirements
are included in Annex C of the NFPA 5000 Code. Communities that adopt the
NFPA 5000 Code have the option of either adopting Annex C or addressing these
other NFIP requirements through other codes and regulations.
FEMA supported incorporation of NFIP flood resistant construction requirements into the I-Codes and the NFPA code because it felt these requirements
could be more effectively administered as part of a building code with full involvement of the community’s building department. However, there will be
challenges in adopting either the I-Codes of the NFPA 5000 Code that your community will need to address.
♦ Make sure that all applicable NFIP requirements are met in either the ICodes or the NFPA 5000 Code or your other codes and ordinances.
♦ Make sure that your State or community has not amended the I-Codes or
the NFPA 5000 Code in a way that makes them inconsistent with NFIP
minimum requirements.
♦ Designate which community agencies are responsible for meeting various
NFIP requirements and establish administrative procedures to assure that
coordination occurs between these agencies on individual development
proposals.
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♦ If a State agency directly enforces the I-Codes or NFPA 5000 Code for
certain categories of buildings, make sure you work out similar procedures
with that State agency.
FEMA and the International Code Council have jointly developed a publication that provides a comprehensive explanation of how the International Code
Series can be used to meet the requirements of the NFIP. The publication is entitled Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Code Series and is
available from the following code groups: Building Official and Code Administrators International, Inc. (8009) 214-4321;
International Conference of Building Officials (888) 699-0541, and
Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (888) 447-2224.
If your community will be adopting the I-Codes, you should obtain a copy of this
publication. This publication may also be of interest to communities adopting the
NFPA 5000 Code since many of the administrative and implementation issues are
the same no matter which code you adopt.
Subdivision regulations
Subdivision regulations govern how land will be divided into single lots. They
set construction and location standards for the infrastructure the developer will
provide, including roads, sidewalks, utility lines, storm sewers and drainageways.
As noted in Unit 6, Section C, subdivision regulations offer an opportunity to
keep buildings out of the floodplain entirely with cluster developments.
They can also require that every lot have a buildable area above the BFE, include dry land access and meet other standards that provide more flood protection
than a building code can.
Sanitary regulations
The NFIP’s requirements for water and sewer system protection are sometimes best located in the regulations that set the construction standards for these
systems.
“Stand alone” ordinance
Many, if not most, communities in the NFIP have enacted a separate ordinance that includes all the NFIP regulatory requirements, usually based on a
FEMA or state model.
The advantage of doing this is that one ordinance contains all floodplain development standards. Developers can easily see what is required of them, and
FEMA and the state can easily see if your community has adopted the latest
requirements.
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The disadvantage to a separate ordinance is that it may not be coordinated
with other building, zoning or subdivision regulations. Some communities have
found that by adopting a stand alone model, they adopt standards that are inconsistent or even contrary to the standards in the other regulations. For example,
your building code may require crawlspace vents to be high, near the floor joists,
while the floodplain ordinance requires them to be no more than one foot above
grade.
If you have a stand alone ordinance, you should review its provisions with all
other offices and ordinances that regulate land development and building construction. Make sure that others know the floodplain regulations and that there are
no internal inconsistencies. For example, a floodplain ordinance administered by
the city engineer may not be coordinated with the permit process conducted by
the building department.
CONTENTS
Whether your floodplain regulations are in one ordinance or several, they
should have these provisions:
♦ Purpose: Why was the ordinance adopted? What are its objectives? This
provision helps set the tone for regulatory standards. For example, if the
only purpose of the ordinance is to meet the NFIP minimum building requirements, a court may rule that it should not have higher regulatory
standards that protect life safety.
♦ Definitions: What technical terms are needed? Most ordinances have to
define terms like “development,” “building,” “base flood elevation” and
“lowest floor” in order for the regulations to be clearly understood.
♦ Adoption of flood data: Your community needs to adopt the flood maps,
profiles and other regulatory flood data. This provision may need to be
amended when new studies are published or new areas are annexed.
♦ Requirement for a development permit: Your ordinance must have a development permit process. Relying on your community’s building code or
zoning ordinance permit process may not be sufficient because those programs may not require permits for all development, including fill, mining,
etc.
♦ Construction standards: This is the meat of the ordinance. It should cover
all of the NFIP standards discussed in Unit 5 and additional regulatory
standards required by the state or that the community deems appropriate.
The standards should include provisions for:
♦ Building protection standards (elevation, floodproofing, anchoring)
♦ Standards for manufactured (mobile) homes and manufactured home parks
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♦ Construction standards peculiar to the flood zones in your community,
such as V, AO, AH and A99
♦ Construction in the floodway and standards for encroachments where
floodways are not mapped
♦ Standards for subdivisions
♦ Standards for water and sewer service
♦ Rules on water course alterations
♦ Designation of administrator: The community must officially designate
one person responsible for administering the ordinance. This provision
may list that person’s duties, as detailed in the next section.
♦ Appeals process: The regulations need to provide a way for people to appeal or request a variance when they feel that the construction standards
are overly harsh or inappropriate. This process should be handled by a
separate body, such as a board of appeals or planning commission; it
should not be left up to the decision of a single person, such as the administrator.
♦ Enforcement: The ordinance must have enforcement procedures clarifying
penalties for violations. These are usually fines and orders to correct the
violation.
♦ Abrogation and greater restriction: This is a legal provision that specifies
that the ordinance take precedence over less restrictive requirements.
♦ Severability: This is a statement that the individual provisions are separable and if any one is ruled invalid, it does not affect the rest of the
ordinance.
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B. THE ADMINISTRATOR
The state grants communities the police powers to adopt, administer and enforce local codes and regulations, including floodplain regulations. Generally,
elected officials delegate authority for ordinance administration and enforcement
to a subordinate officer.
A local floodplain administrator might be an existing local staff person, such
as the building inspector, community zoning official, engineer or planner. The
community also might contract to have the job done by the county, regional planning agency, another jurisdiction or authority, or a private firm.
Throughout this reference guide, the person designated as responsible for administering the floodplain management ordinance is called “the administrator.”
This reference guide also assumes that you are the administrator, so the terms
“you” and “the administrator” are used interchangeably.
DUTIES
In general, the administrator is responsible for ensuring that development activities comply with the floodplain management regulations and other applicable
codes and ordinances.
Duties of the administrator vary depending on the kind, size and characteristics of the community. However, certain responsibilities are common to all
ordinance administrators. Here is a list of such duties:
Understand the regulations: This is the most important of all of your duties
and is the main subject of this reference guide. A sound working knowledge of
the general and technical provisions of various federal, state and local regulations
is essential. You must be able to explain them to others, to review permit applications for compliance, and to provide adequate interpretations.
Ensure that permits are applied for: Often people do not realize that they
need to apply for a permit for a project in the floodplain. You need to ensure that
the public is informed as to when permits are needed and how they are obtained.
Anyone engaged in a development project without a permit must be told to stop
and apply for one.
Correct violations: You must evaluate complaints, conduct investigations
and use legal recourse when necessary to correct violations.
Process permit applications: Your primary role is to review permit applications for compliance with applicable local regulations. This involves:
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♦ Collecting permit fees, where applicable.
♦ Assessing the accuracy and completeness of the application.
♦ Evaluating site plans, topographic data, building design plans and other
technical data.
♦ Identifying deficiencies and devising ways to correct them.
♦ Issuing or denying the permit.
♦ Helping applicants pursue appeals or requests for variances.
Coordinate with other programs: Responsibility for permit review may reside in your office or be shared with other offices, such as public works, planning
and zoning, code enforcement or housing departments. Depending on your duties,
your may be involved in coordinating permit reviews.
You must advise the applicant of any need for additional local, state or federal
permits for the proposed development. Your office could have copies of the permit application forms or advise applicants whom to contact.
One of your NFIP responsibilities is to notify adjacent communities and the
state NFIP coordinating agency prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse. You must submit evidence of such notification to the FEMA Regional
Office.
You should also notify adjacent communities of plans for a substantial commercial development or large subdivision that could affect their flood hazard
areas.
Ensure projects are built according to approved permits: You or your
staff must perform periodic and timely on-site inspections to confirm visually that
development is following the approved plans. The best way to do this is with a
series of inspections at appropriate stages in the construction process, as discussed
later in this unit. A certificate of use or occupancy is a final permit that allows the
owner to use the building. It should not be given until a final inspection confirms
that everything was done according to the approved plans.
Take enforcement actions: When noncompliant activities are uncovered, you
must act to resolve the situation. This may involve issuing stop-work orders or
other violation notices, coordinating enforcement procedures with the community’s attorney, or appearing in court.
Keep records: You should have on hand a sufficient supply of current permit
applications, variance requests and other administrative forms. A project file
should be kept for each development permit application.
Maintain and update flood data and maps: As noted in Unit 4, Section D,
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tory floodplain for your office and the public to use. All map corrections and
notices of map revisions should be recorded and denoted on administrative maps,
with the details kept in an indexed file.
You should also cooperate with federal, state and local agencies, and private
firms, undertaking flood studies. You must submit any new floodplain data to the
FEMA Regional Office within six months of their development. Community staff
should review revisions to maps (including Conditional Letters of Map Revision
and Letters of Map Revision) to ensure they meet your regulations.
You must notify the FEMA Regional Office and the state within one year of
an annexation or when your community has assumed or relinquished authority to
adopt or enforce floodplain management regulations for a particular area. The
NFIP has special procedures that need to be followed to ensure that these areas
are properly mapped and regulated and remain eligible for flood insurance.
44 CFR 59.22(a)(9)(v) Upon occurrence, [the community must] notify the Administrator in writing whenever the boundaries of the community have been modified
by annexation or the community has otherwise assumed or no longer has authority to adopt and enforce flood plain management regulations for a particular area.
In order that all FHBMs and FIRMs accurately represent the community's
boundaries, include within such notification a copy of a map of the community
suitable for reproduction, clearly delineating the new corporate limits or new area
for which the community has assumed or relinquished flood plain management
regulatory authority.
You must notify the FEMA Regional Office and the state within six months of
physical changes that can affect flooding conditions, such as channel modifications or upstream detention.
44 CFR 65.3. A community's base flood elevations may increase or decrease resulting from physical changes affecting flooding conditions. As soon as
practicable, but not later than six months after the date such information becomes available, a community shall notify the Administrator of the changes by
submitting technical or scientific data in accordance with this part. Such a submission is necessary so that upon confirmation of those physical changes
affecting flooding conditions, risk premium rates and flood plain management requirements will be based upon current data.
Update the ordinance: If your community is notified of changes in federal or
state laws and/or regulations that would require changing your floodplain management ordinance, you must revise your ordinance within six months.
44 CFR 60.7. From time to time Part 60 may be revised as experience is acquired under the Program and new information becomes available. Communities
will be given six months from the effective date of any new regulation to revise
their flood plain management regulations to comply with any such changes.
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Similarly, if you are given new flood data by FEMA, you have six months to
update your ordinance to adopt the data and the regulatory requirements appropriate for that level of data (Unit 5, Section A, Community Types relates the level of
data to the regulatory requirements).
44 CFR 60.2(a) A flood-prone community … will be given a period of six months
from the date the Administrator provides the data set forth in § 60.3(b), (c), (d),
(e) or (f), in which to meet the requirements of the applicable paragraph.
A certified copy of any ordinance revision should be submitted to the FEMA
Regional Office and to the state NFIP coordinating agency promptly after adoption.
QUALIFICATIONS
Your state may set minimum requirements for the person who administers the
floodplain management ordinance, such as requiring that the post be held by a
certified building official. A few states are encouraging or requiring that the
ordinance be administered by a “certified floodplain manager,” a new certification
that may be conferred by your state, the floodplain management association in
your state, or the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM). Information on the ASFPM certification program can be obtained at
http://www.floods.org.
In most instances, there are no specific qualifications or prerequisites for a
floodplain administrator. This does not mean just anyone can do any part of the
job of administering the ordinance. One of your jobs is to make sure that the
person with the right qualifications helps you. You will probably need help from
three other professions:
♦ Some tasks should be conducted by an engineer experienced in hydrologic
and hydraulic studies, such as reviewing a developer’s flood study before
you accept new flood elevations.
♦ You will need help from a registered land surveyor to complete Elevation
Certificates. While there are limited instances where a properly appointed
local administrator can complete an Elevation Certificate, most states require that such work only be done by a registered land surveyor.
♦ You should always consult your community’s attorney before you initiate
an enforcement action.
TRAINING
In many cases, only you will have the expertise needed to administer your ordinance. As the administrator, you will probably be your community’s primary
source of information on:
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♦ The basic NFIP requirements.
♦ Additional requirements of your ordinance.
♦ How to use the NFIP maps and regulatory flood data.
♦ How maps are reviewed and revised.
♦ When permits are needed.
♦ Whether a proposed project meets the ordinance’s standards.
♦ Whether a completed project complies with the approved plans.
♦ What records are needed.
♦ How to deal with citizens and builders.
♦ How to deal with violations.
♦ How floodplain development regulations and flood insurance rating are related.
♦ Where citizens and builders can get more information or help.
These topics are not taught at any high school or college. To learn these things
you will need additional training. Here are some ways to get it:
♦ Read this study guide and make use of the learning checks.
♦ Spend time with the floodplain administrator in a neighboring community.
♦ Check with the FEMA Regional Office and/or the state NFIP coordinator
before you issue your first few permits or certificates of occupancy.
♦ Request a Community Assistance Visit whereby a FEMA or state person
will visit you and review your procedures.
♦ Attend a workshop put on by your state NFIP coordinator.
♦ Attend a meeting or conference of your state or national floodplain management association (contact the state coordinator for information about
these associations).
♦ If available before you take a certification test, attend a recommended
training or refresher course.
♦ Attend the Emergency Management Institute.
♦ Visit FEMA’s web site periodically (http://www.fema.gov).
♦ Order and review the publications listed in Appendix C.
The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, Maryland, provides several courses related to the administrator’s job. While you may not need
to take the resident course that covers the same information as this study guide,
EMI offers three others that would be helpful:
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♦ National Flood Insurance Program/Community Rating System
♦ Digital Hazard Data (how to use digital FIRMs and other data)
♦ Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Buildings
These courses are designed to give you step-by-step practical knowledge and
experience. In addition, by attending an EMI course you meet other local administrators from around the country from whom you also can learn the ins and outs of
floodplain management administration.
EMI courses run Monday through Friday, two to four times a year. They are
free for state and local officials. Generally FEMA will pay transportation to Emmitsburg and will house you in dormitories on campus. For more information, See
Appendix G, ask your local emergency manager, or call EMI at 800/238-3358.
LIABILITY
Ordinance administrators naturally fear they could be sued if a person gets
flooded or if a building that they permit is damaged by a flood. Debated nationally for some time, this issue has been studied extensively by Dr. Jon Kusler, a
nationally known attorney in floodplain management law.
Dr. Kusler summarized his most recent findings in Floodplain Management in
the United States: An Assessment Report, Volume 2, prepared for the Federal
Interagency Floodplain Management Task Force, 1992.
Excerpts from that report are quoted here. However, your community's legal
department should provide more specific guidance.
♦ Government agencies are generally not liable for flood damage unless the
flood was caused by a government action. “Except in a few instances,
governments are not liable for naturally occurring flood damages. Government has, in general, no duty to construct dams, adopt regulations, or
carry out other hazard reduction activities unless required to do so by a
statute. It is only where a government unit causes flood damages or increases natural flood damages that liability may arise.” (Floodplain
Management in the United States: An Assessment Report, Volume 2,
Page 1012)
♦ Liability is based on negligence; a community is well defended by a properly administered program. “In general, government units are not 'strictly
or absolutely' responsible for increased flood damages. Liability usually
results only where there is a lack of reasonable care. ... Where the standard
of reasonable care is judicially applied to an activity, the seriousness of
foreseeable threat to life or economic damage is an important factor in determining reasonableness of conduct. In general, the more serious the
anticipated threat, the greater the care the government entity must exer-
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cise. (Floodplain Management in the United States: An Assessment Report, Volume 2, Page 1013)
♦ Policy or discretionary actions are more defensible than nondiscretionary,
ministerial actions. It is better to have clear standards spelled out in the ordinance adopted by your governing board than to leave a lot of
interpretation up to the administrator. “As a general rule, courts do not
hold legislative bodies or administrative agencies liable for policy decisions or errors in judgment where the legislature or agency exercises
policymaking or discretionary powers. But they often hold agencies responsible for failure to carry out nondiscretionary duties or for negligence
in carrying out ministerial actions.” (Floodplain Management in the
United States: An Assessment Report, Volume 2, Page 1013)
♦ “... from a legal perspective it may be desirable to submit proposed standards ... to a community's legislative body (e.g., community council) for
debate and approval. Due to the special way legislative decisions are
treated by the courts, legislative judgments, particularly those of a discretionary nature, are less likely to result in a successful liability suit than are
agency decisions. Courts generally defer to legislative judgment.” (Floodplain Management in the United States: An Assessment Report, Volume
2, Page 1017)
♦ Government employees are usually protected from liability suits. “Although governments may be liable for increased flood or drainage losses
in a broad range of contexts, government employees are usually not personally liable for planning, permit issuance, operation of dams, adoption
of regulations or other activities. ... No personal liability results where a
government employee acts in good faith, within the scope of his or her
job, and without malice. Successful lawsuits for hazard-related damages
against government employees under common law theories or pursuant to
Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act are apparently nonexistent.” (Floodplain Management in the United States: An Assessment Report, Volume
2, Pages 1013 - 1014)
Based on these findings, you can protect yourself from lawsuits by:
♦ Adopting sound and appropriate flood protection standards: Remember,
NFIP standards are minimums. Buildings should not be allowed in a
mountainous floodplain with no warning time and very high velocities,
even though the NFIP minimums would allow it. If you know flooding
could be or has been higher than the BFE shown on the FIRM, you are not
doing your residents any favors by allowing them to build buildings exposed to a known hazard.
♦ Becoming technically competent in the field: You won't be sued if you
have ensured that the project was properly constructed. There is no
grounds for a suit if no one is damaged by flooding: “... 'liability can be
avoided if flood damages are avoided.' From a legal perspective, this is a
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sound philosophy.” (Floodplain Management in the United States: An
Assessment Report, Volume 2, Page 1017)
♦ Insuring the community: Your community may want to purchase liability
insurance or establish a self-insurance pool or plan to protect itself.
♦ Encouraging property owners to buy flood insurance coverage. If people
are compensated for any flood losses, they are less likely to file a lawsuit.
♦ Adopting an ordinance provision that exempts the community from liability. Several states’ model ordinances have language like the following:
Disclaimer of Liability:
(i) The degree of flood protection required by this ordinance is
considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based on available information derived from engineering and scientific methods of
study.
(ii) Larger floods may occur or flood heights may be increased by
man-made or natural causes.
(iii) This ordinance does not imply that development either inside
or outside the SFHA will be free from flooding or damage.
(iv) This ordinance does not create liability on the part of the City
or any officer or employee therefore for any flood damage that results
from reliance on this ordinance or any administrative decision made
lawfully thereunder. (Floodplain Management in Northeastern Illinois,
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 1996, p. 56)
The Association of State Floodplain Managers has produced a valuable report
about legal liability risks facing those communities that do not take adequate steps
to require mitigation where the risk is known (www.floods.org).
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C. DEVELOPMENT PERMITS
Once the ordinance is in force, any development or change in land use requires authorization, generally in the form of a permit from the local administrator
or agency. This section of Unit 7 discusses the permit review process that leads to
approval or denial of an application.
This discussion reviews a standard process. It is not a mandatory process, but
it does ensure that all of your NFIP requirements will be met. If your community
has a permit process that has proven successful, you should review this section to
see if there are things you would want to add to your process.
Figure 7-2 shows the permit process that forms the organization for this section. To facilitate your work, you may want to develop your own checklist. An
example developed by the State of South Carolina is at the end of this section in
Figure 7-3.
WHEN A PERMIT IS REQUIRED
A permit is required for almost any development-related change to the floodplain, including but not limited to:
♦ Construction of new structures
♦ Modifications or improvements to existing structures
♦ Excavation
♦ Filling
♦ Paving
♦ Drilling
♦ Driving of piles
♦ Mining
♦ Dredging
♦ Land clearing
♦ Grading
♦ Permanent storage of materials and/or equipment
While most communities have issued building permits for some time, many
don’t have a permit system that covers such a wide range of activities. The regulation of all development in floodplains is essential because fill or other material
can obstruct flood flows just as structures can.
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Applicant
Prepares/Revises
Application
Verify Floodplain
Location and
Check Flood Data
Record
Submission and
Collect Fees
Incomplete
Application
Returned
Review
Application
for Completeness
Distribute Copies of
Application to Others
For Review
Noncompliant
Proposal
Returned
Noncompliant
Proposal
Resubmitted
with Required
Modifications
Review Application
For Compliance
Application Approved,
Permit Issued
Construction
Violations
Conduct
Inspections
Corrections Made
Project Complete,
Issue Certificate
Of Compliance
Figure 7-2. Permit process flow chart
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EXEMPTIONS
Your statutory authority may limit your community’s ability to regulate some
development. The most common limitation is over activities by federal agencies,
tribal lands, state agencies, other local governments, and public utilities. Check
with your state NFIP coordinator to determine what is exempt from a local ordinance.
44 CFR 60.1(b) These regulations must be legally-enforceable, applied uniformly
throughout the community to all privately and publicly owned land within floodprone … areas, and the community must provide that the regulations take precedence over any less restrictive conflicting local laws, ordinances or codes.
You cannot exempt activities by your own community government. Just because the public works department doesn’t get a permit from the building
department does not mean that it doesn’t have to follow the NFIP rules that govern all development within your statutory authority.
If State actions are exempt from your permit authority, your state should have
adopted floodplain management requirements that are comparable to your ordinance. This is usually done in the form of a governor’s executive order or by
adopting state floodplain management regulations. Similarly, Federal agency
activities are subject to the provisions of Executive Order 11988 Floodplain Management that references NFIP requirements. In both situations the state or federal
agency should be applying the same or similar requirements to their actions as
would be applied through your floodplain management ordinance. If there are
activities being conducted in your floodplain by a State or Federal agency that are
not meeting State floodplain management requirements or the requirements of
Executive Order 11988, contact your FEMA Regional Office.
You do have some discretion to exempt obviously insignificant activities from
the permit requirement—such as planting a garden, farming, putting up a mailbox
or erecting a flagpole. Other projects, such as reroofing and replacing siding, will
not affect flood flows or be substantial improvements. See also the discussion on
the NFIP’s development permit requirements in Unit 5, Section C.
Some communities specify exempt projects in their ordinances. Check with
your state coordinating agency and/or FEMA Regional Office before you do this,
because you don’t want to exempt projects that could be considered floodway
violations or substantial improvements or otherwise not meet NFIP minimum
requirements.
PERMIT APPLICATION FORM
A good administrative form can serve as a checklist for identifying the kinds
of information that should accompany a permit application.
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Your community should have its own permit application form. Figure 7-4, at
the end of this section, is the model form developed by the state of North Carolina. It contains all the required information for a floodplain development permit
application. Your form may be different, but the review process is the same.
Note: If you use the form in Figure 7-4 to develop your own permit application program, be sure to include all other state and local requirements. You may
want to include checklists of items you will need to look at.
Where a particular activity that is required by the NFIP regulations is mentioned in this unit’s text, the reference to 44 CFR Part 60 is included in brackets
(e.g. [44 CFR 60.3(c)(5)]). These activities must be included in the permit process
in order for the community to remain in full compliance with the NFIP.
Forms are a valuable and necessary tool in reviewing development proposals
for regulatory compliance. When designed properly, they can be the most efficient way to get information that is essential to conducting an effective and
thorough review. The forms should be revised periodically to remain current with
changes in the floodplain management ordinance and to include pertinent information.
APPLICATION REVIEW
Submission of a development permit application starts the permit process.
Before submitting an application, the prospective applicant often will contact
you to obtain a copy of the regulations, locate the proposed site in relation to the
NFIP maps, determine flood elevations, or gather procedural and technical information needed to complete the application.
This informal part of the permit process can be important in guiding the applicant to locate and design the development in compliance with local regulations. It
also can help the applicant to prepare a complete application, avoiding unnecessary delays at the outset.
Some communities ensure that the permit process will go smoothly by having
a formal pre-application meeting with a developer to review a preliminary plan.
REVIEW FOR COMPLETENESS
The application package should contain all the administrative forms, plans,
blueprints and technical documentation required for you to review the proposed
project for regulatory compliance. If the application package is incomplete, the
review can’t go forward. The applicant should be advised of missing documents
and told that the review will not start until the missing documents are submitted.
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Some states and communities require that a permit be issued within so many
days of receipt of the application. You should not officially “receive” the application or log it in until it has been reviewed and determined to be complete.
You should review the package in a timely manner. The review should include the following procedures:
1. Make sure all administrative forms are completed satisfactorily and
properly signed. Scan the administrative forms to ensure that all questions have
been answered. If important items are left blank or not addressed completely,
bring them to the attention of the applicant for completion.
Inaccurate information also should be brought to the attention of the applicant.
Your review should be halted until deficiencies are corrected.
2. Briefly review site plans, grading and excavation plans, and building
design plans for completeness. Depending on the specificity or detail of the
administrative forms, the various plans that accompany the application will provide the technical data needed for a thorough review.
The site plan is a critical component of floodplain development proposals.
Such a plan should show:
♦ Location of property lines.
♦ Required set backs lines and easements.
♦ Topographic information, such as contour lines or spot elevations.
♦ Streets.
♦ Watercourses.
♦ Existing and proposed structures.
♦ Proposed building elevations of all new construction and the existing lowest floor for substantially improved or substantially damaged structures.
♦ All clearing, filling and other proposed changes to the ground.
♦ Floodway and floodplain boundaries.
♦ Base flood elevations.
♦ In V zones, the line of the mean high tide and Zone V/Zone A boundary; if
there is more than one Zone on the lot, the BFE and boundary locations
should be depicted on the plans.
When a plan is prepared by a registered professional architect, engineer or
land surveyor, it should be stamped with the license seal to certify technical accuracy.
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3. Ensure that all necessary certifications are included and properly
signed. The applicant must provide all completed certifications needed for the
permit review.
Based on the minimum NFIP requirements, four situations would require the
filing of certified documents with the permit application:
♦ Floodway encroachment: If any part of the proposed project is to be located in a designated floodway, the applicant must submit an engineering
certification and documentation demonstrating that the proposed encroachment would not result in any increase in base flood heights. If the
project is in a riverine floodplain where no floodway has been adopted, the
certification would show that there the project will not exceed the allowable increase a flood heights. This certification could be the same as the
No-Rise Certification shown in Figure 5-5. [44 CFR 60.3(c)(10) and
(d)(3)]
♦ Floodproofed building: In the event a nonresidential structure is to be
floodproofed, the applicant must submit a statement from a registered professional engineer or architect certifying that the design and methods of
construction meet these standards [44 CFR 60.3(c)(4)]. A second, as-built,
certificate is also required to be submitted later.
♦ Enclosures below the lowest floor. Unit 5, Section E covered the requirements for openings in enclosures. If an applicant designs an enclosure
below the lowest floor using an alternative to the NFIP standard, a registered professional architect or engineer must certify the design [44 CFR
60.3(c)(5)]. If a full-story enclosure is planned below the elevated lowest
floor, you should require the applicant to sign a non-conversion agreement
such as the one in Figure 5-13.
♦ V Zone construction. An applicant proposing to construct a building in a
V zone must supply a statement from a registered professional architect or
engineer certifying the design and method of construction of the elevated
building and the design of breakaway walls [44 CFR 60.3(e)(4)]. See Figure 5-18 for an example. An as-built certificate is also recommended to be
submitted later
4. Ensure that all necessary federal and state permits are being obtained.
You must review the application package to determine whether federal and state
permits are necessary [44 CFR 60.3(a)(2)]. To help you and the applicant, you
might include the agency or program names as a checklist on your permit application form.
When obtaining federal and state approval takes a long time, you may condition issuance of your permit on the applicant’s obtaining such permits later. The
applicant should provide documentation to the administrator stating that the required federal and state permits have been applied for, and that portion of the
project affected by needed permits will not proceed until those permits are issued.
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For example, getting a Section 404 wetlands permit from the Corps of Engineers may take several months. Under such circumstances, you may issue a local
permit with the stipulation that the applicant must have obtained all required
permits before beginning construction. You can verify this at your first inspection.
5. Submit copies of appropriate parts of the application package to other
departments for review. Depending on the type and size of the proposed development and on the regulatory responsibilities of other departments or offices in
your community, the applicant should submit a sufficient number of copies to
allow for others’ review.
Here are some departments and agencies who might need to review a portion
of the application:
♦ Building department.
♦ Zoning department.
♦ Engineer’s office.
♦ Health department (septic system approval).
♦ FEMA Regional Office (for assistance in evaluating a no-rise floodway
application, change to a floodway delineation or other activity that will result in a map revision).
♦ State NFIP coordinating agency (state permit requirements, alteration or
relocation of a watercourse).
♦ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (404 permit, technical assistance).
♦ Environmental Protection Agency.
♦ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (incidental take permits under Section 10
of the Endangered Species Act of 1973).
♦ State public health agency (permits for hospitals, nursing homes, etc.).
♦ Natural Resources Conservation Service (impact of subdivisions and other
large development on the natural resources of the area).
♦ Adjacent communities (alteration or relocation of a watercourse).
If your office hasn’t done this already, you should contact these agencies, determine what, if anything, they need to review, and prepare a checklist for permit
applicants that advise them of the other approvals that will be needed.
REVIEW FOR COMPLIANCE
Now that you have a complete application package, follow these recommended procedures to verify that the project will meet all of your ordinance
requirements.
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1. Examine site information. Check the site plan to ensure that the plotted
floodplain, floodway, and V Zone boundaries appear accurately plotted. Look for
possible obstructions in the floodway and other potential violations.
Inspect the plan carefully and compare it with the FIRM, floodway map and
profile. In coastal areas, you should determine if the site is in a COBRA zone and
so advise the applicant/property owner (COBRA zones are explained in Unit 3,
Section F and Unit 9, Section D).
Some project sites may be located close to the boundaries of the SFHA. Because the map scale is small, or it is difficult to pinpoint the project site, you may
have trouble determining whether the project will be in or out of the SFHA. See
Unit 4, Section B, on making floodplain and floodway boundary determinations.
Remember, a floodplain development permit is required only if the planned
structure is located within the SFHA. For example, while the applicant’s property
may be located partially in the SFHA, the proposed structure would be built on
land outside the SFHA. In this case, floodplain regulations would not apply and
no special floodplain development permit is needed. However, if clearing, grading, filling, or road or bridge construction associated with erecting the structure is
within the SFHA, a permit is necessary.
Note that while you can use better ground elevation data to determine that a
building location is above the BFE (and therefore outside the SFHA), the property
will remain in the SFHA on the FIRM. That means that it is still subject to the
flood insurance purchase requirement and the rates will be set at SFHA rates. It
is the owner’s responsibility to submit a request for a Letter of Map Amendment
(LOMA) in order to have the FIRM reflect the better data (see Unit 4, Section D
for more information on LOMAs).
2. Review building plans. If a building site is in the SFHA, all buildings must
be protected to the BFE or higher.
In this reference guide, the term “building” is the same as the term “structure” in
the NFIP regulations. Your ordinance may use either term. The terms are reviewed in more detail in Unit 5, Section E.
The application package must include building design plans that show:
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♦ The kind and potential use of the structure.
♦ The elevation of the lowest floor.
♦ The type of foundation system.
♦ The existence of any enclosure below the lowest floor, along with electrical and plumbing plans for the area, location of openings and materials
proposed for use in an enclosure below the BFE.
♦ The height to which a nonresidential structure is to be floodproofed and
the complete list of floodproofing techniques to be used, with detailed
drawings
Any conflict or inconsistency with applicable regulations will require adjustments to the building plans.
3. Have the community’s engineer review engineering documents. As
listed previously, depending on the type and location of the structure being proposed, as many as four engineering documents or certifications are needed to
show compliance with NFIP requirements concerning floodway encroachment,
floodproofing, enclosures below the lowest floor and V Zone construction.
All engineering documents should be examined by your community’s staff
engineer, or a consulting engineer available to perform reviews, to ensure that
acceptable technical standards were used and that calculations are correct. If your
community does not have a staff engineer, the state NFIP coordinating agency or
FEMA Regional Office may be able to help review the data.
APPLICATION APPROVAL OR DENIAL
Once you complete your review of the permit application papers for completeness and technical compliance with the ordinance, a decision on the
application is due.
If the proposed development is in compliance with regulations, issue a
permit. The permit becomes the official authorization from the community allowing the applicant to proceed, based on the information submitted in the application
package. A sample permit developed by the North Carolina state NFIP coordinator is shown in Figure 7-5.
Somewhere in the permit record, such as the approved plans, the application
form or the permit form itself, a record should be kept of the base flood elevation
and the required floor elevation. There should also be a general statement that all
construction will be in accordance with all codes and ordinances (see Section 1,
item 6 in Figure 7-4).
The day a permit is issued is the date of the “start of construction,” provided
construction begins within 180 days. Used for insurance rating purposes, this date
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determines what FIRM was in effect when the building was built, regardless when
ground was broken or construction was finished.
For regulatory purposes, a permit may be effective or valid for a certain period
of time, according to the standard used in your other regulations. If at the end of
this period the project is not complete, the permit technically expires. However,
ordinances routinely provide for the permit officer to issue written extensions to
allow completion of the development under the conditions of the original permit.
If the application is not in compliance with local regulations, the permit
should be denied. The applicant then can choose to:
♦ Withdraw the permit application.
♦ Redesign the project to bring it into compliance with regulations.
♦ Appeal to the Board of Appeals.
♦ Ask for a variance to the regulations.
While you may not be formally required to disclose the reasons for denying an
application, it is good policy to do so in writing. This tells the applicant what
areas are noncompliant so that if he or she wishes to resubmit the application,
appropriate corrections can be made.
Appeals and variances are covered in Section F of this unit. Clarifying the deficiencies for the applicant also can help reduce the number of appeals of
administrative and regulatory decisions you make
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Building Permit Number: ________________
Applicant's Name:
Owner's Name:
Site Address, Tax #, Parcel #:
Address:
Telephone:
Telephone:
I.
All development - Base Flood Elevation Data provided.
A. The as-built elevation certification from a registered land surveyor or
professional engineer has been submitted?
B. The lowest floor elevation is at or above the required lowest floor elevation?
C. Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment (including
duct work) and other service facilities are located above BFE or floodproofed?
II.
v Yes v No
Development in Zones A, AE, A1-A30 and AH.
A.
B.
C.
III.
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
Solid foundation perimeter walls located below BFE.:
1. There are at least two (2) openings?
2. Square footage of enclosed area subject to flooding
3. Square inches of venting required
4. Square inches per opening (multiply l by w)
5. Number of required vents (3 above divided by 4 above)
6. Foundation contains the minimum number of vents?
7. The bottom of each opening is no higher than one (1) foot above grade?
8. Any cover on openings will permit the automatic flow of floodwaters
in both directions?
Base flood elevation and/or floodway data not available or AO Zones:
1. The lowest floor is at least three (3) feet above the highest adjacent grade?
2. The development meets the setback requirements of the ordinance?
3. If 2 above was "no", has a No-Rise Certification been submitted?
Reviewer's Name: ______________ Date reviewed: ___________________
Floodway data is provided.
1. Did this development encroach in the floodway?
2. Do the actual field conditions meet the proposed actions and technical
data requirements?
3. If C1 was "yes", has a No-Rise Certification been submitted?
Reviewer's Name: ______________ Date reviewed: ___________________
Development in Zones V, VE, and V!-V30, VO (Coastal High Hazard Areas).
A. Development location complies with all coastal setback requirements?
B. Structure is securely anchored to pilings or columns and certification by a
registered, professional architect or engineer has been submitted?
Reviewer's Name: ________________ Date reviewed: ___________________
C. Walls permitted below the base flood elevation consist of decorative lattice work
or, where permitted, are breakaway and have been certified by a registered,
professional architect or engineer?
Reviewer's Name: ________________ Date reviewed: ___________________
v Yes v No
___________
___________
___________
___________
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
v Yes v No
Local Administrator's Signature: ______________________________________ Date : _________________
Figure 7-3. Sample permit review checklist
(Developed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)
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Figure 7-4a. Sample floodplain development permit application form
(Developed by the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management)
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Figure 7-4b. Sample floodplain development permit application form
(Developed by the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management)
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Figure 7-4c. Sample floodplain development permit application form
(Developed by the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management)
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Figure 7-4d. Sample floodplain development permit application form
(Developed by the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management)
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Figure 7-5. Sample permit form
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D. INSPECTIONS
You can’t assume that construction and development will proceed as spelled
out in the permit you’ve approved. Follow-up conversations and inspections are
vital to ensure that the applicant adheres to the permit’s requirements.
Taking a hands-off attitude toward construction can create many problems for
both the project’s owners and your community.
The most effective way to ensure compliance is to inspect the site frequently
during construction. This is particularly important in the early phases of work on a
building because that’s when errors in location or elevation of the lowest floor can
be found and corrected. An inspection program also puts builders, developers and
property owners on notice that the community will insist that projects are completed in compliance with regulations.
We recommend a series of three inspections for every project, especially any
project that involves construction of a building.
FIRST INSPECTION
Do this inspection before ground is broken. Ideally, this site visit should be after the site is staked out to allow you to check the plans in relation to the ground
and lot boundaries. With plans in hand, you should determine that the site as
identified on the proposed plans is consistent with actual ground conditions.
Check the following:
♦ The location of the floodplain and floodway boundaries.
♦ Setbacks from lot lines, channel banks, etc.
♦ Floodway encroachments, if applicable.
If the building, filling, etc., as staked out is in violation of the approved plans
or of the ordinance requirements, you must tell the developer to make revisions.
The project must not be allowed to proceed until you have gone back and verified that it is in compliance.
SECOND INSPECTION
Schedule your second inspection of a project involving a new building or addition to a building just before installation of the lowest floor. You need to ensure
that the lowest floor will be built at the height stipulated in the permit application,
and that the foundation is the type specified in the plans.
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The type of foundation dictates your schedule:
♦ If the building is on a slab foundation, the inspection is best done when the
forms are placed. You can check the proposed floor elevation by checking
the elevation of the top of the forms. If the forms are high enough, you can
approve the pouring the slab.
♦ If the building is on an elevated foundation (crawlspace, piles, etc.), the
inspection is best done when the foundation is completed. If the top of the
foundation is high enough, you can approve placement of the floor.
♦ If the building is to be floodproofed and the floodproofing technique is
easy to identify—such as a reinforced concrete stem wall up to the BFE
plus freeboard—this inspection should be conducted when that portion of
the project is completed.
Making sure a structure is properly elevated is the key to the entire regulatory
process. If this doesn’t happen, the permit process is pretty much for naught.
Therefore, an inspection at the point of initial construction, where changes to the
height of the foundation can be made without major difficulty, is best. Once the
foundation is poured or laid, it can be very expensive for the property owner to
changes the building location or the elevation of the lowest floor.
Checking elevations
You can confirm the floor elevation at this stage in one of two ways. First,
you can have the builder submit a survey of the floor elevation. This survey must
be done by a surveyor or engineer.
The alternative approach is to check for yourself:
♦ Before construction or sometimes as part of the first inspection, the developer’s surveyor or your engineer can shoot an elevation reference mark to
a nearby stationary object such as a tree or telephone pole. The mark
should be at the same elevation as the height to which the lowest floor
should be elevated.
♦ During the second inspection, you can use a hand level to determine
whether the lowest floor will be as high as the reference mark.
♦ This will give you a rough estimate that the building will be close to the
correct elevation. A hand level will not give accurate elevations so, if you
are in doubt obtain, a survey.
Note: Neither approach relieves the builder of having to provide an as-built
elevation or floodproofing certificate when the project is done. It simply verifies
that the building will be elevated or floodproofed to the proper elevation before it
is too late to make changes.
During your second inspection, also check:
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♦ Whether any fill meets the necessary compaction, slope and protection
standards contained in your regulations.
♦ The building’s location matches the permit application plans.
♦ The number and size of crawlspace or enclosure openings.
♦ Whether any part of the project encroaches into the floodway.
♦ In V Zones, get an as-built foundation certification at this time, such as the
V Zone certification in Figure 5-18.
THIRD INSPECTION
The third and last inspection is conducted as the project nears completion. The
purpose of this “final” inspection is to:
♦ Ensure that the foundation and floor elevation has not been altered since
the second inspection.
♦ Obtain an as-built elevation or floodproofing certificate.
♦ Verify that enclosures below the lowest floors have adequate openings.
♦ Ensure that nothing subject to flood damage, such as a furnace or air conditioning unit, has been located below the lowest floor.
♦ Check breakaway walls in V Zones.
♦ Check for floodway encroachments.
♦ Check the anchoring system used in securing manufactured homes.
♦ You may wish to obtain photographs during the final inspection to document compliance and retain the photographs in the permit file. These
photographs can be useful if the property owner later makes alterations to
the building without obtaining permits. Be sure to document the date and
circumstances under which the photographs were taken.
Certificate of occupancy
After the project passes final inspection, many communities issue a document
called a certificate of occupancy, certificate of compliance or use permit.
This certificate allows the owner to move in to the newly constructed building
or addition. Usually a new building cannot be sold until the seller has this certificate; some utility companies will not start service until the certificate is presented.
Before a certificate is completed, you must make sure that all needed documents are received and checked. You must have an elevation certificate and the
other forms noted in the later section on record keeping.
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LATER INSPECTIONS
Certifying a structure for occupancy is the final step in the permit process.
However, the property must remain in compliance with your ordinance and the
conditions under which the permit was issued.
Your office should periodically check to ensure that the property continues to
remain in compliance over time. Later inspections are particularly important when
a structure contains an enclosure below the lowest floor. Such areas can be easily
modified and made into habitable spaces in violation of regulations.
In some states, communities do not have the statutory authority to go onto private property to look for violations. This can make it hard, if not impossible, to
verify whether an enclosed area has been modified. If this is true in your community, your ordinance should prohibit enclosures or limit their allowable size to less
than 300 square feet. Allow larger enclosures only if they have wood lattice or
screening so you can tell from the street if changes have been made.
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E. ENFORCEMENT
Adequate, uniform and fair enforcement means two things:
♦ All development in a floodplain must have a permit.
♦ All development with a permit must be built according to the approved
plans.
In order to ensure that development is meeting these requirements, you must
monitor the floodplain, and where necessary, conduct an inspection of a property.
Some permit officials have statutory limits on where they can go to inspect a
potential violation. Be sure to review your authority to access onto private property with your attorney.
If you discover development activities without permits or contrary to the approved plans, you must enforce your ordinance. You have several methods for
enforcing your ordinance. This section explores these methods.
VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE
The best approach is to convince the developer or property owner that complying with the ordinance is in his or her own best interest. This may take some
explanation of the flood hazard and how the rules protect the property (or
neighboring properties) from that hazard.
If the issue is protection of a building, the flood insurance rate table in Figure
9-3 can show how expensive insurance could be. Even if the developer or the
current property owner is not interested in flood insurance, future owners may
want it and probably will be required to purchase it as a condition of a mortgage
or loan. Expensive flood insurance may make the building very difficult to sell.
Should voluntary efforts not work, here are the other compliance tools you
have.
ADMINISTRATIVE STEPS
Your first steps in enforcement involve what you can do as an ordinance administrator. Be sure to review these with your community’s attorney before you
start:
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♦ Contact the property owner or building contractor in person or by telephone to explain your concerns.
♦ Notify the property owner (in writing) of the nature of the violations and
what to do to correct them.
♦ Post a violation notice on the property.
If a problem is found during construction of a permitted project, you have additional tools:
♦ If the violation is a serious one, or if the problem still exists after a followup inspection, you can issue a stop-work order or revoke the permit.
♦ You can withhold the certificate of occupancy until the problem is corrected. Usually utilities will not be turned on or a bank loan will not be
closed until the certificate of occupancy is issued.
LEGAL RECOURSES
If your administrative measures do not bring results, go back to your community’s attorney and discuss the next steps. Your attorney can take the case to court
and request two additional enforcement measures be brought to bear.
You can help the attorney by having complete records of all correspondence
and meetings with the person accused of the violation. You should also identify
what section of the ordinance was violated, when and how, and what was specifically allowed in the approved permit.
You should advise the attorney about what actions can be taken that will bring
the project into compliance. Depending on the violation, these actions could
include removing the building (or other project), retrofitting the building to protect it, applying for a variance, or revising the maps to remove the problem from
the floodplain, floodway, V Zone, etc.
Fine. Your ordinance should establish a maximum fine per offense. Usually
each day a violation continues is considered a separate offense. This approach
encourages a quick remedy to the problem.
A per-day fine for a summary offense from a local district justice or magistrate can be difficult to get because many courts would believe that such a severe
financial penalty does not fit the infraction. However, the threat of seeking the
fine may be sufficient to persuade a property owner to remedy the violation.
Recordation. Depending on your statutory authority, you may be able to record the violation in the property’s deed records. This will inform potential
purchasers as well as “cloud the deed,” making it hard for the owner to sell the
property or the buyer to obtain title insurance. This approach is more appropriate
for new developments that are likely to be sold in the near future.
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Injunction. An injunction is a court order to stop further noncompliant conduct. A temporary restraining order will be issued if the activity can be shown to
be a danger to the public and that immediate irreparable harm can occur.
Housing court. Dealing with your state or county’s judicial system can be
expensive and difficult. Your case has to wait its turn and compete with many
cases for attention.
To speed up the enforcement process, some communities enact special enforcement ordinances to create a municipal housing court or a building court. This
is a local judicial body that has several advantages:
♦ The judge or administrative judge will be familiar with housing or building code law.
♦ The community has more control over when cases will be heard.
♦ Such courts usually are less formal. For example, the defendant may not
have to have an attorney present.
The establishment of these courts varies by state law. Your attorney or state
department of local government affairs or housing can provide more information
on how it can work in your community.
SECTION 1316
Section 1316 of the National Flood Insurance Act authorizes FEMA to deny
flood insurance to a property declared by a State or community to be in violation
of their floodplain management regulations.
Section 1316 is used when all other legal means to remedy the violation have
been exhausted and the structure is still noncompliant. Section 1316 is a way the
NFIP can support communities in the enforcement of their ordinances. Check
with your state NFIP coordinator or FEMA Regional Office on how Section 1316
works in your state.
If invoked under Section 1316, denying flood insurance means:
♦ The property may be difficult or impossible to sell.
♦ The market value of the property may fall.
♦ The cost of suffering flood damage without insurance may be too great a
risk for the property owner.
♦ Lending institutions holding the property’s mortgage may threaten to foreclose.
♦ Any permanent reconstruction will be denied disaster assistance.
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In some cases a Section 1316 insurance denial will be sufficient to convince
the property owner to correct the violation. Section 1316 also has the advantage of
limiting any taxpayer liability if the building is damaged by a flood, as the owner
will be ineligible for an insurance claim and disaster assistance.
If a structure that has received a Section 1316 declaration is made compliant
with the community’s floodplain management ordinance, then the Section 1316
declaration can be rescinded by the community and flood insurance eligibility
restored.
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F. APPEALS, SPECIAL USES AND VARIANCES
Generally, procedures for Appeals, special uses and variances are specified by
state law. They require judgment calls involving several people, as ordinances
typically do not allow only one person to decide these issues. Here is when they
can occur and how they are usually handled.
Appeals
Ambiguous language or differing interpretations can lead the applicant and
permit office to disagree. Your ordinance should have a process for referring
these disagreements to a board of appeals or adjustment which will interpret the
ordinance and settle the dispute.
Special uses
Some regulations require that certain situations be given a special review to
determine if they should be allowed and, if so, whether conditions should be
attached to the permit. While the NFIP sets construction standards for all buildings, your community may have decided that residences should not be allowed in
a floodway and that floodproofed nonresidential buildings should be allowed only
if certain conditions are met. Some official body needs to determine if a special
use permit or if a conditional permit should be issued.
Variances
Zoning ordinances, building codes and floodplain management regulations
cannot be written to anticipate every imaginable situation. A process for issuing
variances gives a builder a way to seek permission to vary from the letter of the
rules because of a special situation.
A variance can mean that the minimum standards of the NFIP may not be met
by a project due to a special local circumstance. Because of this, most of this
section is devoted to variances.
Boards
In all three cases, the applicant submits a request to a knowledgeable board of
arbiters. Typically, variances and special or conditional use permits are handled
by the planning commission or other body that is responsible for writing and
amending the ordinance. Appeals are usually handled by a separate board of
appeals or board of adjustments. Sometimes all three processes are handled by the
same body and sometimes, especially in smaller communities, that body is the
city council or governing board.
These boards do not have authority to change the ordinance, just to apply or
interpret the ordinance’s provisions. They may or may not have authority to make
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a final decision. If not, they make recommendations to the governing board which
makes the final decision.
VARIANCES
A variance is a grant of relief by a community from the terms of a land use,
zoning or building code regulation. Because a variance can create an increased
risk to life and property, variances from flood elevation or other requirements in
the flood ordinance should be rare.
Granting variances is a local decision that must be based on not only NFIP criteria, but also on state law and other provisions the community may wish to
require. Your community’s review board must consider the fact that every newly
constructed building adds to the local government’s responsibilities and remains a
part of the community for the indefinite future.
Variances are based on the general principal of zoning law that they pertain to
a piece of property and are not personal in nature. Though standards vary from
state to state, in general a variance is granted for a parcel with physical characteristics so unusual that complying with the ordinance would create an exceptional
hardship to the applicant or surrounding property owners. Those characteristics
must:
♦ Be unique to that property and not shared by adjacent parcels.
♦ Pertain to the land, not to any structure, its inhabitants or the property
owners.
Characteristics that might justify a variance include an irregularly shaped lot,
a parcel with unsuitable soils, or a parcel with an unusual geologic condition
below ground level. It is difficult, however, to imagine any physical characteristic
that would give rise to a hardship sufficient to justify issuing a variance to a flood
elevation requirement. There are usually alternative ways to construct a compliant building even in these situations.
Your community should grant variances based only on a structure-bystructure review. Never grant variances for multiple lots, phases of subdivisions
or entire subdivisions.
NFIP requirements
NFIP regulations do not address appeals, special uses or conditional permits.
Follow the procedures used in your zoning ordinance or building code as these are
usually prescribed by state law.
Because variances may expose insurable property to a higher flood risk, NFIP
regulations set guidelines for granting them. The guidelines, which are designed
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to screen out situations in which alternatives other than a variance are most appropriate, appear in 44 CFR 60.6(a). They are summarized in Figure 7-6.
A review board hearing a variance request must not only follow procedures
given in the NFIP criteria, it must consider the NFIP criteria in making its decision. When the NFIP guidelines are followed, few situations qualify for a
variance.
Good and sufficient cause. The applicant must show good and sufficient
cause for a variance. Remember, the variance must pertain to the land, not its
owners or residents. Here are some common complaints about floodplain rules
that are NOT good and sufficient cause for a variance:
♦ The value of the property will drop somewhat.
♦ It will be inconvenient for the property owner.
♦ The owner doesn’t have enough money to comply.
♦ The property will look different from others in the neighborhood.
♦ The owner started building without a permit and now it will cost a lot to
bring the building into compliance
Hardship. The concept of unnecessary hardship is the cornerstone of all variance standards. Strict adherence to this concept across the country has limited the
granting of variances.
The applicant has the burden of proving unnecessary hardship. Reasons for
granting the variance must be substantial; the proof must be compelling. The
claimed hardship must be exceptional, unusual and peculiar to the property involved. Financial hardship, inconvenience, aesthetic considerations, physical
handicaps, personal preferences or the disapproval of one’s neighbors do not
qualify as exceptional hardships.
The local board must weigh the applicant’s plea of hardship against the purpose of the ordinance. Given a request for a variance from floodplain elevation
requirements, the board must decide whether the hardship the applicant claims
outweighs the long-term risk to the owners and occupants of the building would
face, as well as the community’s need for strictly enforced regulations that protect
its citizens from flood danger and damage.
When considering variances to flood protection ordinances, local boards continually face the difficult task of frequently having to deny requests from
applicants whose personal circumstances evoke compassion, but whose hardships
are simply not sufficient to justify deviation from community-wide flood damage
prevention requirements.
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1. Variances shall not be issued by a community within any designated regulatory
floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result;
2. Variances may be issued by a community for new construction and substantial improvements to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in size contiguous to and
surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, in
conformance with the procedures of paragraphs (a) (3), (4), (5) and (6) of this section;
3. Variances shall only be issued by a community upon...
(i) a showing of good and sufficient cause,
(ii) a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant, and
(iii) a determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood
height, additional threat to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances,
cause fraud on or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances;
4. Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief;
5. A community shall notify the applicant in writing over the signature of a community
official that...
(i) the issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will
result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as $25 for
$100 of insurance coverage and;
(ii) such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property.
Such notification shall be maintained with a record of all variance actions as required in
paragraph (a) (6) of this section.
6. A community shall...
(i) maintain a record of all variance actions, including justification for their issuance,
and
(ii) report such variances issued in its annual or biennial report submitted to the
[Federal Insurance] Administrator.
7. Variances may be issued by a community for new construction and substantial improvements and for other development necessary for the conduct of a functionally
dependent use provided that...
(i) the criteria of paragraphs (a) (1) through (a) (4) of this section are met, and
(ii) the structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood
damages during the base flood and create no additional threats to public safety.
Figure 7-6: NFIP variance criteria (44 CFR 60.6(a))
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These problems can be resolved through other means, even if the alternatives
to a variance are more expensive or complicated than building with a variance, or
if they require the property owner to put the parcel to a different use than originally intended, or to build elsewhere.
Here are two examples:
Example 1. A small undeveloped lot is surrounded by lots on which buildings
have been constructed at grade. The ordinance requires new buildings to be constructed at a level several feet above grade.
If the owner were to build a new house, it would look different, Potential buyers would ask questions and find out about the flood problem in the area. If it
were built on fill, the lot might drain onto the neighbors’ property.
This situation probably would not warrant a variance because the owner does
not face an exceptional hardship. Appearance is not a hardship and no action
should be taken to hide the hazard from others. There are ways to elevate a building without creating a drainage problem, such as elevating the building on pilings
or a crawlspace, or grading the fill to drain away from adjoining properties.
Example 2. A property owner seeks a variance because he or she would have
to spend several thousand dollars to elevate a house to comply with the ordinance,
and several thousand more to build a wheelchair ramp or an elevator to provide
access for a handicapped member of the family.
While financial considerations are important to property owners and the needs
of a handicapped person must be accommodated, these difficulties do not put this
situation in the category of “exceptional hardships” because:
♦ The characteristics that result in the claimed hardship do not pertain to the
property but are personal.
♦ A variance is not needed to provide day-to-day access to the building,
which can be provided by building a ramp or elevator.
♦ Having a handicapped person occupy a floodprone dwelling raises a critical public safety concern.
If a variance is granted and the building is constructed at grade, the handicapped or infirm person must leave when floodwaters begin to rise, yet he or she
may need help to do so. This poses an unnecessary danger to the handicapped
person and places an extra demand on the community’s emergency services personnel, who may be called upon to rescue the resident in the event of a flood.
On the other hand, if the building is properly elevated, the handicapped person
either can be evacuated or can survive the flood simply by remaining at home
safely above the floodwaters.
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In effect, the variance would not relieve the property owner of his or her difficulty, but likely only postpone and perhaps ultimately increase it. It would not
help the community, either, as the building will be susceptible to damage long
after the current owners are gone.
It would be more prudent for both the owner and the community if the variance were denied and the home built at the proper elevation with handicapped
access. This would ensure the safety of all family members when floodwaters rise,
as well as protect the property owner’s and the community’s investment in the
property.
Public safety and expense. Flood damage prevention ordinances are intended
to help protect the health, safety, well-being and property of the local citizens.
Variances must not create threats to public safety or nuisances.
Because it would increase damage to other property owners, no variance may
be issued within a regulatory floodway that will result in any increase in 100-year
flood levels (44 CFR 60.6(a)(1)).
Fraud and victimization. Variances must not defraud or victimize the public.
Any buildings permitted below the BFE face increased risk of damage from
floods, and future owners of the property—and the community—are subject to all
the costs, inconvenience, danger and suffering that those increased flood damages
may bring.
Future owners may purchase the property, unaware that because of a variance,
it is subject to potential flood damages and can be insured only at high rates.
Minimum variation necessary. A variance is a request to vary from the
rules, not to ignore them. Any variance should allow only minimum deviation
from the local requirements.
For example, even if an applicant can justify not elevating a building above
the BFE, the review board should not automatically allow the building to be built
at grade. The board should still require as much elevation as possible, to provide
some flood protection without causing exceptional hardship.
In some instances it may be possible to vary individual provisions of the ordinance without reducing the overall level of protection. For example, a wellengineered building might be constructed in a V Zone on a foundation other than
piles or columns.
In considering variances, the review board should use local technical staff expertise and recommendations from the building, planning, zoning or engineering
departments. The local technical staff should consider varying other requirements
in order to provide the needed flood protection. For example, it may be more
appropriate to issue a variance to the front yard setback requirement in order to
get the building out of the floodway.
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Flood insurance rates. While a variance may allow deviation from building
standards specified in a local ordinance, flood insurance rates and the flood insurance purchase requirement—which must be enforced by lending institutions—
cannot be waived.
This can create severe financial consequences for a property owner, as insurance rates for a building built below BFE can be substantially higher than those
for elevated buildings. A variance from elevation requirements—the most common kind of variance requested—increases the risk to a building, and that
increased risk is reflected in higher annual insurance premiums (Figure 9-3).
If a variance is requested to construct a building below the BFE, you must notify the applicant (in writing) that granting the variance will result in increased
flood insurance premium rates, up to $25 per $100 of coverage. In many instances, the variance-induced rates will be so high as to make the building
essentially uninsurable because the owners cannot afford the premium. (In one
case, a marine supply store on the Gulf Coast was built 14 feet below BFE in a V
zone. The annual flood insurance premium was $25,000—on a $100,000 building.)
The original owner who applied for a variance may not care, but if approved,
the variance’s impact may matter a great deal to subsequent potential owners who
cannot afford the property’s high insurance rates. The result may be owner abandonment; your community could be left with a vacant, flood-damaged and
essentially uninsurable building.
Figures 7-7 through 7-12 illustrate the premiums for a single-family home
protected to different levels. They provide a clear picture of the cost of actuarial
post-FIRM flood insurance rates and, therefore, the true risk to which the building
is being exposed.
You should give these two pages of illustrations to anyone considering seeking a variance to save construction costs. A variance may save money in the short
term, but over the long run, the owner will pay much more in insurance premiums
or, if uninsured, in flood losses.
Note: These premiums are for the purposes of this example. Insurance rates
vary, based on location, date of construction and lowest floor elevation, and must
be computed case-by-case. The premiums shown for the next series of illustrations were computed based on $100,000 in building coverage. Current rates for
these buildings may be different than those shown.
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Figure 7-7. Pre-FIRM building—1995 insurance rate: $595
Figure 7-8. Pre-FIRM building—substantially damaged by 1997 flood
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Figure 7-9. Repaired—variance issued and building Is not elevated to or
above the BFE
(building Is 7 feet below BFE); actuarial rate: $3,090
Figure 7-10. Repaired—variance allowed.
Elevated to 2’ below BFE; actuarial rate: $1,140
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Figure 7-11. Repaired—elevated to BFE; actuarial rate: $351
Figure 7-12. Repaired—elevated 2 feet above BFE; actuarial rate: $216
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Historic buildings
A variance may be issued for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or restoration
of historic structures if the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the
historic character and design of the structure. “Historic structures” are those listed
in the National Register of Historic Places or the State Inventory of Historic
Places, or that contribute to a historic district.
Changes to the structure must not destroy or alter the characteristics that made
it an historic building. A certified local historic board or the state historic preservation officer must review and approve remodeling, renovations and additions
before granting a variance. Whatever mitigation measures can be taken to reduce
future flood damage must be required—such as elevating an air conditioner or
using flood-resistant materials.
Many older buildings are not considered historic, so the first thing to
check is whether the structure proposed for an exemption is historic. Look for
it on a list maintained by:
-- The National Register of Historic Places.
-- Federally-certified state programs operated through a state historic
preservation officer.
-- A federally-certified local historic preservation board.
Structures are listed in the National Register or on a federally-recognized
state or local inventory in one of two ways: as an individual building, or as a
primary, secondary, or other contributing building in a designated historic district.
Structures are either listed or may be eligible to be listed. Only a federally-certified state or local historic preservation program can make such
determinations. Either the state historic preservation office or federallycertified local historic preservation board should be consulted to determine if
a structure proposed for the historic exemption is indeed historic.
Figure 7 – 13. Definition of “historic building”
Functionally dependent use
A variance may be issued for new construction, substantial improvements and
other development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use. A
functionally dependent use is one that must be located or carried out close to
water—such as a docking or port facility necessary for the unloading of cargo or
passengers, shipbuilding and ship repair.
A functionally dependent use variance could be issued provided that:
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♦ There is good and sufficient cause for providing relief from the regulations.
♦ The variance will be the minimum necessary to provide relief.
♦ The variance does not cause a rise in the 100-year flood level within a
regulatory floodway.
The structure or other development must be protected by methods that minimize flood damage during the base flood and create no additional threats to public
safety. One way of accomplishing this is to use wet-floodproofing techniques
such as using flood resistant materials, elevating mechanical equipment, locating
offices above the BFE, using ground fault interrupt electrical circuits, or developing an emergency plan to remove contents before a flood.
Records
The community must keep a record of all variances and the rationale for
granting them. These are subject to review by FEMA or the state NFIP coordinator during a Community Assistance Visit.
The records must include a copy of the written notification to the applicant
that the issuance of a variance to construct a building below the BFE will result in
increased flood insurance premium rates as high as $25 per $100 of coverage, and
such construction below the BFE increases risk to life and property.
It is recommended that the variance findings, conditions and authorization be
recorded in the county deed records. This provides a means of permanently notifying future or prospective owners about the terms and conditions of the variance.
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G. RECORDS
Records show what you approved and what you told the developer, forming a
“paper trail” needed for administrative or legal proceedings related to development projects. Such records are vital if the project violates your ordinance. They
also give future owners information about the property.
Records are also checked by FEMA or the state to determine if your community is in full compliance with the NFIP.
This section reviews what records you must—or should—keep to meet your
community’s obligation to the NFIP.
PERMIT FILE
Your community should have a permit record system that is keyed to a geographical identifier (not just a building permit number) such as: street address, lot
and block number, township, section and range, or county appraiser’s property ID
number.
You should have a file for each permit application. The files should have
some indicator on the folder to show that it is a floodplain permit, such as a different color file folder or file label.
Permit files should contain copies of these items, as appropriate:
♦ The permit application form and all attachments, including the site plan.
♦ All correspondence pertinent to the project.
♦ Flood and floodway data prepared by the developer.
♦ Engineering analyses of floodway encroachments and watercourse alterations.
♦ Special engineering designs for enclosures below the BFE.
♦ In coastal high hazard areas, engineering certifications of designs and construction methods of new and substantially improved buildings.
♦ In coastal high hazard areas, certification of specially designed breakaway
walls.
♦ Any variances or appeals proceedings.
♦ Records of inspections of the project while under construction.
♦ Documentation of the “as-built” lowest floor elevation of all new and substantially improved buildings.
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♦ Certification of the elevation to which any nonresidential building has
been floodproofed.
♦ Certificates of compliance or occupancy.
Keeping these records is a requirement to participate in the NFIP; there is no
statute of limitations as to how long they should be kept. You may want to keep a
separate log or record of floodplain permits so you can readily retrieve those
floodplain projects to show FEMA or the state NFIP coordinator.
It is not necessary to keep the entire building plans and other documents
longer than is required for local code purposes. However, if you allow below-BFE
enclosures, your files should include the ground floor plan of those buildings in
case of a future violation issue.
ELEVATION CERTIFICATE
Your permit file needs an official record that shows how high new buildings
and substantial improvements were elevated. This is needed both to show compliance with the ordinance and for the owner to obtain a flood insurance policy.
There is no mandated form for keeping building elevation records, but we
strongly recommend that you use FEMA’s Elevation Certificate Form (FEMA
Form 81-31). A blank copy is in Appendix F
If your community is participating in the Community Rating System, the
FEMA form must be used for new construction and substantial improvements to
existing buildings. Insurance agents writing flood insurance policies also must use
the form to properly rate many types of buildings. Accordingly, FEMA encourages communities to use the form to help their residents obtain flood insurance
without additional cost.
The FEMA form is an eight-page packet. It includes the two-page FEMA
Form 81-31, Elevation Certificate, and instructions on how to complete it. Additional copies of the packet are available in bulk at no cost by calling 800/6386620, ext. 2 (customer service).
There is a software version of the FEMA Elevation Certificate. It can be ordered at no charge by calling the CRS order number, 317/848-2898. If you use the
software version, or keep elevation records on a computer database, you also need
to keep the original signed “hard copy” of the surveyor's certification.
The responsibility for obtaining and filing an elevation certificate rests on the
local permit official. Part or all of the form may be completed by a land surveyor,
engineer, architect, or local official authorized by ordinance to provide floodplain
management information. Most communities require the permit applicant to
obtain the elevation certificate. (Depending on state law, if you are comfortable
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with using a transit or level you, as the floodplain ordinance administrator, can
check the finished elevations and certify them for the record.)
You may give property owners or surveyors blank forms and expect them to
complete the entire form. This practice does not relieve local officials in CRS
communities from the requirement to ensure that the forms are complete and
accurate. In non-CRS communities, the permit official should at least doublecheck the form to ensure that it is complete and that Sections A, B and D (on
property, map and community information) are correct. You may wish to fill out
Section B of the form and provide it to the surveyor to ensure that the map information on the Elevation Certificate is correct.
Annexations. The FEMA Elevation Certificate form is self-explanatory. One
problem arises when a community annexes or extends its planning or regulatory
jurisdiction over Special Flood Hazard Areas for the unincorporated areas of a
county or an adjacent community. Some communities enroll in the NFIP before a
Flood Hazard Boundary Map or FIRM has been issued for them.
Both situations lead to considerable confusion as to flood zone determination,
as well as knowing which community number and panel numbers should be used
on Elevation Certificates and other NFIP documents.
Flood zone determination: If the subject property is located within areas annexed from the county or within an area of extraterritorial planning jurisdiction,
use the county flood maps to determine the appropriate flood zone.
Community Identification Number: In item 1 of Section B of the FEMA form
(“Community Number”), use the municipality’s NFIP ID number once a property
is annexed or included in an extraterritorial planning jurisdiction.
Flood Map Panel Number: For property located in annexed areas or in the extraterritorial jurisdiction, for item 2 of Section B (“Panel Number”), use the entire
county ID and panel number— “370087 0005,” not just “0005.” For sites within
the “area not included,” state “No NFIP Map.”
FLOODPROOFING CERTIFICATE
Floodproofing means making a building watertight or substantially impermeable to floodwaters. It is an option only allowed for nonresidential buildings.
Designs for a floodproofed building must account for flood warning time, uses
of the building, mode of entry to and exit from the building and the site, floodwater velocities, flood depths, debris impact potential and flood frequency.
FEMA’s Technical Bulletin 3-93, Non-Residential Floodproofing Requirements and Certification for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas, has
a detailed discussion on each of these considerations.
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For insurance rating purposes, the building’s floodproofed design elevation
must be at least one foot above the BFE to receive rating credit. If floodproofed
only to the BFE, the floodproofing credit cannot be used, resulting in higher flood
insurance rates.
44 CFR Sections 60.3(b)(5) and (c)(4) require the community to obtain and
maintain a registered professional engineer’s certification that a nonresidential
building was properly floodproofed. You are encouraged to use the one-page
FEMA certification form included in Appendix F because it fulfills NFIP insurance rating needs as well as floodplain management requirements.
V ZONE CERTIFICATION
Buildings in coastal high hazard areas or V Zones are subject to a greater hazard than buildings built in other types of floodplains. Not only do they have to be
elevated above the base flood level, they must be protected from the impact of
waves, hurricane-force winds and erosion.
The NFIP regulations require coastal communities to ensure that buildings
built in the V Zone are anchored to resist wind and water loads acting simultaneously.
44 CFR 60.3(e)(4) [The community must] Provide that all new construction and
substantial improvements in Zones V1-30 and VE … are elevated on pilings and
columns so that (i) the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the
lowest floor (excluding the pilings or columns) is elevated to or above the base
flood level; and (ii) the pile or column foundation and structure attached thereto is
anchored to resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement due to the effects of
wind and water loads acting simultaneously on all building components. Water
loading values used shall be those associated with the base flood. Wind loading
values used shall be those required by applicable State or local building standards. A registered professional engineer or architect shall develop or review the
structural design, specifications and plans for the construction, and shall certify
that the design and methods of construction to be used are in accordance with
accepted standards of practice for meeting the provisions of (e)(4)(i) and (ii) of
this section.
While FEMA does not provide a V Zone certification form, Figure 5-18
shows the form developed by the state of North Carolina. Be sure to check with
your FEMA Regional Office before you use your own version of it.
NO-RISE CERTIFICATION
As discussed in Unit 5, Section D, your ordinance requires that riverine floodplains be free of encroachments that will cause an increase in flood levels. Where
a floodway has been mapped, construction in the flood fringe is assumed to not be
a problem.
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You need to document that a project in the floodway—or in a riverine floodplain where the floodway hasn’t been mapped—will not cause in increase in flood
heights. An engineering analysis must be conducted before you can issue a permit. Your permit file needs a record of the results of this analysis, usually in the
form of a no-rise certification or an equivalent document.
The engineering or no-rise certification must be supported by technical data
and signed by a registered professional engineer. The supporting technical data
should be based on the standard step-backwater computer model used to develop
the 100-year floodway shown on your FIRM or Flood Boundary and Floodway
Map and the results tabulated in your Flood Insurance Study.
Although communities are required to review and approve the no-rise submittal, they may request technical assistance and review from the FEMA Regional
Office. However, if this alternative is chosen, you must review the technical
package and verify that all supporting data, listed in succeeding paragraphs, are
included in the package before forwarding it to FEMA.
Figure 5-5 is a sample no-rise certification form developed by the North Carolina NFIP coordinating agency. Before using it, check with your state NFIP
coordinating agency or FEMA Regional Office for additional guidance or requirements.
BIENNIAL REPORT
Every two years, participating communities must complete a form describing
the community’s progress in the previous two years in implementing floodplain
management measures [44 CFR 59.22]. A copy of a biennial report appears in
Figure 7-14.
FEMA sends the one-page form to your chief elected official. It must be completed and returned to FEMA within 30 days.
The only way you can complete the biennial report is to have complete and
accessible permit records. You need to keep track of:
♦ Changes in community boundaries.
♦ Physical or topographical changes that affect flood hazard areas.
♦ Amendments to your floodplain ordinance.
♦ The number of building permits issued in the floodplain.
♦ The number of variances issued.
You also need to be able to tell FEMA:
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♦ The number of people and number of buildings in the floodplain.
♦ Whether you would like any floodplain management assistance.
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Figure 7-14. Example Biennial Report
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UNIT 8:
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT AND
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE
In this unit
This unit covers:
♦ The substantial improvement rule – how to regulate major additions and other improvements to buildings in the floodplain.
♦ The substantial damage rule – how to regulate reconstruction
and repairs to buildings that have been severely damaged.
♦ Exceptions to the basic rules for some special cases.
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Contents
Introduction.................................................................................................... 8-3
A. Substantial Improvement ................................................................................ 8-4
Projects affected............................................................................................. 8-4
Post-FIRM buildings................................................................................ 8-5
The Formula................................................................................................... 8-5
Market value ............................................................................................ 8-6
Substantial Improvement Examples ............................................................ 8-10
Example 1. Minor rehabilitation ............................................................ 8-10
Example 2. Substantial rehabilitation .................................................... 8-11
Example 3. Lateral addition—residential .............................................. 8-12
Example 4. Lateral addition—nonresidential ........................................ 8-13
Example 5. Vertical addition—residential............................................. 8-14
Example 6. Vertical addition—nonresidential....................................... 8-15
Example 7. Post-FIRM building—minor addition ................................ 8-16
Example 8. Post-FIRM building—substantial improvement................. 8-17
B. Substantial Damage....................................................................................... 8-18
Cost to Repair .............................................................................................. 8-18
Substantial Damage Examples..................................................................... 8-20
Example 1. Reconstruction of a destroyed building .............................. 8-20
Example 2. Substantially damaged structure ......................................... 8-21
Substantial Damage Software ...................................................................... 8-22
Increased Cost of Compliance ..................................................................... 8-22
C. Special Situations .......................................................................................... 8-25
Exempt Costs ............................................................................................... 8-25
Historic Structures ....................................................................................... 8-25
Corrections of Code Violations ................................................................... 8-26
Example ................................................................................................. 8-27
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INTRODUCTION
In previous units we focused on the rules and regulations that prevent or reduce damage from floods to new buildings. But what happens when the owner
wishes to make an improvement, such as an addition, to an existing building?
What if a building is damaged by a fire, flood or other cause?
Basic rule: If the cost of improvements or the cost to repair the damage
exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building, it must
be brought up to current floodplain management standards.
That means an existing building must meet the requirements for new construction.
People who own existing buildings that are being substantially improved will
be required to make a major investment in them in order to bring them into compliance with the law. They will not be happy. If the buildings have just been
damaged, they will be financially strapped and your elected officials will want to
help them, not make life harder for them.
For these reasons, it is easy to see that this basic rule can be difficult to administer. It is also the one time when your regulatory program can reduce flood
damage to existing buildings. That’s why this course devotes this unit to administering the substantial improvements and substantial damage regulations.
In this reference guide, the term “building” is the same as the term “structure” in
the NFIP regulations. Your ordinance may use either term. The terms are reviewed in more detail in Unit 5, Section E.
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A. SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT
44 CFR 59.1. Definitions: “Substantial improvement” means any reconstruction,
rehabilitation, addition or other improvement to a structure, the total cost of which
equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the start
of construction of the improvement.
This section provides information on determining whether a building has been
substantially improved and on what NFIP requirements apply.
PROJECTS AFFECTED
All building improvement projects worthy of a permit must be considered.
These include:
♦ Remodeling projects.
♦ Rehabilitation projects.
♦ Building additions.
♦ Repair and reconstruction projects (these are addressed in more detail in
Section B on substantial damage)
If your community does not require permits for, say, reroofing, minor maintenance or projects under a certain dollar amount, then such projects are not subject
to the substantial improvement requirements. However, if you have a larger project that includes reroofing, etc., then it must include the entire cost of the project.
One problem you may face is a builder trying to avoid the requirement by applying for a permit for only part of the job and then later applying for another
permit to finish the work. If both applications are together worth more than 50%
of the value of the building, the combined project should be considered a substantial improvement and subject to the rules.
FEMA requires that the entire improvement project be counted as one. In order to help you enforce this, you may want to count all applications submitted
over, say, one year as one project. Check with your attorney on whether your
ordinance clearly gives you the authority to do this and be sure to spell it out in
the permit papers given to the applicant.
Some communities require that improvements be calculated cumulatively over
several years. All improvement and repair projects undertaken over a period of
five years, 10 years or the life of the structure are added up. When they total 50
percent, the building must be brought into compliance as if it were new construction.
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The Community Rating System credits keeping track
of improvements to enforce a cumulative substantial
improvement requirement. It also credits using a lower
threshold than 50 percent. These credits are found under
Activity 430, Section 431.c and d in the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application. See
also CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards for example regulatory language.
Post-FIRM buildings
The rules do not address only pre-FIRM buildings—they cover all buildings,
post-FIRM ones included.
In most cases, a post-FIRM building will be properly elevated or otherwise
compliant with regulations for new construction. However, sometimes a map
change results in a higher BFE or change in FIRM zone. A substantial improvement to a post-FIRM building may require that the building be elevated to protect
it from the new, higher, regulatory BFE.
It should be remembered that all additions to a post-FIRM building must be
elevated at least as high as the BFE in effect when the building was built. (You
can’t allow a compliant building to become noncompliant by allowing additions
at grade.) If a new, higher BFE has been adopted since the building was built,
additions that are substantial improvements must be elevated to the new BFE.
THE FORMULA
A project is a substantial improvement if:
Cost of improvement project > 50 percent
Market value of the building
For example, if a proposed improvement project will cost $30,000 and the
value of the building is $50,000:
$30,000 = 0.6 (60 percent)
$50,000
The cost of the project exceeds 50 percent of the building’s value, so it is a
substantial improvement. The floodplain regulations for new construction apply
and the building must meet the post-FIRM construction requirements. If the
project is an addition, only the addition has to be elevated (see the examples later
in this section).
The formula is based on the cost of the project and the value of the building.
These two numbers must be reviewed in detail.
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Project cost
The cost of the project means all structural costs, including
♦ all materials
♦ labor
♦ built-in appliances
♦ overhead
♦ profit
♦ repairs made to damaged parts of the building worked on at the same time
A more detailed list is included in Figure 8-1.
To determine substantial improvement, you need a detailed cost estimate for
the project, prepared by a licensed general contractor, professional construction
estimator or your office.
Your office must review the estimate submitted by the permit applicant. To
verify it, you can use your professional judgment and knowledge of local and
regional construction costs, or you can use building code valuation tables published by the major building code groups. These tables can be used for
determining estimates for particular replacement items if the type of structure in
question is listed in the tables.
There are two possible exemptions you should be aware of: 1) improvements
to correct code violations do not have to be included in the cost of an improvement or repair project and 2) historic buildings can be exempted from substantial
improvement requirements. These are explained in more detail later on.
Market value
In common parlance, market value is the price a willing buyer and seller agree
upon. The market value of a structure reflects its original quality, subsequent
improvements, physical age of building components and current condition.
However, market value for property can be different than that of the building
itself. Market value of developed property varies widely due to the desirability of
its location. For example, two houses of similar size, quality and condition will
have far different prices if one is on the coast, or in the best school district, or
closer to town than the other—but the value of the building materials and labor
that went into both houses will be nearly the same.
For the purposes of determining substantial improvement, market value pertains only to the structure in question. It does not pertain to the land, landscaping
or detached accessory structures on the property. Any value resulting from the
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location of the property should be attributed to the value of the land, not the building.
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Items to be included
All structural elements, including:
Spread or continuous foundation footings and pilings
Monolithic or other types of concrete slabs
Bearing walls, tie beams and trusses
Floors and ceilings
Attached decks and porches
Interior partition walls
Exterior wall finishes (brick, stucco, siding) including painting and moldings
Windows and doors
Reshingling or retiling a roof
Hardware
All interior finishing elements, including:
Tiling, linoleum, stone, or carpet over subflooring
Bathroom tiling and fixtures
Wall finishes (drywall, painting, stucco, plaster, paneling, marble, etc.)
Kitchen, utility and bathroom cabinets
Built-in bookcases, cabinets, and furniture
Hardware
All utility and service equipment, including:
HVAC equipment
Plumbing and electrical services
Light fixtures and ceiling fans
Security systems
Built-in kitchen appliances
Central vacuum systems
Water filtration, conditioning, or recirculation systems
Cost to demolish storm-damaged building components
--- Labor and other costs associated with moving or altering undamaged
building components to accommodate improvements or additions
--- Overhead and profits
Items to be excluded
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Plans and specifications
Survey costs
Permit fees
Post-storm debris removal and clean up
Outside improvements, including:
Landscaping
Sidewalks
Fences
Yard lights
Swimming pools
Screened pool enclosures
Detached structures (including garages, sheds and gazebos)
Landscape irrigation systems
Figure 8-1. Items included in calculating cost of the project
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Acceptable estimates of market value can be obtained from these sources:
♦ An independent appraisal by a professional appraiser. The appraisal must
exclude the value of the land and not use the “income capitalization approach” which bases value on the use of the property, not the structure.
♦ Detailed estimates of the structure’s actual cash value—the replacement
cost for a building, minus a depreciation percentage based on age and
condition. For most situations, the building’s actual cash value should approximate its market value. Your community may prefer to use actual cash
value as a substitute for market value, especially where there is not sufficient data or enough comparable sales.
♦ Property values used for tax assessment purposes with an adjustment recommended by the tax appraiser to reflect current market conditions
(adjusted assessed value).
♦ The value of buildings taken from NFIP claims data (usually actual cash
value).
♦ Qualified estimates based on sound professional judgment made by the
staff of the local building department or tax assessor’s office.
Some market value estimates are often used only as screening tools (i.e., NFIP
claims data and property appraisals for tax assessment purposes) to identify those
structures where the substantial improvement ratios are obviously less than or
greater than 50 percent (i.e., less than 40 percent or greater than 60 percent). For
structures that fall in the 40 percent to 60 percent range, more precise market
value estimates are sometimes necessary.
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SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT EXAMPLES
Example 1. Minor rehabilitation
A rehabilitation is defined as an improvement made to an existing structure
which does not affect the external dimensions of the structure.
If the cost of the rehabilitation is less than 50 percent of the structure’s market
value, the building does not have to be elevated or otherwise protected. However,
it is advisable to incorporate methods to reduce flood damage, such as use of
flood-resistant materials and installation of electrical, heating and air conditioning
units above the BFE.
Figure 8-2 shows a building that had a small rehabilitation project. Central air
conditioning was installed and the electrical system was upgraded. The value of
the building before the project was $60,000. The value of the project was
$12,000:
$12,000 = 0.2 (20 percent) The project costs less than 50 percent of the
$60,000 building, so this is not a substantial improvement.
Figure 8-2. Minor rehabilitations use flood-resistant methods and materials
Neither structure would benefit from post-FIRM flood insurance rates because they
are not elevated.
Note: To gauge what happens to flood insurance premiums if a substantially
improved building is not brought up to post-FIRM standards, see Figures 7-7
through 7-12.
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Example 2. Substantial rehabilitation
If the rehab costs more than 50 percent of the value of the building, your ordinance requires that an existing structure be elevated and/or the basement filled to
meet the elevation standard.
Figure 8-3 shows a building that has been allowed to run down. It’s market
value is $35,000. To rehab it will require gutting the interior and replacing all
wallboard, built-in cabinets, bathroom fixtures and furnace. The interior doors and
flooring will be repaired. The house will get new siding and a new roof. The cost
of this rehab will be $25,000:
$25,000 = 71.4 percent
$35,000
Because total cost of the project is greater
than 50 %the rehab is a substantial improvement
Figure 8-3. substantially rehabilitated building elevated above the BFE.
In A Zones, elevation may be on fill, crawlspace, columns, etc. In V Zones, only pilings, columns or other open foundations are allowed. The new structure would benefit
from post-FIRM flood insurance rates.
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Example 3. Lateral addition—residential
Additions are improvements that increase the square footage of a structure.
Commonly, this includes the structural attachment of a bedroom, den, recreational
room garage or other type of addition to an existing structure. Note that if one
building is attached to another through a covered breezeway or similar connection, it is a separate building and not an addition.
When an addition is a substantial improvement, the addition must be elevated
or floodproofed, providing that improvements to the existing structure are minimal. Figures 8-4 and 8-5 illustrate lateral additions that are compliant.
Depending on the flood zone and details of the project, the existing building
may not have to be elevated. The determining factors are the common wall and
what improvements are made to the existing structure. If the common wall is
demolished as part of the project, then the entire structure must be elevated. If
only a doorway is knocked through it and only minimal finishing is done, then
only the addition has to be elevated.
In A Zones only, if significant improvements are made to the existing structure (such as a kitchen makeover), both it and the addition must be elevated and
otherwise brought into compliance. Some states and many communities require
that both the existing structure and lateral additions be elevated in all cases.
In V Zones, the existing structure always has to be elevated, placed on an engineered foundation system, etc., when an addition is proposed that constitutes a
substantial improvement. This is due to the “free-of obstruction” standard
whereby the lower existing structure would obstruct the storm surge, causing
damage to the addition.
Figure 8-4. Lateral additions to a residential building in an A Zone.
In V Zones, the entire building must be elevated on pilings, columns or other open
foundations. The structure on the left would not benefit from post-FIRM flood insurance
rates because it was not elevated.
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Example 4. Lateral addition—nonresidential
A substantial improvement addition to a nonresidential building may be either
elevated or floodproofed. Otherwise, all the criteria for residential buildings
reviewed in Example 3 must be met.
If floodproofing is used, the builder must ensure that the wall between the addition and the original building is floodproofed. Floodproofing is not allowed as a
construction measure in V Zones.
Figure 8-5. Lateral addition to a nonresidential building in an A Zone.
This approach is not allowed in V Zones. The structure would not benefit from postFIRM flood insurance rates because the original building was not elevated or floodproofed.
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Example 5. Vertical addition—residential
When the proposed substantial improvement is a full or partial second floor,
the entire structure must be elevated (Figure 8-6). In this instance, the existing
building provides the foundation for the addition. Failure of the existing building
would result in failure of the addition, too.
Figure 8-6. Vertical addition to a residential building in a V Zone.
The new structure would benefit from post-FIRM flood insurance rates.
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Example 6. Vertical addition—nonresidential
When the proposed substantial improvement is a full or partial second floor,
the entire structure must be elevated or floodproofed (Figure 8-7).
The owner could obtain post-FIRM rates on the building if it is floodproofed
to one foot above the BFE and he has a floodproofing certificate signed by a
registered engineer. An optional approach is to elevate the entire building and
obtain an elevation certificate.
Figure 8-7. Vertical addition to a nonresidential building in an A Zone.
The new floodproofed structure would benefit from post-FIRM flood insurance rates.
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Example 7. Post-FIRM building—minor addition
ALL additions to post-FIRM buildings are defined as new construction and
must meet the requirements of your floodplain management ordinance regardless
of the size or cost of the addition (Figure 8-8). A small addition to a residential
structure that is not a substantial improvement must be elevated at least as high as
the BFE in effect when the building was built. Minor additions to nonresidential
structures can be floodproofed to the BFE.
If a map revision has taken place and the BFE has increased, only additions
that are substantial improvements have to be elevated to the new BFE or floodproofed (nonresidential buildings only).
Figure 8-8. Small additions to post-FIRM buildings must be elevated.
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Example 8. Post-FIRM building—substantial improvement
Substantial improvements made to a post-FIRM structure must meet the requirements of the current ordinance. Figure 8-9 shows a lateral addition made
after a map revision took place and the BFE was increased.
Figure 8-9. Substantial improvements to post-FIRM buildings must be elevated above the new BFE. Nonresidential buildings may be floodproofed
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B. SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE
44 CFR 59.1. Definitions: "Substantial damage" means damage of any origin
sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before
damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the
structure before the damage occurred.
Two key points:
♦ The damage can be from any cause—flood, fire, earthquake, wind, rain, or
other natural or human-induced hazard.
♦ The substantial damage rule applies to all buildings in a flood hazard area,
regardless of whether the building was covered by flood insurance.
The formula is essentially the same as for substantial improvements:
Cost to repair
> 50 percent
Market value of the building
Market value is calculated in the same way as for substantial improvements.
Use the pre-damage market value.
COST TO REPAIR
Notice that the formula uses “cost to repair,” not “cost of repairs.” The cost to
repair the structure must be calculated for full repair to the building’s beforedamage condition, even if the owner elects to do less. It must also include the cost
of any improvements that the owner has opted to include during the repair project.
The total cost to repair includes the same items listed in Figure 8-1. As shown
in Example 2 below, properly repairing a flooded building can be more expensive
than people realize. The owner may opt not to pay for all of the items needed. The
owner may:
♦ Do some of the work, such as removing and discarding wallboard.
♦ Obtain some of the materials free.
♦ Have a volunteer organization, such as the Mennonites, do some of the
work.
♦ Decide not to do some repairs, such as choosing to nail down warped
flooring rather than replace it.
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Basic rule: Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual cost
to the owner. You must figure the true cost of bringing the building back to its pre-damage condition using qualified labor and
materials obtained at market prices.
The permit office and the owner may have serious disagreements over the total list of needed repairs and their cost, as the owner has a great incentive to show
less damage than actually occurred in order to avoid the cost of bringing the
building into compliance. Here are four things that can help you:
♦ Get the cost to repair from an objective third-party or undebatable source,
such as:
-- A licensed general contractor.
-- A professional construction estimator.
-- Insurance adjustment papers (exclude damage to contents).
-- Damage assessment field surveys conducted by building inspection,
emergency management or tax assessment agencies after a disaster.
-- Your office.
Even if your office does not prepare the cost estimate, it needs to review
the estimate submitted by the permit applicant. You can use your professional judgment and knowledge of local and regional construction costs.
Or, you can use building code valuation tables published by the major
building code groups.
♦ Use an objective system that does not rely on varying estimates of market
value or different opinions of what needs to be repaired. The Substantial
Damage Estimator Program discussed later in this section will do this.
♦ Publicize the need for the regulations and the benefits of protecting buildings from future flooding. A well-educated public won’t argue as much as
one that sees no need for the requirement.
♦ Help the owner find financial assistance to meet the extra cost of complying with the code. If there was a disaster declaration, there may be sources
of financial assistance as discussed in the next unit. If the owner had flood
insurance and the building was substantially damaged by a flood, the new
Increased Cost of Compliance coverage will help (see next section).
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SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE EXAMPLES
Example 1. Reconstruction of a destroyed building
Reconstructions are cases where an entire structure is destroyed, damaged,
purposefully demolished or razed, and a new structure is built on the old foundation or slab. The term also applies when an existing structure is moved to a new
site.
Reconstructions are, quite simply, “new construction.” They must be treated
as new buildings.
Razed or “totaled” building
with remaining foundation
Reconstruction on
existing foundation
Figure 8-10. A reconstructed house is new construction.
This example is for A Zones only. A new building in the V Zone must be elevated on
piles or columns.
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Example 2. Substantially damaged structure
To determine if a damaged structure meets the threshold for substantial damage, the cost of repairing the structure to its before-damaged condition is
compared to the market value of the structure prior to the damage. The estimated
cost of the repairs must include all costs necessary to fully repair the structure to
its before-damaged condition.
If equal to or greater than 50 percent of that structure’s market value before
damage, then the structure must be elevated (or floodproofed if it is nonresidential) to or above the level of the base flood, and meet other applicable local
ordinance requirements. This is the basic requirement for substantial damage.
Figure 8-11 graphically illustrates the amount of damage that can occur to a
building flooded only four feet deep. Even though the structure appears sound and
there are no cracks or breaks in the foundation, the total cost of repair can be
significant.
The cost of repair after a flood that simply soaked the building will typically
include the following structural items:
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Remove all wallboard and insulation.
Install new wallboard and insulation.
Tape and paint.
Remove carpeting and vinyl flooring.
Dry floor, replace warped flooring.
Replace cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom.
Replace built-in appliances.
Replace hollow-core interior doors.
Replace furnace and water heater.
Clean and disinfect duct work.
Repair porch flooring and front steps.
Clean and test plumbing (licensed plumber may be required).
Replace outlets and switches, clean and test wiring (licensed electrician
may be required).
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Note: See also Figures 7-7 through 7-12 for what happens to flood insurance
premiums if a substantially damaged building is granted a variance and is not
brought up to post-FIRM standards.
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—
Figure 8-11. Even slow moving floodwater can cause substantial damage.
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE SOFTWARE
FEMA has developed a software program to help local officials make substantial damage determinations. The software is based on Microsoft Access, but is
self-contained and does not require any software in addition to a Windows operating system.
The software comes with a manual, Guide on Estimating Substantial Damage
Using the NFIP Residential Substantial Damage Estimator, FEMA 311. This
includes a user’s manual and worksheets that allow the calculations to be done
manually.
Contact your FEMA Regional Office for a copy of the software package and
help in using it. Following a major disaster declaration, training sessions and
technical assistance may be available.
INCREASED COST OF COMPLIANCE
On June 1, 1997, the NFIP began offering additional coverage to all holders of
structural flood insurance policies. This coverage is called Increased Cost of
Compliance or ICC.
The name refers to cases where the local floodplain management ordinance
requires elevation or retrofitting of a substantially damaged building. Under ICC,
the flood insurance policy will not only pay for repairs to the flooded building, it
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will pay up to $30,000 to help cover the additional cost of complying with the
ordinance. This is available for any flood insurance claim and, therefore, is not
dependent on the community receiving a disaster declaration.
There are some limitations to ICC:
♦ It’s only available if there was a flood insurance policy on the building before the flood.
♦ It covers only damage caused by a flood.
♦ Claims are limited to $30,000 per structure.
♦ Claims must be accompanied by a substantial damage determination by
the floodplain ordinance administrator.
It should also be mentioned that a portion of the rest of the claim payment
may help meet the cost of bringing the building up to code. For example, if there
was foundation damage, the regular claim will pay for the cost of repairing or
replacing the foundation. The ICC funds would only be needed for the extra costs
of raising the foundation higher than it was before.
An ICC claim cannot be paid unless the community has determined the building to be substantially damaged and requires that the building comply with local
ordinance requirements. For further information on how ICC coverage works and
how you can help policyholders in your community qualify for the coverage, refer
to National Flood Insurance Program’s Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage:
Guidance for State and Local Officials, FEMA 301.
In certain cases, an ICC claim can be filed if the building is repetitively
flooded, and has had two or more claims averaging 25% or more of building
value within a ten-year period, provided the community has language in the flood
damage ordinance that implements the substantial damage rule in these cases.
Figure 8-12 has example ordinance language. This language exceeds the
minimum NFIP requirements, but would be needed if you wanted to trigger the
ICC provision for repetitively damaged buildings.
The Community Rating System credits keeping track of
improvements to enforce a cumulative substantial improvement requirement. The 1999 CRS Coordinator’s
Manual credits the ordinance language in Figure 8-12.
These credits are found under Activity 430, Section 431.c
in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual and the CRS Application.
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Option 1
A. Adopt the Following Definition:
“Repetitive Loss” means flood-related damage sustained by a structure on two
separate occasions during a 10-year period for which the cost of repairs at the
time of each such flood event, on the average, equals or exceeds 25 percent of
the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
B. And modify the “substantial improvement” definition as follows:
“Substantial Improvement” means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or
other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent
of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred “repetitive loss” or
“substantial damage”, regardless of the actual repair work performed.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Option 2
Modify the substantial damage definition as follows:
“Substantial Damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a structure
whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would
equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. Substantial damage also means flood-related damage sustained
by a structure on two separate occasions during a 10-year period for which the
cost of repairs at the time of each such flood event, on the average, equals or
exceeds 25 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------NOTE 1: Communities need to make sure that these definitions are tied to the
floodplain management requirements for new construction and substantial improvements and to any other requirements of the ordinance, such as the permit
requirements, in order to enforce this provision.
NOTE 2: An ICC Claim Payment is ONLY made for flood-related damage. The
substantial damage part of the definition must still include “damage of any origin”
to be compliant with the minimum NFIP Floodplain Management Regulations.
Figure 8-12. Sample ordinance language for ICC repetitive loss definitions
Source: -- Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage: Guidance for State and Local
Officials, FEMA-301, September 2003. This language is only needed to trigger an ICC
payment for a repetitive loss. No ordinance changes are needed for the ICC coverage for
substantial damage.
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C. SPECIAL SITUATIONS
As explained in previous sections, the substantial improvement and substantial
damage requirements affect all buildings regardless of the reason for the improvement or the cause of the damage. There are three special situations you
should be aware of: exempt costs, historic buildings and corrections of code
violations.
EXEMPT COSTS
Certain costs related to making improvements or repairing damaged buildings
do not have to be counted toward the cost of the improvement or repairs. These
include:
♦ Plans and specifications.
♦ Surveying costs.
♦ Permit fees.
♦ Demolition or emergency repairs made for health or safety reasons or to
prevent further damage to the building.
♦ Improvements or repairs to items outside the building, such as the driveway, fencing, landscaping and detached structures.
HISTORIC STRUCTURES
Historic structures are exempted from the substantial improvement requirements subject to the criteria listed below. The exemption can be granted
administratively if the current NFIP definitions of substantial improvement and
historic structure are included in your ordinance, or they can be granted through a
variance procedure.
In either case, they are usually granted subject to conditions.
If the improvements to a historic structure meet the following three criteria
and are approved by the community, the building will not have to be elevated or
floodproofed. It can also retain its pre-FIRM flood insurance rating status.
1. The building must be a bona-fide “historic structure.” Figure 7-13 has
the definition that must be followed.
2. The project must maintain the historic status of the structure. If the
proposed improvements to the structure will result in it being removed from or
ineligible for the National Register or federally-certified state or local inventory,
then the proposal cannot be granted an exemption from the substantial improvement rule.
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The best way to make such determinations is to seek written review and approval of proposed plans by the local historic preservation board, if it is federallycertified, or by the state historic preservation office. If the plans are approved,
you can grant the exemption. If not, no exemption can be permitted.
3. Take all possible flood damage reduction measures. Even though the
exemption to the substantial improvement rule means the building does not have
to be elevated to or above BFE, or be renovated with flood-resistant materials that
are not historically sensitive, many things can and should be done to reduce the
flood damage potential. Examples include:
♦ Locating mechanical and electrical equipment above the BFE or floodproofing it.
♦ Elevating the lowest floor of an addition to or above the BFE with the
change in floor elevation disguised externally.
CORRECTIONS OF CODE VIOLATIONS
The NFIP definition of substantial improvement includes another exemption:
44 CFR 59.1 Definitions: "Substantial improvement" means …. The term does
not, however, include … Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications
which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are
the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions
Note the key words in this exemption: correct existing violations, identified
by the local official, and minimum necessary to assure safe conditions. This
language was included in order to avoid penalizing property owners who had no
choice but to make improvements to their buildings or face condemnation or
revocation of a business license.
This exemption was intended for involuntary improvements or violations that
existed before the improvement permit was applied for or before the damage
occurred—for example, a restaurant owner who must upgrade the wiring in his
kitchen in order to meet current local and state health and safety codes.
You can only exempt the items specifically required by code. For example, if
a single stair tread was defective and had to be replaced, do not exempt the cost of
rebuilding the entire stairway. Similarly, count only replacement in like kind and
what is minimally necessary. If the owner chooses to upgrade the quality of a
code-required item, the extra cost is not exempt from the formula—it’s added to
the true cost of the improvement or repairs.
Unfortunately, many property owners and builders pressure local building official to exclude “code violation corrections” from their voluntary improvement
proposals. There are “code violations” in all structures built before the current
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code was enacted. In many cases, those elements must be brought up to code as
part of an improvement project.
This is very different from a code violation citation that forces a property
owner to correct those violations and make improvements that were otherwise not
planned. The building official must know about and document the violations
before or at the time the permit is issued.
Example
A small business in a 40-year old building was damaged by a fire. The building’s pre-fire market value was $100,000. The insurance adjuster and the permit
office concluded that the total cost to repair would be $45,000.
However, the community’s building code states that whenever an applicant
applies for a permit to modify or improve a building, the building must be brought
up to code. This building would need the following additional work:
♦ Replace unsafe electrical wiring.
♦ Install missing fire exit signs, smoke detectors and emergency lighting.
♦ Widen the front door and install a ramp to make the business accessible to
handicapped and mobility-impaired people.
The total cost of these code requirements would be $8,000. However, since
these were required by the code before the fire occurred, they would not have to
be counted toward the cost to repair. Based on the basic formula:
$45,000 = 0.45 or 45%
$100,000
The building is not declared.
substantially damaged
In this example, the building can be repaired without elevating or floodproofing. However, the permit office should strongly recommend incorporating flood
protection measures and flood resistant materials in the repair project (as in the
example in Figure 8-2).
Substantial Improvement/Damage
8-27
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UNIT 9:
FLOOD INSURANCE AND
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT
In this unit
While you are probably not an insurance agent, you should be
aware of the close relationship between floodplain management and
flood insurance. Decisions made by the builder or property owner
during the construction process can have substantial impacts on flood
insurance premiums and coverages for the building.
This Unit reviews:
♦ What a flood insurance policy covers,
♦ When a policy must be purchased,
♦ How flood insurance rates are determined,
♦ How the Community Rating System can reduce flood insurance
premiums in communities that do more than the minimum
NFIP regulations, and
♦ The special rules that apply in the Coastal Barriers Resources
System
Materials needed for this unit
Additional information can be found in Answers to
Questions about the National Flood Insurance
Program.
Flood Insurance
9-1
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Contents
A. Flood Insurance Policies ................................................................................9-3
Who’s Involved.............................................................................................9-3
Coverage .......................................................................................................9-3
Building coverage ...................................................................................9-3
“Building” defined ..................................................................................9-4
Contents coverage...................................................................................9-5
Basements ...............................................................................................9-5
Enclosures ...............................................................................................9-6
Amount of coverage................................................................................9-6
Waiting period ........................................................................................9-7
The Mandatory Purchase Requirement...................................................9-7
Where it applies ......................................................................................9-8
How it works...........................................................................................9-8
B. Rating Buildings...........................................................................................9-11
Rating pre-FIRM buildings.........................................................................9-11
Rating New Buildings.................................................................................9-14
Submit for rate ......................................................................................9-19
Elevation certificates.............................................................................9-19
Floodproofing .......................................................................................9-19
Rating Unnumbered A Zones .....................................................................9-19
Premiums ....................................................................................................9-20
C. The Community Rating System ...................................................................9-22
Benefits .................................................................................................9-22
CRS activities..............................................................................................9-23
Public information activities .................................................................9-23
Mapping and regulation activities.........................................................9-24
Flood damage reduction activities ........................................................9-24
Flood preparedness activities................................................................9-25
Publications.................................................................................................9-25
D. The Coastal Barriers Resources System ......................................................9-27
Flood Insurance
9-2
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A. FLOOD INSURANCE POLICIES
This section is devoted to flood insurance policies: what’s covered, what’s not
covered, when a policy must be bought, and other rules. This is important information for the local permit administrator to know because some construction
decisions affect what is eligible for insurance coverage.
If you have additional questions:
♦ Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program, questions 21 – 66 covers the topics in this unit.
♦ Local insurance agents should have additional references, including
FEMA’s Flood Insurance Manual.
These publications can be found on FEMA’s web site.
As noted in Unit 2, 97% of the communities in the NFIP are in the Regular
Phase. Only a few communities with minor flood problems or which have just
recently joined the NFIP are still in the Emergency Phase. This section only
discusses the Regular Phase provisions. The only major difference is that Emergency Phase policies have limited amounts of coverage available.
WHO’S INVOLVED
Flood insurance policies are obtained through local property insurance agents.
The agents may sell a policy from one of the Write Your Own insurance companies or a “direct” policy through FEMA. Both approaches will result in the
issuance of a “Standard Flood Insurance Policy” that meets all the requirements
and rates set by FEMA.
If an insured property is flooded, the property owner contacts his or her insurance agent. The agent arranges for an adjuster to review the damage and work
with the insured to settle a claim.
Property owners always work through their insurance agents – they do not
need to deal with FEMA.
COVERAGE
Flood insurance coverage is provided for insurable buildings and their contents to property owners in NFIP communities.
Building coverage
Building coverage is for the structure. This includes all things that typically
stay with the building when it changes ownership, including:
Flood Insurance
9-3
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♦ Utility equipment, such as a furnace or water heater
♦ Carpet permanently installed over unfinished flooring
♦ Built-in appliances
♦ Wallpaper and paneling
Ten percent of a dwelling’s building coverage may be applied to a detached
garage. Residential detached garages used, or held in use, for residential business
or farming are not covered under the dwelling policy. These detached garages
and other appurtenant structures must be insured under a separate policy.
“Building” defined
A “building” is defined as a walled and roofed structure, including a manufactured home that is principally above ground and affixed to a permanent site. This
definition has three parts:
♦ “Walled and roofed” means it has in place two or more exterior rigid walls
and the roof fully secured so that the building will resist flotation, collapse
and lateral movement.
♦ “Manufactured (mobile) home” is a building transportable in one or more
sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use
with or without a permanent foundation when attached to the required
utilities.
♦ “Principally above ground” means a building that has at least 51 percent
of its actual cash value, including machinery and equipment (but not land
value), above ground.
A travel trailer, without wheels, built on a chassis and affixed to a permanent
foundation that is regulated under the community’s floodplain management and
building ordinances or laws is also a building and can be insured.
This definition is similar to, but not quite the same as, the definition for
“building” or “structure” used for floodplain management and defined in Unit 5,
Section E.
Buildings in the course of construction that have yet to be walled and roofed
are eligible for coverage except when construction has been halted for more than
90 days and/or if the lowest floor used for rating purposes is below the BFE.
Materials or supplies intended for use in such construction, alteration, or repair
are not insurable unless they are contained within the enclosed building on the
premises or adjacent to the premises.
Examples of things that are not considered insurable buildings include:
♦ Gas or liquid storage tanks,
Flood Insurance
9-4
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♦ A structure with 50 percent or more of its value underground, such as an
underground pumping station, well or septic tank,
♦ Tents,
♦ Tennis and swimming pool bubbles,
♦ Swimming pools,
♦ Fences, docks, driveways,
♦ Open pavilions for picnic tables and bleachers,
♦ Detached carports with open sides,
♦ Recreational vehicles,
♦ Sheds on skids that are moved to different construction sites,
♦ Licensed vehicles, campers and travel trailers (unless permanently attached to the site),
♦ A building declared in violation of a state or local law (see Unit 7, Section
E on Section 1316),
♦ Buildings over water or seaward of mean high tide which were built after
October 1, 1982, and
♦ Landscaping, crops, and other items outside of a building.
Contents coverage
Contents coverage is for the removable items inside an insurable building. A
renter can take out a policy with contents coverage, even if there is no structural
coverage.
Certain contents are not insurable. These include:
♦ Animals and livestock,
♦ Licensed vehicles,
♦ Jewelry, artwork, furs and similar items valued at more than $2,500,
♦ Money or valuable papers, and
♦ Personal property that is not secured to prevent flotation located in a building that is not fully enclosed (such as an open carport).
Basements
A basement is defined as any area of the building, including any sunken room
or sunken portion of a room, having its floor below ground level (subgrade) on all
sides. There is limited coverage for basements:
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9-5
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♦ Building coverage is not extended to wallpaper, carpeting and similar finishings.
♦ The only contents kept in a basement that are covered are air conditioning
units (portable or window type), clothes washers and dryers, food freezers,
other than walk in, and food in food freezers.
Despite these limitations on coverage, it is advisable for property owners with
basements to obtain flood insurance. Hydrostatic pressure from flood waters can
cause structural damage to the walls and floor of the basement that can be costly
to repair. In some cases structural damage can occur to the elevated portion of the
building as a result of the failure of basement walls or floors even though flood
waters never reach the first floor of the building.
Enclosures
There is limited coverage in enclosures below the lowest floor of an elevated
post-FIRM building (including a manufactured home) located in SFHAs:
♦ There is no contents coverage in these enclosures.
♦ The only structural coverage is for the required utility connections and the
foundation and anchoring system required to support the building.
The permit official should make sure that property owners are aware that
flood insurance coverage in these areas is limited. This lack of coverage may
discourage property owners from modifying these enclosures later so that they
become non-compliant.
Amount of coverage
Insurance rates for all buildings are based on a two-tiered system: a first or basic layer of coverage and a second or additional layer. The maximum amounts
available under each layer are shown in Figure 9-1.
Flood Insurance
9-6
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Figure 9-1. Amount of Insurance Available
Note: This table is for communities in the Regular Phase of the NFIP. If your community has a Flood Insurance Rate Map and is participating in the NFIP, it is in the
Regular Phase. Coverage amounts are as of May, 2004.
Waiting period
A 30-day waiting period follows the purchase of a flood insurance policy before it goes into effect. There are exceptions to the 30-day waiting period for
policies purchased in connection with the making, increasing, extending, or renewing a loan or certain map changes.
The objective of this waiting period is to encourage people to keep a policy at
all times. FEMA does not want folks to wait for the river to rise before they buy
their coverage. Also, to be on a sound financial basis, the NFIP needs everyone at
risk to pay their share of the premiums.
Many people have found out about the waiting period the hard way. Your
community would be wise to publicize availability of flood insurance so residents
can be protected when a flood comes.
The Mandatory Purchase Requirement
The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 added a key requirement to the
NFIP: if a community participates in the program, flood insurance is a prerequisite for receiving grants or loans for the acquisition or construction of buildings in
Flood Insurance
9-7
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a designated floodplain from a federal agency or through a federally-related loan
program.
Where it applies
The mandatory purchase requirement applies to all forms of federal or federally related financial assistance for buildings located in Special Flood Hazard
Areas (SFHAs). This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or improvement of any publicly or privately owned building in
the SFHA, including machinery, equipment, fixtures, and furnishings contained in
such buildings.
Financial assistance programs affected include loans and grants from agencies
such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, USDA Rural and Housing Services,
Federal Housing Administration, Small Business Administration, and Federal
Emergency Management Agency.
The requirement applies to secured mortgage loans from financial institutions,
such as commercial lenders, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and
credit unions that are regulated, supervised or insured by Federal agencies such as
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of Thrift Supervision.
The requirement comes into play if a loan is made, increased, renewed or extended – at any of those steps, the lender must check to see if the building is in an
SFHA at that time. For example, a building in an X Zone when the original mortgage was taken out would be affected if the area is remapped in the SFHA and the
loan is later refinanced.
The requirement also applies to all mortgage loans purchased by Fannie Mae
or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market.
How it works
Before a person can receive a loan or other financial assistance from one of
the affected agencies or lenders, there must be a check to see if the building is in
an SFHA on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). It is the agency's or the
lender's responsibility to check the FIRM to determine if the building is in an
SFHA, although many communities provide assistance.
Usually, the lender will have the determination done by a third party flood
hazard determination company that provides a guarantee that the determination is
correct. The lender must document the determination and whether flood insurance is required on a Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form (FEMA Form
81-93). The lender will notify the borrower if flood insurance is required.
If the building is in an SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. The
requirement is for building coverage equal to the value of building (not the land),
Flood Insurance
9-8
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the amount of the loan (or other financial assistance) or the maximum amount of
flood insurance available, whichever is less.
Note: Many people who were required to get building coverage do not realize that their
contents are not covered unless they voluntarily purchase contents coverage. A local
public information program would help residents by informing them of this and other basic
facts, such as the 30-day waiting period and the availability of insurance for properties
outside the floodplain.
The mandatory purchase requirement does not affect loans or financial assistance for items that are not covered by a flood insurance policy, such as vehicles,
business expenses, landscaping, and vacant lots.
It does not affect loans for buildings that are not in the floodplain, even
though a portion of the lot may be floodprone. While not mandated by law, a
lender may require a flood insurance policy as a condition of a loan for a property
in any zone on a FIRM.
Flood Insurance
9-9
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Flood insurance for your community
As a recipient of federal financial assistance, your community may have been
required to purchase flood insurance under the mandatory purchase requirement. You should determine if there are any insurable publicly owned
buildings in your floodplain. If so, see if they received federal aid in the past.
Likely prospects include:
♦ A wastewater treatment plant (which are always located near a body of
water), which received a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
♦ Public housing or neighborhood center funded with help from the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Community
Development Block Grant.
♦ Any facility that received disaster assistance after a flood or other disaster
declaration.
Whether there was a requirement to buy insurance or not, you should advise
your risk manager or other appropriate office about the buildings exposed to
flooding. Many agencies find out too late that their “all risk” insurance policies
don’t cover flooding.
Over the last few years, Congress has taken steps to encourage public agencies and private property owners to purchase flood insurance instead of
relying on disaster assistance for help after a flood. Disaster assistance for a
public building will be reduced by the amount of insurance coverage a community should carry on the building (regardless whether the community is
carrying a policy).
In effect, disaster assistance for public agencies now has a very large deductible equal to the insurance policy it should carry. Why wait for the
disaster to be caught short? You should advise the appropriate people of the
need to purchase flood insurance coverage on your community’s buildings.
Flood Insurance
9-10
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B. RATING BUILDINGS
The insurance agent calculates the premium for a flood insurance policy on a
property. The premiums on new buildings are based on the risk of flooding and
flood damage. If a building is built incorrectly, the owner may be faced with very
high premiums or insufficient coverage. On the other hand, if a building is built
properly, the owner will pay less than what it costs to insure a pre-FIRM building
under the “subsidized” rates.
The two aspects of the NFIP – insurance and regulations – reinforce each
other. How well local floodplain management regulations are enforced affects the
flood insurance rates paid by the citizens of your community. Consequently, it is
important for you to know how flood insurance rates are set for new and substantially improved buildings.
As noted earlier, 97% of the communities in the NFIP are in the Regular
Phase. Only a few communities with minor flood problems are still in the Emergency Phase. This section only discusses the Regular Phase rates. Emergency
Phase policies are rated similarly to pre-FIRM policies.
RATING PRE-FIRM BUILDINGS
Pre-FIRM buildings are those built before the effective date of your first
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). This means they were built before detailed
flood hazard data and flood elevations were provided to the community and usually before your community enacted comprehensive regulations on floodplain
construction.
Pre-FIRM buildings are rated using “subsidized” rates that, for most preFIRM buildings are significantly less than actuarial rates that fully reflect their
risk of flooding. They are designed to help people afford flood insurance even
though their buildings were not built with flood protection in mind and were an
incentive for communities to join the NFIP.
The “subsidy” in the subsidized rate is really premium income that is foregone
by the NFIP and is not being funded by taxpayers. In the short term, it is funded
through an insurance mechanism called cross-subsidization. Surpluses from
premiums paid by Post-FIRM SFHA and B, C and X Zone policyholders are, in
effect, being borrowed to help their Pre-FIRM counterparts obtain affordable
flood insurance coverage. The NFIP also has statutory authority to borrow a
specified amount of money from the U.S. Treasury and exercises this authority to
even out good years and bad. However, this borrowing must be paid back with
interest. If catastrophic flooding occurred over several years and the NFIP exceeded its statutory borrowing authority, the program may have to obtain an
appropriation from Congress to pay back this “subsidy”.
Flood Insurance
9-11
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The Pre-FIRM building rates are shown in Table 2 reproduced from the NFIP
Flood Insurance Manual. They are based on the building type and FIRM zone
and not on the building’s elevation in relation to the BFE. If there is an Elevation
Certificate for the building and it is in a Regular Program community, the building can be rated using Post-FIRM rates at the option of the policyholder. If the
building has its lowest floor at or above the BFE, Post-FIRM rates on the building
will generally be lower than Pre-FIRM rates.
If a Pre-FIRM building has been substantially damaged or substantially improved, it becomes Post-FIRM and is rated using Post-FIRM rates. Some PreFIRM buildings that have lateral additions that are substantial improvements may
continue being rated as Pre-FIRM if certain conditions are satisfied (determining
substantial damage and substantial improvement is explained in Unit 8).
Rates are per $100 coverage. The two numbers under each category (Building
or Contents) reflect the rates for the basic and additional layers of coverage explained in Table 2. The FIRM zones designations are explained in Figure 3-10.
Flood Insurance
9-12
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Table 2. Regular Program – Pre-FIRM Construction Rates¹
Annual Rates Per $100 of Coverage
(Basic/Additional)
FIRM ZONES A, AE, A1-A30, AO, AH, D
Contents Location
Building
Type
OCCUPANCY
Single Family
Building Contents
2-4 Family
Building
Contents
Other Residential
Building
Contents
Non-Residential
Building
Contents
No Basement/Enclosure
.76 / .34
.96 / .60
.76 / .34
.76 / .70
.83 / .60
With Basement
With Enclosure
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home2
.81 / .50
.81 / .60
.76 / .34
.96 / .50
.96 / .60
.96 / .60
.81 / .50
.81 / .60
.76 / .58
.81 / .74
.88 / .58
.88 / .74
.83 / .60
Basement & Above
Enclosure & Above
.96 / .50
.96 / .60
.96 / .50
.96 / .60
1.62 / 1.00
1.62 / 1.20
Lowest Floor Only - Above
Ground Level
Lowest Floor Above Ground
Level and Higher Floors
Above Ground Level - More
than One Full Floor
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home2
.96 / .60
.96 / .60
1.62 / .51
.96 / .41
.96 / .41
1.62 / .51
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.24 / .12
1.62 / .51
Contents Location
Building
Type
FIRM ZONES V, VE, V1-V30
OCCUPANCY
Single Family
Building Contents
2-4 Family
Building
Contents
Other Residential
Building
Contents
Non-Residential
Building
Contents
No Basement/Enclosure
With Basement
.99 / .88
1.06 / 1.34
1.23 / 1.58
1.23 / 1.33
.99 / .88
1.06 / 1.34
.99 / 1.66
1.06 / 2.49
1.10 / 1.66
1.16 / 2.49
With Enclosure
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home2
1.06 / 1.58
.99 / 4.18
1.23 / 1.58
1.23 / 1.58
1.06 / 1.58
1.06 / 2.79
1.16 / 2.79
1.10 / 7.03
Basement & Above
Enclosure & Above
1.23 / 1.33
1.23 / 1.58
1.23 / 1.33
1.23 / 1.58
2.14 / 2.95
2.14 / 3.21
Lowest Floor Only - Above
Ground Level
1.23 / 1.58
1.23 / 1.58
2.14 / 2.67
Lowest Floor Above Ground
Level and Higher Floors
1.23 / 1.39
1.23 / 1.39
2.14 / 2.28
Above Ground Level - More
than One Full Floor
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home2
.47 / .29
.47 / .29
.45 / .39
2.14 / 6.53
FIRM ZONES A99, B, C, X
Contents Location
Building
Type
OCCUPANCY
Single Family
Building Contents
2-4 Family
Building
Contents
Other Residential
Building
Contents
Non-Residential
Building
Contents
No Basement/Enclosure
.58 / .14
.94 / .25
.58 / .14
.52 / .14
.52 / .14
With Basement
With Enclosure
.66 / .20
.66 / .22
1.07 / .35
1.07 / .38
.66 / .20
.66 / .22
.71 / .20
.71 / .22
.71 / .20
.71 / .22
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home2
.58 / .31
.94 / .25
.71 / .29
Basement & Above
1.26 / .46
1.26 / .46
1.30 / .50
Enclosure & Above
Lowest Floor Only - Above
Ground Level
Lowest Floor Above Ground
Level and Higher Floors
1.26 / .51
.94 / .48
1.26 / .51
.94 / .48
1.30 / .47
.73 / .29
.94 / .25
.94 / .25
.73 / .25
Above Ground Level - More
than One Full Floor
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home2
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
.61 / .39
1 Start
of construction or substantial improvement on or before 12/31/74, or before the effective date of the initial Flood Insurance Rate
Map (FIRM). If FIRM Zone is unknown, use rates for Zones A, AE, A1-A30, AO, AH, D.
2 The definition of Manufactured (Mobile) Home includes travel trailers. See page APP 3.
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RATING NEW BUILDINGS
The flood insurance premium rates for Post-FIRM construction are actuarial,
meaning that they are based on a building’s risk of flooding. In those zones
where base flood elevations (BFEs) have been established, Post-FIRM Rates are
determined based on the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of the
building in relation to the BFE. In zones where BFEs have not been established,
the rates are based on the overall loss experience and expected damages for all
buildings within that zone.
Several of the rate tables from the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual are reproduced on the following pages. The entire NFIP Flood Insurance Manual can be
viewed on FEMA’s website at fema.gov. You cannot rate a building using just
these tables since there are other rules and factors that must be applied to the
building besides the elevation of its lowest floor. However, they do illustrate the
differences in rates for various building types, zones and building elevations.
Table 3A shows the Post-FIRM rates for buildings in Zones A99, B, C, X, and
D and in Zones AO and AH zones. Since no BFEs are available, buildings in
these zones are not rated based on elevation. Policyholders in Zones B, C, and X
zones can also obtain a Preferred Risk Policies at lower rates provided that they
have had a favorable loss experience.
Table 3B shows the rates for Post-FIRM buildings in Zones AE and A1-30.
Note that the rates are significantly lower for buildings built to elevations one foot
or more above BFE. Requiring freeboard in your ordinance (elevation to one foot
or more above BFE) will lower insurance rates on buildings in your community.
These lower rates will offset any additional costs of construction. Buildings with
their lowest floors below the BFE are charged significantly higher flood insurance
rates. In fact, rates for buildings 2 feet or more below BFE are not published in
the Flood Insurance Manual since these buildings must be individually rated due
to their high risk of flooding.
Table 3E shows the Post-FIRM rates for elevated buildings in Zones VE and
V1-30 that have no obstructions (such as enclosures) below the elevated floor.
These rates are higher than rates in Zones AE and A1-30 because of the greater
damages that can be caused by wave impacts. Table 3F shows the same rates for
buildings that have enclosures below their elevated floors that are less than 300
square feet. The rates for buildings with enclosures are higher than those without
enclosures due to the increased loads placed on the building’s foundation when
waves impact on the enclosure. Buildings with enclosures 300 square feet or
greater have an even higher risk and must be individually rated by the insurance
company or FEMA.
Flood Insurance
9-14
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TABLE 3A. REGULAR PROGRAM – POST-FIRM CONSTRUCTION RATES
ANNUAL RATES PER $100 OF COVERAGE
(BASIC/ADDITIONAL)
FIRM ZONES A99, B, C, X
Single Family
Building
Contents
CONTENTS
LOCATION
BUILDING
TYPE
OCCUPANCY
2-4 Family
Building Contents
Other Residential
Building
Contents
Non-Residential
Building
Contents
No Basement/Enclosure
.58/.14
.94/.25
.58/.14
.52/.14
.52/.14
With Basement
.66/.20
1.07/.35
.66/.20
.71/.20
.71/.20
With Enclosure
.66/.22
1.07/.38
.66/.22
.71/.22
.71/.22
Manufactured (Mobile) Home¹
.58/.31
.94/.25
.71/.29
Basement & Above
1.26/.46
1.26/.46
1.30/.50
Enclosure & Above
1.26/.51
1.26/.51
1.30/.47
Lowest Floor Only – Above Ground
Level
.94/.48
.94/.48
.73/.29
Lowest Floor Above Ground Level and
Higher Floors
.94/.25
.94/.25
.73/.25
Above Ground Level – More than One
Full Floor
.35/.12
.35/.12
.22/.12
Manufactured (Mobile) Home¹
.61/.39
FIRM ZONE D
CONTENTS
LOCATION
BUILDING
TYPE
OCCUPANCY
Single Family
Building
Contents
No Basement/Enclosure
2-4 Family
Building Contents
Other Residential
Building
Contents
Non-Residential
Building Contents
.76/.32
.96/.57
.76/.32
.83/.57
.83/.57
With Basement
***
***
***
***
***
With Enclosure
***
***
***
***
1.00/.62
1.09/.66
Manufactured (Mobile) Home¹
***
1.88/.77
Basement & Above
Enclosure & Above
Lowest Floor Only – Above Ground
Level
Lowest Floor Above Ground Level and
Higher Floors
Above Ground Level – More than One
Full Floor
Manufactured (Mobile) Home¹
***
***
.96/.57
***
***
.96/.57
***
***
1.62/.52
.96/.39
.96/.39
1.62/.49
.35/.12
.35/.12
.24/.12
1.62/.52
FIRM ZONES AO, AH (“No Basement” Buildings Only)²
Building
Contents
OCCUPANCY
1-4
Family
Other Res & NonRes
Residential
Non-Residential
With Certification of Compliance³
(AOB,AHB)
Without Certification of Compliance or
4
Elevation Certificate
.25/.06
.21/.06
.34/.11
.21/.11
.77/.17
.84/.30
.97/.20
1.63/.25
¹ The definition of Manufactured (Mobile) Home includes travel trailers.
See page APP 3.
² Zones AO, AH Buildings With Basement/Enclosure: Submit for Rating
³ “With Certification” rates are to be used when the Elevation Certificate shows that the lowest floor is equal to or
greater than the community’s elevation requirement.
4
“Without Certification” rates are to be used only on Post-FIRM structures without an Elevation Certificate or
when the Elevation Certificate shows that the lowest floor elevation of a Post-FIRM structure is less than the
community’s elevation requirement.
*** SUBMIT FOR RATING
Flood Insurance
9-15
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TABLE 3B. REGULAR PROGRAM – POST-FIRM CONSTRUCTION RATES
ANNUAL RATES PER $100 OF COVERAGE
(BASIC/ADDITIONAL)
FIRM ZONES AE, A1-A30 – BUILDING RATES
Elevation
of Lowest
Floor
Above or
Below
BFE¹
One Floor, No Basement/Encl
More than One Floor No
Basement/Encl
More than One Floor, With
Basement/Encl
Manufactured (Mobile)
Home²
1-4 Family
1-4 Family
1-4 Family
Other
Residential
& NonResidential
Single
Family
Other
Residential
& NonResidential
Other
Residential
& NonResidential
NonResidential
+4
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.24/ .08
.20 / .08
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
+3
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.25 / .08
.22 / .08
+2
.32 / .08
.26 / .08
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.24 / .08
.20 / .08
.31 / .08
.25 / .08
+1
.59 / .08
.45 / .10
.38 / .08
.28 / .08
.29 / .08
.22 / .08
.66 / .09
.72 / .08
0
.98 / .08
.88 / .20
.70 / .08
.54 / .16
.51 / .08
.45 / .16
1.52 /.09
1.47 / .08
-13
2.40 / .95
3.48 / 1.29
2.17 / .86
2.80 / .69
1.19 / .49
1.33 / .70
***
***
-2
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
FIRM ZONES AE, A1-A30 -Elevation
of Lowest
Floor
Above or
Below
BFE¹
Lowest Floor Only --Above
Ground Level (No Basement/Encl.)
Residential
NonResidential
Lowest Floor Above
Ground & Higher Floors
(No Basement/Encl.)
Residential
NonResidential
CONTENTS RATES
More than One Floor With
Basement/Enclosure
Residential
NonResidential
Manufactured (Mobile)
2
Home
Single
Family
NonResidential
+4
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
+3
.38 / .12
.23 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
+2
.38 / .12
.24 / .12
.38 / .12
.24 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.38 / .12
.31 / .14
+1
.59 / .12
.33 / .18
.41 / .12
.28 / .12
.38 / .12
.22 / .12
.59 / .12
.48 / .20
0
1.10 / .12
.68 / .45
.72 / .12
.48 / .27
.40 / .12
.29 / .12
1.21 / .12
1.01 / .64
-13
3.01 / .75
1.94 / 1.26
1.78 / .58
1.37 / .77
.48 / .12
1.06 / .12
***
***
-2
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
***
FIRM ZONES AE, A1-A30 - CONTENTS RATES
Elevation of
Lowest Floor Above or
Below BFE¹
Single Family
2-4 Family
Above Ground Level
More than One Full Floor
Other Residential
Non-Residential
+4
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
+3
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
+2
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
+1
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
0
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
-1
.35 / .12
.35 / .12
.22 / .12
-2
.35 / .12
.37 / .12
.24 / .12
¹If Lowest Floor is –1 because of attached garage, submit application for special consideration. Rate may be lower.
²The definition of Manufactured (Mobile) Home includes travel trailers. See page APP 3.
³Use Submit-for-Rate guidelines if the enclosure below the lowest elevated floor of an elevated building or if the crawl space
(under-floor space) that has its interior floor within 2 feet below grade on all sides, which is used for rating, is 1 or more feet below
BFE.
***SUBMIT FOR RATING
Flood Insurance
9-16
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TABLE 3E. REGULAR PROGRAM – POST-FIRM CONSTRUCTION RATES
ANNUAL RATES PER $100 OF COVERAGE
1981 POST-FIRM V1-V30, VE ZONE RATES1
Elevation of the
lowest floor
above or below
BFE adjusted
for wave height
Elevated Buildings Free of Obstruction3
Contents
Building
2
+4 or more
Residential
.30
+3
+2
+1
0
-1
-2
-3
-4 or below
.30
.42
.73
1.12
1.62
2.26
3.10
***
Non-Residential
.30
.30
.44
.78
1.20
1.68
2.38
3.30
***
Replacement
Cost Ratio .75 or
More 4
.50
Replacement
Cost Ratio .50 to
.744
.67
.60
.75
1.08
1.39
1.83
2.41
3.10
***
.80
1.00
1.44
1.86
2.42
3.16
4.15
***
1.00
1.20
1.50
2.02
2.61
3.14
4.03
5.26
***
1
Policies for 1975 through 1981 Post-FIRM and Pre-FIRM buildings in Zones VE and V1-V30 will be
allowed to use the Post- ’81 V Zone rate table if the rates are more favorable to the insured. See instructions on page RATE 23 for V Zone Optional Rating.
2
Wave height adjustment is not required in those cases where the Flood Insurance Rate Map indicates that the
map includes wave height.
3
Free of Obstruction -- The space below the lowest floor must be completely free of obstructions or any
attachment to the building or may have:
(1) Insect screening (provided that no additional supports are required for the screening), or
(2) Open wood constructed lattice "breakaway walls" (at least 40 percent of the lattice construction must be open).
These walls must be designed and installed to collapse under stress without jeopardizing the structural support of
the building so that the impact on the building of abnormally high tides or wind driven water is minimized.
4
These percentages represent building replacement cost ratios, which are determined by dividing the amount of
building coverage being purchased by the replacement cost. See page RATE 20 for more details.
*** SUBMIT FOR RATING
Flood Insurance
Replacement Cost
Ratio Under .504
9-17
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TABLE 3F. REGULAR PROGRAM – POST-FIRM CONSTRUCTION RATES
ANNUAL RATES PER $100 OF COVERAGE
1981 POST-FIRM V1-V30, VE ZONE RATES¹,²
Elevation of the
lowest floor
above or below
BFE adjusted
for wave height3
Elevated Buildings With Obstruction4
Contents
Building
+4 or more
.40
.40
Replacement
Cost Ratio .75
or More 5
1.10
+3
+2
+1
0
-1
-2
-3
-4 or below
.40
.50
.85
1.21
1.68
2.33
3.18
***
.40
.50
.90
1.28
1.78
2.48
3.38
***
1.22
1.38
1.60
1.88
2.24
2.79
3.58
***
Residential
6
6
6
NonResidential
Replacement
Cost Ratio .50
to .745
1.48
Replacement
Cost Ratio
Under .505
2.20
1.61
1.80
2.15
2.58
2.97
3.66
4.66
***
2.45
2.75
3.10
3.50
4.00
4.75
6.00
***
1
Policies for 1975 through 1981 Post-FIRM and Pre-FIRM buildings in Zones VE and V1-V30 will be allowed
to use the Post- ’81 V Zone rate table if the rates are more favorable to the insured. See instructions on
page RATE 23 for V Zone Optional Rating.
2
Rates provided are only for elevated buildings. Use the Specific Rating Guidelines document for non-elevated
buildings.
3
Wave height adjustment is not required in those cases where the Flood Insurance Rate Map indicates that the
map includes wave height.
4
With Obstruction -- The space below has an area of less than 300 square feet with breakaway solid walls or
contains equipment below the BFE. If the space below has an area of 300 square feet or more or if any portion of
the space below the elevated floor is enclosed with non-breakaway walls, submit for rating.
5
These percentages represent building replacement cost ratios, which are determined by dividing the amount of
building coverage being purchased by the replacement cost. See page RATE 20 for more details.
6
For buildings with obstruction, use Submit-for-Rate guidelines if the enclosure below the lowest elevated floor of
an elevated building, which is used for rating, is one or more feet below BFE.
*** SUBMIT FOR RATING
Flood Insurance
9-18
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Submit for rate
Certain properties at high flood risk, because of peculiarities in their exposure
to flooding, do no lend themselves to preprogrammed rates. Rates for these properties are not included in the Flood Insurance Manual. These risks require an indepth underwriting analysis and must be submitted to the NFIP or WYO Insurance Company for an individual (specific) rate. Examples include buildings with
their lowest floors two feet or more below BFE, buildings with below grade
crawlspaces, certain buildings with enclosures 2 feet or more below BFE, some
buildings in unnumbered A zones, and similar risks.
Since a submit-for-rate policy often is an indicator of the property owner’s
noncompliance with a community’s regulations, the community’s failure to enforce its regulations, or the result of a variance action, these cases are forwarded
to the appropriate FEMA Regional Office for investigation.
Elevation certificates
Elevation Certificates are required to rate most Post-FIRM Buildings. The
Elevation Certificate provides the data the insurance agent or company needs to
determine the lowest floor of the building and calculate the flood insurance premium using the appropriate rates from the preceding pages. The Elevation
Certificate is discussed in Unit 7, Section G.
Floodproofing
A floodproofed nonresidential building is rated based on the elevation of its
lowest floor, unless it is floodproofed to one foot above the BFE. Then, one foot
is subtracted from the flood protection level. Thus, a building must be floodproofed to one foot above the BFE in order to get the same rates as a building
elevated to the BFE.
If a building is only floodproofed to the BFE or lower, this floodproofing
credit cannot be used and it will be rated based on the floor elevation. If the lowest floor is two or more feet below the BFE, it will be a submit to rate.
Buildings that are floodproofed need floodproofing certificates, as explained
in Unit 7, Section G.
RATING UNNUMBERED A ZONES
Unnumbered A Zones are floodplains that are mapped on the FIRM using approximate methodologies that do not have BFEs. Unnumbered A Zones are
sometimes referred to as approximate A Zones. The approximate studies used to
designate these areas are discussed in Unit 3, Section E. A Post-FIRM building in
an unnumbered A Zone cannot be rated using tables like Table 3B.
Flood Insurance
9-19
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A Post-FIRM single-family home in an unnumbered A Zone will be subject to
a rate of $2.43/1.15 for building coverage and $3.26/1.70 for contents coverage.
This rate is much higher than the rates in Tables 2 and 3B. This can be a real
disincentive for people to buy flood insurance on Post-FIRM buildings in unnumbered A Zones.
There are two ways to obtain lower rates in unnumbered A Zones. In either
case, an elevation certificate is needed.
♦ If the community provides a locally developed BFE and the building is
elevated to or above that BFE, the rates are comparable to those for buildings in AE Zones. Communities are encouraged to do this, as explained in
Unit 5, Section B.
♦ If there is no base flood elevation from any source, rates can be set based
on the height of the building above its highest adjacent grade. Rates are
reduced for buildings 1 foot, 2 feet and 5 or more feet above grade (the
higher the building, the lower the rate). For buildings built at or below
grade, the submit for rate approach is used.
PREMIUMS
A policy holder’s total payment is calculated by:
♦ Multiplying the amount of building coverage desired times the rate (done
once for the basic coverage and again for the additional limits),
♦ Multiplying the amount of contents coverage times the rate desired (done
once for the basic coverage and again for the additional limits),
♦ Applying the deductible factor,
♦ Adding the premium for Increased Cost of Construction coverage (which
varies from $4 to $75, depending on the type of building and FIRM zone.
See Unit 8, Section B on ICC coverage),
♦ Adding the Federal policy fee (currently $30 to help pay for administrative
costs, such as floodplain mapping).
The rates can vary based on the community’s floodplain management program. If the community has not properly enforced its floodplain management
ordinance, it could be put on probation. Under probation, all policies have an
additional $50 surcharge. If a community does not take remedial or corrective
measures while on probation, it can be suspended.
Flood Insurance
9-20
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Conversely, a community that has an exemplary program
that includes floodplain management activities above and
beyond the minimum NFIP criteria may apply for a Community Rating System (CRS) classification. Residents in CRS
communities can receive up to 45% insurance discounts. The
CRS is explained in more detail in the next section.
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9-21
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C. THE COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM
The Community Rating System (CRS) is one of the best
programs around for encouraging and recognizing broadbased local flood hazard mitigation programs.
The CRS provides a reduction in flood insurance premium rates of up to 45
percent for communities that implement activities above and beyond the minimum requirements of the NFIP. The CRS provides credits for a variety of
community flood protection activities.
To receive a CRS flood insurance premium reduction, a community can apply
to its FEMA Regional Office or the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) which
manages the program for FEMA. This involves application worksheets and presentation of appropriate documentation to demonstrate that the community has
undertaken activities that go beyond NFIP minimum requirements. The ISO/CRS
Specialist can assist in preparing the application and reviews the application for
FEMA to determine the community’s classification and flood insurance discount.
An ISO/CRS Specialist will visit the community and verify that the activities are
being implemented as described in the application.
The ISO/CRS Specialist is kept abreast of any changes in the community's
program and conducts periodic visits to verify continued implementation.
Benefits
The CRS offers some non-financial benefits. First, the community's flood program would receive recognition from a national evaluation program.
Second, technical assistance in designing and implementing some activities is
available at no charge from ISO.
Third, the CRS keeps track of the community’s floodplain management program. If future governing boards consider eliminating a flood-related program or
reducing the regulatory requirements for new developments, it could affect the
community's CRS status. This may give them second thoughts about reducing the
community's flood protection efforts.
A similar system used in fire insurance rating has had a strong impact on the
level of support local governments give their fire protection programs. In other
words, the CRS encourages communities to keep their flood programs going
during times of drought and diminished interest.
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9-22
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CRS ACTIVITIES
The CRS Coordinator's Manual describes the 18 floodplain management activities credited by the Community Rating System and the documentation required
to receive credit for each activity. The credits and formulae used to calculate
credits are also included.
The CRS Application provides a simpler summary of the activities and the initial steps needed to apply for credit.
These activities are divided into four categories, or series:
♦ 300 Public information
♦ 400 Mapping and regulations
♦ 500 Flood damage reduction
♦ 600 Flood preparedness
The activities' credit points can be increased if they are part of a comprehensive floodplain management or flood hazard mitigation plan. Special credits are
provided for activities that affect special hazards, such as coastal erosion and
alluvial fan flooding, that aren’t reflected in the NFIP mapping or regulatory
standards.
The activities do not all have to be implemented at local expense. Many communities can qualify for “uniform minimum credit” whereby a state or regional
agency can apply for a CRS activity that it is implementing on behalf of its communities.
Communities can receive credit for retrofitting projects funded by the owners,
regulatory programs administered by the state or a regional district, or similar
projects or programs implemented by another agency or organization. What
counts to the CRS is what happens in the community, not who does it.
Public information activities
This series credits programs that advise people about the flood hazard, flood
insurance and ways to reduce flood damage. These activities also provide data
needed by insurance agents for accurate flood insurance rating:
♦ 310 (Elevation Certificates) Maintain FEMA elevation certificates for new
construction in the floodplain. Keeping certificates after the date of CRS
application is required of all CRS communities.
♦ 320 (Map Information) Respond to inquiries about what FIRM zone a
property is in and publicize this service.
♦ 330 (Outreach Projects) Send information about the flood hazard, flood
insurance and flood protection measures to residents.
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9-23
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♦ 340 (Hazard Disclosure) Advise potential purchasers of floodprone property about the flood hazard or require a notice of the flood hazard.
♦ 350 (Flood Protection Library) The public library maintains references on
flood insurance and flood protection.
♦ 360 (Flood Protection Assistance) Give inquiring property owners technical advice on how to protect their buildings from flooding and publicize
this service.
Mapping and regulation activities
This series credits programs that provide increased protection to new development. The credit points for the activities in this series are increased for growing
communities:
♦ 410 (Additional Flood Data) Develop new flood elevations, floodway delineations, wave heights or other regulatory flood hazard data for an area
that was not mapped in detail by the flood insurance study; or have the
flood insurance study based on a higher state or local standard.
♦ 420 (Open Space Preservation) Guarantee that currently vacant floodplain
lands will be kept free from development; additional credit is given for areas still in, or restored to, their natural state.
♦ 430 (Higher Regulatory Standards) Require freeboard; require engineered
foundations; require compensatory storage; zone the floodplain for minimum lot sizes of one acre or larger; have regulations to protect critical
facilities, or have other standards for new construction that exceed the
minimum NFIP requirements.
♦ 440 (Flood Data Maintenance) Keep flood and property data on computer
records; use better base maps; or maintain elevation reference marks.
♦ 450 (Stormwater Management) Regulate new development throughout the
watershed to ensure that post-development runoff is no worse than predevelopment runoff and/or protects or improves water quality.
Flood damage reduction activities
This series credits programs for areas in which existing development is at risk.
There is no CRS credit for new structural flood control measures because greater
reductions in flood insurance rates are provided through the FIRM revision process.
♦ 510 (Floodplain Management Planning) Prepare, adopt and implement a
comprehensive plan that addresses the community’s flood problem, and
evaluate and revise the plan annually.
♦ 520 (Acquisition and Relocation) Acquire and/or relocate floodprone
buildings so that they are out of the floodplain.
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9-24
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♦ 530 (Retrofitting) Protect floodprone buildings through elevation, on-site
barriers, or floodproofing.
♦ 540 (Drainage System Maintenance) Conduct periodic inspections of all
channels and retention basins, and remove debris as needed.
Flood preparedness activities
This series is oriented toward preparing for and responding to a flood due to
natural causes, a levee failure or a dam breach. The community’s emergency
manager usually coordinates these activities:
♦ 610 (Flood Warning Program) Provide early flood warnings to the public
and have a detailed flood response plan keyed to flood crest predictions.
♦ 620 (Levee Safety) Maintain levees that are not reflected on the FIRM as
providing base flood protection.
♦ 630 (Dam Safety) All communities in a state with an approved dam safety
program receive credit.
PUBLICATIONS
Even if you are not in the CRS, its publication series can be helpful. It includes the references on ordinance language and planning mentioned in other
sections of this course. CRS publications are free. They can also be downloaded
from
the
web
site
for
the
CRS
Resource
Center
at
http://training.fema.gov/EMI/Web/CRS.
A CRS publications order form is on the next page. The key document for
nonparticipating communities is the CRS Application. CRS and non-CRS communities are welcome to order any of the publications that will assist their
floodplain management programs.
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9-25
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Community Rating System Publications
The following publications can be obtained free by folding and mailing this form (to the address
on the back) or faxing it to (317) 848-3578. If you want more than one copy, call (317) 8482898. All of the “General and Application” and “Specific Activities” publications are available
for downloading from FEMA’s website, http://www.fema.gov, or on an IBM-compatible
compact disk.
Check here if you would prefer a paper copy of individual documents instead of the CD.
General and Application
CRS Coordinator's Manual
CRS Activity Worksheets
CRS Application
The National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System (color brochures)
CRS Record Keeping Guidance
Specific Activities
CRS Credit for Drainage System Maintenance
CRS Credit for Flood Warning Programs
CRS Credit for Outreach Projects
CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards
CRS Credit for Stormwater Management
Example Plans
Software
“Computerized Calculations for the Community Rating System” (IBM-compatible compact disk)
“Computerized Format for FEMA Elevation Certificates” (IBM-compatible compact disk)
Special Hazards
CRS Credit for Management of Areas Subject to Uncertain Flow Path Hazards
CRS Credit for Management of Areas Adjacent to Closed Basin Lake Hazards
CRS Credit for Management of Ice Jam Hazards
CRS Credit for Management of Floodprone Areas Subject to Land Subsidence Hazards
CRS Credit for Protecting Coastal Dunes and Beaches
CRS Credit for Management of Mudflow Hazards
CRS Credit for Management of Coastal Erosion Hazards
CRS Credit for Management of Tsunami Hazards
Please send these publications to (please specify a street address, not a post office box):
Name:___________________________________________________________________________________
Adress:___________________________________________________________________________________
City: __________________________ State: ____________ Zip: ____________________________________
Community Name: _____________________________________________________________________
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9-26
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D. THE COASTAL BARRIERS RESOURCES
SYSTEM
The Coastal Barriers Resources Act of 1982 (CBRA) and later amendments,
removed the Federal government from financial involvement associated with
building and development in undeveloped portions of coastal barriers such as
barrier islands, spits, and similar land forms. These areas were mapped and designated as units of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS). In 1990
additional units were added to the CBRS and Otherwise Protected Areas (OPAs)
were designated. OPAs are portions of coastal barriers that are owned by Federal,
State or local governments or by certain non-profit organizations and used primarily for natural resources protection. CBRS units can be found on the Atlantic and
Gulf Coasts and on the Great Lakes CBRS and OPA units are colloquially called
CBRA zones.
Any Federal program which may have the effect of encouraging development
on coastal barrier islands is restricted by CBRA. These include “any form of loan,
grant, guarantee, insurance, payment, rebate, subsidy or any other form of direct
or indirect Federal assistance” with specific and limited exceptions. For example,
Federal disaster assistance is limited to emergency relief – there are no loans or
grants to repair or rebuild buildings in CBRS or OPA areas.
CBRA also banned the sale of NFIP flood insurance for structures built or
substantially improved on or after a specified date. For the initial CBRS designations, this date is October 1, 1983. For all subsequent designations, this date is the
date the CBRS or OPA was identified. CBRS and OPA areas and their identification dates are shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Flood insurance can be
written in OPAs on some new structures that support conservation uses.
If an owner of a building in a CBRS or OPA area wanted to buy flood insurance, he or she would need a copy of the building permit showing that the
building was built before the designation date and a signed statement from the
floodplain ordinance administrator that it had not been substantially damaged or
improved since then. The insurance agent would provide more information on the
format for this documentation.
The boundaries of a CBRS or OPA area cannot be revised through the Letter
of Map Amendment or Revision (LOMA/LOMR) process. They can only be
revised by the following:
♦ Congressional action,
♦ Interpretation of boundaries by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish
and Wildlife Service, or
♦ Cartographic modifications by FEMA to correct errors in the transcription
of the Department of the Interior maps onto FIRMs.
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9-27
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If an NFIP policy is issued in error in a CBRS or OPAs area, it will be cancelled and the premium refunded. No claim can be paid, even if the mistake is not
found until a claim is made.
If a grand fathered building with flood insurance is substantially improved or
substantially damaged, the policy will be cancelled. Determining substantial
improvements and substantial damage is covered in Unit 8.
Banks can make conventional loans in the CBRS, but are hesitant to do so because of the uninsured risk and because conventional loans are often sold to the
secondary loan market, and that transfer will require flood insurance. Although
some private flood insurance is available, it is generally far more expensive than
NFIP coverage. While lenders cannot require NFIP flood insurance on newer
buildings in CBRS or OPA areas since none is available, they are required to
notify borrowers of the flood hazard and the lack of disaster assistance.
Flood Insurance
9-28
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UNIT 10:
DISASTER OPERATIONS AND
HAZARD MITIGATION
In this unit
Floodplain managers agree: It’s not if your community will be flooded.
It’s when.
Those who have been hit by a flood or other disaster usually regret they were
unprepared. Whether it’s your house or your community, you can take steps to be
ready for the inevitable.
This unit covers three ways to get ready:
♦ Develop a disaster operations/recovery plan so you will be ready to
respond to a disaster immediately,
♦ Prepare and adopt a hazard mitigation plan, and
♦ Know the sources of assistance to implement your mitigation plan.
Disaster Operations
10-1
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Contents
A. Disaster Operations ...................................................................................................10-3
Emergency Operations ............................................................................................10-3
Building Condition Survey......................................................................................10-4
High water marks..............................................................................................10-4
Work maps........................................................................................................10-4
Conduct.............................................................................................................10-5
Notice to owners ...............................................................................................10-5
Permit Requirements ...............................................................................................10-7
Permit required .................................................................................................10-7
Clean up and emergency repairs .......................................................................10-7
Enforcement ............................................................................................................10-7
Initial inspection ...............................................................................................10-8
Posting ..............................................................................................................10-8
Follow up ........................................................................................................10-11
Flooded buildings ...........................................................................................10-11
Contractor quality control...............................................................................10-12
Administration.......................................................................................................10-12
Permit forms ...................................................................................................10-12
Public information ..........................................................................................10-13
Technical assistance........................................................................................10-13
Staff assistance................................................................................................10-14
B. Hazard Mitigation ...................................................................................................10-15
Mitigation Measures..............................................................................................10-15
Prevention .......................................................................................................10-16
Property protection .........................................................................................10-16
Natural resource protection.............................................................................10-16
Emergency services ........................................................................................10-17
Structural projects ...........................................................................................10-17
Public information ..........................................................................................10-18
Mitigation Planning...............................................................................................10-18
Benefits of planning........................................................................................10-18
The planning process ......................................................................................10-19
Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 Planning Requirements......................................10-20
Multi-Objective Management ...............................................................................10-20
M-O-M guidelines ..........................................................................................10-21
Benefits ...........................................................................................................10-22
C. Mitigation Assistance Programs..............................................................................10-24
Technical Assistance .............................................................................................10-24
Property Owners....................................................................................................10-25
Flood Mitigation Assistance Program ...................................................................10-25
Planning grants ...............................................................................................10-26
Project grants ..................................................................................................10-27
Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program...........................................................................10-28
Disaster Assistance................................................................................................10-28
Technical assistance........................................................................................10-28
Financial assistance.........................................................................................10-29
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A. DISASTER OPERATIONS
After a disaster you can expect everyone to want you to respond quickly and
efficiently, without regard to other priorities. You will have to take on emergency
post-disaster responsibilities, often at the expense of not performing your normal
duties.
In addition, you may, yourself, have suffered damage or loss. So, while you
are at work helping others, you may not be getting the help you need yourself.
Add to this the need to be available at least 12 hours a day, with few trained
helpers.
There may be pressure from the public and elected officials to waive normal
procedures and regulations in order to help people return to normal as fast as
possible. This is sometimes done in spite of the fact that “back to normal” means
people and buildings exposed to the type of flooding that may have caused the
disaster in the first place.
In short, your residents and businesses are primarily concerned with getting
back to normal. Your stress level is high, patience can be low, the environment is
unfamiliar, and there is never enough time or money.
To help you prepare for this scenario, it is strongly recommended that your
permit office prepare procedures that will ensure full and fair enforcement of your
regulations during this time of stress, confusion and controversy.
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS
Remember, the emergency manager is responsible for disaster and emergency
response activities, such as evacuation, rescue, sandbagging and coordination with
the county, state and federal emergency management agencies. Once the disaster
proves to be big enough, the emergency manager will open up the Emergency
Operations Center (EOC).
You may have a role during the emergency. The permit office usually is
expected to have a representative in the EOC during the disaster. While you work
through this unit, you should meet with the emergency manager to review what he
or she expects you to do before, during and after the disaster.
At some time you will move from the emergency phase to the recovery phase.
That is where this section picks up. You also should review with the emergency
manager what your office needs to be doing to help your community recover, and
at what point you and your staff are free to pursue the activities covered in this
section.
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BUILDING CONDITION SURVEY
A building condition survey is conducted to help the permit office manage
time and resources most efficiently. The survey determines:
♦ If any building is so dangerous that it should not be reentered without a
careful inspection.
♦ Which buildings will need a building permit before they can be repaired or
reoccupied.
When possible, the building condition survey is done in conjunction with the
emergency manager’s initial damage assessment. If the area affected is relatively
small, the survey may be skipped and the permit office can immediately begin
inspecting damaged buildings.
High water marks
High water marks are very valuable records. They will help residents relate
the last flood to the regulatory protection level. For example, if the flood was
estimated to be two feet below the base flood, people can be told that if they were
substantially damaged, they will have to elevate their homes at least two feet
above the high water marks
High water marks are also important for recording the extent of the flood and
adding to the hydrologic record. Someone, usually the community’s engineer,
should be responsible for obtaining readings from stream gauges and other high
water marks as they are reported. Using these high water marks, the engineer
should prepare a flood boundary map and estimate a flood recurrence interval.
Work maps
You should have work maps of the floodplain that show buildings, addresses
and elevation contour lines. They should be sized for use during the survey. Made
in advance of a disaster, they should be on letter or legal size paper for easy use in
a vehicle.
Before the survey, you should review the work maps for the affected area(s)
and, using the high water mark data, determine which areas are worst hit. This can
be done by plotting known flood boundaries or matching high water marks to the
elevation contour lines.
Any area where the flood crest was two feet or more above the buildings’
adjacent grade should be outlined on the map and designated as the first priority
for the building condition survey.
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Conduct
The building condition survey is conducted from outside all buildings, usually
from a vehicle. Depending on the severity and duration of flooding, the survey
may be conducted concurrently with the emergency manager’s initial damage
assessment.
On your work maps, code each building with an “A,” “B” or “C” for the three
categories of building condition:
A - Apparently safe: No exterior signs of structural damage. People can be
allowed back in, but they will need building permits for repairs.
B - Building obviously substantially damaged: The flood swept the building
away, it has collapsed or it is missing one or more walls. The building cannot be
reoccupied without major structural work.
C - Could be substantially damaged: The building may be substantially
damaged, but such damage is not obvious. Any building with more than two feet
of water over its first floor falls in this category.
When the field work is done, summarize the survey findings and plot them on
a master mitigation map. Use color coding, so areas coded B and C—those that
are or may be substantially damaged—will stand out.
Notice to owners
Upon completing the survey, hand-deliver a letter to each property surveyed,
including those assessed as apparently safe. Each letter should include the
building’s address and, where known, the owner’s name. A sample letter is in
Figure 10-1.
Keep copies in the permit office and start a file on each property designated as
“B—Building obviously substantially damaged” or “C—Could be substantially
damaged.”
With the letter include a copy of the FEMA/Red Cross book, Repairing Your
Flooded Home. You can get supplies of them from FEMA or the Red Cross.
If too few copies are available, you may reproduce your own and even include
your community’s name on the cover. FEMA and the Red Cross encourage this,
as it will make the book more pertinent to local readers.
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Figure 10-1: Sample letter to flood damaged property owner.
(Reword for other types of disaster.)
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PERMIT REQUIREMENTS
As soon as possible after the flood, you should contact your state NFIP
coordinator and FEMA Regional Office to review reconstruction regulatory
requirements and to see if there are any new guidance documents.
Permit required
A permit is needed for each building that will be repaired by removing,
altering or replacing the roof, walls, siding, wallboard, plaster, insulation,
paneling, cabinets, flooring, electrical system, plumbing, heating or air
conditioning. These repair/reconstruction projects must meet your building code
and flood protection ordinance.
The requirement for a permit cannot be waived, although your governing
board may opt to waive permit fees. The board may not amend or ignore the NFIP
substantial damage requirement.
Clean up and emergency repairs
You may allow cleanup and temporary emergency repairs to proceed without
a permit. These include:
♦ Removing and disposing of damaged contents, carpeting, wallboard,
insulation, etc.
♦ Hosing, scrubbing or cleaning floors, walls, ductwork, etc.
♦ Covering holes in roofs or walls and covering windows to prevent weather
from inflicting further damage.
♦ Making the building safe to enter by removing sagging ceilings, shoring
up broken foundations, and other actions.
You may want to identify which buildings may need emergency work and
review with the owner the benefits of having professional contractors do some of
it.
Structural alterations—such as removing floors or studs, or replacing a
furnace—are not allowed without a permit.
Owners of potentially substantially damaged buildings should be advised
against making major repairs unless the building presents a safety hazard, because
their buildings may be purchased, modified and/or demolished later.
ENFORCEMENT
You took your first step in enforcing the repair permit requirement when you
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delivered the notices to property owners after the building condition survey and
started a file on each property.
Initial inspection
As soon as possible after the notice is delivered, your office should inspect
each flooded property to review needed repairs and determine if a permit is
needed.
Use a checklist to make the inspection quick and consistent. A sample
checklist is shown in Figure 10-2. Give a copy of the completed inspection to the
property owner, along with safety, health and repair information.
Posting
Upon completion of the inspection, you should post the appropriate sign on
the front of the building so it is clearly visible from the street. Appropriate colored
signs can be obtained in volume from the model code organizations. The ones
shown here are from the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA).
If the building needs repairs that do not
require a permit, post “Safe for Occupancy” and
“Approved to Connect” (utilities) signs.
If a permit to make repairs is needed, post the “Habitable—Repairs
Necessary” sign.
If it is not safe to clean up or work on the
building without major structural repairs, post a
“Keep Out—Uninhabitable” sign.
Only a representative of the permit office may remove or replace a sign after permits
have been issued and repairs are made. The “safe for occupancy” signs may be removed
by the owners in accordance with instructions issued by the community (for example, the
permit office may want all signs posted until all inspections have been completed).
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Figure 10-2a. Sample checklist for initial inspection of a flooded building
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Figure 10-2b. Sample checklist for initial inspection of a flooded building
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Follow up
Here are some things to help with enforcement:
♦ As you develop procedures, check with your utility companies and
appropriate community utility departments. Advise them of your
enforcement procedures.
♦ If not in place, establish a policy that utilities may not turn service back on
unless there is an “Approved to Connect” sign posted on the building. This
will help greatly in getting people to comply with the regulations after a
disaster and prevent accidents.
♦ Instruct police and other departments about the permit requirements and
ask them to report to you any construction projects under way without
posted permit signs.
♦ Within a week of issuing the notices to the owners, visit the notified
properties to ensure that the owners are abiding by the requirements.
♦ Keep a master list or map to track your survey, inspection and permit
application findings.
Flooded buildings
Flooded buildings are harder to inspect that those damaged by other means.
Much of the damage is hidden behind walls or under floors, so the owner may not
recognize the long term effects of water, moisture and mold.
You should require that the wallboard/plaster and insulation be removed from
a flooded building. Once the owner says the framing members are dry, conduct an
inspection. Check the cleanliness and moisture content before allowing the walls
to be recovered. If the studs are too wet, tell the owner to allow them to dry more
before they are covered over.
The best way to measure the level of moisture in wood is with a moisture
meter. You can get a moisture meter through woodworking specialty companies.
It needs to have a probe that can be stuck into the wood.
If the wood’s moisture content exceeds normal levels for your area of the
country (usually 10% - 15%), it is too wet to be covered by paint or wallboard.
Reinspect it later after it is allowed to dry some more. If the owner is anxious to
rebuild, make sure he or she has a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home. Step 4
of that book reviews how to speed up the drying process.
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Contractor quality control
After a disaster, not-so-honest or unqualified contractors offer to help disaster
victims, sometimes offering cut rates or special deals. Your community may want
to control this by requiring that certain construction and reconstruction work be
done by qualified and licensed people.
If you do license contractors, advise property owners of this requirement
through the news media. You can also provide handouts on dealing with
contractors and what to do in case of a dispute (for some good language, see
Pages 41-43 in Repairing Your Flooded Home).
If you receive a sufficient number of complaints, you should relieve a
contractor of his or her license to do business. You also can report bad contractors
to state licensing agencies and/or the consumer protection division of the state
attorney general’s office.
Your work does not have to be a series of confrontations with contractors.
They can be your best ally when telling a property owner why things have to be
done a certain way. They also can help encourage property owners to retrofit and
take additional steps to protect themselves from the next flood.
You may want to conduct workshops for contractors on flood repairs,
mitigation measures, funding opportunities, etc.
ADMINISTRATION
Permit forms
If a permit is required, the property owner should be given the forms needed
and told what repairs, if any, can proceed before the permit is issued. Keep these
forms in the property’s file:
♦ Notice to the owner (Figure 10-1).
♦ Initial inspection checklist (Figure 10-2).
♦ Permit application.
♦ Repair/reconstruction estimate.
♦ Substantial damage worksheets
♦ Inspection records.
♦ FEMA Elevation or Floodproofing Certificate, if the building is required
to be elevated or floodproofed.
♦ Certificate of occupancy.
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Public information
You community should tell residents about the regulatory requirements and
the need to carefully clean and rebuild. You should issue news releases and/or
distribute materials to advise property owners about:
♦ Activities that need a permit.
♦ Activities that do not need a permit (The language in Figure 10-1 could
form the basis for a news release.)
♦ The substantial damage rule.
♦ The benefits of Increased Cost of Compliance flood insurance coverage
(see Unit 8, Section B).
♦ The need for licensed contractors, if required in your community.
♦ The information provided in steps 2, 3 and 4 in Repairing Your Flooded
Home, such as taking pictures for insurance and disaster assistance claims
before throwing things away, how to drain a basement without breaking
the walls, and health and safety precautions.
♦ The need to include property protection measures as part of repairing
homes or businesses. People need to recognize that “returning to normal”
means returning to a building that is subject to another flood.
Technical assistance
Many technical issues can arise during post-disaster permit operations, but
you have many sources of assistance:
♦ Call your state NFIP coordinator and FEMA Regional Office first. If there
was a disaster declaration, they may be able to provide technical assistance
staff or workshops to clarify things.
♦ Check with your state building code agency and the model building code
organizations for publications and example forms for post-disaster
operations.
♦ Ask your local or state health department for site-specific guidance on
how to ensure that a building is fit for reoccupancy, well water is
drinkable, etc.
Most states’ Cooperative Extension Services have post-disaster materials and
can provide advice on technical matters. They are usually located with your land
grant university’s agriculture school.
Some communities require that a contractor certify that a building has been
properly cleaned. This should be allowed only if the contractor is qualified to do
so.
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Two organizations certify repair contractors. They can tell you who in your
area are certified and what qualifications they have.
International Institute for Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)
2715 E. Mill Plain Blvd.
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone: 360/693-5675
Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR)
10830 Annapolis Junction Road
Suite 312
Annapolis Junction, MD 20701
Phone: 301/604-4411
Staff assistance
If the disaster affected many properties, you likely will need more people to
perform survey and inspection work. Staff assistance can come from:
♦ A mutual aid agreement with neighboring communities. There may
already be some agreements with neighbors on sharing staff from other
offices. If you don’t have any, work with your emergency manager on
procedures and agreement language.
♦ Other communities willing to offer help; check with your state NFIP
coordinator.
♦ The building officials association, which may know of members available
to help.
If there was a disaster declaration, check with your emergency manager. You
may be able to get temporary hires, with part of the cost reimbursed through
disaster assistance.
Disaster assistance may also reimburse your community for inspectors to
conduct habitability inspections and to determine if buildings are substantially
damaged.
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B. HAZARD MITIGATION
While this course has focused on regulations directed toward new construction
in the floodplain, many communities are more concerned about existing flood
problems. This section tackles the bigger issue—reducing flood losses and
making sure other activities don’t make things worse.
Many communities deal with flooding with only one or two activities. Every
community in the NFIP regulates new development to make sure things do not get
worse. Many communities tackle their local drainage problems with storm sewer
or drainage construction projects. Communities in high hazard areas usually have
flood warning and evacuation programs.
However, many communities do not realize how many other flood protection
activities they could implement. Nor to do they know of all the other federal,
state, local and private agencies or organizations that can help them with a flood
problem.
While flooding cannot always be stopped—and in many cases, should not be
prevented—flood hazards can be reduced. As their definitions attest, the words
"hazard mitigation" mean taking measures that minimize or reduce the impacts of
flooding on human development.
MITIGATION MEASURES
For the purposes of this course, flood hazard mitigation is defined as all
actions that can be taken to reduce property damage and the threat to life and
public health from flooding.”
“All” is the critical word. Each community should consider all possible
measures for mitigating flood hazards, and each community should seek support
from as many programs and agencies as possible.
Each mitigation measure is appropriate in different situations. Structural flood
control projects can be the most efficient way to protect an existing critical
facility or a concentration of damage-prone buildings. But in developing areas,
regulations and acquisition make more sense, as they are inexpensive ways to
prevent creation of flood problems.
“All actions” is an all-encompassing definition. To make “all actions” more
manageable, flood hazard mitigation measures can be categorized under six basic
strategies.
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Prevention
Preventive measures are designed to keep the problem from occurring or
getting worse. They ensure that future development does not increase flood
damage. Preventive measures are usually administered by building, zoning,
planning and/or code enforcement offices. They include:
♦ Planning and zoning.
♦ Open space preservation.
♦ Floodplain development regulations.
♦ Stormwater management.
♦ Drainage system maintenance.
♦ Dune and beach maintenance.
Property protection
Property protection measures are used to modify buildings subject to flood
damage rather than to keep floodwaters away. Your community may find these to
be inexpensive measures because often they are implemented by or cost-shared
with property owners.
Many of the measures do not affect a building’s appearance or use, making
them particularly appropriate for historical sites and landmarks. These measures
include:
♦ Acquisition.
♦ Relocation.
♦ Building elevation.
♦ Floodproofing.
♦ Sewer backup protection.
♦ Insurance.
Natural resource protection
Water quality and natural habitats may be improved, and flood losses reduced,
by preserving or restoring natural areas or the natural functions of floodplain and
watershed areas.
These activities usually are implemented by environmental or code
enforcement agencies. In addition to these measures, zoning or preserving open
space also can protect natural resources.
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♦ Wetland protection
♦ Erosion and sediment control
♦ “Best management practices” for stormwater runoff
Emergency services
Emergency services measures protect people during and after a flood. Most
counties and many cities have emergency management offices to coordinate
warning, response and recovery during a disaster. Emergency services measures
include:
♦ Flood warning.
♦ Flood response.
♦ Critical facilities protection.
♦ Health and safety maintenance.
Structural projects
Structural flood control projects are used to prevent floodwaters from reaching
properties. These measures are “structural” because they involve construction of
man-made structures to control water flows. There are six common types of
projects:
♦ Reservoirs.
♦ Levees/floodwalls/seawalls.
♦ Channel modifications.
♦ Enlarging culverts or bridge openings.
♦ Diversions.
♦ Storm sewers.
♦ Beach nourishment.
Structural projects can be very expensive. Their other shortcomings include:
♦ Disturbing the land and disrupting natural water flows, often destroying
habitats.
♦ Requiring regular maintenance, which if neglected can have disastrous
consequences.
♦ Being built to a flood protection level that larger floods can exceed,
causing extensive damage.
♦ Creating a false sense of security, as people protected by a project often
believe that no flood will ever reach them.
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Public information
Public information activities advise property owners, potential property
owners and visitors about the hazards, ways to protect people and property from
the hazards, and the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains.
Usually implemented by a public information office, they can include:
♦ Map information.
♦ Outreach projects.
♦ Real estate disclosure.
♦ Library.
♦ Technical assistance.
♦ Environmental education.
MITIGATION PLANNING
Different departments in a community may implement activities that are not
coordinated or that may even conflict with one another. Some examples:
♦ The street P habitat.
Benefits of planning
Floodplain residents and property owners are not always aware of things that
are being done to protect them from flooding, nor are they aware of things they
can do to protect themselves, or how they can contribute to community efforts.
Developing a flood hazard mitigation plan is one of the best ways to correct these
shortcomings.
The objective of planning is to produce a program of activities that will best
tackle the community's flood problem and meet other community needs. A wellprepared plan will:
♦ Ensure that all possible activities are reviewed and implemented so that
the most appropriate and efficient solutions are used to address the local
flood problem.
♦ Link floodplain management policies to specific activities.
♦ Ensure that activities are coordinated with each other and with other
community goals, objectives and activities, preventing conflicts and
reducing the costs of implementing individual activities.
♦ Educate residents about the flood hazard, flood loss reduction measures,
and the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains.
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♦ Build public and political support for projects that prevent new flood
problems, reduce flood losses and protect the natural and beneficial
functions of floodplains.
♦ Fulfill planning requirements for state or federal assistance programs.
♦ Facilitate implementation of floodplain management activities through an
action plan that has specific tasks, staff assignments and deadlines.
A well-prepared plan will guide your community's flood, stormwater and
related activities so that they are implemented more economically and in ways
more attuned to the needs and objectives of your community and its residents.
A well-prepared plan also will reduce flood losses and improve protection of
the floodplain's natural and beneficial functions, to the benefit of both your
community and the NFIP.
The planning process
The planning process includes getting input from everyone who has relevant
information, everyone who is affected by flooding and everyone who will
participate in implementing the plan. It works for all types of plans, such as those
for land use plans, capital improvement, neighborhood redevelopment and hazard
mitigation.
A hazard mitigation plan can take many forms, using a variety of formats and
organizational styles. The format and organization of a plan is not what is
important.
Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "Plans are worthless. Planning is essential." This
simple phrase says it all: The paper document is not as important as the process
of planning. Because each community is different, each floodplain management
plan will be different. However, the process they follow should be similar.
FEMA recommends a 10-step planning process, summarized in Figure 10-3.
This process provides a framework with which local officials, residents,
engineers, technical experts and others can work out the details and reach
agreement on what should be done to mitigate the flood hazard.
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1. Organize to prepare the plan.
2. Involve the public.
3. Coordinate with other agencies.
4. Assess the hazard.
5. Assess the problem.
6. Set goals.
7. Review possible activities.
8. Draft an action plan.
9. Adopt the plan.
10. Implement, evaluate and revise.
Figure 10-3. The 10-step mitigation planning process
The 10-step planning process is credited under the
Community Rating System, Activity 510 Floodplain
Management Planning, in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual
and the CRS Application. It is explained in more detail in
Example Plans. Plans developed according to this process
are a prerequisite for funding under other FEMA programs
(see Section C in this unit).
DISASTER MITIGATION ACT OF 2000 PLANNING
REQUIREMENTS
The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 modified the Robert T. Stafford Disaster
Relief and Emergency Management Act to establish new mitigation planning
requirements. The Act continues the requirement for a State Hazard Mitigation
Plan as a condition of disaster assistance and provides for States to receive
increased Hazard Mitigation Program Grant (HMGP) funding if they have in
effect a FEMA-approved Enhanced State Mitigation Plan. More importantly for
communities, the Act establishes new local mitigation planning requirements.
After November 1, 2004 communities must have a FEMA-approved mitigation
plan in place in they want to receive HMGP funding or funding for projects under
the new Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program. See the FEMA website or contact you
State Emergency Management Agency or FEMA Regional Office for further
information on this requirement.
MULTI-OBJECTIVE MANAGEMENT
Because water does not respect property lines or city limits, solutions to your
community’s flood problem will involve not just people who suffered damage
most recently, but also the neighborhood, your community and even the rest of
the watershed.
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A single-minded approach will not lead to a solution to a flood problem. Other
interests are out there, and if everyone focuses only on his or her own concerns,
everyone will simply compete—and no one wins.
On the other hand, there is a proven approach to reduce flood losses and
simultaneously address other community concerns. Called multi-objective
management or M-O-M, it succeeds because using it builds alliances among
interest groups.
M-O-M uses existing financial and other resources to look at the whole
watershed affecting the flooding problem. In the end, your community will have
coordinated flood loss reduction with reaching some of its other goals and needs.
By using M-O-M, solutions to flooding will be more effective, more sensitive to
the environment, have broader support, be part of a more comprehensive program
and accomplish more than one objective.
M-O-M guidelines
There is nothing magical about multi-objective management. The idea is to
bring together everyone with a concern or problem that has the potential to affect
or be affected by the flood problem. It requires communication among groups,
and it capitalizes on the help government agencies and private organizations offer.
Multi-objective management has six guidelines:
1. Keep the effort locally based. Solutions must be acceptable to residents,
their neighbors and others in the area. They must fit in with other local concerns
and goals.
2. Understand the flood problem and its relation to the watershed. The
problem is not isolated; neither is it limited to one stream or one neighborhood. If
people think in terms of the whole watershed, they will come up with more
possible solutions—and the solutions will not cause problems for someone else.
3. Think broadly about possible solutions to reduce the flood problem.
There are more ways to do things than conventional wisdom may suggest. Don't
get locked into wanting a floodwall or other single-purpose project without first
checking out alternatives.
4. Identify the other community concerns and goals that could have a
bearing on the flood problem. People who are interested in those other concerns
should meet and brainstorm possible solutions that can reach more than one of
their objectives.
5. Obtain expert advice and assistance from government agencies and
private organizations. Planners should find out what financial assistance and
advice are available. They should not put all their eggs in one basket and wait for
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that big “cure-all” project that may never be funded; there are literally hundreds
of programs out there.
6. Build a partnership among the private and public groups and
individuals that can be enlisted to work on the objectives. More minds and
hands mean that better ideas will result, people will be more likely to follow
through, and more people will be available to do the work.
Using the systematic 10-step process will help greatly in developing a
mitigation plan that coordinates and includes the other community objectives and
interests. Preparing a written plan helps keep people get organized, clarifies
solutions and formalizes everyone's participation.
Benefits
If you have a flood problem, you may ask, “Why bother with this M-O-M
stuff? Why not just stop the flooding?”
This is not as easy as it sounds, especially if you are on a large river.
Structures to "stop" or control floods can be expensive to build and maintain;
take a long time to plan, fund, and build; and can cost more than the value of the
property they would protect. They may adversely affect other properties, the
environment and other people’s plans for the area. As shown by the Great Flood
of 1993, they don't always work, especially if a flood is larger than anticipated.
If you have only one objective—“stop the flooding”—you may spend a lot of
time and money on your one problem, in the process creating problems for other
people. You will be competing with other communities that want funds for
expensive structural projects. You will even be competing with others in your
community who have different goals in mind.
The M-O-M approach helps you take charge of your future by looking at all
the things your community needs and seeing how they can be combined with
possible ways to reduce flood losses. Your eggs are not all in one basket, you are
less dependent on outside agencies, and you have more sources of funding and
technical advice.
With M-O-M, you join forces with other people who are just as devoted to
their goals—be they parks and recreation, economic development, tourism or
environmental education. You can all reach your objectives in a cheaper, faster
and less disruptive manner by using M-O-M, and get more permanent, less
expensive flood loss reduction than by trying to control the natural forces that
cause floods.
One reason M-O-M gets such good results is that by using it, you treat the
river's floodplain and its watershed as a resource. The floodplain need not be just
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a place with a flood hazard; it is also an area that is important to your community
and to plant and animal life.
The M-O-M process makes sure that flood projects don't undermine other
community objectives and the need to protect the natural environment.
For more information on M-O-M, see Using Multi-Objective Management to
Reduce Flood Losses in Your Watershed.
Kampsville, Illinois
Kampsville, Illinois, is a town of 400 residents on the Illinois River. Its residents could
have continued to endure flooding, wait for a flood control project that would not be built,
or look for alternative ways to reduce flood losses. They chose the third option, and it
paid off during the 1993 flood.
After Kampsville was flooded in 1979 and again in 1982, residents and local officials
decided to do something. They knew they would not stop the Illinois River from flooding,
and that to build a large enough levee would require removing many of the buildings they
wanted to protect. So they began a systematic planning process to review alternative
ways to reduce flood losses.
One of the first things they did was ask for help. The Illinois Department of Natural
Resources provided staff support, and during a series of planning meetings, other
agencies were invited to explain their ideas and tell how they could help.
It became apparent that the best solution was to purchase and relocate the worst-hit
buildings. Because this would leave the town with a large open area, folks started talking
about what they would do with it.
They also were concerned that they would lose some businesses when the
floodprone properties were bought out. During this process, they realized that they had to
think about more than just flooding; they had to consider the future of their town and its
economic base. They expanded their planning process to encompass other goals,
including redeveloping the acquired area, designing a park and building a base for
tourism.
Taking the plan to various funding sources, Kampsville eventually received more than
$1 million to buy 50 properties and convert flooded and dilapidated buildings to open
space. The money was used also to elevate some buildings that were not flooded very
deeply, to floodproof the water treatment plant and to relocate the fire station. A new ferry
landing and all-weather access into town were also built.
Pursuing its other objectives, the village started sponsoring recreation activities,
including an annual celebration that brings in hundreds of people. They now view the
riverfront as a resource, not a problem area.
In all, financial assistance was provided by three state agencies, two federal
agencies and the town’s largest employer. Although it took almost 10 years to plan, fund
and complete, Kampsville’s approach paid off during the 1993 Midwest flood. The town
suffered some damage because floodwaters exceeded the base flood elevation, but
Kampsville did not make the news because its damage was relatively minor compared to
that of its neighbors.
Figure 10-4. A M-O-M example
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C. MITIGATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
A variety of federal, state, local and private sources offer assistance in
mitigation activities. Help is limited only by your community’s imagination.
This section reviews the more common programs.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
Help with mitigation planning may be available from a local, regional or state
planning agency or a private organization. For example, the National Park
Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program provides staff
support for local planning under certain conditions. If they can't help with the
whole thing, they may be able to help with some tricky parts, like providing a
facilitator for an all-day community input workshop.
Another source of assistance is a private consultant. Planning and engineering
firms usually have personnel skilled in the various flood loss reduction measures
and the planning process.
These flood-related agencies and organizations may help in providing
technical assistance or in implementing mitigation activities that benefit your
community:
♦ The soil and water conservation district.
♦ Agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that work with watershed
property owners, such as the Natural Resources Conservation and
Cooperative Extension services.
♦ Watershed, stormwater management or flood control districts.
♦ Regional or metropolitan water, sewer or sanitary districts.
♦ The state or county emergency management or civil defense agency.
♦ The state natural resources or water resources agency.
♦ Local watershed councils or associations.
♦ The district office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
More references and contacts in floodplain management agencies and
programs can be obtained through your state NFIP coordinator (see Appendix B),
the Association of State Floodplain Managers ((608) 274-0123)) and the
Floodplain Management Resource Center ((303) 492-6818)).
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An excellent source of information is the M.O.M. Resource Directory
prepared jointly by FEMA and the National Park Service. A computer program
that lists more than 300 government and private programs, the Windows-based
software is easy to install and use.
It is available free from:
Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance
National Park Service
P.O. Box 25287 IMFA-RM-S
Denver, CO 80225-0287
Phone: (303) 969-2781
Fax: 303-987-6676
Assistance on wetlands issues can be obtained by calling the USEPA
Wetlands Information Hotline at (800) 832-7828.
PROPERTY OWNERS
Many times, a community does not have to look beyond the beneficiaries of
hazard mitigation to find help for a mitigation activity.
For an activity that directly affects a property, such as a retrofitting project,
the owner should be asked to chip in. One example is using the owner’s insurance
claim to help pay for a project related to repairing a damaged building. The
Increased Cost of Compliance coverage in the flood insurance policy was
specifically created for mitigation purposes. It is discussed in more detail in Unit
8, Section B.
Owners who recognize that they have a real flood problem are willing to pay a
large part of the cost. In one project in Denham Springs, Louisiana, homeowners
paid up to $40,000 as the 50/50 match to elevate their homes above flood levels.
In the Chicago area, some communities found that a rebate for as little as 20
percent or 25 percent of the total project cost can be a real motivator to get
property owners to implement retrofitting projects. Over 400 projects have been
implemented with the owners paying the bulk of the cost.
For more information on these and other local funding sources, see the Corps
of Engineers’ Local Flood Proofing Programs.
FLOOD MITIGATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 authorized FEMA to
provide grants to states and communities for planning assistance and for
mitigation projects that reduce the risk of flood damage to structures covered by
flood insurance. The overall goal of the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA)
program is to fund cost-effective measures that reduce or eliminate the long-term
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risk of flood damage to buildings, manufactured homes and other insurable
structures.
FMA will pay 75 percent of the cost of these measures under its planning
grants, project grants and technical assistance grants. Each state receives annual
funding for planning and project grants. States distribute the planning grants at
their discretion, in accordance with each grant’s limitations. All funding
applications must go through the state to be accepted by FEMA.
Technical assistance grants are given to state agencies that provide assistance
to communities, so only the other two funding sources are covered here.
Planning grants
The purpose of a planning grant is to develop or update a Flood Mitigation
Plan. To be eligible for an FMA project grant, an eligible applicant must develop,
and have approved by the FEMA regional director, a Flood Mitigation Plan which
“will articulate a comprehensive strategy for implementing technically feasible
flood mitigation activities for the area affected by the plan.”
The regulations note that “existing plans, such as those credited through the
Community Rating System ... may meet the requirements of FMA with few or no
modifications.”
At a minimum, plans must include these elements, all of which are part of the
10-step hazard mitigation planning process that was discussed in the previous
section:
♦ A description of the planning process and public involvement, which may
include workshops, public meetings or public hearings.
♦ A description of the existing flood hazard and identification of the flood
risk, including estimates of the number and type of structures at risk,
repetitive loss properties and the extent of flood depth and damage
potential.
♦ The applicant's floodplain management goals for the area covered by the
plan.
♦ Identification and evaluation of cost-effective and technically feasible
mitigation actions that were considered.
♦ Presentation of the strategy for reducing flood risks and continued
compliance with the NFIP, and procedures for ensuring implementation,
reviewing progress and recommending revisions to the plan.
♦ Documentation of formal plan adoption by the legal entity submitting the
plan.
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Project grants
The following types of projects are eligible for funding through FMA,
providing they meet all other eligibility criteria:
♦ Acquisition of insured structures and underlying real property in fee
simple and easements restricting real property to open space uses.
♦ Relocation of insured structures from acquired or restricted real property
to nonhazard-prone sites.
♦ Demolition and removal of insured structures from acquired or restricted
real property.
♦ Elevation of insured residential structures in accordance with NFIP
standards.
♦ Elevation or dry floodproofing of insured nonresidential structures in
accordance with NFIP standards.
♦ Other activities that bring an insured structure into compliance with the
NFIP’s floodplain management requirements.
♦ Minor physical flood mitigation projects that reduce localized flooding
problems and do not duplicate the flood prevention activities of other
Federal agencies.
♦ Beach nourishment activities.
To be eligible a project grant, a project must be:
♦ In conformance with the Flood Mitigation Plan. The type of project being
proposed must be identified in the plan.
♦ Cost-effective, not costing more than the anticipated value of the reduction
in both direct damages and subsequent negative impacts to the area if
future floods were to occur. Both costs and benefits are computed using
net-present value.
♦ In conformance with federal regulations on floodplain management,
protection of wetlands, seismic safety and applicable environmental laws
and regulations.
♦ Technically feasible.
♦ In conformance with the minimum standards of the NFIP.
♦ Located physically in a participating NFIP community that is not on
probation or must benefit such community directly by reducing future
flood damage.
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PRE-DISASTER MITIGATION PROGRAM
The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program was authorized by Section 203
of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance and Emergency Relief Act.
Beginning in Fiscal Year 2003 Congress appropriated funds for the Pre-Disaster
Mitigation Program to fund mitigation plans and projects by States and
communities. Currently the program is funded at approximately $150 million per
year. PDM funds are made available to States and communities through a
national competition. There is a 75% Federal cost-share. Although funding is
available for mitigation plans and projects that address all hazards, it is expected
that a significant portion of the funding will be for projects that reduce flood
damages. The latest information on how to apply for these funds and on the
criteria that will be used to rank projects can be found on FEMA’s website at
http://fema.gov/fima/pdm.
DISASTER ASSISTANCE
If your community is hit by a disaster and the area subsequently receives a
presidential disaster declaration, a variety of programs can provide mitigation
assistance. Most of them are authorized by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief
and Emergency Act, known as the Stafford Act.
First, a disaster field office will be established under the guidance of a state
coordinating officer and a federal coordinating officer. They will be supported by
mitigation staff, directed by a deputy federal coordinating officer for mitigation
and a state hazard mitigation officer.
Two types of help will be provided: technical assistance and financial
assistance. The federal-state team will distribute up-to-date materials about these
programs; this section provides a brief overview of them. Note that they may be
slightly different when implemented in your area in the future.
Technical assistance
The disaster assistance staff should be able to spend time with your
community’s mitigation planners. They can review mitigation measures,
techniques and funding sources.
One of their prime concerns will be proper regulation during reconstruction
(see Section A of this unit). They can help analyze damage to identify areas prime
for acquisition and clearance and help develop mitigation plans.
The disaster team may also provide technical assistance to property owners.
Information on repairing and retrofitting is given through public meetings,
handouts and news releases. Sometimes mitigation tables are set up in disaster
service centers, or separate Reconstruction Information Centers are opened. They
house architects, engineers and other specialists who can work closely with
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owners to help design appropriate flood protection measures.
Financial assistance
FEMA will widely publicize the assistance programs that are made available
after a disaster declaration. Three main types of assistance are available, each of
which can fund mitigation measures:
1. Public/Infrastructure Assistance, formerly known as the Public
Assistance Program, it can provide 75 percent of the cost of repairing or restoring
facilities owned by public agencies and certain private nonprofit organizations. If
an applicant prefers to relocate a facility out of the floodplain rather than replace
it, FEMA will still provide funds, but at a reduced share.
FEMA takes the first step in obtaining Public/Infrastructure Assistance
funding by completing a Damage Survey Report (DSR) for each facility. The
community should have a representative on each DSR team to provide local input
into the repair or replacement design for damaged facilities.
The local DSR representative should be aware that this program provides an
opportunity to incorporate hazard mitigation features while replacing some
damaged property. FEMA can provide funding above and beyond the cost of
repairing or replacing a public facility, if it can be demonstrated that the proposed
mitigation measure is technically feasible, cost-effective and required by a state or
local regulation.
Mitigation Example: A flood washes out a culvert that used to back up every
time there was a 2-inch rain. FEMA and the state will estimate the cost to repair
or replace it as it was. If someone points out that (1) a larger culvert can save
more money than it costs by reducing flood damage to other properties and (2)
floodplain regulations prohibit obstructions in the floodway, then FEMA may
share the expense of replacing the lost culvert with a larger one.
Similarly, funds from this program can be used to protect or relocate damaged
water and sewer lines, floodproof pumping stations or replace bridges with clear
spans.
Insurance note: Public/Infrastructure Assistance grants for public buildings
are subject to a “deductible.” Under the Stafford Act, Federal disaster assistance
for a flooded public building will be reduced by the amount of flood insurance
coverage the community should have on that building.
It does not matter whether the building is insured; FEMA will still only
provide assistance for damage that exceeded the level of available insurance.
Example: The maximum amount of flood insurance available for a
non-residential building is $500,000. Floodville's $2 million city hall is flooded
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and receives $600,000 in damage. If the city hall is in an SFHA, the disaster
assistance program will assume it's insured for $500,000. Federal aid to repair or
rebuild the city hall will be 75% of $100,000 ($600,000 - $500,000).
Floodville will receive $75,000 in disaster assistance for a building that
suffered $600,000 in damage. If the city hall was not insured, Floodville's
taxpayers are going to have to come up with the balance. If it was insured, the city
will have $575,000 ($500,000 in insurance claim and $75,000 from disaster
assistance) toward repairs and reconstruction.
Flood insurance is also a good idea because not every flood warrants a Federal
disaster declaration. The moral of the story is to make sure that all publicly owned
buildings subject to flooding have flood insurance.
2. Human services programs provide resources to assist residents and
business owners, such as temporary housing, unemployment aid, food stamps,
grants and loans. Many of these were formerly called the Individual Assistance
Program.
Temporary housing can be particularly helpful in providing homes for people
waiting to find out if their homes can be reoccupied or if they will be acquired and
cleared.
The Individual and Family Grants (IFG) program is designed to help disaster
victims pay for "unmet needs," such as those that are not funded by other
programs. It is a grant to individuals, usually people who cannot qualify for a loan
or cannot get a loan to cover all of their expenses.
Sometimes IFG can be used to fund minor property protection projects, such
as elevating a furnace, water heater, washer or electrical service box above the
flood level. These grants can be especially useful in areas with lower income or
fixed income families that are subject to shallow or basement flooding.
3. Hazard mitigation programs provide financial resources to help reduce
susceptibility to damage from a future disaster. Section 404 of the Stafford Act
makes money available to assist eligible applicants after a Presidential disaster
declaration. Section 404's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will pay up to 75
percent of the cost of such mitigation projects.
To be eligible, the projects should be consistent with the recommendations of
the state’s mitigation plans and strategies. Projects must be shown to be costeffective, and they may mitigate hazards other than the one that caused the
disaster.
Eligible projects include acquisition of floodprone properties and reversion to
open space, elevation of floodprone buildings and minor drainage improvements.
Traditionally, the program has most often been used to acquire floodplain
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properties. In some communities, the property owners volunteered to help pay the
local share of the cost.
Even if your community did not receive a disaster declaration, you may be
able to receive a Hazard Mitigation Grant. In 1997, FEMA ruled that the funds
could be spent on appropriate projects throughout a state that received a disaster
declaration.
4. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program, provides loans
to disaster victims that meet the ability to repay, income qualifications. In addition
to borrowing enough funds to repair damages, the SBA Disaster Loan Program
will provide additional loan amounts in order for the repairs to comply with local
codes. Also, SBA will allow an additional 15% for incorporating mitigation
measures during the repair process.
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APPENDIX A:
FEMA REGIONAL OFFICES
Region I
(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New
Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
FEMA Region I
99 High Street
6th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 223-9540
Region II
(New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, Virgin
Islands)
FEMA Region II
26 Federal Plaza, Suite 1307
New York, NY 10278-0001
Phone: (212) 680-3600
FAX: (212) 680-3681
Region III
(Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia)
FEMA Region III
615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 931-5608
Region IV
(Alabama,
Florida,
Georgia,
Kentucky,
Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Tennessee)
FEMA Region IV
3003 Chamblee-Tucker Road
Atlanta, GA 30341
Phone: (770) 220-5200
Region V
(Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio,
Wisconsin)
FEMA Region V
536 South Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 408-5500
Region VI
(Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma,
Texas)
FEMA Region VI
Federal Regional Center
800 North Loop 288
Denton, TX 76209
Phone: (940) 898-5399
FEMA Regional Offices
Region VII
(Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
FEMA Region VII
2323 Grand Boulevard, Suite 900
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 283-7061
Region VIII
(Colorado, Montana, North Dakota,
Dakota, Utah, Wyoming)
FEMA Region VIII
Building 710, Box 25267
Denver, CO 80225-0267
Phone: (303) 235-4800
FAX: (303) 235-4976
Region IX
(Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada)
FEMA Region IX
1111 Broadway, Suite 1200
Oakland, CA 94607
Phone: (510) 627-7100
South
Region X
(Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington)
FEMA Region X
130 228th Street, SW
Bothell, WA 98021
Phone: (425) 487-4600
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APPENDIX B:
STATE CONTACTS
For an up to date list of State Hazard Mitigation Officers and NFIP Coordinators see FEMA’s
web site at http://www.fema./gov.
STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Alabama:
Debbie Peery
AL Emergency Management Agency
5898 County Road 41
P.O. Drawer 2160
Clanton, AL 35046
Phone: 205-280-2476
Alaska:
Gary Brown
Alaska Emergency Services
P.O. Box 5750
Fort Richardson, AK 99505
Phone: 907-428-7036
American Samoa:
Ufuti Fa’Afetai T. Leremia
Territorial Emergency Management
P.O. Box 1086
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Phone: 011-684/633-2497/2331
Arizona:
Barbara Corsette
Arizona Emergency Management
5636 East McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Phone: 602-392-7518
Arkansas:
Terry Gray
Department of Emergency Management
PO Box 758
Conway, AR 72033
Phone: 501-730-9798
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Alabama:
Charles Sanders, CFM
ADECA/OWR/NFID
P.O. Box 5690,
Montgomery, AL 30103-5690
Phone: 334-353-1966
Fax: 334-242-0776
[email protected]
Alaska:
Christy Miller, CFM
Dept. of Community and Economic Development
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1770
Anchorage, AK 99501-3510
Phone: 907-269-4567
Fax: 907-269-4563
[email protected]
American Samoa:
Nicky Salomonia
Economic Development Planning Office
Pago Pago, AS 96799
Phone: 684-633-5155
Fax: 684-633-4196
Arizona:
Brian Cosson
Engineering Division
Arizona Department of Natural Resources
500 North 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: 602-417-2400 xt.7197
Fax: 602-417-2423
[email protected]
Arkansas:
Jason Donham, CFM, BS
Land Resources Specialist
Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Comm.
101 East Capital, Suite 350
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-3907
Fax: 501-682-3991
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
California:
John Rowden
California Office of Emergency Services
11030 White Rock Road
P.O. Box 419023, Suite 110
Rancho Cordova, California 95741-9023
Phone:916-464-2609
Colorado:
Marilyn Gally
Colorado Office of Emergency Management
15075 South Golden Road
Golden, CO 80401-3979
Phone:303-273-1775
Connecticut:
Alphonse Letendre
Dept. of Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street, 3rd Floor
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: 860-424-3876
Delaware:
Lloyd Stoebner
Delaware Emergency Management Agency
165 Brick Store Landing Road
Smyrna, DE 19977
Phone: 302-659-2246
Florida:
Eric Poole
FL Division of Emergency Management
2555 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2100
Phone: 850-413-9947
Fax: 904-413-9857
Georgia:
Terry Lunn
GA Emergency Management Agency
935 East Confederate Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30316
Phone: 404-635-7016
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
California:
Ricardo Pineda, PE CFM
California Department of Water Resources
1416 9th Street, Room 1623
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-574-0611
Fax: 916-653-363
Colorado:
Kevin Houch, P.E.
Colorado Water Conservation Board
State Centennial Building, Room 721
1313 Sherman Street
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-3441
Fax: 303-866-4474
[email protected]
Connecticut:
Diane Ifkovic
Dept. of Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street, State Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106
Phone: 860-424-3537
Fax: 860-424-4075
[email protected]
Delaware:
Michael Powell, CFM
Delaware Dept. Natural Resources
89 Kings Highway
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: 302-739-4411
Fax: 302-739-6724
[email protected]
Florida:
Charles Speights
Florida Comm Affairs Emerg. Mgmt.
2555 Shumard Oak Blvd.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2100
Phone: 850-413-9959
Fax: 850-410-1582
[email protected]
Georgia:
Collis Brown
GA Dept. of Nat. Resources – Env. Protection
7 Martin Luther King Drive, SW, Rm. 440
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: 404-656-6382
Fax: 404-656-6383
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Guam:
Connie Jo Brennan
Guam Emergency Services Office
PO Box 22439
Hagatna, GU 96921
Phone: 671-475-9600
Hawaii:
Larry Kanda
State of Hawaii Dept. of Defense
3949 Diamond Head Road
Honolulu, HI 96816-4495
Phone: 808-733-4300
Idaho:
Jonathan Perry
Idaho Bureau of Disaster Services
4040 Guard Street, Bldg. 600
Boise, ID 83705-5004Phone: 208-334-2336 ext. 271
Illinois:
Jan Horton
Illinois Emergency Management Agency
110 East Adams St.
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: 217-782-8719
Indiana:
Jan Crider
Indiana Emergency Management Agency
302 W. Washington Street, Rm W046
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: 317-232-3830/800-669-7362
Iowa:
Dennis Harper
Iowa Division of Emergency Management Division
Hoover State Office Building
Level A
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-3231
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Guam:
Benigio Palomo
Dept. of Public Works
PO Box 2877
Agana, GU 96910
Phone: 671-411-7567
Fax: 671-646-3749
Hawaii:
Carol Tyay-Beam
Dept. of Land & Natural Resources
PO Box 373
Honolulu, HI 96809
Phone: 808-587-0267
Fax: 808-587-0283
[email protected]
Idaho:
Scott Van Hoff, CFM
Idaho Dept. of Water Resources
1301 N. Orchard
Boise, ID 83706
Phone: 208-327-7993
Fax: 208-327-7866
[email protected]
Illinois:
Paul Osman, CFM
Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
524 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1787
Phone: 217-782-4435
Fax: 217-524-1454
[email protected]
Indiana:
Greg Main, CFM
Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources
Division of Water
402 W. Washington Street, Rm. W264
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748
Phone: 317-234-1107
Fax: 317-233-4579
[email protected]
Iowa:
Bill Cappuccio
Iowa Dept. of Nat. Resources
Wallace State Office Building
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-8942
Fax: 515-281-8895
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Kansas:
Julie Eichem
Kansas Division of Emergency Management
2800 South West Topeka Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66611-1287
Phone: 785-274-1404
Kentucky:
Michael Lynch
KY Division of Emergency Management
Boone National Guard Center – EOC Building
100 Minuteman Parkway
Frankfort, KY 40601-6168
Phone: 502-607-1348
Louisiana:
Dan Falanga
Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness
625 N. 4th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Phone: 225-324-6701
Maine:
Steven P. Burgess
Maine Emergency Management Agency
SHS #72
Augusta, ME 04333-0072
Phone: 207-626-4503
Maryland:
Evalyn Fisher
Maryland Emergency Management Agency
Camp Fretterd Military Reserve
5401 Rue Saint Lo Drive
Reistertown, MD 21136
Phone: 410-517-5105
Massachusetts:
Richard Thibedeau
Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental
Management
251 Causeway Street, Suite 700
Boston, MA 02114-2150
Phone: 617-973-8781
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Kansas:
Rhonda Montgomery, CFM
Kansas Dept. of Agriculture – Div. Water Res.
109 SW 9th Street, 2nd Floor
Topeka, KS 66612-1283
Phone: 785-296-2513
Fax: 785-296-4835
[email protected]
Kentucky:
Carey Johnson
Dept. of Natural Resources – Div of Water
14 Reilly Road
Frankfort Office Park
Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: 502-564-3410 xt.424
Fax: 502-564-9003
[email protected]
Louisiana:
Cindy O’Neal
Louisiana Dept. of Transportation & Devel.
PO Box 94245, Room 430
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9245
Phone: 225-274-4354
Fax: 225-274-4351
[email protected]
Maine:
W. Louis Sidell, Jr., CFM
Office of Comprehensive Plng. & Comm. Devl
38 State House Station
184 State Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0038
Phone: 207-287-8063
Fax: (207)-287-6489
[email protected]
Maryland:
John Joyce, CFM
MD Department of Environment Resources
2500 Broening Hwy.
Baltimore, MD 21224
Phone: 410-631-4164
Fax: 410-631-3873
[email protected]
Massachusetts:
Richard Zingarelli
MA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
Flood Hazard Mgmt.
251 Causeway Street, Suite 700
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-626-1406
Fax: 617-626-1349
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Michigan:
Dawn Schulert
Michigan Division of Emergency Management
4000 Collins Road
PO Box 30636
Lansing, MI 84909-8136
Phone: 517-333-5040
Minnesota:
Terri Smith
Minnesota Division of Emergency Mgmt.
444 Cedar Street
Suite 223
St. Paul, MN 55101-6223
Phone: 651-296-0469
Mississippi:
Robert Boteler
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
PO Box 4501
Jackson, MS 39296-4501
Phone: 601-960-9031
Missouri:
Sheela Amin
Missouri State Emergency Management Agency
PO Box 116
2302 Militia Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: 573-526-9116
Montana:
Larry Akers
Montana Disaster & Emergency Services
1100 North Last Change Gulch
P.O. Box 4789
Helena, MT 59604
Phone: 406-841-3960
Nebraska:
Lori Moore
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency
Nebraska Military Department
1300 Military Road
Lincoln, NE 68508-1090
Phone: 402-471-7425
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Michigan:
Les Thomas
Michigan Dept. of Env. Quality
PO Box 30458
Lansing, MI 48909-7958
Phone: 517-335-3448
Fax: 517-373-9965
[email protected]
Minnesota:
Ogbazghi (Obi) Sium, P.E.
Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources
Division of Water
500 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155-4032
Phone: 615-296-0444
Fax: 651-296-0445
[email protected]
Mississippi:
Al Goodman, Jr., CFM
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
PO Box 4501
Jackson, MS 39204-4501
Phone: 601-366-6325
Fax: 601-366-5349
[email protected]
Missouri:
George Riedel, CFM
Missouri Emergency Management
PO Box 116
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: 573-526-9141
Fax: 573-526-9198
[email protected]
Montana:
Karl Christians, CFM
Montana Floodplain Mgmt. Program
P.O. Box 201601
48 N. Last Chance Gulch
Helena, MT 59620
Phone: 406-444-6654
Fax: 406-444-0533
[email protected]
Nebraska:
Brian Dunnigan
Nebraska Dept. of Natural Resources
301 Centennial Mall South
Lincoln, NE 68509-4876
Phone: 402-471-3934
Fax: 402-471-2900
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Nevada:
Bruce Prescott
Nevada Division of Emergency Mgmt.
2525 South Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89711
Phone: 702-687-7361
New Hampshire:
John Shaughnessy
New Hampshire Office of Emergency Management
107 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-2231
New Jersey:
Anthony S. Mangeri
New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
PO Box 7068 Old River Road
West Trenton, NY 08628-0068
Phone: 609-538-6009
New Mexico:
Jerry Lazzari
Office of Emergency Management
PO Box 1628
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1628
Phone: 505-476-9617
New York:
John DiNuzzo
New York State Emergency Management
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2251
Phone: 518-485-1797
North Carolina:
Darrin Punchard
NC Division of Emergency Management
1830-B Tillerm Place
Raleigh, NC 27603-1335
Phone: 919-715-8000, ext 275
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Nevada:
Kim Groenewold
Division of Water Resources
123 West Nyr Lane, Suite 242
Carson City, NV 89706-0898
Phone: 775-687-4380
Fax: 775-687-6972
[email protected]
New Hampshire:
Tylor Young
New Hampshire Office of State Planning
107 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: 603-271-2231
Fax: 603-225-7341
[email protected]
New Jersey:
Clark Gilman, P.E.
New Jersey Dept. of Environmental Protection
PO Box 419
Trenton, NJ 08625
Phone: 609-292-2296
Fax: 609-984-1908
[email protected]
New Mexico:
Bill Borthwick, CFM
Emergency Management Bureau
New Mexico Dept. of Public Safety
PO Box 1628
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1628
Phone: 505-476-9681
Fax: 505-471-5922
[email protected]
New York:
William Nechman, CFM
New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-3507
Phone: 518-402-8146
Fax: 518-402-9029
[email protected]
North Carolina:
Philip Letsinger, CFM
NC Division of Emergency Management
4713 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4713
Phone: 919-715-8000
Fax: 919-715-5408
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
North Dakota:
Lonnie G. Hoffer
North Dakota Division of Emergency Management
P.O. Box 5511
Bismarck, ND 58506-5511
Phone: 701-328-9741
Northern Mariana Islands:
Robert A. Guerrero
Emergency Management Office
PO Box 10007
Saipan, MP 96950
Ohio:
Patricia Beck
Ohio Emergency Management Agency
2825 W. Granville Road
Columbus, OH 43235Phone: 614-889-7179
Oklahoma:
Fred W. Liebe
Oklahoma Depart. of Civil Emergency Management
PO Box 53365
Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3365
Phone: 405-521-2481
Oregon:
Dennis J. Sigrist
Oregon Emergency Management
595 Cottage Street, NE
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: 503-378-2911, ext 247
Pennsylvania:
Ronald Killins, Sr.
Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
2605 Interstate Drive
PO Box 3321
Harrisburg, PA 17105-3321
Phone: 717-651-2145
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
North Dakota:
Jeff Klein, CFM
North Dakota State Water Commission
900 East Boulevard
Bismarck, ND 58505-0850
Phone: 701-328-4898
Fax: 701-328-3747
[email protected]
Ohio:
Cindy Crecelius, CFM
Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources
Floodplain Management Unit
1939 Fountain Square Drive
Columbus, OH 43224
Phone: 614-265-6750
Fax: 614-447-9503
[email protected]
Oklahoma:
Michael E. Mathis
Oklahoma Water Resource Board
3800 North Classen Boulevard
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Phone: 405-530-8800
Fax: 405-530-8900
[email protected]
Oregon:
Christine Valentine, CFM
Oregon Dept. of Land Conservation & Devel.
635 Capitol Street, NE
Suite 150
Salem, OR 97301-2540
Phone: 503-373-0050 ext. 250
Fax: 503-375-5518
[email protected]
Pennsylvania:
Kerry Wilson
Dept of Community & Econ. Development
318 Forum Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: 717-720-7445
Fax: 717-234-4560
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Puerto Rico:
Mariano Vargas-Diaz
Puerto Rico Civil Defense Authority
PO Box 9066597
San Juan, PR 00906
Phone: 787-724-0124
Rhode Island:
Joseph Almeida, Jr.
Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency
645 New London Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920-3003
Phone:401-946-9996
South Carolina:
Shawn Putnam
SC Emergency Preparedness Division
1100 Fish Hatchery Road
West Columbus, SC 29172
Phone: 803-737-8500
South Dakota:
Chad Mosteller
South Dakota Division of Emergency Management
500 East Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
Phone: 605-773-3231
Tennessee:
Judith Huff
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
P.O. Box 41502
3041 Sidco Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-741-1345
Texas:
Greg Pekar
Texas Department of Public Safety/Emergency
Management Service
5805 North Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78773-0226
Phone: 512-424-2429
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Puerto Rico:
Angel Rodriguez
Puerto Rico Planning Board
PO Box 41119
Santurce, PR 00940-1119
Phone: 787-723-6200
Fax: 787-268-6858
[email protected]
Rhode Island:
Pam Pogue
RI Emergency Management Agency
645 New London Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920
Phone: 401-946-9996
Fax: 401-944-1891
[email protected]
South Carolina:
Lisa Jones
South Carolina Dept. Natural Resources
Div. Land Resources & Conservation Districts
2221 Devine Street, Suite 222
Columbia, SC 29205
Phone: 803-734-9120
Fax: 803-734-9106
[email protected]
South Dakota:
Michelle Saxman
Division of Emergency Management
118 W. Capitol Avenue
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
Phone: 605-773-3238
Fax: 605-73-3580
[email protected]
Tennessee:
Dan Hawk
TN Dept. of Economic & Comm. Dev.
312 Eight Avenue, N., 10th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0405
Phone: 615-741-2211
Fax: 615-741-0607
[email protected]
Texas:
Mike Howard, CFM
Texas Nat. Resource and Conservation Comm.
PO Box 13087-MC160
Austin, TX 78711-3087
Phone: 512-239-6155
Fax: 512-239-4770
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
Utah:
Fred E. May
Utah
Div
of
Comprehensive
Emergency
Management
State Office Bldg. Room 1110
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone: 801-538-3758
Vermont:
Angela Magara
Vermont Dept. of Public Safety Division of
Emergency Management
103 S. Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-2001
Phone: 802-244-8721
Virginia:
Richard Dameron
Virginia Dept. of Emergency Management
10501 Trade Court
Richmond, VA 23236
Phone: 804-897-6500
Virgin Islands:
Daisymae Moitt Evans
Federal Grants Management
Territorial Office of Management & Budget
41 Norre Gadet, Emancipation Garden Station
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: 809-774-0750
Washington:
Martin E. Best
Washington State Military Department Emergency
Management Division
Building 20
Camp Murray, Washington 98430-5122
Phone: 253-512-7073
Washington, DC:
Patrice White
District of Columbia Emergency Management
Agency
2000 14th Street N.W., 8th Floor
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202-673-2101, ext 1163
Fax: 202-673-2290
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
Utah:
Judy Watanabe, CFM
Division of Comprehensive Emergency Mgmt
State Office Bldg., Room 1110
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
Phone: 801-538-3750
Fax: 801-538-3770
[email protected]
Vermont:
Karl Jurenkuff
Div of Water Resources
Agency of Environmental Conservation
103 S. Main Street
Waterbury, VT 05671-0408
Phone: 802-241-3770
Fax: 802-241-3287
[email protected]
Virginia:
Corey Garyotis, CFM
Dept. of Conservation & Recreation
203 Governor St., Suite 206
Richmond, VA 23219-2019
Phone: 804-786-8073
Fax: 804-371-2630
[email protected]
Virgin Islands:
Brent Blyden
VI Dept. of Planning & Natural Resources
C.E. King Airport, Terminal Bldg. 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, VI 00802
Phone: 340-774-3320
Fax: 340-775-5706
Washington:
Daniel Sokol
Washington Department of Ecology
PO Box 47775
Olympia, WA 98504-7775
Phone: 360-407-7253
Fax: 360-407-2305
[email protected]
Washington, DC:
Timothy Karikari
Department of Health
51 N Street, NE, 5th Floor, Room 5021
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202-535-2248
Fax: 202-535-1364
[email protected]
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STATE HAZARD MITIGATION OFFICERS
West Virginia:
Barry J. Macciocca
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East
Building 1, Room EB-80
Charleston, WV 25305-0360
Phone: 304-558-5380
Wisconsin:
Roxanne K. Gray
Department of Military Affairs Wisconsin Division of
Emergency Management
2400 Wright Street
PO Box 7865
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: 608-242-3211
Wyoming:
Pat Bersie
Wyoming Emergency Management Agency
5500 Bishop Blvd.
Cheyenne, WY 82009-3320
Phone 307-777-4917
Fax: 307-635-6017
State Contacts
NFIP COORDINATORS
West Virginia:
Robert Perry, CFM
West Virginia Office of Emerg. Svcs.
1900 Kanawha Blvd. Cap B ldg. 1, Rm. EB-80
Charleston, WV 25305-0360
Phone: 304-558-5380
Fax: 304-344-4538
[email protected]
Wisconsin:
Robert Watson
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources
101 S. Webster
Madison, WI 53702
Phone: 608-266-8039
Fax: 608-264-9200
[email protected]
Wyoming:
Gary Simmons
WY Office of Homeland Security
Herschler Building, 1st East
122 West 25th Street
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Phone: 307-777-4918
Fax: 307-635-6017
[email protected]
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APPENDIX C:
REFERENCES
Most of the documents listed here are available for free. Order FEMA publications by calling
800/480-2520 or faxing your order to 301/497-6378.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers publications can be ordered from:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
ATTN: CECW-PF
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20314
Community Rating System publications can be ordered using the order form at the end of
Unit 9.
Other publications can be ordered as noted.
A Unified National Program for Floodplain Management. Federal Interagency Floodplain
Management Task Force. FEMA 248. 1994.
Addressing Your Community’s Flood Problems: A Guide for Elected Officials. Association
of State Floodplain Managers, Inc., joint project with the Federal Interagency Floodplain
Management Task Force. 1996
Alluvial Fans: Hazards and Management. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA165. 1989
Answers to Questions about Substantially Damaged Buildings. Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Federal Insurance Administration, National Flood Insurance Program
Community Assistance Series. FEMA 213. 1991
Answers to Questions about the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency
Management Agency. FIA 2. 1990
Below-Grade Parking Requirements for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas in
Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency Management
Agency. Technical Bulletin 6-93, FIA-TB-6. 1993
Coastal Construction Manual. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA 55. May
2000.
Code of Federal Regulations: Title 44—Emergency Management and Assistance. Chapter
1—Federal Emergency Management Agency. Special Edition of the Federal Register. 1997
Order from FEMA. (See also Appendix E)
References
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Corrosion Protection for Metal connectors in Coastal Areas for Structures Located in
Special Flood Hazard Areas in Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal
Emergency Management Agency. Technical Bulletin 8-96, FIA-TB-8. 1996
Crawlspace Construction for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas: National
Flood Insurance Program Interim Guidance. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Technical Bulletin 11-01, FIA-TB-11, 2001.
CRS Credit for Higher Regulatory Standards. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
National Flood Insurance Program/Community Rating System. 1996. To order, see the order
form at the end of Unit 9.
CRS Credit for Stormwater Management. Federal Emergency Management Agency. National
Flood Insurance Program/Community Rating System. 1996. To order, see the order form at the
end of Unit 9.
Design Guidelines for Flood Damage Reduction. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA 15. 1981
Design Manual for Retrofitting Flood-prone Residential Structures. Federal Emergency
Management Agency. FEMA 114. 1986
Elevated Residential Structures. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA 54. 1984
Elevator Installation for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas in Accordance
with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Technical Bulletin 4-93, FIA-TB-4. 1993
Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood Prone Residential Buildings.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA 259. 1995
Ensuring that Structures Built on Fill in or Near Special Flood Hazard Areas Are
Reasonably Safe from Flooding in Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. Technical Bulletin 10-01, FIA-TB-10, 2001.
Example Plans. Federal Emergency Management Agency. National Flood Insurance
Program/Community Rating System. 1996. To order, see the order form at the end of Unit 9.
Flood Proofing Programs, Techniques and References. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1996
Flood Proofing Regulations. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, EP 1165-2-314. 1992
Floodplain Management 1995: State and Local Programs. Association of State Floodplain
Managers. 1995
Floodplain Management in the United States: An Assessment Report. Federal Interagency
Floodplain Management Task Force. FIA-18. 1992. Order from FEMA.
References
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Floodproofing Non-Residential Structures. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA
102. 1986
Flood-Resistant Materials Requirements for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard
Areas in Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Technical Bulletin 2-93, FIA-TB-2. 1993
Floods, Floodplains and Folks. National Park Service, Rivers, Trails and Conservation
Assistance Program. 1996.
Free-of-Obstruction Requirements for Buildings Located in Coastal High Hazard Areas in
Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency Management
Agency. Technical Bulletin 5-93, FIA-TB-5. 1993
Guidance on Estimating Substantial Damage Using the NFIP Residential Substantial
Damage Estimator. Federal Emergency Management Agency. 1997.
How to Use a Flood Map to Determine Flood Risk for a Property: A Guide for Interested
Private Citizens, Property Owners, Community Officials, Lending Institutions, and Insurance
Agents. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA 258. 1995
Local Flood Proofing Programs. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 1994
Managing Coastal Erosion. National Research Council. 1990
Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas: A Guide for Obtaining
and Developing Base (100-Year) Flood Elevations. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA 265. 1995
Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Guidelines. Federal Emergency Management
Agency. FEMA 186. 1997
Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas. Federal Emergency Management
Agency. FEMA 85. 1985
Mitigation of Flood and Erosion Damage to Residential Buildings in Coastal Areas: Report
on the State of the Art. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA 257. 1994
A Multi-Objective Planning Process for Mitigating Natural Hazards, Federal Emergency
Management Agency and the National Park Service, 1994
National Flood Insurance Programs Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage: Guidance for
State and Local Officials. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA-301. September
2003.
National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, Public Law 103-325. Title V in the
Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. Order from FEMA.
References
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No Adverse Impact: A Toolkit for Common Sense Floodplain Management, Association of
State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), 2003. Order from ASFPM.
Non-Residential Floodproofing Requirements and Certification for Buildings Located in
Special Flood Hazard Areas in Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal
Emergency Management Agency. Technical Bulletin 3-93, FIA-TB-3. 1993.
Openings in Foundation Walls for Buildings Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas in
Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency Management
Agency. Technical Bulletin 1-93, FIA-TB-1. 1993
Planning for Hillside Development. American Planning Association, PAS Report 466. 1997.
Order from the American Planning Association, Publications Office, 122 South Michigan Ave,
Suite 1600, Chicago, IL 60603. E-mail: [email protected]
Protecting Building Utilities from Flood Damage: Principles and Practices for the Design
and Construction of Flood Resistant Building Utility Systems, Federal Emergency Management
Agency, FEMA 348, November 1999.
Protecting Floodplain Resources: A Guidebook for Communities. Federal Interagency
Floodplain Management Task Force. FEMA 268, 1996.
Reducing Flood Losses Through the International Code Series: Meeting the Requirements of
the National Flood Insurance Program, International Code Council and Federal Emergency
Management Agency, May 2000.
Reducing Losses in High Risk Flood Hazard Areas: A Guidebook for Local Officials.
Association of State Floodplain Managers. FEMA 116. 1987
Repairing Your Flooded Home. Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American
Red Cross. ARC 4477 or FEMA 234. 1992
Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas. American Planning Association and Federal
Emergency Management Agency, PAS Report 473. 1997. Order from the American Planning
Association, Publications Office, 122 South Michigan Ave, Suite 1600, Chicago, IL 60603. Email: [email protected]
Use of Flood Insurance Study (FIS) Data as Available Data. Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Floodplain Management Bulletin 1-98. 1998
User’s Guide to Technical Bulletins. Federal Emergency Management Agency. FIA-TB-0.
1993
Using Multi-Objective Management to Reduce Flood Losses in Your Watershed. Association
of State Floodplain Managers, Inc., prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
1996
References
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Wet Floodproofing Requirements for Structures Located in Special Flood Hazard Areas in
Accordance with the National Flood Insurance Program. Federal Emergency Management
Agency. Technical Bulletin 7-93, FIA-TB-7. 1993
References
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APPENDIX D:
GLOSSARY
These technical terms are described in more detail in the unit and section noted. In some
cases definitions used in NFIP regulations have been shortened or simplified. See the NFIP
regulations in Appendix E for the complete definitions.
A Zone: See Zone A.
Accrete: To build up a shoreline by depositing sand, either by nature or human actions. Unit
1, Section A.
Actual cash value: The replacement cost for a building, minus a depreciation percentage
based on age and condition. Unit 8, Section A.
Alluvial fan: An area at the base of a valley where the slope flattens out, allowing the floodwater to decrease in speed and spread out, dropping sediment and rock over a fan-shaped area.
Unit 1, Section A.
Amendment: A change to a FEMA floodplain map that removes an area that was inadvertently included in the Special Flood Hazard Area. Unit 4, Section D.
Approximate studies: Flood hazard mapping done using approximate study methods that
show the approximate outline of the base floodplain. An approximate study does not produce a
base flood elevation. Unit 3, Section A.
B Zone: See Zone B.
Base flood depth: A measurement of the base flood in feet above ground, used for shallow
flooding. Unit 3, Section D.
Base flood: The flood having a 1% chance of being equaled exceeded in any given year.
Also referred to as the 100-year flood. The base flood is used by the NFIP as the basis for
mapping, insurance rating, and regulating new construction. Unit 3, Section A.
Basement: Any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all
sides. Unit 5, Section E.
Base floodplain: The area of water and land inundated by the base flood. Unit 3, Section A.
Basin: See watershed.
Bathymetry: The measurement of depths of water in the ocean or lakes. Unit 3, Section C.
Glossary
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Bench marks: Monuments on the ground that show the elevation of the spot above sea level.
Unit 3, Section B.
Building: A walled and roofed structure including a gas or liquid storage tank that is principally above ground as well as a manufactured home. In this study guide, the term is the same as
the term “structure” in the federal regulations (44 CFR 59.1). Unit 5, Section E.
Building condition survey: A windshield survey conducted to obtain a preliminary evaluation
of the extent and severity of damage to buildings after a disaster. Unit 10, Section A.
C Zone: See Zone C.
CAP: Community Assistance Program
Catchment area: See watershed.
Cfs: Cubic feet per second, the unit by which discharges are measured (a cubic foot of water
is about 7.5 gallons). Unit 3, Section B.
Channel: Defined landforms that carry water. Unit 1, Section A.
CLOMA: Conditional Letter of Map Amendment.
CLOMR: Conditional Letter of Map Revision.
Closed basin lake: A lake that has either no outlet or a relatively small one, where rainfall or
groundwater can cause the lake’s level to rise faster than it can drain. Unit 1, Section A.
Coastal high hazard area: That part of the coastal floodplain extending from offshore to the
inland limit of the primary coastal dune along an open coast and any other area subject to high
velocity wave action from storms and seismic sources. Wave heights during the base flood will
generally be three feet or more in height above the stillwater elevation. Unit 3, Section C.
CBRA: The Coastal Barrier Resources Act which identified undeveloped portions of coastal
barriers. Unit 9, Section D and Unit 3, Section F.
Community Assistance Program: A FEMA program that funds state activities that help
communities in the NFIP. Unit 2, Section C.
Community Rating System: A program that provides a flood insurance premium rate reduction based on a community’s floodplain management activities. Unit 10, Section D.
Community: A city, county, township, Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization, Alaska
Native village or authorized native organization, or other local government with the statutory
authority to adopt and enforce floodplain regulations and participate in the National Flood
Insurance Program. Unit 2, Section C.
Conditional Letter of Map Amendment: A statement from FEMA that if a project is constructed as planned, a Letter of Map Amendment can be issued later. Unit 4, Section D.
Glossary
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Conditional Letter of Map Revision: A statement from FEMA that if a project is constructed
as planned, a Letter of Map Revision can be issued later. Unit 4, Section D.
Contour map: A topographic map that shows points with the same elevation as connected by
a contour line. Unit 3, Section B.
Contour: A line of equal elevation on a topographic (contour) map.
Conveyance shadow: An area upstream or downstream of an existing obstruction to flood
flows. Unit 5, Section B.
Cross section: Surveyed information that describes the stream and the floodplain at a particular point along the stream. Unit 3, Section B.
CRS: Community Rating System
Dam breach inundation area: The area flooded by a dam failure. Unit 6, Section D.
Damage Survey Report: A form completed by disaster assistance staff to determine the repair and reconstruction needs of public and private nonprofit facilities. Unit 10, Section C.
Datum: A common vertical elevation reference point, usually in relation to sea level. Unit 3,
Section B.
Detailed studies: Flood hazard mapping studies that are done use hydrologic and hydraulic
methods that produce base flood elevations, floodways, and other pertinent flood data. Unit 3,
Section A.
Development: Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but
not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation
or drilling operations or storage of equipment and materials. Unit 5, Section C.
Discharge: The amount of water that passes a point in a given period of time. Rate of discharge is usually measured in cubic feet per second (cfs). Unit 3, Section B.
DSR: Damage survey report.
Elevation reference marks: See bench marks.
Emergency Operations Center: A facility that houses communications equipment that is used
to coordinate the response to a disaster or emergency. Unit 10, Section A.
Eminent domain: Governmental power to acquire a property without the owner’s consent.
Unit 6, Section A.
Enabling legislation: State laws that authorize communities to perform governmental activities, such as enacting and enforcing regulations. Unit 7, Section A.
Glossary
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Encroachment review: An analysis to determine if a project will increase flood heights or
cause increased flooding downstream. Unit 5, Section D.
EOC: Emergency Operations Center
EO 11988: Executive Order 11988 Floodplain Management. A directive by the President that
sets procedures Federal agencies must follow before they take or fund an action in the floodplain.
Unit 6, Section E.
FBFM: Flood Boundary Floodway Map. An official map of a community, on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency has delineated the regulatory floodway. Recent Flood
Insurance Studies show the floodway on the FIRM and do not include an FBFM. Unit 3, Section
F.
FEMA: Federal Emergency Management Agency. Most of the National Flood Insurance
Program field work and community coordination are done by the 10 FEMA Regional Offices,
which are listed in Appendix A.
FHBM: Flood Hazard Boundary Map. An official map of a community published by FEMA
that delineates the approximate boundary of the floodplain. An FHBM is generally the initial
map provided the community and is eventually superceded by a FIRM. Unit 3, Section F.
FIA: Federal Insurance Administration. FIA was the part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency that administered the National Flood Insurance Program. This is now the
responsibility of FEMA’s Mitigation Division.
FIRM: Flood Insurance Rate Map. An official map of a community, on which the Federal
Emergency Management Agency has delineated both the Special Flood Hazard Areas and the
risk premium zones applicable to the community. Unit 3, Section F.
Flash flood: A flood in hilly and mountainous areas that may come scant minutes after a
heavy rain. One can also occur in urban areas where pavements and drainage improvements
speed runoff to a stream. Unit 1, Section A.
Flood: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry
land areas. Unit 2, Section B.
Flood fringe: The portion of the floodplain lying outside of the floodway. Unit 3, Section B
Flood hazard mitigation: All actions that can be taken to reduce property damage and the
threat to life and public health from flooding. Unit 10, Section B.
Flood Insurance Study: A report published by FEMA for a community issued along with the
community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The study contains such background data as the
base flood discharges and water surface elevations that were used to prepare the FIRM.
Flood Mitigation Assistance: A grant program that supports plans and projects for mitigating
losses to insured buildings funded by the National Flood Insurance Program. Unit 10, Section C.
Glossary
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Flood of record: The highest known flood level for the area, as recorded in historical documents. Unit 5, Section B.
Floodplain: Any land area susceptible to being inundated by flood waters from any source.
Unit 1, Section A.
Floodproofing: Protective measures added to or incorporated in a building that is not elevated above the base flood elevation to prevent or minimize flood damage. "Dry floodproofing"
measures are designed to keep water from entering a building. "Wet floodproofing" measures
minimize damage to a structure and its contents from water that is allowed into a building.
Floodway: The channel of a river or other watercourse and that portion of the adjacent floodplain that must remain open to permit passage of the base flood without cumulatively increasing
the water surface elevation more than a designated height (usually one foot). Unit 3, Section B.
FMA: Flood Mitigation Assistance.
Freeboard: A margin of safety added to the base flood elevation to account for waves, debris, miscalculations, or lack of data. Unit 6, Section C.
Functionally dependent use: A use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is carried out in close proximity to water. The term includes only docking facilities, port facilities that
are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo, and ship building and ship repair facilities..
Unit 7, Section F.
Geographic information system: Computer based map systems that allow the user to keep a
map updated easily and to correlate geographic information with other data, such as tax records
on properties. Unit 3, Section F.
GIS: Geographic information system
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: A FEMA disaster assistance grant that funds mitigation
projects. Unit 10, Section C.
HEC-2: A computer model used to conduct a hydraulic study, which produces flood elevations, velocities and floodplain widths. Unit 3, Section B.
HEC-RAS: A computer model used to conduct a hydraulic study, which produces flood elevations, velocities and floodplain widths. Unit 3, Section B.
Home rule: A community authorized to do anything that is not prohibited by statute. Unit 7,
Section A.
Human intervention: Actions that must be taken by one or more persons before floodwaters
arrive in order for a building to be floodproofed. Unit 5, Section E.
Hydrodynamic force: The force of moving water, including the impact of debris and high
velocities. Unit 1, Section B.
Glossary
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Hydrologic cycle: The natural cycle that circulates water throughout the environment to
maintain an overall balance between water in the air, on the surface and in the ground. Unit 1,
Section A.
Hydrology: The science dealing with the waters of the earth. A flood discharge is developed
by a hydrologic study.
Hydrostatic pressure: The pressure put on a structure by the weight of standing water. The
deeper the water, the more it weighs and the greater the hydrostatic pressure. Unit 1, Section B.
ICC: Increased Cost of Compliance
Ice floe: Large chunks of ice that can cause a great deal of damage when a frozen river or
lake begins to melt and break up. Unit 1, Section A.
Ice jam: Flooding that occurs when warm weather and rain break up frozen rivers and the
broken ice floats downriver until it is blocked by an obstruction, creating an ice dam that blocks
the channel and causes flooding upstream. Unit 1, Section A.
IFG: Individual and Family Grants
Increased Cost of Compliance: An additional claim payment made to a flood insurance policy holder to help cover the cost of bringing a substantially damaged or repetitively damaged
building into compliance with the community’s floodplain management ordinance. Unit 9,
Section B.
Individual and Family Grants: A disaster assistance grant that helps people with their unmet
needs (i.e., needs not helped by other disaster assistance programs. Unit 10, Section C.
Inverse condemnation: See “taking.” Unit 6, Section A.
ISO: The Insurance Services Office, Inc., an insurance organization that provides support to
FEMA on implementation of the Community Rating System. Unit 9, Section C.
Lateral pressure: The amount of pressure imposed sideways by standing water. Deeper water
exerts more lateral pressure than shallower water. Unit 1, Section B.
Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA): An official revision to a FEMA map done by describing the property affected. LOMAs are generally issued when properties have been inadvertently
included in the floodplain. Unit 4, Section D.
Letter of Map Change (LOMC): A Letter of Map Amendment or a Letter of Map Revision.
Unit 4, Section D.
Letter of Map Revision (LOMR): An official revision to a FEMA map done by describing
the property affected. Unit 4, Section D.
Glossary
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Limited Map Maintenance Project: A small-scale restudy of a Flood Insurance Study. Unit 4,
Section D.
LOMA: Letter of Map Amendment
LOMR: Letter of Map Revision
Lowest Floor: The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement) of a building. Unit 5, Section E
Manufactured home: A building that is transportable in one or more sections, which is built
on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when
attached to the required utilities. It includes mobile homes and “double wides.” Unit 5, Section
E.
Market value: The price a willing buyer and seller agree upon. Unit 8, Section A.
Meander: A curve in a river. Unit 1, Section A.
Mitigation Division: The FEMA office that sets national policy for the NFIP and administers
the mapping program. Unit 2, Section B.
M-O-M: Multi-objective management.
Movable bed streams: A type of flooding that features uncertain flow paths. Unit 1, Section A.
Mudslide (i.e., mudflow): A condition where there is a river, flow or inundation of liquid
mud down a hillside. Unit 1, Section A.
Mudflow: See mudslide.
Multi-objective management: An approach to planning and funding local programs that involves a variety of local interests and concerns. Unit 10, Section B.
NEPA: The National Environmental Policy Act, a Federal law that requires agencies to
evaluate the environmental impact of a proposed project. Unit 6, Section E.
NGVD: National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, the national datum used by the National
Flood Insurance Program. NGVD is based on mean sea level. It was known formerly as the
"Mean Sea Level Datum of 1929 (MSL)." Unit 3, Section B.
No-rise Certification: A certification by an engineer that a project will not cause a set increase in flood heights. Unit 7, Section G.
Non-structural flood protection measures: Administrative tools for controlling flooding and
flood damage, including regulations on development, building codes, property acquisition and
structure relocation, and modification of existing buildings. Unit 1, Section B.
Glossary
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Ordinance: The generic term for a law passed by a local government. Unit 7, Section A.
Overbank flooding: Flooding that occurs when downstream channels receive more rain or
snowmelt from their watershed than normal, or a channel is blocked by an ice jam or debris.
Excess water overloads the channels and flows out onto the floodplain. Unit 1, Section A.
Planned unit development: A regulatory approach that allows a developer to design the entire
area while individual requirements may be relaxed to allow for open space, mixed land uses, and
other variances to traditional zoning rules. Unit 6, Section C.
Ponding: Runoff that collects in depressions and cannot drain out, creating a temporary pond.
Unit 1, Section A.
Post-FIRM building: For insurance rating purposes, a post-FIRM building was constructed
or substantially improved after December 31, 1974, or after the effective date of the initial Flood
Insurance Rate Map of a community, whichever is later. For a community that participated in the
NFIP when its initial FIRM was issued, post-FIRM buildings are the same as new construction
and must meet the National Flood Insurance Program's minimum floodplain management
standards.
Pre-FIRM building: For insurance rating purposes, a pre-FIRM building was constructed or
substantially improved on or before December 31, 1974, or before the effective date of the initial
Flood Insurance Rate Map of the community, whichever is later. Most pre-FIRM buildings were
constructed without taking the flood hazard into account.
Probability: A statistical term having to do with the size of a flood and the odds of that size
of flood occurring in any year. Unit 3, Section A.
Profile: A graph that shows elevations of various flood events. Unit 3, Section B.
Public/Infrastructure Assistance: A disaster assistance grant that helps public agencies and
nonprofit organizations finance repairs and reconstruction of public infrastructure. Unit 10,
Section C.
PUD: Planned unit development
Q3 Flood Data Product: A graphical representation of certain features of a FIRM in digital
format. Unit 3, Section F.
Recreational vehicle: A vehicle designed to be self propelled or permanently towable by a
light duty truck that is designed for use as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping,
travel, or seasonal use. Unit 5, Section E.
Reconstruction: Building a new structure on the old foundation or slab of a structure that was
destroyed, damaged, purposefully demolished or razed. The term also applies when an existing
structure is moved to a new site. Unit 8, Section B.
Glossary
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Regular Program: Also called the Regular Phase. The phase of community participation in
the National Flood Insurance Program that begins on the date of the Flood Insurance Rate Map
or when the community adopts an ordinance that meets the minimum requirements of the NFIP
and adopts the technical data provided with the FIRM, whichever is later. Nearly all communities participating in the NFIP are in the Regular Program.
Rehabilitation: An improvement made to an existing structure which does not affect its external dimensions. Unit 8, Section A.
Restudy: A new Flood Insurance Study for all or part of a community that has already had a
Flood Insurance Study. Unit 4, Section D.
Retrofitting: Retrofitting techniques include floodproofing, elevation, construction of small
levees, and other modifications made to an existing building or its yard to protect it from flood
damage.
Revision: A change to a floodplain map based on new data submitted to FEMA. Unit 4, Section D.
Riverine: Of or produced by a river. Riverine floodplains have readily identifiable channels.
Floodway maps can only be prepared for riverine floodplains. Unit 1, Section A.
Roughness: A measure related to ground surface conditions that reflects changes in floodwater velocity due to ground friction. Unit 3, Section B.
Runoff: Rainfall and snowmelt that reaches a stream. Unit 3, Section B.
SFHA: Special Flood Hazard Area
Sheet flow: Floodwater that spreads out over a large area that does not have defined channels
at a somewhat uniform depth. Unit 1, Section A.
Special Flood Hazard Area: the base floodplain displayed on FEMA maps. It includes the A
and V zones. Unit 3, Section A.
Stafford Act: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988
as amended which authorizes FEMA’s current disaster assistance programs and the Hazard
Mitigation Grant Program. The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 made extensive changes to the
Stafford Act. Unit 10, Section C.
Stationing: Determining the distance along a stream. Unit 3, Section B and Unit 4, Section B.
Statutory authority: The powers granted to a local government by state law. Unit 7, Section A.
Stillwater flood elevations show the elevations of various coastal floods, not counting waves.
Unit 3, Section C.
Glossary
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Storm surge: Water that is pushed toward shore by persistent high wind and changes in air
pressure. Storm surges can result from hurricanes and other coastal storms. Unit 1, Section A.
Stormwater management: Efforts to reduce the impact of increased runoff that results from
new development. Unit 6, Section C.
Stormwater detention, Storing stormwater runoff for release at a restricted rate after the storm
subsides. Unit 6, Section C.
Stormwater retention: Storing stormwater runoff for later use in irrigation or groundwater
recharge, or to reduce pollution. Unit 6, Section C.
Structural flood control: Measures that control floodwaters by construction of barriers or
storage areas or by modifying or redirecting channels. Unit 1, Section C.
Submit to rate: a process used when an insurance agent cannot complete the rate calculation
for a flood insurance policy. The application is sent to the WYO Company or FEMA to be
individually rated. Unit 9, Section B.
Substantial damage: Damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the
market value of the structure before the damage occurred. Unit 8, Section B.
Substantial improvement: Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement
to a structure, the total cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the
structure before the start of construction of the improvement. The definition of “substantial
improvement” includes buildings that have incurred “substantial damage” regardless of the
actual repair work performed. Unit 8, Section A.
Taking: Obtaining private property with or without compensating the owner. The term also
includes reducing the value of private property to such an extent that the owner is deprived of all
economic interest. Unit 6, Section A.
Thalweg: The bottom of a river channel. Unit 1, Section A.
Topographic map: See contour map.
Transect: a survey of topographic conditions used in coastal flood studies. Unit 3, Section C.
Tsunami: A large wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcano which can raise water levels as much as 15 feet. Unit 1, Section A.
V Zone: See "Zone V."
Variance: A grant of relief by a community from the terms of a land use, zoning or building
code regulation. Unit 7, Section F.
Glossary
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Velocity: The speed of moving water, a force that is measured in feet per second. Unit 1,
Section A.
Watershed,: An area that drains into a lake, stream or other body of water. Unit 1, Section A.
Wave runup occurs when waves hit the shore and water is moving with such force that it
keeps traveling inland. Unit 3, Section C.
Wet floodproof: Protecting a building from flood damage by using flood-resistant materials
below the flood level and elevating things subject to flood damage above the flood level. Unit 5,
Section E.
Write Your Own: An insurance company that has agreed to sell flood insurance policies on
behalf of the NFIP. Unit 9, Section A.
WYO: Write Your Own.
X Zone: See "Zone X."
Zone A: The Special Flood Hazard Area (except coastal V Zones) shown on a community's
Flood Insurance Rate Map. Unit 3, Section F. There are five types of A Zones:
A: SFHA where no base flood elevation is provided.
A1-30: Numbered A Zones (e.g., A7 or A14), SFHA where the FIRM shows a base flood
elevation in relation to NGVD.
AE: SFHA where base flood elevations are provided. AE Zone delineations are now used
on new FIRMs instead of A# Zones.
AO: SFHA with sheet flow, ponding, or shallow flooding. Base flood depths (feet above
grade) are provided.
AH: Shallow flooding SFHA. Base flood elevations in relation to NGVD are provided.
Zone B: Area of moderate flood hazard, usually depicted on Flood Insurance Rate Maps as
between the limits of the base and 500-year floods. B Zones are also used to designate base
floodplains of little hazard, such as those with average depths of less than 1 foot. Unit 3, Section F.
Zone C: Area of minimal flood hazard, usually depicted on Flood Insurance Rate Maps as
above the 500-year flood level. B and C Zones may have flooding that does not meet the criteria
to be mapped as a Special Flood Hazard Area, especially ponding and local drainage problems.
Unit 3, Section F.
Zone D: Area of undetermined but possible flood hazard. Unit 3, Section F.
Zone V: The Special Flood Hazard Area subject to coastal high hazard flooding. There are
three types of V Zones: V, V1-30, and VE, and they correspond to the A Zone designations.
Unit 3, Section F.
Glossary
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Zone X: Newer Flood Insurance Rate Maps show Zones B and C (see above) as Zone X.
Unit 3, Section F.
Glossary
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APPENDIX E:
NFIP REGULATIONS
This Appendix contains the text of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) for the National
Flood Insurance Program: 44 CFR Parts 59, 60, 65, and 70.
TITLE 44--EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
AND ASSISTANCE
CHAPTER I--FEDERAL EMERGENCY
MANAGEMENT AGENCY,
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND
SECURITY
PART 59--GENERAL PROVISIONS – Table
of Contents
Subpart A-General
Sec.
59.1 Definitions.
59.2 Description of program.
59.3 Emergency program.
59.4 References.
Subpart B-Eligibility Requirements
Sec.
59.21 Purpose of subpart.
59.22 Prerequisites for the sale of flood
insurance.
59.23 Priorities for the sale of flood insurance
under the regular program.
59.24 Suspension of community eligibility.
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.;
Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 43 FR
41943, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 329; E.O. 12127
of Mar. 31, 1979, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979
Comp., p. 376.
Subpart A--General
§ 59.1 Definitions.
As used in this subchapter-“Act” means the statutes authorizing the
National Flood Insurance Program that are
incorporated in 42 U.S.C. 4001-4128.
“Actuarial rates”--see “risk premium rates”.
NFIP Regulations
“Administrator” means the Federal Insurance
Administrator.
“Agency” means the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, Washington DC.
“Alluvial fan flooding” means flooding
occurring on the surface of an alluvial fan or
similar landform which originates at the apex
and is characterized by high-velocity flows;
active processes of erosion, sediment transport,
and deposition; and, unpredictable flow paths.
“Apex” means a point on an alluvial fan or
similar landform below which the flow path of
the major stream that formed the fan becomes
unpredictable and alluvial fan flooding can
occur.
“Applicant” means a community which indicates
a desire to participate in the Program.
“Appurtenant structure” means a structure which
is on the same parcel of property as the principal
structure to be insured and the use of which is
incidental to the use of the principal structure.
“Area of future-conditions flood hazard” means
the land area that would be inundated by the 1percent-annual-chance (100-year) flood based
on future-conditions hydrology.
“Area of shallow flooding” means a designated
AO, AH, AR/AO, AR/AH, or VO zone on a
community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
with a 1 percent or greater annual chance of
flooding to an average depth of 1 to 3 feet where
a clearly defined channel does not exist, where
the path of flooding is unpredictable, and where
velocity flow may be evident. Such flooding is
characterized by ponding or sheet flow.
“Area of special flood-related erosion hazard” is
the land within a community which is most
likely to be subject to severe flood-related
erosion losses. The area may be designated as
Zone E on the Flood Hazard Boundary Map
(FHBM). After the detailed evaluation of the
special flood-related erosion hazard area in
preparation for publication of the FIRM, Zone E
may be further refined.
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“Area of special flood hazard” is the land in the
flood plain within a community subject to a 1
percent or greater chance of flooding in any
given year. The area may be designated as Zone
A on the FHBM. After detailed ratemaking has
been completed in preparation for publication of
the flood insurance rate map, Zone A usually is
refined into Zones A, AO, AH, A1-30, AE, A99,
AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH,
AR/A, VO, or V1-30, VE, or V. For purposes of
these regulations, the term ``special flood hazard
area'' is synonymous in meaning with the phrase
``area of special flood hazard''.
“Area of special mudslide (i.e., mudflow)
hazard” is the land within a community most
likely to be subject to severe mudslides (i.e.,
mudflows). The area may be designated as Zone
M on the FHBM. After the detailed evaluation
of the special mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazard
area in preparation for publication of the FIRM,
Zone M may be further refined.
“Base flood” means the flood having a one
percent chance of being equalled or exceeded in
any given year.
“Basement”' means any area of the building
having its floor subgrade (below ground level)
on all sides.
“Breakaway wall” means a wall that is not part
of the structural support of the building and is
intended through its design and construction to
collapse under specific lateral loading forces,
without causing damage to the elevated portion
of the building or supporting foundation system.
“Building” - see structure.
“Chargeable rates” mean the rates established by
the Administrator pursuant to section 1308 of
the Act for first layer limits of flood insurance
on existing structures.
“Chief Executive Officer of the community
(CEO)” means the official of the community
who is charged with the authority to implement
and administer laws, ordinances and regulations
for that community.
“Coastal high hazard area” means an area of
special flood hazard extending from offshore to
the inland limit of a primary frontal dune along
an open coast and any other area subject to high
velocity wave action from storms or seismic
sources.
“Community” means any State or area or
political subdivision thereof, or any Indian tribe
or authorized tribal organization, or Alaska
NFIP Regulations
Native village or authorized native organization,
which has authority to adopt and enforce flood
plain management regulations for the areas
within its jurisdiction.
“Contents coverage” is the insurance on
personal property within an enclosed structure,
including the cost of debris removal, and the
reasonable cost of removal of contents to
minimize damage. Personal property may be
household goods usual or incidental to
residential occupancy, or merchandise, furniture,
fixtures, machinery, equipment and supplies
usual to other than residential occupancies.
“Criteria” means the comprehensive criteria for
land management and use for flood-prone areas
developed under 42 U.S.C. 4102 for the
purposes set forth in part 60 of this subchapter.
“Critical feature” means an integral and readily
identifiable part of a flood protection system,
without which the flood protection provided by
the entire system would be compromised.
“Curvilinear Line” means the border on either a
FHBM or FIRM that delineates the special
flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or floodrelated erosion hazard areas and consists of a
curved or contour line that follows the
topography.
“Deductible” means the fixed amount or
percentage of any loss covered by insurance
which is borne by the insured prior to the
insurer's liability.
“Developed area” means an area of a community
that is:
(a) A primarily urbanized, built-up area that is a
minimum of 20 contiguous acres, has basic
urban infrastructure, including roads, utilities,
communications, and public facilities, to sustain
industrial, residential, and commercial activities,
and
(1) Within which 75 percent or more of the
parcels, tracts, or lots contain commercial,
industrial, or residential structures or uses; or
(2) Is a single parcel, tract, or lot in which 75
percent of the area contains existing commercial
or industrial structures or uses; or
(3) Is a subdivision developed at a density of at
least two residential structures per acre within
which 75 percent or more of the lots contain
existing residential structures at the time the
designation is adopted.
(b) Undeveloped parcels, tracts, or lots, the
combination of which is less than 20 acres and
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contiguous on at least 3 sides to areas meeting
the criteria of paragraph (a) at the time the
designation is adopted.
(c) A subdivision that is a minimum of 20
contiguous acres that has obtained all necessary
government approvals, provided that the actual
“start of construction'' of structures has occurred
on at least 10 percent of the lots or remaining
lots of a subdivision or 10 percent of the
maximum building coverage or remaining
building coverage allowed for a single lot
subdivision at the time the designation is
adopted and construction of structures is
underway. Residential subdivisions must meet
the density criteria in paragraph (a)(3).
“Development” means any man-made change to
improved or unimproved real estate, including
but not limited to buildings or other structures,
mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving,
excavation or drilling operations or storage of
equipment or materials..
“Director” means the Director of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency.
“Eligible
community
or
participating
community” means a community for which the
Administrator has authorized the sale of flood
insurance under the National Flood Insurance
Program.
“Elevated building” means, for insurance
purposes, a nonbasement building which has its
lowest elevated floor raised above ground level
by foundation walls, shear walls, posts, piers,
pilings, or columns.
“Emergency Flood Insurance Program or
emergency program” means the Program as
implemented on an emergency basis in
accordance with section 1336 of the Act. It is
intended as a program to provide a first layer
amount of insurance on all insurable structures
before the effective date of the initial FIRM.
“Erosion” means the process of the gradual
wearing away of land masses. This peril is not
per se covered under the Program.
“Exception” means a waiver from the provisions
of part 60 of this subchapter directed to a
community which relieves it from the
requirements of a rule, regulation, order or other
determination made or issued pursuant to the
Act.
“Existing construction” means for the purposes
of determining rates, structures for which the
“start of construction” commenced before the
NFIP Regulations
effective date of the FIRM or before January 1,
1975, for FIRMs effective before that date.
“Existing construction”' may also be referred to
as “existing structures.”
“Existing manufactured home park or
subdivision” means a manufactured home park
or subdivision for which the construction of
facilities for servicing the lots on which the
manufactured homes are to be affixed
(including, at a minimum, the installation of
utilities, the construction of streets, and either
final site grading or the pouring of concrete
pads) is completed before the effective date of
the floodplain management regulations adopted
by a community.
“Existing structures” - see existing construction.
“Expansion to an existing manufactured home
park or subdivision” means the preparation of
additional sites by the construction of facilities
for servicing the lots on which the
manufacturing homes are to be affixed
(including the installation of utilities, the
construction of streets, and either final site
grading or the pouring of concrete pads).
“Federal agency” means any department,
agency, corporation, or other entity or
instrumentality of the executive branch of the
Federal Government, and includes the Federal
National Mortgage Association and the Federal
Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
“Federal instrumentality responsible for the
supervision, approval, regulation, or insuring of
banks, savings and loan associations, or similar
institutions” means the Board of Governors of
the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation, the Comptroller of the
Currency, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board,
the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance
Corporation, and the National Credit Union
Administration.
“Financial assistance” means any form of loan,
grant, guaranty, insurance, payment, rebate,
subsidy, disaster assistance loan or grant, or any
other form of direct or indirect Federal
assistance, other than general or special revenue
sharing or formula grants made to States.
“Financial assistance for acquisition or
construction purposes” means any form of
financial assistance which is intended in whole
or in part for the acquisition, construction,
reconstruction, repair, or improvement of any
publicly or privately owned building or mobile
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home, and for any machinery, equipment,
fixtures, and furnishings contained or to be
contained therein, and shall include the purchase
or subsidization of mortgages or mortgage loans
but shall exclude assistance pursuant to the
Disaster Relief Act of 1974 other than assistance
under such Act in connection with a flood. It
includes only financial assistance insurable
under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy.
“First-layer coverage” is the maximum amount
of structural and contents insurance coverage
available under the Emergency Program.
“Flood” or “Flooding” means:
(a) A general and temporary condition of partial
or complete inundation of normally dry land
areas from:
(1) The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
(2) The unusual and rapid accumulation or
runoff of surface waters from any source.
(3) Mudslides (i.e., mudflows) which are
proximately caused by flooding as defined in
paragraph (a)(2) of this definition and are akin to
a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces
of normally dry land areas, as when earth is
carried by a current of water and deposited along
the path of the current.
(b) The collapse or subsidence of land along the
shore of a lake or other body of water as a result
of erosion or undermining caused by waves or
currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical
levels or suddenly caused by an unusually high
water level in a natural body of water,
accompanied by a severe storm, or by an
unanticipated force of nature, such as flash flood
or an abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly
unusual and unforeseeable event which results in
flooding as defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this
definition.
“Flood elevation determination” means a
determination by the Administrator of the water
surface elevations of the base flood, that is, the
flood level that has a one percent or greater
chance of occurrence in any given year.
“Flood elevation study” means an examination,
evaluation and determination of flood hazards
and, if appropriate, corresponding water surface
elevations, or an examination, evaluation and
determination of mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or
flood-related erosion hazards.
“Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM)” means
an official map of a community, issued by the
Administrator, where the boundaries of the
NFIP Regulations
flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) related erosion
areas having special hazards have been
designated as Zones A, M, and/or E.
“Flood insurance” means the insurance coverage
provided under the Program.
“Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)” means an
official map of a community, on which the
Administrator has delineated both the special
hazard areas and the risk premium zones
applicable to the community.
“Flood Insurance Study” - see flood elevation
study.
“Flood plain or flood-prone area” means any
land area susceptible to being inundated by
water from any source (see definition of
“flooding'').
“Flood plain management” means the operation
of an overall program of corrective and
preventive measures for reducing flood damage,
including but not limited to emergency
preparedness plans, flood control works and
flood plain management regulations.
“Flood plain management regulations” means
zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations,
building codes, health regulations, special
purpose ordinances (such as a flood plain
ordinance, grading ordinance and erosion
control ordinance) and other applications of
police power. The term describes such state or
local regulations, in any combination thereof,
which provide standards for the purpose of flood
damage prevention and reduction.
“Flood protection system” means those physical
structural works for which funds have been
authorized, appropriated, and expended and
which have been constructed specifically to
modify flooding in order to reduce the extent of
the area within a community subject to a
“special flood hazard'” and the extent of the
depths of associated flooding. Such a system
typically includes hurricane tidal barriers, dams,
reservoirs, levees or dikes. These specialized
flood modifying works are those constructed in
conformance with sound engineering standards.
“Flood proofing” means any combination of
structural and non-structural additions, changes,
or adjustments to structures which reduce or
eliminate flood damage to real estate or
improved real property, water and sanitary
facilities, structures and their contents.
“Flood-related erosion” means the collapse or
subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or
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other body of water as a result of undermining
caused by waves or currents of water exceeding
anticipated cyclical levels or suddenly caused by
an unusually high water level in a natural body
of water, accompanied by a severe storm, or by
an unanticipated force of nature, such as a flash
flood or an abnormal tidal surge, or by some
similarly unusual and unforeseeable event which
results in flooding.
“Flood-related erosion area or flood-related
erosion prone area” means a land area adjoining
the shore of a lake or other body of water, which
due to the composition of the shoreline or bank
and high water levels or wind-driven currents, is
likely to suffer flood-related erosion damage.
“Flood-related erosion area management” means
the operation of an overall program of corrective
and preventive measures for reducing floodrelated erosion damage, including but not
limited to emergency preparedness plans, floodrelated erosion control works, and flood plain
management regulations.
“Floodway” - see regulatory floodway.
“Floodway encroachment lines” mean the lines
marking the limits of floodways on Federal,
State and local flood plain maps.
“Freeboard” means a factor of safety usually
expressed in feet above a flood level for
purposes of flood plain management.
“Freeboard'” tends to compensate for the many
unknown factors that could contribute to flood
heights greater than the height calculated for a
selected size flood and floodway conditions,
such as wave action, bridge openings, and the
hydrological effect of urbanization of the
watershed.
“Functionally dependent use” means a use
which cannot perform its intended purpose
unless it is located or carried out in close
proximity to water. The term includes only
docking facilities, port facilities that are
necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo
or passengers, and ship building and ship repair
facilities, but does not include long-term storage
or related manufacturing facilities.
“Future-conditions flood hazard area, or futureconditions floodplain”--see Area of futureconditions flood hazard.
“Future-conditions hydrology” means the flood
discharges associated with projected land-use
conditions based on a community's zoning maps
and/or comprehensive land-use plans and
NFIP Regulations
without consideration of projected future
construction of flood detention structures or
projected future hydraulic modifications within a
stream or other waterway, such as bridge and
culvert construction, fill, and excavation.
“General Counsel” means the General Counsel
of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Highest adjacent grade” means the highest
natural elevation of the ground surface prior to
construction next to the proposed walls of a
structure.
“Historic Structure” means any structure that is:
(a) Listed individually in the National Register
of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the
Department of Interior) or preliminarily
determined by the Secretary of the Interior as
meeting the requirements for individual listing
on the National Register;
(b) Certified or preliminarily determined by the
Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the
historical significance of a registered historic
district or a district preliminarily determined by
the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic
district;
(c) Individually listed on a state inventory of
historic places in states with historic
preservation programs which have been
approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
(d) Individually listed on a local inventory of
historic places in communities with historic
preservation programs that have been certified
either:
(1) By an approved state program as determined
by the Secretary of the Interior or
(2) Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in
states without approved programs.
“Independent scientific body” means a nonFederal technical or scientific organization
involved in the study of land use planning, flood
plain management, hydrology, geology,
geography, or any other related field of study
concerned with flooding.
“Insurance adjustment organization” means any
organization or person engaged in the business
of adjusting loss claims arising under the
Standard Flood Insurance Policy.
“Insurance company or insurer” means any
person or organization authorized to engage in
the insurance business under the laws of any
State.
“Levee” means a man-made structure, usually an
earthen embankment, designed and constructed
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in accordance with sound engineering practices
to contain, control, or divert the flow of water so
as to provide protection from temporary
flooding.
“Levee System” means a flood protection
system which consists of a levee, or levees, and
associated structures, such as closure and
drainage devices, which are constructed and
operated in accordance with sound engineering
practices.
“Lowest Floor” means the lowest floor of the
lowest enclosed area (including basement). An
unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable
solely for parking of vehicles, building access or
storage in an area other than a basement area is
not considered a building's lowest floor;
provided, that such enclosure is not built so as to
render the structure in violation of the applicable
non-elevation design requirements of Sec. 60.3.
“Mangrove stand” means an assemblage of
mangrove trees which are mostly low trees noted
for a copious development of interlacing
adventitious roots above the ground and which
contain one or more of the following species:
Black mangrove (Avicennia Nitida); red
mangrove
(Rhizophora
Mangle);
white
mangrove (Languncularia Racemosa); and
buttonwood (Conocarpus Erecta).
“Manufactured home” means a structure,
transportable in one or more sections, which is
built on a permanent chassis and is designed for
use with or without a permanent foundation
when attached to the required utilities. The term
“manufactured home”' does not include a
“recreational vehicle”.
“Manufactured home park or subdivision'”
means a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land
divided into two or more manufactured home
lots for rent or sale.
“Map” means the Flood Hazard Boundary Map
(FHBM) or the Flood Insurance Rate Map
(FIRM) for a community issued by the Agency.
“Mean sea level” means, for purposes of the
National Flood Insurance Program, the National
Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929 or
other datum, to which base flood elevations
shown on a community's Flood Insurance Rate
Map are referenced.
“Mudslide “(i.e., mudflow) describes a condition
where there is a river, flow or inundation of
liquid mud down a hillside usually as a result of
a dual condition of loss of brush cover, and the
NFIP Regulations
subsequent accumulation of water on the ground
preceded by a period of unusually heavy or
sustained rain. A mudslide (i.e., mudflow) may
occur as a distinct phenomenon while a landslide
is in progress, and will be recognized as such by
the Administrator only if the mudflow, and not
the landslide, is the proximate cause of damage
that occurs.
“Mudslide (i.e., mudflow) area management”
means the operation of an overall program of
corrective and preventive measures for reducing
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) damage, including but
not limited to emergency preparedness plans,
mudslide control works, and flood plain
management regulations.
“Mudslide (i.e., mudflow) prone area” means an
area with land surfaces and slopes of
unconsolidated material where the history,
geology and climate indicate a potential for
mudflow.
“New construction” means, for the purposes of
determining insurance rates, structures for which
the ``start of construction'' commenced on or
after the effective date of an initial FIRM or
after December 31, 1974, whichever is later, and
includes any subsequent improvements to such
structures. For floodplain management purposes,
new construction means structures for which the
start of construction commenced on or after the
effective date of a floodplain management
regulation adopted by a community and includes
any subsequent improvements to such structures.
“New manufactured home park or subdivision”
means a manufactured home park or subdivision
for which the construction of facilities for
servicing the lots on which the manufactured
homes are to be affixed (including at a
minimum, the installation of utilities, the
construction of streets, and either final site
grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is
completed on or after the effective date of
floodplain management regulations adopted by a
community.
“100-year flood” - see base flood.
“Participating community”, also known as an
eligible community, means a community in
which the Administrator has authorized the sale
of flood insurance.
“Person” includes any individual or group of
individuals,
corporation,
partnership,
association, or any other entity, including State
and local governments and agencies.
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“Policy” means the Standard Flood Insurance
Policy.
“Premium” means the total premium payable by
the insured for the coverage or coverages
provided under the policy. The calculation of the
premium may be based upon either chargeable
rates or risk premium rates, or a combination of
both.
“Primary frontal dune” means a continuous or
nearly continuous mound or ridge of sand with
relatively steep seaward and landward slopes
immediately landward and adjacent to the beach
and subject to erosion and overtopping from
high tides and waves during major coastal
storms. The inland limit of the primary frontal
dune occurs at the point where there is a distinct
change from a relatively steep slope to a
relatively mild slope.
“Principally above ground” means that at least
51 percent of the actual cash value of the
structure, less land value, is above ground.
“Program” means the National Flood Insurance
Program authorized by 42 U.S.C. 4001 through
4128.
“Program deficiency” means a defect in a
community's
flood
plain
management
regulations or administrative procedures that
impairs effective implementation of those flood
plain management regulations or of the
standards in Sec. 60.3, 60.4, 60.5, or 60.6.
“Project cost” means the total financial cost of a
flood protection system (including design, land
acquisition, construction, fees, overhead, and
profits), unless the Federal Insurance
Administrator determines a given ``cost'' not to
be a part of such project cost.
“Recreational vehicle” means a vehicle which is:
(a) Built on a single chassis;
(b) 400 square feet or less when measured at the
largest horizontal projection;
(c) Designed to be self-propelled or permanently
towable by a light duty truck; and
(d) Designed primarily not for use as a
permanent dwelling but as temporary living
quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or
seasonal use.
“Reference feature” is the receding edge of a
bluff or eroding frontal dune, or if such a feature
is not present, the normal high-water line or the
seaward line of permanent vegetation if a highwater line cannot be identified.
NFIP Regulations
“Regular Program” means the Program
authorized by the Act under which risk premium
rates are required for the first half of available
coverage (also known as ``first layer'' coverage)
for all new construction and substantial
improvements started on or after the effective
date of the FIRM, or after December 31, 1974,
for FIRM's effective on or before that date. All
buildings, the construction of which started
before the effective date of the FIRM, or before
January 1, 1975, for FIRMs effective before that
date, are eligible for first layer coverage at either
subsidized rates or risk premium rates,
whichever are lower. Regardless of date of
construction, risk premium rates are always
required for the second layer coverage and such
coverage is offered only after the Administrator
has completed a risk study for the community.
“Regulatory floodway” means the channel of a
river or other watercourse and the adjacent land
areas that must be reserved in order to discharge
the base flood without cumulatively increasing
the water surface elevation more than a
designated height.
“Remedy a violation” means to bring the
structure or other development into compliance
with State or local flood plain management
regulations, or, if this is not possible, to reduce
the impacts of its noncompliance. Ways that
impacts may be reduced include protecting the
structure or other affected development from
flood damages, implementing the enforcement
provisions of the ordinance or otherwise
deterring future similar violations, or reducing
Federal financial exposure with regard to the
structure or other development.
“Risk premium rates” mean those rates
established by the Administrator pursuant to
individual community studies and investigations
which are undertaken to provide flood insurance
in accordance with section 1307 of the Act and
the accepted actuarial principles. ”Risk premium
rates'' include provisions for operating costs and
allowances.
“Riverine” means relating to, formed by, or
resembling a river (including tributaries),
stream, brook, etc.
“Sand dunes” mean naturally occurring
accumulations of sand in ridges or mounds
landward of the beach.
“Scientifically incorrect”. The methodology(ies)
and/or assumptions which have been utilized are
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inappropriate for the physical processes being
evaluated or are otherwise erroneous.
“Second layer coverage” means an additional
limit of coverage equal to the amounts made
available under the Emergency Program, and
made available under the Regular Program.
“Servicing company” means a corporation,
partnership, association, or any other organized
entity which contracts with the Federal
Insurance Administration to service insurance
policies under the National Flood Insurance
Program for a particular area.
“Sheet flow area”- see area of shallow flooding.
“60-year setback” means a distance equal to 60
times the average annual long term recession
rate at a site, measured from the reference
feature.
“Special flood hazard area”-- see “area of
special flood hazard”'.
“Special hazard area” means an area having
special flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow), or floodrelated erosion hazards, and shown on an FHBM
or FIRM as Zone A, AO, A1-30, AE, AR,
AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A,
A99, AH, VO, V1-30, VE, V, M, or E.
“Standard Flood Insurance Policy” means the
flood insurance policy issued by the Federal
Insurance Administrator, or an insurer pursuant
to an arrangement with the Administrator
pursuant to Federal statutes and regulations.
“Start of Construction” (for other than new
construction or substantial improvements under
the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (Pub. L. 97348)), includes substantial improvement, and
means the date the building permit was issued,
provided the actual start of construction, repair,
reconstruction,
rehabilitation,
addition
placement, or other improvement was within
180 days of the permit date. The actual start
means either the first placement of permanent
construction of a structure on a site, such as the
pouring of slab or footings, the installation of
piles, the construction of columns, or any work
beyond the stage of excavation; or the placement
of a manufactured home on a foundation.
Permanent construction does not include land
preparation, such as clearing, grading and
filling; nor does it include the installation of
streets and/or walkways; nor does it include
excavation for a basement, footings, piers, or
foundations or the erection of temporary forms;
nor does it include the installation on the
NFIP Regulations
property of accessory buildings, such as garages
or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not
part of the main structure. For a substantial
improvement, the actual start of construction
means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling,
floor, or other structural part of a building,
whether or not that alteration affects the external
dimensions of the building.
“State” means any State, the District of
Columbia, the territories and possessions of the
United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific
Islands.
State coordinating agency means the agency of
the state government, or other office designated
by the Governor of the state or by state statute at
the request of the Administrator to assist in the
implementation of the National Flood Insurance
Program in that state.
“Storm cellar” means a space below grade used
to accommodate occupants of the structure and
emergency supplies as a means of temporary
shelter against severe tornado or similar wind
storm activity.
“Structure” means, for floodplain management
purposes, a walled and roofed building,
including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is
principally above ground, as well as a
manufactured home. Structure, for insurance
purposes, means:
(1) A building with two or more outside rigid
walls and a fully secured roof, that is affixed to a
permanent site;
(2) A manufactured home (``a manufactured
home,'' also known as a mobile home, is a
structure: built on a permanent chassis,
transported to its site in one or more sections,
and affixed to a permanent foundation); or
(3) A travel trailer without wheels, built on a
chassis and affixed to a permanent foundation,
that is regulated under the community's
floodplain management and building ordinances
or laws.
For the latter purpose, `”structure” does not
mean a recreational vehicle or a park trailer or
other similar vehicle, except as described in
paragraph (3) of this definition, or a gas or liquid
storage tank.
“Subsidized rates” mean the rates established by
the Administrator involving in the aggregate a
subsidization by the Federal Government.
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“Substantial damage” means damage of any
origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost
of restoring the structure to its before damaged
condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of
the market value of the structure before the
damage occurred.
“Substantial
improvement”
means
any
reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other
improvement of a structure, the cost of which
equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value
of the structure before the “start of construction”
of the improvement. This term includes
structures which have incurred ``substantial
damage'', regardless of the actual repair work
performed. The term does not, however, include
either:
(1) Any project for improvement of a structure
to correct existing violations of state or local
health, sanitary, or safety code specifications
which have been identified by the local code
enforcement official and which are the minimum
necessary to assure safe living conditions or
(2) Any alteration of a “historic structure”,
provided that the alteration will not preclude the
structure's continued designation as a “historic
structure”.
“30-year setback” means a distance equal to 30
times the average annual long term recession
rate at a site, measured from the reference
feature.
“Technically incorrect”. The methodology(ies)
utilized has been erroneously applied due to
mathematical or measurement error, changed
physical conditions, or insufficient quantity or
quality of input data.
“V Zone” - see “coastal high hazard area.'”
“Variance” means a grant of relief by a
community from the terms of a flood plain
management regulation.
“Violation” means the failure of a structure or
other development to be fully compliant with the
community's
flood
plain
management
regulations. A structure or other development
without the elevation certificate, other
certifications, or other evidence of compliance
required in Sec. 60.3(b)(5), (c)(4), (c)(10),
(d)(3), (e)(2), (e)(4), or (e)(5) is presumed to be
in violation until such time as that
documentation is provided.
“Water surface elevation” means the height, in
relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum
(NGVD) of 1929, (or other datum, where
NFIP Regulations
specified) of floods of various magnitudes and
frequencies in the flood plains of coastal or
riverine areas.
“Zone of imminent collapse” means an area
subject to erosion adjacent to the shoreline of an
ocean, bay, or lake and within a distance equal
to 10 feet plus 5 times the average annual longterm erosion rate for the site, measured from the
reference feature.
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976]
Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations
affecting Sec. 59.1, see the List of CFR Sections
Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids
section of the printed volume and on GPO
access.
§ 59.2 Description of program.
(a) The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968
was enacted by title XIII of the Housing and
Urban Development Act of 1968 (Pub. L. 90448, August 1, 1968) to provide previously
unavailable flood insurance protection to
property owners in flood-prone areas. Mudslide
(as defined in Sec. 59.1) protection was added to
the Program by the Housing and Urban
Development Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-152,
December 24, 1969). Flood-related erosion (as
defined in Sec. 59.1) protection was added to the
Program by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of
1973 (Pub. L. 93-234, December 31, 1973). The
Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 requires
the purchase of flood insurance on and after
March 2, 1974, as a condition of receiving any
form of Federal or federally-related financial
assistance for acquisition or construction
purposes with respect to insurable buildings and
mobile homes within an identified special flood,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow), or flood-related
erosion hazard area that is located within any
community participating in the Program. The
Act also requires that on and after July 1, 1975,
or one year after a community has been formally
notified by the Administrator of its identification
as community containing one or more special
flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow), or flood-related
erosion hazard areas, no such Federal financial
assistance, shall be provided within such an area
unless the community in which the area is
located is then participating in the Program,
subject to certain exceptions. See FIA published
Guidelines at Sec. 59.4(c).
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§ 59.4 References.
(a) The following are statutory references for the
National Flood Insurance Program, under which
these regulations are issued:
(1) National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (title
XIII of the Housing and Urban Development
Act of 1968), Pub. L. 90-448, approved August
1, 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.
(2) Housing and Urban Development Act of
1969 (Pub. L. 91-152, approved December 24,
1969).
(3) Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (87
Stat. 980), Public Law 93-234, approved
December 31, 1973.
(4) Section 816 of the Housing and Community
Development Act of 1974 (87 Stat. 975), Public
Law 93-383, approved August 22, 1974.
(5) Public Law 5-128 (effective October 12,
1977).
(6) The above statutes are included in 42 U.S.C.
4001 et seq.
(b) The following are references relevant to the
National Flood Insurance Program:
(1) Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain
Management, dated May 24, 1977 (42 FR
26951, May 25, 1977)).
(2) The Flood Control Act of 1960 (Pub. L. 86645).
(3) Title II, section 314 of title III and section
406 of title IV of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974
(Pub. L. 93-288).
(4) Coastal Zone Management Act (Pub. L. 92583), as amended Public Law 94-370.
(5) Water Resources Planning Act (Pub. L. 8990), as amended Public Law 94-112 (October
16, 1975).
(6) Title I, National Environmental Policy Act
(Pub. L. 91-190).
(7) Land and Water Conservation Fund Act
(Pub. L. 89-578), and subsequent amendments
thereto.
(8) Water Resources Council, Principals and
Standards for Planning, Water and Related Land
Resources (38 FR 24778-24869, September 10,
1973).
(9) Executive Order 11593 (Protection and
Enchancement of the Cultural Environment),
dated May 13, 1971 (36 FR 8921, May 15,
1971).
(10) 89th Cong., 2nd Session, H.D. 465.
(11) Required land use element for
comprehensive planning assistance under
section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954, as
NFIP Regulations
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(b) To qualify for the sale of federallysubsidized flood insurance a community must
adopt and submit to the Administrator as part of
its application, flood plain management
regulations, satisfying at a minimum the criteria
set forth at part 60 of this subchapter, designed
to reduce or avoid future flood, mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) or flood-related erosion damages.
These regulations must include effective
enforcement provisions.
(c) Minimum requirements for adequate flood
plain management regulations are set forth in
Sec. 60.3 for flood-prone areas, in Sec. 60.4 for
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) areas and in Sec. 60.5
for flood-related erosion areas. Those applicable
requirements and standards are based on the
amount of technical information available to the
community.
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976, as amended at 43
FR 7140, Feb. 17, 1978. Redesignated at 44 FR
31177, May 31, 1979, and amended at 48 FR
44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984]
§ 59.3 Emergency program.
The 1968 Act required a risk study to be
undertaken for each community before it could
become eligible for the sale of flood insurance.
Since this requirement resulted in a delay in
providing insurance, the Congress, in section
408 of the Housing and Urban Development Act
of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-152, December 24, 1969),
established an Emergency Flood Insurance
Program as a new section 1336 of the National
Flood Insurance Act (42 U.S.C. 4056) to permit
the early sale of insurance in flood-prone
communities. The emergency program does not
affect the requirement that a community must
adopt adequate flood plain management
regulations pursuant to part 60 of this subchapter
but permits insurance to be sold before a study is
conducted to determine risk premium rates for
the community. The program still requires upon
the effective date of a FIRM the charging of risk
premium rates for all new construction and
substantial improvements and for higher limits
of coverage for existing structures.
[43 FR 7140, Feb. 17, 1978. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, and amended at 48 FR
44543, Sept. 29, 1983]
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amended by the Housing and Community
Development Act of 1974 (24 CFR 600.72).
(12) Executive Order 11990 (Protection of
Wetlands, dated May 24, 1977 (42 FR 26951,
May 25, 1977)).
(13) Water Resources Council (Guidance for
Floodplain Management) (42 FR 52590,
September 30, 1977).
(14) Unified National Program for Floodplain
Management of the United States Water
Resources Council, July 1976.
(c) The following reference guidelines represent
the views of the Federal Insurance
Administration with respect to the mandatory
purchase of flood insurance under section 102 of
the Flood Disaster Protection
Act of 1973: Mandatory Purchase of Flood
Insurance Guidelines (54 FR 29666-29695, July
13, 1989).
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976, as amended at 43
FR 7140, Feb. 17, 1978. Redesignated at 44 FR
31177, May 31, 1979, and amended at 57 FR
19540, May 7, 1992]
§ 59.2 Description of program.
(a) The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968
was enacted by title XIII of the Housing and
Urban Development Act of 1968 (Pub. L. 90448, August 1, 1968) to provide previously
unavailable flood insurance protection to
property owners in flood-prone areas. Mudslide
(as defined in Sec. 59.1) protection was added to
the Program by the Housing and Urban
Development Act of 1969 (Pub. L. 91-152,
December 24, 1969). Flood-related erosion (as
defined in Sec. 59.1) protection was added to the
Program by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of
1973 (Pub. L. 93-234, December 31, 1973). The
Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 requires
the purchase of flood insurance on and after
March 2, 1974, as a condition of receiving any
form of Federal or federally-related financial
assistance for acquisition or construction
purposes with respect to insurable buildings and
mobile homes within an identified special flood,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow), or flood-related
erosion hazard area that is located within any
community participating in the Program. The
Act also requires that on and after July 1, 1975,
or one year after a community has been formally
notified by the Administrator of its identification
as community containing one or more special
NFIP Regulations
flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow), or flood-related
erosion hazard areas, no such Federal financial
assistance, shall be provided within such an area
unless the community in which the area is
located is then participating in the Program,
subject to certain exceptions. See FIA published
Guidelines at Sec. 59.4(c).
(b) To qualify for the sale of federallysubsidized flood insurance a community must
adopt and submit to the Administrator as part of
its application, flood plain management
regulations, satisfying at a minimum the criteria
set forth at part 60 of this subchapter, designed
to reduce or avoid future flood, mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) or flood-related erosion damages.
These regulations must include effective
enforcement provisions.
(c) Minimum requirements for adequate flood
plain management regulations are set forth in
Sec. 60.3 for flood-prone areas, in Sec. 60.4 for
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) areas and in Sec. 60.5
for flood-related erosion areas. Those applicable
requirements and standards are based on the
amount of technical information available to the
community.
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976, as amended at 43
FR 7140, Feb. 17, 1978. Redesignated at 44 FR
31177, May 31, 1979, and amended at 48 FR
44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984]
§ 59.4 References.
(a) The following are statutory references for the
National Flood Insurance Program, under which
these regulations are issued:
(1) National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (title
XIII of the Housing and Urban Development
Act of 1968), Pub. L. 90-448, approved August
1, 1968, 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.
(2) Housing and Urban Development Act of
1969 (Pub. L. 91-152, approved December 24,
1969).
(3) Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 (87
Stat. 980), Public Law 93-234, approved
December 31, 1973.
(4) Section 816 of the Housing and Community
Development Act of 1974 (87 Stat. 975), Public
Law 93-383, approved August 22, 1974.
(5) Public Law 5-128 (effective October 12,
1977).
(6) The above statutes are included in 42 U.S.C.
4001 et seq.
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(b) The following are references relevant to the
National Flood Insurance Program:
(1) Executive Order 11988 (Floodplain
Management, dated May 24, 1977 (42 FR
26951, May 25, 1977)).
(2) The Flood Control Act of 1960 (Pub. L. 86645).
(3) Title II, section 314 of title III and section
406 of title IV of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974
(Pub. L. 93-288).
(4) Coastal Zone Management Act (Pub. L. 92583), as amended Public Law 94-370.
(5) Water Resources Planning Act (Pub. L. 8990), as amended Public Law 94-112 (October
16, 1975).
(6) Title I, National Environmental Policy Act
(Pub. L. 91-190).
(7) Land and Water Conservation Fund Act
(Pub. L. 89-578), and subsequent amendments
thereto.
(8) Water Resources Council, Principals and
Standards for Planning, Water and Related Land
Resources (38 FR 24778-24869, September 10,
1973).
(9) Executive Order 11593 (Protection and
Enhancement of the Cultural Environment),
dated May 13, 1971 (36 FR 8921, May 15,
1971).
(10) 89th Cong., 2nd Session, H.D. 465.
(11) Required land use element for
comprehensive planning assistance under
section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954, as
amended by the Housing and Community
Development Act of 1974 (24 CFR 600.72).
(12) Executive Order 11990 (Protection of
Wetlands, dated May 24, 1977 (42 FR 26951,
May 25, 1977)).
(13) Water Resources Council (Guidance for
Floodplain Management) (42 FR 52590,
September 30, 1977).
(14) Unified National Program for Floodplain
Management of the United States Water
Resources Council, July 1976.
(c) The following reference guidelines represent
the views of the Federal Insurance
Administration with respect to the mandatory
purchase of flood insurance under section 102 of
the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973:
Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance
Guidelines (54 FR 29666-29695, July 13, 1989).
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976, as amended at 43
FR 7140, Feb. 17, 1978. Redesignated at 44 FR
NFIP Regulations
31177, May 31, 1979, and amended at 57 FR
19540, May 7, 1992]
Subpart B--Eligibility Requirements
§ 59.21 Purpose of subpart.
This subpart lists actions that must be taken by a
community to become eligible and to remain
eligible for the Program.
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979]
§ 59.22 Prerequisites for the sale of flood
insurance.
(a) To qualify for flood insurance availability a
community shall apply for the entire area within
its jurisdiction, and shall submit:
(1) Copies of legislative and executive actions
indicating a local need for flood insurance and
an explicit desire to participate in the National
Flood Insurance Program;
(2) Citations to State and local statutes and
ordinances authorizing actions regulating land
use and copies of the local laws and regulations
cited;
(3) A copy of the flood plain management
regulations the community has adopted to meet
the requirements of Sec. 60.3, 60.4 and/or Sec.
60.5 of this subchapter. This submission shall
include copies of any zoning, building, and
subdivision regulations, health codes, special
purpose ordinances (such as a flood plain
ordinance, grading ordinance, or flood-related
erosion control ordinance), and any other
corrective and preventive measures enacted to
reduce or prevent flood, mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) or flood-related erosion damage;
(4) A list of the incorporated communities
within the applicant's boundaries;
(5) Estimates relating to the community as a
whole and to the flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow)
and flood-related erosion prone areas
concerning:
(i) Population;
(ii) Number of one to four family residences;
(iii) Number of small businesses; and
(iv) Number of all other structures.
(6) Address of a local repository, such as a
municipal building, where the Flood Hazard
Boundary Maps (FHBM's) and Flood Insurance
Rate Maps (FIRM's) will be made available for
public inspection;
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(7) A summary of any State or Federal activities
with respect to flood plain, mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) or flood-related erosion area
management within the community, such as
federally-funded flood control projects and
State-administered flood plain management
regulations;
(8) A commitment to recognize and duly
evaluate flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or
flood-related erosion hazards in all official
actions in the areas having special flood,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or flood-related
erosion hazards and to take such other official
action reasonably necessary to carry out the
objectives of the program; and
(9) A commitment to:
(i) Assist the Administrator at his/her request, in
his/her delineation of the limits of the areas
having special flood, mudslide
(i.e., mudflow) or flood-related erosion hazards;
(ii) Provide such information concerning present
uses and occupancy of the flood plain, mudslide
(i.e., mudflow) or flood-related erosion areas as
the Administrator may request;
(iii) Maintain for public inspection and furnish
upon request, for the determination of applicable
flood insurance risk premium rates within all
areas having special flood hazards identified on
a FHBM or FIRM, any certificates of
floodproofing, and information on the elevation
(in relation to mean sea level) of the level of the
lowest floor (including basement) of all new or
substantially improved structures, and include
whether or not such structures contain a
basement, and if the structure has been
floodproofed, the elevation (in relation to mean
sea level) to which the structure was
floodproofed;
(iv) Cooperate with Federal, State, and local
agencies and private firms which undertake to
study, survey, map, and identify flood plain,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) or flood-related erosion
areas, and cooperate with neighboring
communities with respect to the management of
adjoining flood plain, mud slide (i.e., mudflow)
and/or flood-related erosion areas in order to
prevent aggravation of existing hazards;
(v) Upon occurrence, notify the Administrator in
writing whenever the boundaries of the
community have been modified by annexation
or the community has otherwise assumed or no
longer has authority to adopt and enforce flood
NFIP Regulations
plain management regulations for a particular
area. In order that all FHBM's and FIRM's
accurately
represent
the
community's
boundaries, include within such notification a
copy of a map of the community suitable for
reproduction, clearly delineating the new
corporate limits or new area for which the
community has assumed or relinquished flood
plain management regulatory authority.
(b) An applicant shall legislatively:
(1) Appoint or designate the agency or official
with the responsibility, authority, and means to
implement the commitments made in paragraph
(a) of this section, and
(2) Designate the official responsible to submit a
report to the Administrator concerning the
community participation in the Program,
including, but not limited to the development
and implementation of flood plain management
regulations. This report shall be submitted
annually or biennially as determined by the
Administrator.
(c) The documents required by paragraph (a) of
this section and evidence of the actions required
by paragraph (b) of this section shall be
submitted
to
the
Federal
Emergency
Management Agency, Washington DC 20472.
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979 and amended at 48 FR
29318, June 24, 1983; 48 FR 44543 and 44552,
Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8, 1984; 49 FR
33656, Aug. 24, 1984; 50 FR
36023, Sept. 4, 1985]
§ 59.23 Priorities for the sale of flood
insurance under the regular program.
Flood-prone, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and
flood-related erosion prone communities are
placed on a register of areas eligible for
ratemaking studies and then selected from this
register for ratemaking studies on the basis of
the following considerations-(a) Recommendations of State officials;
(b) Location of community and urgency of need
for flood insurance;
(c) Population of community and intensity of
existing or proposed development of the flood
plain, the mud slide (i.e., mudflow) and the
flood-related erosion area;
(d) Availability of information on the
community with respect to its flood, mudslide
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(i.e., mudflow) and flood-related erosion
characteristics and previous losses;
(e) Extent of State and local progress in flood
plain, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) area and floodrelated erosion area management, including
adoption of flood plain management regulations
consistent with related ongoing programs in the
area.
[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979]
§ 59.24 Suspension of community eligibility.
(a) A community eligible for the sale of flood
insurance shall be subject to suspension from the
Program for failing to submit copies of adequate
flood plain management regulations meeting the
minimum requirements of paragraphs (b), (c),
(d), (e) or (f) of Sec.60.3 or paragraph (b) of
Sec.60.4 or Sec.60.5, within six months from the
date the Administrator provides the data upon
which the flood plain regulations for the
applicable paragraph shall be based. Where there
has not been any submission by the community,
the Administrator shall notify the community
that 90 days remain in the six month period in
order to submit adequate flood plain
management regulations. Where there has been
an inadequate submission, the Administrator
shall notify the community of the specific
deficiencies in its submitted flood plain
management regulations and inform the
community of the amount of time remaining
within the six month period. If, subsequently,
copies of adequate flood plain management
regulations are not received by the
Administrator, no later than 30 days before the
expiration of the original six month period the
Administrator shall provide written notice to the
community and to the state and assure
publication in the Federal Register under part 64
of this subchapter of the community's loss of
eligibility for the sale of flood insurance, such
suspension to become effective upon the
expiration of the six month period. Should the
community remedy the defect and the
Administrator receive copies of adequate flood
plain management regulations within the notice
period, the suspension notice shall be rescinded
by the Administrator. If the Administrator
receives notice from the State that it has enacted
adequate flood plain management regulations for
the community within the notice period, the
NFIP Regulations
suspension notice shall be rescinded by the
Administrator. The community's eligibility shall
remain terminated after suspension until copies
of adequate flood plain management regulations
have been received and approved by the
Administrator.
(b) A community eligible for the sale of flood
insurance which fails to adequately enforce
flood plain management regulations meeting the
minimum requirements set forth in Sec. 60.3,
60.4 and/or 60.5 shall be subject to probation.
Probation shall represent formal notification to
the community that the Administrator regards
the community's flood plain management
program as not compliant with NFIP criteria.
Prior to imposing probation, the Administrator
(1) shall inform the community upon 90 days
prior written notice of the impending probation
and of the specific program deficiencies and
violations relative to the failure to enforce, (2)
shall, at least 60 days before probation is to
begin, issue a press release to local media
explaining the reasons for and the effects of
probation, and (3) shall, at least 90 days before
probation is to begin, advise all policyholders in
the community of the impending probation and
the additional premium that will be charged, as
provided in this paragraph, on policies sold or
renewed during the period of probation. During
this 90-day period the community shall have the
opportunity to avoid probation by demonstrating
compliance with Program requirements, or by
correcting Program deficiencies and remedying
all violations to the maximum extent possible. If,
at the end of the 90-day period, the
Administrator determines that the community
has failed to do so, the probation shall go into
effect. Probation may be continued for up to one
year after the community corrects all Program
deficiencies and remedies all violations to the
maximum extent possible. Flood insurance may
be sold or renewed in the community while it is
on probation. Where a policy covers property
located in a community placed on probation on
or after October 1, 1986, but prior to October 1,
1992, an additional premium of $25.00 shall be
charged on each such policy newly issued or
renewed during the one-year period beginning
on the date the community is placed on
probation and during any successive one-year
periods that begin prior to October 1, 1992.
Where a community's probation begins on or
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after October 1, 1992, the additional premium
described in the preceding sentence shall be
$50.00, which shall also be charged during any
successive one-year periods during which the
community remains on probation for any part
thereof. This $50.00 additional premium shall
further be charged during any successive oneyear periods that begin on or after October 1,
1992, where the preceding one-year probation
period began prior to October 1, 1992.
(c) A community eligible for the sale of flood
insurance which fails to adequately enforce its
flood plain management regulations meeting the
minimum requirements set forth in Sec. 60.3,
60.4 and/or 60.5 and does not correct its
Program deficiencies and remedy all violations
to the maximum extent possible in accordance
with compliance deadlines established during a
period of probation shall be subject to
suspension of its Program eligibility. Under such
circumstances, the Administrator shall grant the
community 30 days in which to show cause why
it should not be suspended. The Administrator
may conduct a hearing, written or oral, before
commencing suspensive action. If a community
is to be suspended, the Administrator shall
inform it upon 30 days prior written notice and
upon publication in the Federal Register under
part 64 of this subchapter of its loss of eligibility
for the sale of flood insurance. In the event of
impending suspension, the Administrator shall
issue a press release to the local media
explaining the reasons and effects of the
suspension. The community's eligibility shall
only be reinstated by the Administrator upon his
receipt of a local legislative or executive
measure reaffirming the community's formal
intent to adequately enforce the flood plain
management requirements of this subpart,
together with evidence of action taken by the
community to correct Program deficiencies and
remedy to the maximum extent possible those
violations which caused the suspension. In
certain cases, the Administrator, in order to
evaluate the community's performance under the
terms of its submission, may withhold
reinstatement for a period not to exceed one year
from the date of his receipt of the satisfactory
submission or place the community on probation
as provided for in paragraph (b) of this section.
(d) A community eligible for the sale of flood
insurance which repeals its flood plain
NFIP Regulations
management regulations, allows its regulations
to lapse, or amends its regulations so that they
no longer meet the minimum requirements set
forth in Sec. 60.3, 60.4 and/or 60.5 shall be
suspended from the Program. If a community is
to be suspended, the Administrator shall inform
it upon 30 days prior written notice and upon
publication in the Federal Register under part 64
of this subchapter of its loss of eligibility for the
sale of flood insurance. The community
eligibility shall remain terminated after
suspension until copies of adequate flood plain
management regulations have been received and
approved by the Administrator.
(e) A community eligible for the sale of flood
insurance may withdraw from the Program by
submitting to the Administrator a copy of a
legislative action that explicitly states its desire
to withdraw from the National Flood Insurance
Program. Upon receipt of a certified copy of a
final legislative action, the Administrator shall
withdraw the community from the Program and
publish in the Federal Register underpart 64 of
this subchapter its loss of eligibility for the sale
of flood insurance. A community that has
withdrawn from the Program may be reinstated
if its submits the application materials specified
in Sec. 59.22(a).
(f) If during a period of ineligibility under
paragraphs (a), (d), or (e) of this section, a
community has permitted actions to take place
that have aggravated existing flood plain,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or flood related
erosion hazards, the Administrator may withhold
reinstatement until the community submits
evidence that it has taken action to remedy to the
maximum extent possible the increased hazards.
The Administrator may also place the reinstated
community on probation as provided for in
paragraph (b) of this section.
(g) The Administrator shall promptly notify the
servicing company and any insurers issuing
flood insurance pursuant to an arrangement with
the Administrator of those communities whose
eligibility has been suspended or which have
withdrawn from the program. Flood insurance
shall not be sold or renewed in those
communities. Policies sold or renewed within a
community during a period of ineligibility are
deemed to be voidable by the Administrator
whether or not the parties to sale or renewal had
actual notice of the ineligibility.
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[41 FR 46968, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, and amended at 48 FR
44543 and 44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751,
Feb. 8, 1984; 50 FR 36023, Sept. 4, 1985; 57 FR
19540, May 7, 1992; 59 FR 53598, Oct. 25,
1994; 62 FR 55715, Oct. 27, 1997]
PART
60--CRITERIA
FOR
MANAGEMENT AND USE
LAND
Subpart A--Requirements for Flood Plain
Management Regulations
Sec.
60.1 Purpose of subpart.
60.2 Minimum compliance with flood plain
management criteria.
60.3 Flood plain management criteria for floodprone areas.
60.4 Flood plain management criteria for
mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone areas.
60.5 Flood plain management criteria for floodrelated erosion-prone areas.
60.6 Variances and exceptions.
60.7 Revisions of criteria for flood plain
management regulations.
60.8 Definitions.
Subpart B--Requirements for State Flood
Plain Management Regulations
Sec.
60.11 Purpose of this subpart.
60.12 Flood plain management criteria for Stateowned properties in special hazard areas.
60.13 Noncompliance.
Subpart C--Additional Considerations in
Managing Flood-Prone, Mudslide (i.e.,
Mudflow)-Prone, and Flood-Related ErosionProne Areas
Sec.
60.21 Purpose of this subpart.
60.22 Planning considerations for flood-prone
areas.
60.23 Planning considerations for mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow)-prone areas.
60.24 Planning considerations for flood-related
erosion-prone areas.
60.25 Designation, duties, and responsibilities of
State Coordinating Agencies.
60.26 Local coordination.
NFIP Regulations
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.;
Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 43 FR
41943, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 329; E.O. 12127
of Mar. 31, 1979, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979
Comp., p. 376.
Source: 41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976, unless
otherwise noted. Redesignated at 44 FR 31177,
May 31, 1979.
§ 60.1 Purpose of subpart.
(a) The Act provides that flood insurance shall
not be sold or renewed under the program within
a community, unless the community has adopted
adequate flood plain management regulations
consistent with Federal criteria. Responsibility
for establishing such criteria is delegated to the
Administrator.
(b) This subpart sets forth the criteria developed
in accordance with the Act by which the
Administrator will determine the adequacy of a
community's
flood
plain
management
regulations. These regulations must be legallyenforceable, applied uniformly throughout the
community to all privately and publicly owned
land within flood-prone, mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) or flood-related erosion areas, and the
community must provide that the regulations
take precedence over any less restrictive
conflicting local laws, ordinances or codes.
Except as otherwise provided in Sec. 60.6, the
adequacy of such regulations shall be
determined on the basis of the standards set forth
in Sec. 60.3 for flood-prone areas, Sec. 60.4 for
mudslide areas and Sec. 60.5 for flood-related
erosion areas.
(c) Nothing in this subpart shall be construed as
modifying or replacing the general requirement
that all eligible communities must take into
account flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and
flood-related erosion hazards, to the extent that
they are known, in all official actions relating to
land management and use.
(d) The criteria set forth in this subpart are
minimum standards for the adoption of flood
plain management regulations by flood-prone,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone and flood-related
erosion-prone communities. Any community
may exceed the minimum criteria under this part
by adopting more comprehensive flood plain
management regulations utilizing the standards
such as contained in subpart C of this part. In
some instances, community officials may have
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access to information or knowledge of
conditions that require, particularly for human
safety, higher standards than the minimum
criteria set forth in subpart A of this part.
Therefore, any flood plain management
regulations adopted by a State or a community
which are more restrictive than the criteria set
forth in this part are encouraged and shall take
precedence.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979,
as amended at 48 FR 44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49
FR 4751, Feb. 8, 1984]
§ 60.2 Minimum compliance with flood plain
management criteria.
(a) A flood-prone community applying for flood
insurance eligibility shall meet the standards of
Sec.60.3(a) in order to become eligible if a
FHBM has not been issued for the community at
the time of application. Thereafter, the
community will be given a period of six months
from the date the Administrator provides the
data set forth in Sec.60.3(b), (c), (d), (e) or (f), in
which to meet the requirements of the applicable
paragraph. If a community has received a
FHBM, but has not yet applied for Program
eligibility, the community shall apply for
eligibility directly under the standards set forth
in Sec.60.3(b). Thereafter, the community will
be given a period of six months from the date
the Administrator provides the data set forth in
Sec.60.3(c), (d), (e) or (f) in which to meet the
requirements of the applicable paragraph.
(b) A mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone
community applying for flood insurance
eligibility shall meet the standards of Sec.
60.4(a) to become eligible. Thereafter, the
community will be given a period of six months
from the date the mudslide (i.e., mudflow) areas
having special mudslide hazards are delineated
in which to meet the requirements of Sec.
60.4(b).
(c) A flood-related erosion-prone community
applying for flood insurance eligibility shall
meet the standards of Sec. 60.5(a) to become
eligible. Thereafter, the community will be
given a period of six months from the date the
flood-related erosion areas having special
erosion hazards are delineated in which to meet
the requirements of Sec. 60.5(b).
NFIP Regulations
(d) Communities identified in part 65 of this
subchapter as containing more than one type of
hazard (e.g., any combination of special flood,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow), and flood-related
erosion hazard areas) shall adopt flood plain
management regulations for each type of hazard
consistent with the requirements of Sec.Sec.
60.3, 60.4 and 60.5.
(e) Local flood plain management regulations
may be submitted to the State Coordinating
Agency designated pursuant to Sec. 60.25 for its
advice and concurrence. The submission to the
State
shall
clearly
describe
proposed
enforcement procedures.
(f) The community official responsible for
submitting annual or biennial reports to the
Administrator pursuant to Sec. 59.22(b)(2) of
this subchapter shall also submit copies of each
annual or biennial report to any State
Coordinating Agency.
(g) A community shall assure that its
comprehensive plan is consistent with the flood
plain management objectives of this part.
(h) The community shall adopt and enforce
flood plain management regulations based on
data provided by the Administrator. Without
prior approval of the Administrator, the
community shall not adopt and enforce flood
plain management regulations based upon
modified data reflecting natural or man-made
physical changes.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
29318, June 24, 1983; 48 FR 44552, Sept. 29,
1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8, 1984; 50 FR 36024,
Sept. 4, 1985; 59 FR 53598, Oct. 25, 1994; 62
FR 55716, Oct. 27, 1997]
§ 60.3 Flood plain management criteria for
flood-prone areas.
The Administrator will provide the data upon
which flood plain management regulations shall
be based. If the Administrator has not provided
sufficient data to furnish a basis for these
regulations in a particular community, the
community shall obtain, review and reasonably
utilize data available from other Federal, State or
other sources pending receipt of data from the
Administrator. However, when special flood
hazard area designations and water surface
elevations have been furnished by the
Administrator, they shall apply. The symbols
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defining such special flood hazard designations
are set forth in Sec. 64.3 of this subchapter. In
all cases the minimum requirements governing
the adequacy of the flood plain management
regulations for flood-prone areas adopted by a
particular community depend on the amount of
technical data formally provided to the
community by the Administrator. Minimum
standards for communities are as follows:
(a) When the Administrator has not defined the
special flood hazard areas within a community,
has not provided water surface elevation data,
and has not provided sufficient data to identify
the floodway or coastal high hazard area, but the
community has indicated the presence of such
hazards by submitting an application to
participate in the Program, the community shall:
(1) Require permits for all proposed construction
or other development in the community,
including the placement of manufactured homes,
so that it may determine whether such
construction or other development is proposed
within flood-prone areas;
(2) Review proposed development to assure that
all necessary permits have been received from
those governmental agencies from which
approval is required by Federal or State law,
including section 404 of the Federal Water
Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, 33
U.S.C. 1334;
(3) Review all permit applications to determine
whether proposed building sites will be
reasonably safe from flooding. If a proposed
building site is in a flood-prone area, all new
construction and substantial improvements shall
(i) be designed (or modified) and adequately
anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral
movement of the structure resulting from
hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including
the effects of buoyancy, (ii) be constructed with
materials resistant to flood damage, (iii) be
constructed by methods and practices that
minimize flood damages, and (iv) be constructed
with electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing,
and air conditioning equipment and other service
facilities that are designed and/or located so as
to prevent water from entering or accumulating
within the components during conditions of
flooding.
(4) Review subdivision proposals and other
proposed
new
development,
including
manufactured home parks or subdivisions, to
NFIP Regulations
determine whether such proposals will be
reasonably safe from flooding. If a subdivision
proposal or other proposed new development is
in a flood-prone area, any such proposals shall
be reviewed to assure that (i) all such proposals
are consistent with the need to minimize flood
damage within the flood-prone area, (ii) all
public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas,
electrical, and water systems are located and
constructed to minimize or eliminate flood
damage, and (iii) adequate drainage is provided
to reduce exposure to flood hazards;
(5) Require within flood-prone areas new and
replacement water supply systems to be
designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of
flood waters into the systems; and
(6) Require within flood-prone areas (i) new and
replacement sanitary sewage systems to be
designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of
flood waters into the systems and discharges
from the systems into flood waters and (ii)
onsite waste disposal systems to be located to
avoid impairment to them or contamination from
them during flooding.
(b) When the Administrator has designated areas
of special flood hazards (A zones) by the
publication of a community's FHBM or FIRM,
but has neither produced water surface elevation
data nor identified a floodway or coastal high
hazard area, the community shall:
(1) Require permits for all proposed construction
and other developments including the placement
of manufactured homes, within Zone A on the
community's FHBM or FIRM;
(2) Require the application of the standards in
paragraphs (a) (2),
(3), (4), (5) and (6) of this section to
development within Zone A on the community's
FHBM or FIRM;
(3) Require that all new subdivision proposals
and other proposed developments (including
proposals for manufactured home parks and
subdivisions) greater than 50 lots or 5 acres,
whichever is the lesser, include within such
proposals base flood elevation data;(4) Obtain,
review and reasonably utilize any base flood
elevation and floodway data available from a
Federal, State, or other source, including data
developed pursuant to paragraph (b)(3) of this
section, as criteria for requiring that new
construction, substantial improvements, or other
development in Zone A on the community's
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FHBM or FIRM meet the standards in
paragraphs (c)(2), (c)(3), (c)(5), (c)(6), (c)(12),
(c)(14), (d)(2) and (d)(3) of this section;
(5) Where base flood elevation data are utilized,
within Zone A on the community's FHBM or
FIRM:
(i) Obtain the elevation (in relation to mean sea
level) of the lowest floor(including basement) of
all new and substantially improved structures,
and
(ii) Obtain, if the structure has been
floodproofed in accordance with paragraph
(c)(3)(ii) of this section, the elevation (in
relation to mean sea level) to which the structure
was floodproofed, and
(iii) Maintain a record of all such information
with the official designated by the community
under Sec. 59.22 (a)(9)(iii);
(6) Notify, in riverine situations, adjacent
communities and the State Coordinating Office
prior to any alteration or relocation of a
watercourse, and submit copies of such
notifications to the Administrator;
(7) Assure that the flood carrying capacity
within the altered or relocated portion of any
watercourse is maintained;
(8) Require that all manufactured homes to be
placed within Zone A on a community's FHBM
or FIRM shall be installed using methods and
practices which minimize flood damage. For the
purposes of this requirement, manufactured
homes must be elevated and anchored to resist
flotation, collapse, or lateral movement.
Methods of anchoring may include, but are not
to be limited to, use of over-the-top or frame ties
to ground anchors. This requirement is in
addition to applicable State and local anchoring
requirements for resisting wind forces.
(c) When the Administrator has provided a
notice of final flood elevations for one or more
special flood hazard areas on the community's
FIRM and, if appropriate, has designated other
special flood hazard areas without base flood
elevations on the community's FIRM, but has
not identified a regulatory floodway or coastal
high hazard area, the community shall:
(1) Require the standards of paragraph (b) of this
section within all A1-30 zones, AE zones, A
zones, AH zones, and AO zones, on the
community's FIRM;
(2) Require that all new construction and
substantial
improvements
of
residential
NFIP Regulations
structures within Zones A1-30, AE and AH
zones on the community's FIRM have the lowest
floor (including basement) elevated to or above
the base flood level, unless the community is
granted an exception by the Administrator for
the allowance of basements in accordance with
Sec. 60.6 (b) or (c);
(3) Require that all new construction and
substantial improvements of non-residential
structures within Zones A1-30, AE and AH
zones on the community's firm (i) have the
lowest floor (including basement) elevated to or
above the base flood level or, (ii) together with
attendant utility and sanitary facilities, be
designed so that below the base flood level the
structure is watertight with walls substantially
impermeable to the passage of water and with
structural components having the capability of
resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads
and effects of buoyancy;
(4) Provide that where a non-residential
structure is intended to be made watertight
below the base flood level, (i) a registered
professional engineer or architect shall develop
and/or review structural design, specifications,
and plans for the construction, and shall certify
that the design and methods of construction are
in accordance with accepted standards of
practice for meeting the applicable provisions of
paragraph (c)(3)(ii) or (c)(8)(ii) of this section,
and (ii) a record of such certificates which
includes the specific elevation (in relation to
mean sea level) to which such structures are
floodproofed shall be maintained with the
official designated by the community under Sec.
59.22(a)(9)(iii);
(5) Require, for all new construction and
substantial improvements, that fully enclosed
areas below the lowest floor that are usable
solely for parking of vehicles, building access or
storage in an area other than a basement and
which are subject to flooding shall be designed
to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood
forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry
and exit of floodwaters. Designs for meeting this
requirement must either be certified by a
registered professional engineer or architect or
meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:
A minimum of two openings having a total net
area of not less than one square inch for every
square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding
shall be provided. The bottom of all openings
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shall be no higher than one foot above grade.
Openings may be equipped with screens,
louvers, valves, or other coverings or devices
provided that they permit the automatic entry
and exit of floodwaters.
(6) Require that manufactured homes that are
placed or substantially improved within Zones
A1-30, AH, and AE on the community's FIRM
on sites
(i) Outside of a manufactured home park or
subdivision,
(ii) In a new manufactured home park or
subdivision,
(iii) In an expansion to an existing manufactured
home park or subdivision, or
(iv) In an existing manufactured home park or
subdivision on which a manufactured home has
incurred ``substantial damage'' as the result of a
flood, be elevated on a permanent foundation
such that the lowest floor of the manufactured
home is elevated to or above the base flood
elevation and be securely anchored to an
adequately anchored foundation system to resist
floatation collapse and lateral movement.
(7) Require within any AO zone on the
community's FIRM that all new construction and
substantial
improvements
of
residential
structures have the lowest floor (including
basement) elevated above the highest adjacent
grade at least as high as the depth number
specified in feet on the community's FIRM (at
least two feet if no depth number is specified);
(8) Require within any AO zone on the
community's FIRM that all new construction and
substantial improvements of nonresidential
structures
(i) have the lowest floor (including basement)
elevated above the highest adjacent grade at
least as high as the depth number specified in
feet on the community's FIRM (at least two feet
if no depth number is specified), or
(ii) together with attendant utility and sanitary
facilities be completely floodproofed to that
level to meet the floodproofing standard
specified in Sec. 60.3(c)(3)(ii);
(9) Require within any A99 zones on a
community's FIRM the standards of paragraphs
(a)(1) through (a)(4)(i) and (b)(5) through (b)(9)
of this section;
(10) Require until a regulatory floodway is
designated, that no new construction, substantial
improvements, or other development (including
NFIP Regulations
fill) shall be permitted within Zones A1-30 and
AE on the community's FIRM, unless it is
demonstrated that the cumulative effect of the
proposed development, when combined with all
other existing and anticipated development, will
not increase the water surface elevation of the
base flood more than one foot at any point
within the community.
(11) Require within Zones AH and AO,
adequate drainage paths around structures on
slopes, to guide floodwaters around and away
from proposed structures.
(12) Require that manufactured homes to be
placed or substantially improved on sites in an
existing manufactured home park or subdivision
within Zones A-1-30, AH, and AE on the
community's FIRM that are not subject to the
provisions of paragraph (c)(6) of this section be
elevated so that either
(i) The lowest floor of the manufactured home is
at or above the base flood elevation, or
(ii) The manufactured home chassis is supported
by reinforced piers or other foundation elements
of at least equivalent strength that are no less
than 36 inches in height above grade and be
securely anchored to an adequately anchored
foundation system to resist floatation, collapse,
and lateral movement.
(13) Notwithstanding any other provisions of
Sec. 60.3, a community may approve certain
development in Zones Al-30, AE, and AH, on
the community's FIRM which increase the water
surface elevation of the base flood by more than
one foot, provided that the community first
applies for a conditional FIRM revision, fulfills
the requirements for such a revision as
established under the provisions of Sec. 65.12,
and receives the approval of the Administrator.
(14) Require that recreational vehicles placed on
sites within Zones A1-30, AH, and AE on the
community's FIRM either
(i) Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive
days,
(ii) Be fully licensed and ready for highway use,
or
(iii) Meet the permit requirements of paragraph
(b)(1) of this section and the elevation and
anchoring requirements for `”manufactured
homes” in paragraph (c)(6) of this section.
A recreational vehicle is ready for highway use
if it is on its wheels or jacking system, is
attached to the site only by quick disconnect
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type utilities and security devices, and has no
permanently attached additions.
(d) When the Administrator has provided a
notice of final base flood elevations within
Zones A1-30 and/or AE on the community's
FIRM and, if appropriate, has designated AO
zones, AH zones, A99 zones, and A zones on
the community's FIRM, and has provided data
from which the community shall designate its
regulatory floodway, the community shall:
(1) Meet the requirements of paragraphs (c) (1)
through (14) of this section;
(2) Select and adopt a regulatory floodway based
on the principle that the area chosen for the
regulatory floodway must be designed to carry
the waters of the base flood, without increasing
the water surface elevation of that flood more
than one foot at any point;
(3) Prohibit encroachments, including fill, new
construction, substantial improvements, and
other development within the adopted regulatory
floodway unless it has been demonstrated
through hydrologic and hydraulic analyses
performed in accordance with standard
engineering practice that the proposed
encroachment would not result in any increase in
flood levels within the community during the
occurrence of the base flood discharge;
(4) Notwithstanding any other provisions of Sec.
60.3, a community may permit encroachments
within the adopted regulatory floodway that
would result in an increase in base flood
elevations, provided that the community first
applies for a conditional FIRM and floodway
revision, fulfills the requirements for such
revisions as established under the provisions of
Sec. 65.12, and receives the approval of the
Administrator.
(e) When the Administrator has provided a
notice of final base flood elevations within
Zones A1-30 and/or AE on the community's
FIRM and, if appropriate, has designated AH
zones, AO zones, A99 zones, and A zones on
the community's FIRM, and has identified on the
community's FIRM coastal high hazard areas by
designating Zones V1-30, VE, and/or V, the
community shall:
(1) Meet the requirements of paragraphs (c)(1)
through (14) of this section;
(2) Within Zones V1-30, VE, and V on a
community's FIRM, (i ) obtain the elevation (in
relation to mean sea level) of the bottom of the
NFIP Regulations
lowest structural member of the lowest floor
(excluding pilings and columns) of all new and
substantially improved structures, and whether
or not such structures contain a basement, and
(ii) maintain a record of all such information
with the official designated by the community
under Sec. 59.22(a)(9)(iii);
(3) Provide that all new construction within
Zones V1-30, VE, and V on the community's
FIRM is located landward of the reach of mean
high tide;
(4) Provide that all new construction and
substantial improvements in Zones V1-30 and
VE, and also Zone V if base flood elevation data
is available, on the community's FIRM, are
elevated on pilings and columns so that
(i) the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural
member of the lowest floor (excluding the
pilings or columns) is elevated to or above the
base flood level; and
(ii) the pile or column foundation and structure
attached thereto is anchored to resist flotation,
collapse and lateral movement due to the effects
of wind and water loads acting simultaneously
on all building components. Water loading
values used shall be those associated with the
base flood. Wind loading values used shall be
those required by applicable State or local
building standards. A registered professional
engineer or architect shall develop or review the
structural design, specifications and plans for the
construction, and shall certify that the design
and methods of construction to be used are in
accordance with accepted standards of practice
for meeting the provisions of paragraphs (e)(4)
(i) and (ii) of this section.
(5) Provide that all new construction and
substantial improvements within Zones V1-30,
VE, and V on the community's FIRM have the
space below the lowest floor either free of
obstruction or constructed with non-supporting
breakaway walls, open wood lattice-work, or
insect screening intended to collapse under wind
and water loads without causing collapse,
displacement, or other structural damage to the
elevated portion of the building or supporting
foundation system. For the purposes of this
section, a breakway wall shall have a design safe
loading resistance of not less than 10 and no
more than 20 pounds per square foot. Use of
breakway walls which exceed a design safe
loading resistance of 20 pounds per square foot
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(either by design or when so required by local or
State codes) may be permitted only if a
registered professional engineer or architect
certifies that the designs proposed meet the
following conditions:
(i) Breakaway wall collapse shall result from a
water load less than that which would occur
during the base flood; and,
(ii) The elevated portion of the building and
supporting foundation system shall not be
subject to collapse, displacement, or other
structural damage due to the effects of wind and
water loads acting simultaneously on all
building components (structural and nonstructural). Water loading values used shall be
those associated with the base flood. Wind
loading values used shall be those required by
applicable State or local building standards.
Such enclosed space shall be useable solely for
parking of vehicles, building access, or storage.
(6) Prohibit the use of fill for structural support
of buildings within Zones V1-30, VE, and V on
the community's FIRM;
(7) Prohibit man-made alteration of sand dunes
and mangrove stands within Zones V1-30, VE,
and V on the community's FIRM which would
increase potential flood damage.
(8) Require that manufactured homes placed or
substantially improved within Zones V1-30, V,
and VE on the community's FIRM on sites
(i) Outside of a manufactured home park or
subdivision,
(ii) In a new manufactured home park or
subdivision,
(iii) In an expansion to an existing manufactured
home park or
subdivision, or
(iv) In an existing manufactured home park or
subdivision on which a manufactured home has
incurred ``substantial damage'' as the result of a
flood, meet the standards of paragraphs (e)(2)
through (7) of this section and that manufactured
homes placed or substantially improved on other
sites in an existing manufactured home park or
subdivision within Zones VI-30, V, and VE on
the community's FIRM meet the requirements of
paragraph (c)(12) of this section.
(9) Require that recreational vehicles placed on
sites within Zones V1-30, V, and VE on the
community's FIRM either
(i) Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive
days,
NFIP Regulations
(ii) Be fully licensed and ready for highway use,
or
(iii) Meet the requirements in paragraphs (b)(1)
and (e) (2) through (7) of this section.
A recreational vehicle is ready for highway use
if it is on its wheels or jacking system, is
attached to the site only by quick disconnect
type utilities and security devices, and has no
permanently attached additions.
(f) When the Administrator has provided a
notice of final base flood elevations within
Zones A1-30 or AE on the community's FIRM,
and, if appropriate, has designated AH zones,
AO zones, A99 zones, and A zones on the
community's FIRM, and has identified flood
protection restoration areas by designating
Zones AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AH,
AR/AO, or AR/A, the community shall:
(1) Meet the requirements of paragraphs (c)(1)
through (14) and (d)(1) through (4) of this
section.
(2) Adopt the official map or legal description of
those areas within Zones AR, AR/A1-30,
AR/AE, AR/AH, AR/A, or AR/AO that are
designated developed areas as defined in
Sec.59.1 in accordance with the eligibility
procedures under Sec.65.14.
(3) For all new construction of structures in
areas within Zone AR that are designated as
developed areas and in other areas within Zone
AR where the AR flood depth is 5 feet or less:
(i) Determine the lower of either the AR base
flood elevation or the elevation that is 3 feet
above highest adjacent grade; and
(ii) Using this elevation, require the standards of
paragraphs (c)(1) through (14) of this section.
(4) For all new construction of structures in
those areas within Zone AR that are not
designated as developed areas where the AR
flood depth is greater than 5 feet:
(i) Determine the AR base flood elevation; and
(ii) Using that elevation require the standards of
paragraphs (c)(1) through (14) of this section.
(5) For all new construction of structures in
areas within Zone AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AH,
AR/AO, and AR/A:
(i) Determine the applicable elevation for Zone
AR from paragraphs (a)(3) and (4) of this
section;
(ii) Determine the base flood elevation or flood
depth for the underlying A1-30, AE, AH, AO
and A Zone; and
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(iii) Using the higher elevation from paragraphs
(a)(5)(i) and (ii) of this section require the
standards of paragraphs (c)(1) through (14) of
this section.
(6) For all substantial improvements to existing
construction within Zones AR/A1-30, AR/AE,
AR/AH, AR/AO, and AR/A:
(i) Determine the A1-30 or AE, AH, AO, or A
Zone base flood elevation; and
(ii) Using this elevation apply the requirements
of paragraphs (c)(1) through (14) of this section.
(7) Notify the permit applicant that the area has
been designated as an AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE,
AR/AH, AR/AO, or AR/A Zone and whether the
structure will be elevated or protected to or
above the AR base flood elevation.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976]
Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations
affecting Sec. 60.3, see the List of CFR Sections
Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids
section of the printed volume and on GPO
Access.
§ 60.4 Flood plain management criteria for
mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone areas.
The Administrator will provide the data upon
which flood plain management regulations shall
be based. If the Administrator has not provided
sufficient data to furnish a basis for these
regulations in a particular community, the
community shall obtain, review, and reasonably
utilize data available from other Federal, State or
other sources pending receipt of data from the
Administrator. However, when special mudslide
(i.e., mudflow) hazard area designations have
been furnished by the Administrator, they shall
apply. The symbols defining such special
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazard designations are
set forth in Sec. 64.3 of this subchapter. In all
cases, the minimum requirements for mudslide
(i.e., mudflow)-prone areas adopted by a
particular community depend on the amount of
technical data provided to the community by the
Administrator.
Minimum
standards
for
communities are as follows:
(a) When the Administrator has not yet
identified any area within the community as an
area having special mudslide (i.e., mudflow)
hazards, but the community has indicated the
presence of such hazards by submitting an
application to participate in the Program, the
community shall
NFIP Regulations
(1) Require permits for all proposed construction
or other development in the community so that it
may determine whether development is
proposed within mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone
areas;
(2) Require review of each permit application to
determine whether the proposed site and
improvements will be reasonably safe from
mudslides (i.e., mudflows). Factors to be
considered in making such a determination
should include but not be limited to (i) the type
and quality of soils, (ii) any evidence of ground
water or surface water problems, (iii) the depth
and quality of any fill, (iv) the overall slope of
the site, and (v) the weight that any proposed
structure will impose on the slope;
(3) Require, if a proposed site and improvements
are in a location that may have mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) hazards, that
(i) a site investigation and further review be
made by persons qualified in geology and soils
engineering, (ii) the proposed grading,
excavations, new construction, and substantial
improvements are adequately designed and
protected against mudslide (i.e., mudflow)
damages,
(iii)
the
proposed
grading,
excavations, new construction and substantial
improvements do not aggravate the existing
hazard by creating either on-site or off-site
disturbances, and (iv) drainage, planting,
watering, and maintenance be such as not to
endanger slope stability.
(b) When the Administrator has delineated Zone
M on the community's FIRM, the community
shall:
(1) Meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of
this section; and
(2) Adopt and enforce a grading ordinance or
regulation in accordance with data supplied by
the Administrator which (i) regulates the
location of foundation systems and utility
systems of new
construction and substantial improvements, (ii)
regulates the location, drainage and maintenance
of all excavations, cuts and fills and planted
slopes, (iii) provides special requirements for
protective measures
including but not necessarily limited to retaining
walls, buttress fills, sub-drains, diverter terraces,
benchings, etc., and (iv) requires engineering
drawings and specifications to be submitted for
all corrective measures, accompanied by
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supporting soils engineering and geology
reports. Guidance may be obtained from the
provisions of the 1973 edition and any
subsequent edition of the Uniform Building
Code, sections 7001 through 7006, and 7008
through 7015. The Uniform Building Code is
published by the International Conference of
Building Officials, 50 South Los Robles,
Pasadena, California 91101.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984]
§ 60.5 Flood plain management criteria for
flood-related erosion-prone
areas.
The Administrator will provide the data upon
which flood plain management regulations for
flood-related erosion-prone areas shall be based.
If the Administrator has not provided sufficient
data to furnish a basis for these regulations in a
particular community, the community shall
obtain, review, and reasonably utilize data
available from other Federal, State or other
sources, pending receipt of data from the
Administrator. However, when special floodrelated erosion hazard area designations have
been furnished by the Administrator they shall
apply. The symbols defining such special floodrelated erosion hazard designations are set forth
in Sec. 64.3 of this subchapter. In all cases the
minimum requirements governing the adequacy
of the flood plain management regulations for
flood-related erosion-prone areas adopted by a
particular community depend on the amount of
technical data provided to the community by the
Administrator.
Minimum
standards
for
communities are as follows:
(a) When the Administrator has not yet
identified any area within the community as
having special flood-related erosion hazards, but
the community has indicated the presence of
such hazards by submitting an application to
participate in the Program, the community shall
(1) Require the issuance of a permit for all
proposed construction, or other development in
the area of flood-related erosion hazard, as it is
known to the community;
(2) Require review of each permit application to
determine whether the proposed site alterations
and improvements will be reasonably safe from
NFIP Regulations
flood-related erosion and will not cause floodrelated erosion hazards or otherwise aggravate
the existing flood-related erosion hazard; and
(3) If a proposed improvement is found to be in
the path of flood-related erosion or to increase
the erosion hazard, require the improvement to
be relocated or adequate protective measures to
be taken which will not aggravate the existing
erosion hazard.
(b) When the Administrator has delineated Zone
E on the community's FIRM, the community
shall
(1) Meet the requirements of paragraph (a) of
this section; and
(2) Require a setback for all new development
from the ocean, lake, bay, riverfront or other
body of water, to create a safety buffer
consisting of a natural vegetative or contour
strip. This buffer will be designated by the
Administrator according to the flood-related
erosion hazard and erosion rate, in conjunction
with the anticipated ``useful life'' of structures,
and depending upon the geologic, hydrologic,
topographic and climatic characteristics of the
community's land. The buffer may be used for
suitable open space purposes, such as for
agricultural, forestry, outdoor recreation and
wildlife habitat areas, and for other activities
using temporary and portable structures only.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984]
§ 60.6 Variances and exceptions.
(a) The Administrator does not set forth absolute
criteria for granting variances from the criteria
set forth in Sec.. 60.3, 60.4, and 60.5. The
issuance of a variance is for flood plain
management
purposes only. Insurance premium rates are
determined by statute according to actuarial risk
and will not be modified by the granting of a
variance. The community, after examining the
applicant's hardships, shall approve or
disapprove a request. While the granting of
variances generally is limited to a lot size less
than one-half acre (as set forth in paragraph
(a)(2) of this section), deviations from that
limitation may occur. However, as the lot size
increases beyond one-half acre, the technical
justification required for issuing a variance
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increases. The Administrator may review a
community's findings justifying the granting of
variances, and if that review indicates a pattern
inconsistent with the objectives of sound flood
plain management, the Administrator may take
appropriate action under Sec. 59.24(b) of this
subchapter. Variances may be issued for the
repair or rehabilitation of historic structures
upon a determination that the proposed repair or
rehabilitation will not preclude the structure's
continued designation as a historic structure and
the variance is the minimum necessary to
preserve the historic character and design of the
structure. Procedures for the granting of
variances by a community are as follows:
(1) Variances shall not be issued by a
community within any designated regulatory
floodway if any increase in flood levels during
the base flood discharge would result;
(2) Variances may be issued by a community for
new construction and substantial improvements
to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in
size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with
existing structures constructed below the base
flood level, in conformance with the procedures
of paragraphs (a) (3), (4), (5) and (6) of this
section;
(3) Variances shall only be issued by a
community upon (i) a showing of good and
sufficient cause, (ii) a determination that failure
to grant the variance would result in exceptional
hardship to the applicant, and (iii) a
determination that the granting of a variance will
not result in increased flood heights, additional
threats to public safety, extraordinary public
expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or
victimization of the public, or conflict with
existing local laws or ordinances;
(4) Variances shall only be issued upon a
determination that the variance is the minimum
necessary, considering the flood hazard, to
afford relief;
(5) A community shall notify the applicant in
writing over the signature of a community
official that (i) the issuance of a variance to
construct a structure below the base flood level
will result in increased premium rates for flood
insurance up to amounts as high as $25 for $100
of insurance coverage and (ii) such construction
below the base flood level increases risks to life
and property. Such notification shall be
maintained with a record of all variance actions
NFIP Regulations
as required in paragraph (a)(6) of this section;
and
(6) A community shall (i) maintain a record of
all variance actions, including justification for
their issuance, and (ii) report such variances
issued in its annual or biennial report submitted
to the Administrator.
(7) Variances may be issued by a community for
new construction and substantial improvements
and for other development necessary for the
conduct of a functionally dependent use
provided that (i) the criteria of paragraphs (a)(1)
through (a)(4) of this section are met, and (ii) the
structure or other development is protected by
methods that minimize flood damages during the
base flood and create no additional threats to
public safety.
(b)(1) The requirement that each flood-prone,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone, and floodrelated erosion prone community must adopt and
submit adequate flood plain management
regulations as a condition of initial and
continued flood insurance eligibility is statutory
and cannot be waived, and such regulations shall
be adopted by a community within the time
periods specified in Sec. 60.3, 60.4 or Sec. 60.5.
However, certain exceptions from the standards
contained in this subpart may be permitted
where the Administrator recognizes that,
because of extraordinary circumstances, local
conditions may render the application of certain
standards the cause for severe hardship and
gross inequity for a particular community.
Consequently, a community proposing the
adoption of flood plain management regulations
which vary from the standards set forth in Sec.
60.3, 60.4, or Sec. 60.5, shall explain in writing
to the Administrator the nature and extent of and
the reasons for the exception request and shall
include
sufficient
supporting
economic,
environmental, topographic, hydrologic, and
other scientific and technical data, and data with
respect to the impact on public safety and the
environment.
(2) The Administrator shall prepare a Special
Environmental Clearance to determine whether
the proposal for an exception under paragraph
(b)(1) of this section will have significant impact
on the human environment. The decision
whether an Environmental Impact Statement or
other environmental document will be prepared,
will be made in accordance with the procedures
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set out in 44 CFR part 10. Ninety or more days
may be required for an environmental quality
clearance if the proposed exception will have
significant impact on the human environment
thereby requiring an EIS.
(c) A community may propose flood plain
management measures which adopt standards
for floodproofed residential basements below the
base flood level in zones A1-30, AH, AO, and
AE which are not subject to tidal flooding.
Nothwithstanding the requirements of paragraph
(b) of this section the Administrator may
approve the proposal provided that:
(1) The community has demonstrated that areas
of special flood hazard in which basements will
be permitted are subject to shallow and low
velocity flooding and that there is adequate flood
warning time to ensure that all residents are
notified of impending floods. For the purposes
of this paragraph flood characteristics must
include:
(i) Flood depths that are five feet or less for
developable lots that are contiguous to land
above the base flood level and three feet or less
for other lots;
(ii) Flood velocities that are five feet per second
or less; and(iii) Flood warning times that are 12
hours or greater. Flood warning times of two
hours or greater may be approved if the
community demonstrates that it has a flood
warning system and emergency plan in
operation that is adequate to ensure safe
evacuation of flood plain residents.
(2) The community has adopted flood plain
management measures that require that new
construction and substantial improvements of
residential structures with basements in zones
A1-30, AH, AO, and AE shall:
(i) Be designed and built so that any basement
area, together with attendant utilities and
sanitary facilities below the floodproofed design
level, is watertight with walls that are
impermeable to the passage of water without
human intervention. Basement walls shall be
built with the capacity to resist hydrostatic and
hydrodynamic loads and the effects of buoyancy
resulting from flooding to the floodproofed
design level, and shall be designed so that
minimal damage will occur from floods that
exceed that level. The floodproofed design level
shall be an elevation one foot above the level of
the base flood where the difference between the
NFIP Regulations
base flood and the 500-year flood is three feet or
less and two feet above the level of the base
flood where the difference is greater than three
feet.
(ii) Have the top of the floor of any basement
area no lower than five feet below the elevation
of the base flood;
iii) Have the area surrounding the structure on
all sides filled to or above the elevation of the
base flood. Fill must be compacted with slopes
protected by vegetative cover;
(iv) Have a registered professional engineer or
architect develop or review the building's
structural design, specifications, and plans,
including consideration of the depth, velocity,
and duration of flooding and type and
permeability of soils at the building site, and
certify that the basement design and methods of
construction proposed are in accordance with
accepted standards of practice for meeting the
provisions of this paragraph;
(v) Be inspected by the building inspector or
other authorized representative of the
community to verify that the structure is built
according to its design and those provisions of
this section which are verifiable.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44543 and 44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751,
Feb. 8, 1984; 50 FR 36025, Sept. 4, 1985; 51 FR
30308, Aug. 25, 1986; 54 FR 33550, Aug. 15,
1989]
§ 60.7 Revisions of criteria for flood plain
management regulations.
From time to time part 60 may be revised as
experience is acquired under the Program and
new
information
becomes
available.
Communities will be given six months from the
effective date of any new regulation to revise
their flood plain management regulations to
comply with any such changes.
§ 60.8 Definitions.
The definitions set forth in part 59 of this
subchapter are applicable to this part.
Subpart B--Requirements for State Flood
Plain Management Regulations
§ 60.11 Purpose of this subpart.
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(a) A State is considered a ``community''
pursuant to Sec. 59.1 of this subchapter; and,
accordingly, the Act provides that flood
insurance shall not be sold or renewed under the
Program unless a community has adopted
adequate flood plain management regulations
consistent with criteria established by the
Administrator.
(b) This subpart sets forth the flood plain
management criteria required for State-owned
properties located within special hazard areas
identified by the Administrator. A State shall
satisfy such criteria as a condition to the
purchase of a Standard Flood Insurance Policy
for a State-owned structure or its contents, or as
a condition to the approval by the Administrator,
pursuant to part 75 of this subchapter, of its plan
of self-insurance.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984]
§ 60.12 Flood plain management criteria for
State-owned properties in special hazard
areas.
(a) The State shall comply with the minimum
flood plain management criteria set forth in
Sec.Sec. 60.3, 60.4, and 60.5. A State either
shall:
(1) Comply with the flood plain management
requirements of all local communities
participating in the program in which Stateowned properties are located; or(2) Establish
and enforce flood plain management regulations
which, at a minimum, satisfy the criteria set
forth in Sec. 60.3, 60.4, and 60.5.
(b) The procedures by which a state government
adopts and administers flood plain management
regulations satisfying the criteria set forth in
Sec. 60.3, 60.4 and 60.5 may vary from the
procedures by which local governments satisfy
the criteria.
(c) If any State-owned property is located in a
non-participating local community, then the
State shall comply with the requirements of
paragraph (a)(2) of this section for the property.
§ Sec. 60.13 Noncompliance.
If a State fails to submit adequate flood plain
management regulations applicable to Stateowned properties pursuant to Sec. 60.12 within
NFIP Regulations
six months of the effective date of this
regulation, or fails to adequately enforce such
regulations, the State shall be subject to
suspensive action pursuant to Sec. 59.24. Where
the State fails to adequately enforce its flood
plain management regulations, the Administrator
shall conduct a hearing before initiating such
suspensive action.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44552, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984]
Subpart C--Additional Considerations in
Managing Flood-Prone, Mudslide (i.e.,
Mudflow)-Prone and Flood-Related ErosionProne Areas
§ 60.21 Purpose of this subpart.
The purpose of this subpart is to encourage the
formation
and
adoption
of
overall
comprehensive management plans for floodprone, mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone and
flood-related erosion-prone areas. While
adoption by a community of the standards in this
subpart is not mandatory, the community shall
completely evaluate these standards.
§ 60.22 Planning considerations for floodprone areas.
(a) The flood plain management regulations
adopted by a community for flood-prone areas
should:
(1) Permit only that development of flood-prone
areas which (i) is appropriate in light of the
probability of flood damage and the need to
reduce flood losses, (ii) is an acceptable social
and economic use of the land in relation to the
hazards involved, and (iii) does not increase the
danger to human life;
(2) Prohibit nonessential or improper installation
of public utilities and public facilities in floodprone areas.
(b) In formulating community development
goals after the occurrence of a flood disaster,
each community shall consider-(1) Preservation of the flood-prone areas for
open space purposes;
(2) Relocation of occupants away from floodprone areas;
(3) Acquisition of land or land development
rights for public
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purposes consistent with a policy of
minimization of future property losses;
(4) Acquisition of frequently flood-damaged
structures;
(c) In formulating community development
goals and in adopting flood plain management
regulations, each community shall consider at
least the following factors-(1) Human safety;
(2) Diversion of development to areas safe from
flooding in light of the need to reduce flood
damages and in light of the need to prevent
environmentally incompatible flood plain use;
(3) Full disclosure to all prospective and
interested parties (including but not limited to
purchasers and renters) that
(i) certain structures are located within floodprone areas,
(ii) variances have been granted for certain
structures located within flood-prone areas, and
(iii) premium rates applied to new structures
built at elevations below the base flood
substantially increase as the elevation decreases;
(4) Adverse effects of flood plain development
on existing development;
(5) Encouragement of floodproofing to reduce
flood damage;
(6) Flood warning and emergency preparedness
plans;
(7) Provision for alternative vehicular access and
escape routes when normal routes are blocked or
destroyed by flooding;
(8) Establishment of minimum floodproofing
and access requirements for schools, hospitals,
nursing homes, orphanages, penal institutions,
fire stations, police stations, communications
centers, water and sewage pumping stations, and
other public or quasi-public facilities already
located in the flood-prone area, to enable them
to withstand flood damage, and to facilitate
emergency operations;
(9) Improvement of local drainage to control
increased runoff that might increase the danger
of flooding to other properties;
(10) Coordination of plans with neighboring
community's flood plain management programs;
(11) The requirement that all new construction
and substantial improvements in areas subject to
subsidence be elevated above the base flood
level equal to expected subsidence for at least a
ten year period;
NFIP Regulations
(12) For riverine areas, requiring subdividers to
furnish delineations for floodways before
approving a subdivision;
(13) Prohibition of any alteration or relocation of
a watercourse, except as part of an overall
drainage basin plan. In the event of an overall
drainage basin plan, provide that the flood
carrying capacity within the altered or relocated
portion of the watercourse is maintained;
(14) Requirement of setbacks for new
construction within Zones V1-30, VE, and V on
a community's FIRM;
(15) Requirement of additional elevation above
the base flood level for all new construction and
substantial improvements within Zones A1-30,
AE, V1-30, and VE on the community's FIRM
to protect against such occurrences as wave
wash and floating debris, to provide an added
margin of safety against floods having a
magnitude greater than the base flood, or to
compensate for future urban development;
(16) Requirement of consistency between state,
regional and local comprehensive plans and
flood plain management programs;
(17) Requirement of pilings or columns rather
than fill, for the elevation of structures within
flood-prone areas, in order to maintain the
storage capacity of the flood plain and to
minimize the potential for negative impacts to
sensitive ecological areas;
(18) Prohibition, within any floodway or coastal
high hazard area, of plants or facilities in which
hazardous substances are manufactured.
(19) Requirement that a plan for evacuating
residents of all manufactured home parks or
subdivisions located within flood prone areas be
developed and filed with and approved by
appropriate community emergency management
authorities.
[41 FR 46975, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 50 FR
36025, Sept. 4, 1985; 54 FR 40284, Sept. 29,
1989]
§ 60.23 Planning considerations for mud
slide (i.e., mudflow)-prone areas.
The planning process for communities identified
under part 65 of this subchapter as containing
Zone M, or which indicate in their applications
for flood insurance pursuant to Sec. 59.22 of this
subchapter that they have mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) areas, should include--
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(a) The existence and extent of the hazard;
(b) The potential effects of inappropriate hillside
development, including
(1) Loss of life and personal injuries, and
(2) Public and private property losses, costs,
liabilities, and exposures resulting from potential
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazards;
(c) The means of avoiding the hazard including
the (1) availability of land which is not mudslide
(i.e., mudflow)-prone and the feasibility of
developing such land instead of further
encroaching upon mudslide (i.e., mudflow)
areas, (2) possibility of public acquisition of
land, easements, and development rights to
assure the proper development of hillsides, and
(3) advisability of preserving mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) areas as open space;
(d) The means of adjusting to the hazard,
including the (1) establishment by ordinance of
site exploration, investigation, design, grading,
construction, filing, compacting, foundation,
sewerage, drainage, subdrainage, planting,
inspection and maintenance standards and
requirements that promote proper land use, and
(2) provision for proper drainage and
subdrainage on public property and the location
of public utilities and service facilities, such as
sewer, water, gas and electrical systems and
streets in a manner designed to minimize
exposure to mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazards
and prevent their aggravation;
(e) Coordination of land use, sewer, and
drainage regulations and ordinances with fire
prevention, flood plain, mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow), soil, land, and water regulation in
neighboring communities;
(f)
Planning
subdivisions
and
other
developments in such a manner as to avoid
exposure to mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazards
and the control of public facility and utility
extension
to
discourage
inappropriate
development;
(g) Public facility location and design
requirements with higher site stability and
access standards for schools, hospitals, nursing
homes, orphanages, correctional and other
residential institutions, fire and police stations,
communication
centers,
electric
power
transformers and substations, water and sewer
pumping stations and any other public or quasipublic institutions located in the mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow) area to enable them to withstand
NFIP Regulations
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) damage and to
facilitate emergency operations; and
(h) Provision for emergencies, including:
(1) Warning, evacuation, abatement, and access
procedures in the event of mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow),
(2) Enactment of public measures and initiation
of private procedures to limit danger and
damage from continued or future mudslides (i.e.,
mudflow),
(3) Fire prevention procedures in the event of
the rupture of gas or electrical distribution
systems by mudslides,
(4) Provisions to avoid contamination of water
conduits or deterioration of slope stability by the
rupture of such systems,
(5) Similar provisions for sewers which in the
event of rupture pose both health and site
stability hazards and
(6) Provisions for alternative vehicular access
and escape routes when normal routes are
blocked or destroyed by mudslides (i.e.,
mudflow);
(i) The means for assuring consistency between
state, areawide, and local comprehensive plans
with the plans developed for mudslide (i.e.,
mudflow)-prone areas;
(j) Deterring the nonessential installation of
public utilities and public facilities in mudslide
(i.e., mudflow)-prone areas.
§ 60.24 Planning considerations for floodrelated erosion-prone areas.
The planning process for communities identified
under part 65 of this subchapter as containing
Zone E or which indicate in their applications
for flood insurance coverage pursuant to Sec.
59.22 of this subchapter that they have floodrelated erosion areas should include-(a) The importance of directing future
developments to areas not exposed to floodrelated erosion;
(b) The possibility of reserving flood-related
erosion-prone areas for open space purposes;
(c) The coordination of all planning for the
flood-related erosion-prone areas with planning
at the State and Regional levels, and with
planning at the level of neighboring
communities;
(d) Preventive action in E zones, including
setbacks, shore protection works, relocating
structures in the path of flood-related erosion,
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and community acquisition of flood-related
erosion-prone properties for public purposes;
(e) Consistency of plans for flood-related
erosion-prone areas with comprehensive plans at
the state, regional and local levels.
§ 60.25
Designation, duties, and
responsibilities of State
Coordinating
Agencies.
(a) States are encouraged to demonstrate a
commitment to the minimum flood plain
management criteria set forth in Sec.Sec. 60.3,
60.4, and 60.5 as evidenced by the designation
of an agency of State government to be
responsible for coordinating the Program aspects
of flood plain management in the State.
(b) State participation in furthering the
objectives of this part shall include maintaining
capability to perform the appropriate duties and
responsibilities as follows:
(1) Enact, whenever necessary, legislation
enabling counties and municipalities to regulate
development within flood-prone areas;
(2) Encourage and assist communities in
qualifying for participation in the Program;
(3) Guide and assist county and municipal public
bodies
and
agencies
in
developing,
implementing, and maintaining local flood plain
management regulations;
(4) Provide local governments and the general
public with Program information on the
coordination of local activities with Federal and
State requirements for managing flood-prone
areas;
(5) Assist communities in disseminating
information on minimum elevation requirements
for development within flood-prone areas;
(6) Assist in the delineation of riverine and
coastal flood-prone areas, whenever possible,
and provide all relevant technical information to
the Administrator;
(7) Recommend priorities for Federal flood plain
management activities in relation to the needs of
county and municipal localities within the State;
(8) Provide notification to the Administrator in
the event of apparent irreconcilable differences
between a community's local flood plain
management program and the minimum
requirements of the Program;
(9) Establish minimum State flood plain
management regulatory standards consistent
with those established in this part and in
NFIP Regulations
conformance with other Federal and State
environmental and water pollution standards for
the prevention of pollution during periods of
flooding;
(10) Assure coordination and consistency of
flood plain management activities with other
State, areawide, and local planning and
enforcement agencies;
(11) Assist in the identification and
implementation of flood hazard mitigation
recommendations which are consistent with the
minimum flood plain management criteria for
the Program;
(12) Participate in flood plain management
training opportunities and other flood hazard
preparedness programs whenever practicable.
(c) Other duties and responsibilities, which may
be deemed appropriate by the State and which
are to be officially designated as being
conducted in the capacity of the State
Coordinating Agency for the Program, may be
carried out with prior notification of the
Administrator.
(d) For States which have demonstrated a
commitment to and experience in application of
the minimum flood plain management criteria
set forth in Sec. 60.3, 60.4, and 60.5 as
evidenced
by
the
establishment
and
implementation of programs which substantially
encompass the activities described in paragraphs
(a), (b), and (c) of this section, the Administrator
shall take the foregoing into account when:
(1) Considering State recommendations prior to
implementing Program activities affecting State
communities;
(2) Considering State approval or certifications
of local flood plain management regulations as
meeting the requirements of this part.
[51 FR 30309, Aug. 25, 1986]
§ 60.26 Local coordination.
(a) Local flood plain, mudslide (i.e., mudflow)
and flood-related erosion area management,
forecasting, emergency preparedness, and
damage abatement programs should be
coordinated with relevant Federal, State, and
regional programs;
(b) A community adopting flood plain
management regulations pursuant to these
criteria should coordinate with the appropriate
State agency to promote public acceptance and
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use of effective flood plain, mudslide, (i.e.,
mudflow) and flood-related erosion regulations;
(c) A community should notify adjacent
communities prior to substantial commercial
developments and large subdivisions to be
undertaken in areas having special flood,
mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or flood-related
erosion hazards.
PART
65--IDENTIFICATION
AND
MAPPING OF SPECIAL HAZARD AREAS-Table of Contents
Sec.
65.1 Purpose of part.
65.2 Definitions.
65.3 Requirement to submit new technical data.
65.4 Right to submit new technical data.
65.5 Revision to special hazard area boundaries
with no change to base flood elevation
determinations.
65.6 Revision of base flood elevation
determinations.
65.7 Floodway revisions.
65.8 Review of proposed projects.
65.9 Review and response by the Administrator.
65.10 Mapping of areas protected by levee
systems.
65.11 Evaluation of sand dunes in mapping
coastal flood hazard areas.
65.12 Revision of flood insurance rate maps to
reflect base flood elevations caused by proposed
encroachments.
65.13 Mapping and map revisions for areas
subject to alluvial fan flooding.
65.14 Remapping of areas for which local flood
protection systems no longer provide base flood
protection.
65.15 List of communities submitting new
technical data.
65.16 Standard Flood Hazard Determination
Form and Instructions.
65.17 Review of determinations.
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.;
Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 43 FR
41943, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 329; E.O. 12127
of Mar. 31, 1979, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979
Comp., p. 376.
§ 65.1 Purpose of part.
42 U.S.C. 4104 authorizes the Director to
identify and publish information with respect to
all areas within the United States having special
NFIP Regulations
flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and flood-related
erosion hazards. The purpose of this part is to
outline the steps a community needs to take in
order to assist the Agency's effort in providing
up-to-date identification and publication, in the
form of the maps described in part 64, on special
flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and flood-related
erosion hazards.
[48 FR 28278, June 21, 1983]
§ 65.2 Definitions.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this part, the
definitions set forth in part 59 of this subchapter
are applicable to this part.
(b) For the purpose of this part, a certification by
a registered professional engineer or other party
does not constitute a warranty or guarantee of
performance, expressed or implied. Certification
of data is a statement that the data is accurate to
the best of the certifier's knowledge.
Certification of analyses is a statement that the
analyses have been performed correctly and in
accordance with sound engineering practices.
Certification of structural works is a statement
that the works are designed in accordance with
sound engineering practices to provide
protection from the base flood. Certification of
``as built'' conditions is a statement that the
structure(s) has been built according to the plans
being certified, is in place, and is fully
functioning.
(c) For the purposes of this part, ``reasonably
safe from flooding'' means base flood waters
will not inundate the land or damage structures
to be removed from the SFHA and that any
subsurface waters related to the base flood will
not damage existing or proposed buildings.
[51 FR 30313, Aug. 25, 1986, as amended at 66
FR 22442, May 4, 2001]
§ 65.3 Requirement to submit new technical
data.
A community's base flood elevations may
increase or decrease resulting from physical
changes affecting flooding conditions. As soon
as practicable, but not later than six months after
the date such information becomes available, a
community shall notify the Administrator of the
changes by submitting technical or scientific
data in accordance with this part. Such a
submission is necessary so that upon
confirmation of those physical changes affecting
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flooding conditions, risk premium rates and
flood plain management requirements will be
based upon current data.
[51 FR 30313, Aug. 25, 1986]
§ 65.4 Right to submit new technical data.
(a) A community has a right to request changes
to any of the information shown on an effective
map that does not impact flood plain or
floodway delineations or base flood elevations,
such as community boundary changes, labeling,
or planimetric details. Such a submission shall
include appropriate supporting documentation in
accordance with this part and may be submitted
at any time.
(b) All requests for changes to effective maps,
other than those Initiated by FEMA, must be
made in writing by the Chief Executive Officer
of the community (CEO) or an official
designated by the CEO. Should the CEO refuse
to submit such a request on behalf of another
party, FEMA will agree to review it only if
written evidence is provided indicating the CEO
or designee has been requested to do so.(c)
Requests for changes to effective Flood
Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood
Boundary and Floodway Maps (FBFMs) are
subject to the cost recovery procedures
described in 44 CFR part 72. As indicated in
part 72, revisions requested to correct mapping
errors or errors in the Flood Insurance Study
analysis are not to be subject to the costrecovery procedures.
[51 FR 30313, Aug. 25, 1986, as amended at 57
FR 29038, June 30, 1992; 61 FR 46331, Aug.
30, 1996; 62 FR 5736, Feb. 6, 1997]
Editorial Note: For references to FR pages
showing lists of eligible communities, see the
List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in
the Finding Aids section of the printed volume
and on GPO Access.
§ 65.5 Revision to special hazard area
boundaries with no change to base flood
elevation determinations.
(a) Data requirements for topographic changes.
In many areas of special flood hazard (excluding
V zones and floodways) it may be feasible to
elevate areas with engineered earthen fill above
the base flood elevation. Scientific and technical
information to support a request to gain
NFIP Regulations
exclusion from an area of special flood hazard of
a structure or parcel of land that has been
elevated by the placement of engineered earthen
fill will include the following:
(1) A copy of the recorded deed indicating the
legal description of the property and the official
recordation information (deed book volume and
page number) and bearing the seal of the
appropriate recordation official (e.g., County
Clerk or Recorder of Deeds).
(2) If the property is recorded on a plat map, a
copy of the recorded plat indicating both the
location of the property and the official
recordation information (plat book volume and
page number) and bearing the seal of the
appropriate recordation official. If the property
is not
recorded on a plat map, FEMA requires copies
of the tax map or other suitable maps to help in
locating the property accurately.(3) A
topographic map or other information indicating
existing
ground elevations and the date of fill. FEMA's
determination to exclude a legally defined parcel
of land or a structure from the area of special
flood hazard will be based upon a comparison of
the base flood elevations to the lowest ground
elevation of the parcel or the lowest adjacent
grade to the structure. If the lowest ground
elevation of the entire legally defined parcel of
land or the lowest adjacent grade to the structure
are at or above the elevations of the base flood,
FEMA will exclude the parcel and/or structure
from the area of special flood hazard.
(4) Written assurance by the participating
community that they have complied with the
appropriate minimum floodplain management
requirements under Sec. 60.3. This includes the
requirements that:
(i) Existing residential structures built in the
SFHA have their lowest floor elevated to or
above the base flood;
(ii) The participating community has determined
that the land and any existing or proposed
structures to be removed from the SFHA are
``reasonably safe from flooding'', and that they
have on file, available upon request by FEMA,
all supporting analyses and documentation used
to make that determination;
(iii) The participating community has issued
permits for all existing and proposed
construction or other development; and
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(iv) All necessary permits have been received
from those governmental agencies where
approval is required by Federal, State, or local
law.
(5) If the community cannot assure that it has
complied with the appropriate minimum
floodplain management requirements under Sec.
60.3, of this chapter, the map revision request
will be deferred until the community remedies
all violations to the maximum extent possible
through coordination with FEMA. Once the
remedies are in place, and the community
assures that the land and structures are
``reasonably safe from flooding,'' we will
process a revision to the SFHA using the criteria
set forth in Sec. 65.5(a). The community must
maintain on file, and make available upon
request by FEMA, all supporting analyses and
documentation used in determining that the land
or structures are ``reasonably safe from
flooding.''
(6) Data to substantiate the base flood elevation.
If we complete a Flood Insurance Study (FIS),
we will use those data to substantiate the base
flood elevation. Otherwise, the community may
submit data provided by an authoritative source,
such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S.
Geological
Survey,
Natural
Resources
Conservation Service, State and local water
resource departments, or technical data prepared
and certified by a registered professional
engineer. If base flood elevations have not
previously been established, we may also
request hydrologic and hydraulic calculations.
(7) A revision of floodplain delineations based
on fill must demonstrate that any such fill does
not result in a floodway encroachment.
(b) New topographic data. A community may
also follow the procedures described in
paragraphs (a)(1) through (6) of this section to
request a map revision when no physical
changes have occurred in the area of special
flood hazard, when no fill has been placed, and
when the natural ground elevations are at or
above the elevations of the base flood, where
new topographic maps are more detailed or more
accurate than the current map.
(c) Certification requirements. A registered
professional engineer or licensed land surveyor
must certify the items required in paragraphs
(a)(3) and (6) and (b) of this section. Such
NFIP Regulations
certifications are subject to the provisions under
Sec. 65.2.
(d) Submission procedures. Submit all requests
to the appropriate address serving the
community's geographic area or to the FEMA
Headquarters Office in Washington, DC.
[66 FR 22442, May 4, 2001]
§ 65.6 Revision of base flood elevation
determinations.
(a) General conditions and data requirements.
(1) The supporting data must include all the
information FEMA needs to review and evaluate
the request. This may involve the requestor's
performing new hydrologic and hydraulic
analysis and delineation of new flood plain
boundaries and floodways, as necessary.
(2) To avoid discontinuities between the revised
and unrevised flood data, the necessary
hydrologic and hydraulic analyses submitted by
the map revision requestor must be extensive
enough to ensure that a logical transition can be
shown between the revised flood elevations,
flood plain boundaries, and floodways and those
developed previously for areas not affected by
the revision. Unless it is demonstrated that it
would not be appropriate, the revised and
unrevised base flood elevations must match
within one-half foot where such transitions
occur.
(3) Revisions cannot be made based on the
effects of proposed projects or future conditions.
Section 65.8 of this subchapter contains
provisions for obtaining conditional approval of
proposed projects that may effect map changes
when they are completed.
(4) The datum and date of releveling of
benchmarks, if any, to which the elevations are
referenced must be indicated.
(5) Maps will not be revised when discharges
change as a result of the use of an alternative
methodology or data for computing flood
discharges unless the change is statistically
significant as measured by a confidence limits
analysis of the new discharge estimates.
(6) Any computer program used to perform
hydrologic or hydraulic analyses in support of a
flood insurance map revision must meet all of
the following criteria:
(i) It must have been reviewed and accepted by a
governmental agency responsible for the
implementation of programs for flood control
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and/or the regulation of flood plain lands. For
computer programs adopted by non-Federal
agencies, certification by a responsible agency
official must be provided which states that the
program has been reviewed, tested, and accepted
by that agency for purposes of design of flood
control structures or flood plain land use
regulation.
(ii) It must be well-documented including source
codes and user's manuals.
(iii) It must be available to FEMA and all
present and future parties impacted by flood
insurance mapping developed or amended
through the use of the program. For programs
not generally available from a Federal agency,
the source code and user's manuals must be sent
to FEMA free of charge, with fully-documented
permission from the owner that FEMA may
release the code and user's manuals to such
impacted parties.
(7) A revised hydrologic analysis for flooding
sources with established base flood elevations
must include evaluation of the same recurrence
interval(s) studied in the effective FIS, such as
the 10-, 50-, 100-, and 500-year flood
discharges.
(8) A revised hydraulic analysis for a flooding
source with established base flood elevations
must include evaluation of the same recurrence
interval(s) studied in the effective FIS, such as
the 10-,
50-, 100-, and 500-year flood elevations, and of
the floodway. Unless the basis of the request is
the use of an alternative hydraulic methodology
or the requestor can demonstrate that the data of
the original hydraulic computer model is
unavailable or its use is inappropriate, the
analysis shall be made using the same hydraulic
computer model used to develop the base flood
elevations shown on the effective Flood
Insurance Rate Map and updated to show
present conditions in the flood plain. Copies of
the input and output data from the original and
revised hydraulic analyses shall be submitted.
(9) A hydrologic or hydraulic analysis for a
flooding source without established base flood
elevations may be performed for only the 100year flood.
(10) A revision of flood plain delineations based
on topographic Changes must demonstrate that
any topographic changes have not resulted in a
floodway encroachment.
NFIP Regulations
(11) Delineations of flood plain boundaries for a
flooding source with established base flood
elevations must provide both the 100- and 500year flood plain boundaries. For flooding
sources without established base flood
elevations, only 100-year flood plain boundaries
need be submitted. These boundaries should be
shown on a topographic map of suitable scale
and contour interval.
(12) If a community or other party seeks
recognition from FEMA, on its FHBM or FIRM,
that an altered or relocated portion of a
watercourse provides protection from, or
mitigates potential hazards of, the base flood, the
Administrator
may
request
specific
documentation from the
community certifying that, and describing how,
the provisions of Sec. 60.3(b)(7) of this
subchapter will be met for the particular
watercourse involved. This documentation,
which may be in the form of a written statement
from the Community Chief Executive Officer,
an ordinance, or other legislative action, shall
describe the nature of the maintenance activities
to be performed, the frequency with which they
will be performed, and the title of the local
community official who will be responsible for
assuring that the maintenance activities are
accomplished.
(13) Notwithstanding any other provisions of
Sec. 65.6, a community may submit, in lieu of
the documentation specified in Sec. 65.6(a)(12),
certification by a registered professional
engineer that the project has been designed to
retain its flood carrying capacity without
periodic maintenance.
(14) The participating community must provide
written assurance that they have complied with
the
appropriate
minimum
floodplain
management requirements under Sec. 60.3 of
this chapter. This includes the requirements that:
(i) Existing residential structures built in the
SFHA have their lowest floor elevated to or
above the base flood;
(ii) The participating community has determined
that the land and any existing or proposed
structures to be removed from the SFHA are
``reasonably safe from flooding,'' and that they
have on file, available upon request by FEMA,
all supporting analyses and documentation used
to make that determination;
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(iii) The participating community has issued
permits for all existing and proposed
construction or other development; and
(iv) All necessary permits have been received
from those governmental agencies where
approval is required by Federal, State, or local
law.
(15) If the community cannot assure that it has
complied with the appropriate minimum
floodplain management requirements under Sec.
60.3, of this chapter the map revision request
will be deferred until the community remedies
all violations to the maximum extent possible
through coordination with FEMA. Once the
remedies are in place, and the
community assures that the land and structures
are ``reasonably safe from flooding,'' we will
process a revision to the SFHA using the criteria
set forth under Sec. 65.6. The community must
maintain on file, and make available upon
request by FEMA, all supporting analyses and
documentation used in determining that the land
or structures are ``reasonably safe from
flooding.''
(b) Data requirements for correcting map errors.
To correct errors in the original flood analysis,
technical data submissions shall include the
following:
(1) Data identifying mathematical errors.
(2) Data identifying measurement errors and
providing correct measurements.
(c) Data requirements for changed physical
conditions. Revisions based on the effects of
physical changes that have occurred in the flood
plain shall include:
(1) Changes affecting hydrologic conditions.
The following data must be submitted:
(i) General description of the changes (e.g., dam,
diversion channel, or detention basin).
(ii) Construction plans for as-built conditions, if
applicable.
(iii) New hydrologic analysis accounting for the
effects of the changes.
(iv) New hydraulic analysis and profiles using
the new flood discharge values resulting from
the hydrologic analysis.
(v) Revised delineations of the flood plain
boundaries and floodway.
(2) Changes affecting hydraulic conditions. The
following data shall be submitted:
(i) General description of the changes (e.g.,
channelization or new bridge, culvert, or levee).
NFIP Regulations
(ii) Construction plans for as-built conditions.
(iii) New hydraulic analysis and flood elevation
profiles accounting for the effects of the changes
and using the original flood discharge values
upon which the original map is based.
(iv) Revised delineations of the flood plain
boundaries and floodway.
(3) Changes involving topographic conditions.
The following data shall be submitted:
(i) General description of the changes (e.g.,
grading or filling).
(ii) New topographic information, such as spot
elevations, cross sections grading plans, or
contour maps.
(iii) Revised delineations of the flood plain
boundaries and, if necessary, floodway.
(d) Data requirements for incorporating
improved data. Requests for revisions based on
the use of improved hydrologic, hydraulic, or
topographic data shall include the following
data:
(1) Data that are believed to be better than those
used in the original analysis (such as additional
years of stream gage data).
(2) Documentation of the source of the data.
(3) Explanation as to why the use of the new
data will improve the results of the original
analysis.
(4) Revised hydrologic analysis where
hydrologic data are being incorporated.
(5) Revised hydraulic analysis and flood
elevation profiles where new hydrologic or
hydraulic data are being incorporated.
(6) Revised delineations of the flood plain
boundaries and floodway where new hydrologic,
hydraulic, or topographic data are being
incorporated.
(e) Data requirements for incorporating
improved methods. Requests for revisions based
on the use of improved hydrologic or hydraulic
methodology shall include the following data:
(1) New hydrologic analysis when an alternative
hydrologic methodology is being proposed.
(2) New hydraulic analysis and flood elevation
profiles when an alternative hyrologic or
hydraulic methodology is being proposed.
(3) Explanation as to why the alternative
methodologies are superior to the original
methodologies.
(4) Revised delineations of the flood plain
boundaries and floodway based on the new
analysis(es).
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(f) Certification requirements. All analysis and
data submitted by the requester shall be certified
by a registered professional engineer or licensed
land surveyor, as appropriate, subject to the
definition of ``certification'' given at Sec. 65.2 of
this subchapter.
(g) Submission procedures. All requests shall be
submitted to the FEMA Regional Office
servicing the community's geographic area or to
the FEMA Headquarters Office in Washington,
DC, and shall be accompanied by the
appropriate payment, in accordance with 44
CFR part 72.
[51 FR 30314, Aug. 25, 1986, as amended at 53
FR 16279, May 6, 1988; 54 FR 33550, Aug. 15,
1989; 61 FR 46331, Aug. 30, 1996; 62 FR 5736,
Feb. 6, 1997; 66 FR 22442, May 4, 2001]
§ 65.7 Floodway revisions.
(a) General. Floodway data is developed as part
of FEMA Flood Insurance Studies and is
utilized by communities to select and adopt
floodways as part of the flood plain management
program required by Sec. 60.3 of this
subchapter. When it has been determined by a
community that no practicable alternatives exist
to revising the boundaries of its previously
adopted floodway, the procedures below shall be
followed.
(b) Data requirements when base flood elevation
changes are requested. When a floodway
revision is requested in association with a
change to base flood elevations, the data
requirements of Sec. 65.6 shall also be
applicable. In addition, the following
documentation shall be submitted:
(1) Copy of a public notice distributed by the
community stating the community's intent to
revise the floodway or a statement by the
community that it has notified all affected
property owners and affected adjacent
jurisdictions.
(2) Copy of a letter notifying the appropriate
State agency of the floodway revision when the
State has jurisdiction over the floodway or its
adoption by communities participating in the
NFIP.
(3) Documentation of the approval of the revised
floodway by the appropriate State agency (for
communities where the State has jurisdiction
over the floodway or its adoption by
communities participating in the NFIP).
NFIP Regulations
(4) Engineering analysis for the revised
floodway, as described below:
(i) The floodway analysis must be performed
using the hydraulic computer model used to
determine the proposed base flood elevations.
(ii) The floodway limits must be set so that
neither the effective base flood elevations nor
the proposed base flood elevations if less than
the effective base flood elevations, are increased
by more than the amount specified under Sec.
60.3 (d)(2). Copies of the input and output data
from the original and modified computer models
must be submitted.
(5) Delineation of the revised floodway on the
same topographic map used for the delineation
of the revised flood boundaries.
(c) Data requirements for changes not associated
with base flood elevation changes. The
following data shall be submitted:
(1) Items described in paragraphs (b) (1) through
(3) of this section must be submitted.
(2) Engineering analysis for the revised
floodway, as described below:
(i) The original hydraulic computer model used
to develop the established base flood elevations
must be modified to include all encroachments
that have occurred in the flood plain since the
existing
floodway was developed. If the original
hydraulic computer model is not available, an
alternate hydraulic computer model may be used
provided the alternate model has been calibrated
so as to reproduce the original water surface
profile of the original hydraulic computer model.
The alternate model must be then modified to
include all encroachments that have occurred
since the existing floodway was developed.
(ii) The floodway analysis must be performed
with the modified computer model using the
desired floodway limits.
(iii) The floodway limits must be set so that
combined effects of the past encroachments and
the new floodway limits do not increase the
effective base flood elevations by more than the
amount specified in Sec. 60.3(d)(2). Copies of
the input and output data from the original and
modified computer models must be submitted.
(3) Delineation of the revised floodway on a
copy of the effective NFIP map and a suitable
topographic map.
(d) Certification requirements. All analyses
submitted shall be certified by a registered
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professional engineer. All topographic data shall
be certified by a registered professional engineer
or licensed land surveyor. Certifications are
subject to the definition given at Sec. 65.2 of this
subchapter.
(e) Submission procedures. All requests that
involve changes to floodways shall be submitted
to the appropriate FEMA Regional Office
servicing the community's geographic area.
[51 FR 30315, Aug. 25, 1986]
§ 65.8 Review of proposed projects.
A community, or an individual through the
community, may request FEMA's comments on
whether a proposed project, if built as proposed,
would justify a map revision. FEMA's
comments will be issued in the form of a letter,
termed a Conditional Letter of Map Revision, in
accordance with 44 CFR part 72. The data
required to support such requests are the same as
those required for final revisions under Sec.Sec.
65.5, 65.6, and 65.7, except as-built certification
is not required. All such requests shall be
submitted to the FEMA Headquarters Office in
Washington, DC, and shall be accompanied by
the appropriate payment, in accordance with 44
CFR part 72.
[62 FR 5736, Feb. 6, 1997]
§ 65.9
Review and response by the
Administrator.
If any questions or problems arise during
review, FEMA will consult the Chief Executive
Officer of the community (CEO), the
community official designated by the CEO,
and/or the requester for resolution. Upon receipt
of a revision request, the Administrator shall
mail an acknowledgment of receipt of such
request to the CEO. Within 90 days of receiving
the request with all necessary information, the
Administrator shall notify the CEO of one or
more of the following:
(a) The effective map(s) shall not be modified;
(b) The base flood elevations on the effective
FIRM shall be modified and new base flood
elevations shall be established under the
provisions of part 67 of this subchapter;
(c) The changes requested are approved and the
map(s) amended by Letter of Map Revision
(LOMR);
(d) The changes requested are approved and a
revised map(s) will be printed and distributed;
NFIP Regulations
(e) The changes requested are not of such a
significant nature as to warrant a reissuance or
revision of the flood insurance study or maps
and will be deferred until such time as a
significant change occurs;
(f) An additional 90 days is required to evaluate
the scientific or technical data submitted; or
(g) Additional data are required to support the
revision request.
(h) The required payment has not been
submitted in accordance with 44 CFR part 72,
no review will be conducted and no
determination will be issued until payment is
received.
[51 FR 30315, Aug. 25, 1986; 61 FR 46331,
Aug. 30, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 5736, Feb.
6, 1997]
§ 65.10 Mapping of areas protected by levee
systems.
(a) General. For purposes of the NFIP, FEMA
will only recognize in its flood hazard and risk
mapping effort those levee systems that meet,
and continue to meet, minimum design,
operation, and maintenance standards that are
consistent with the level of protection sought
through the comprehensive flood plain
management criteria established by Sec. 60.3 of
this subchapter. Accordingly, this section
describes the types of information FEMA needs
to recognize, on NFIP maps, that a levee system
provides protection from the base flood. This
information must be supplied to FEMA by the
community or other party seeking recognition of
such a levee system at the time a flood risk study
or restudy is conducted, when a map revision
under the provisions of part 65 of this
subchapter is sought based on a levee system,
and upon request by the Administrator during
the review of previously recognized structures.
The FEMA review will be for the sole purpose
of
establishing
appropriate
risk
zone
determinations for NFIP maps and shall not
constitute a determination by FEMA as to how a
structure or system will perform in a flood event.
(b) Design criteria. For levees to be recognized
by FEMA, evidence that adequate design and
operation and maintenance systems are in place
to provide reasonable assurance that protection
from the base flood exists must be provided. The
following requirements must be met:
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(1) Freeboard. (i) Riverine levees must provide a
minimum freeboard of three feet above the
water-surface level of the base flood. An
additional one foot above the minimum is
required within 100 feet in either side of
structures (such as bridges) riverward of the
levee or wherever the flow is constricted. An
additional one-half foot above the minimum at
the upstream end of the levee, tapering to not
less than the minimum at the downstream end of
the levee, is also required.
(ii) Occasionally, exceptions to the minimum
riverine freeboard requirement described in
paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, may be
approved. Appropriate engineering analyses
demonstrating adequate protection with a lesser
freeboard must be submitted to support a request
for such an exception. The material presented
must evaluate the uncertainty in the estimated
base flood elevation profile and include, but not
necessarily be limited to an assessment of
statistical confidence limits of the 100-year
discharge;
changes
in
stage-discharge
relationships; and the sources, potential, and
magnitude of debris, sediment, and ice
accumulation. It must be also shown that the
levee will remain structurally stable during the
base flood when such additional loading
considerations are imposed. Under no
circumstances will freeboard of less than two
feet be accepted.
(iii) For coastal levees, the freeboard must be
established at one foot above the height of the
one percent wave or the maximum wave runup
(whichever is greater) associated with the 100year stillwater surge elevation at the site.
(iv) Occasionally, exceptions to the minimum
coastal levee freeboard requirement described in
paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, may be
approved. Appropriate engineering analyses
demonstrating adequate protection with a lesser
freeboard must be submitted to support a request
for such an exception. The material presented
must evaluate the uncertainty in the estimated
base flood loading conditions. Particular
emphasis must be placed on the effects of wave
attack and overtopping on the stability of the
levee. Under no circumstances, however, will a
freeboard of less than two feet above the 100year stillwater surge elevation be accepted.
(2) Closures. All openings must be provided
with closure devices that are structural parts of
NFIP Regulations
the system during operation and design
according to sound engineering practice.
(3) Embankment protection. Engineering
analyses must be submitted that demonstrate that
no appreciable erosion of the levee embankment
can be expected during the base flood, as a result
of either currents or waves, and that anticipated
erosion will not result in failure of the levee
embankment or foundation directly or indirectly
through reduction of the seepage path and
subsequent instability. The factors to be
addressed in such analyses include, but are not
limited to: Expected flow velocities (especially
in constricted areas); expected wind and wave
action; ice loading; impact of debris; slope
protection techniques; duration of flooding at
various stages and velocities; embankment and
foundation materials; levee alignment, bends,
and transitions; and levee side slopes.
(4) Embankment and foundation stability.
Engineering analyses that evaluate levee
embankment stability must be submitted. The
analyses provided shall evaluate expected
seepage during loading conditions associated
with the base flood and shall demonstrate that
seepage into or through the levee foundation and
embankment will not jeopardize embankment or
foundation stability. An alternative analysis
demonstrating that the levee is designed and
constructed for stability against loading
conditions for Case IV as defined in the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers (COE) manual,
``Design and Construction of Levees'' (EM
1110-2-1913, Chapter 6, Section II), may be
used. The factors that shall be addressed in the
analyses include: Depth of flooding, duration of
flooding, embankment geometry and length of
seepage path at critical locations, embankment
and
foundation
materials,
embankment
compaction, penetrations, other design factors
affecting seepage (such as drainage layers), and
other design factors affecting embankment and
foundation stability (such as berms).
(5) Settlement. Engineering analyses must be
submitted that assess the potential and
magnitude of future losses of freeboard as a
result of levee settlement and demonstrate that
freeboard will be maintained within the
minimum standards set forth in paragraph (b)(1)
of this section. This analysis must address
embankment
loads,
compressibility
of
embankment soils, compressibility of foundation
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soils, age of the levee system, and construction
compaction methods. In addition, detailed
settlement analysis using procedures such as
those described in the COE manual, “Soil
Mechanics Design--Settlement Analysis” (EM
1100-2-1904) must be submitted.
(6) Interior drainage. An analysis must be
submitted that identifies the source(s) of such
flooding, the extent of the flooded area, and, if
the average depth is greater than one foot, the
water-surface elevation(s) of the base flood. This
analysis must be based on the joint probability
of interior and exterior flooding and the capacity
of facilities (such as drainage lines and pumps)
for evacuating interior floodwaters.
(7) Other design criteria. In unique situations,
such as those where the levee system has
relatively high vulnerability, FEMA may require
that other design criteria and analyses be
submitted to show that the levees provide
adequate protection. In such situations, sound
engineering practice will be the standard on
which FEMA will base its determinations.
FEMA will also provide the rationale for
requiring this additional information.
(c) Operation plans and criteria. For a levee
system to be recognized, the operational criteria
must be as described below. All closure devices
or mechanical systems for internal drainage,
whether manual or automatic, must be operated
in accordance with an officially adopted
operation manual, a copy of which must be
provided to FEMA by the operator when levee
or drainage system recognition is being sought
or when the manual for a previously recognized
system is revised in any manner. All operations
must be under the jurisdiction of a Federal or
State agency, an agency created by Federal or
State law, or an agency of a community
participating in the NFIP.
(1) Closures. Operation plans for closures must
include the following:
(i) Documentation of the flood warning system,
under the jurisdiction of Federal, State, or
community officials, that will be used to trigger
emergency
operation
activities
and
demonstration that sufficient flood warning time
exists for the completed operation of all closure
structures, including necessary sealing, before
floodwaters each the base of the closure.
NFIP Regulations
(ii) A formal plan of operation including specific
actions and assignments of responsibility by
individual name or title.
(iii) Provisions for periodic operation, at not less
than one-year intervals, of the closure structure
for testing and training purposes.
(2) Interior drainage systems. Interior drainage
systems associated with levee systems usually
include storage areas, gravity outlets, pumping
stations, or a combination thereof. These
drainage systems will be recognized by FEMA
on NFIP maps for flood protection purposes
only if the following minimum criteria are
included in the operation plan:
(i) Documentation of the flood warning system,
under the jurisdiction of Federal, State, or
community officials, that will be used to trigger
emergency
operation
activities
and
demonstration that sufficient flood warning time
exists to permit activation of mechanized
portions of the drainage system.
(ii) A formal plan of operation including specific
actions and assignments of responsibility by
individual name or title.
(iii) Provision for manual backup for the
activation of automatic systems.
(iv) Provisions for periodic inspection of interior
drainage systems and periodic operation of any
mechanized portions for testing and training
purposes. No more than one year shall elapse
between either the inspections or the operations.
(3) Other operation plans and criteria. Other
operating plans and criteria may be required by
FEMA to ensure that adequate protection is
provided in specific situations. In such cases,
sound emergency management practice will be
the standard upon which FEMA determinations
will be based.
(d) Maintenance plans and criteria. For levee
systems to be recognized as providing protection
from the base flood, the maintenance criteria
must be as described herein. Levee systems must
be maintained in accordance with an officially
adopted maintenance plan, and a copy of this
plan must be provided to FEMA by the owner of
the levee system when recognition is being
sought or when the plan for a previously
recognized system is revised in any manner. All
maintenance activities must be under the
jurisdiction of a Federal or State agency, an
agency created by Federal or State law, or an
agency of a community participating in the NFIP
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that must assume ultimate responsibility for
maintenance. This plan must document the
formal procedure that ensures that the stability,
height, and overall integrity of the levee and its
associated structures and systems are
maintained. At a minimum, maintenance plans
shall specify the maintenance activities to be
performed, the frequency of their performance,
and the person by name or title responsible for
their performance.
(e) Certification requirements. Data submitted to
support that a given levee system complies with
the structural requirements set forth in
paragraphs (b)(1) through (7) of this section
must be certified by a registered professional
engineer. Also, certified as-built plans of the
levee must be submitted. Certifications are
subject to the definition given at Sec. 65.2 of this
subchapter. In lieu of these structural
requirements,
a
Federal
agency
with
responsibility for levee design may certify that
the levee has been adequately designed and
constructed to provide protection against the
base flood.
[51 FR 30316, Aug. 25, 1986]
§ 65.11 Evaluation of sand dunes in mapping
coastal flood hazard areas.
(a) General conditions. For purposes of the
NFIP, FEMA will consider storm-induced dune
erosion potential in its determination of coastal
flood hazards and risk mapping efforts. The
criterion to be used in the evaluation of dune
erosion will apply to primary frontal dunes as
defined in Sec. 59.1, but does not apply to
artificially designed and constructed dunes that
are not well-established with long-standing
vegetative cover, such as the placement of sand
materials in a dune-like formation.
(b) Evaluation criterion. Primary frontal dunes
will not be considered as effective barriers to
base flood storm surges and associated wave
action where the cross-sectional area of the
primary frontal dune, as measured perpendicular
to the shoreline and above the 100-year
stillwater flood elevation and seaward of the
dune crest, is equal to, or less than, 540 square
feet.
(c) Exceptions. Exceptions to the evaluation
criterion may be granted where it can be
demonstrated through authoritative historical
documentation that the primary frontal dunes at
NFIP Regulations
a specific site withstood previous base flood
storm surges and associated wave action.
[53 FR 16279, May 6, 1988]
§ 65.12 Revision of flood insurance rate maps
to reflect base flood elevations caused by
proposed encroachments.
(a) When a community proposes to permit
encroachments upon the flood plain when a
regulatory floodway has not been adopted or to
permit encroachments upon an adopted
regulatory floodway which will cause base flood
elevation increases in excess of those permitted
under paragraphs
(c)(10) or (d)(3) of Sec. 60.3 of this subchapter,
the community shall apply to the Administrator
for conditional approval of such action prior to
permitting the encroachments to occur and shall
submit the following as part of its application:
(1) A request for conditional approval of map
change and the appropriate initial fee as
specified by Sec. 72.3 of this subchapter or a
request for exemption from fees as specified by
Sec. 72.5 of this subchapter, whichever is
appropriate;
(2) An evaluation of alternatives which would
not result in a base flood elevation increase
above that permitted under paragraphs (c)(10) or
(d)(3) of Sec. 60.3 of this subchapter
demonstrating why these alternatives are not
feasible;
(3) Documentation of individual legal notice to
all impacted property owners within and outside
of the community, explaining the impact of the
proposed action on their property.
(4) Concurrence of the Chief Executive Officer
of any other communities impacted by the
proposed actions;
(5) Certification that no structures are located in
areas which would be impacted by the increased
base flood elevation;
(6) A request for revision of base flood elevation
determination according to the provisions of
Sec. 65.6 of this part;
(7) A request for floodway revision in
accordance with the provisions of Sec. 65.7 of
this part;
(b) Upon receipt of the Administrator's
conditional approval of map change and prior to
approving the proposed encroachments, a
community shall provide evidence to the
Administrator of the adoption of flood plain
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management ordinances incorporating the
increased base flood elevations and/or revised
floodway reflecting the post-project condition.
(c) Upon completion of the proposed
encroachments, a community shall provide asbuilt certifications in accordance with the
provisions of Sec. 65.3 of this part. The
Administrator will initiate a final map revision
upon receipt of such certifications in accordance
with part 67 of this subchapter.
[53 FR 16279, May 6, 1988]
§ 65.13 Mapping and map revisions for areas
subject to alluvial fan flooding.
This section describes the procedures to be
followed and the types of information FEMA
needs to recognize on a NFIP map that a
structural flood control measure provides
protection from the base flood in an area subject
to alluvial fan flooding. This information must
be supplied to FEMA by the community or other
party seeking recognition of such a flood control
measure at the time a flood risk study or restudy
is conducted, when a map revision under the
provisions of part 65 of this subchapter is
sought, and upon request by the Administrator
during the review of previously recognized flood
control measures. The FEMA review will be for
the sole purpose of establishing appropriate risk
zone determinations for NFIP maps and shall not
constitute a determination by FEMA as to how
the flood control measure will perform in a flood
event.
(a) The applicable provisions of Sec. 65.2, 65.3,
65.4, 65.6, 65.8 and 65.10 shall also apply to
FIRM revisions involving alluvial fan flooding.
(b) The provisions of Sec. 65.5 regarding map
revisions based on fill and the provisions of part
70 of this chapter shall not apply to FIRM
revisions involving alluvial fan flooding. In
general, elevations of a parcel of land or a
structure by fill or other means, will not serve as
a basis for removing areas subject to alluvial fan
flooding from an area of special food hazards.
(c) FEMA will credit on NFIP maps only major
structural flood control measures whose design
and construction are supported by sound
engineering analyses which demonstrate that the
measures will effectively eliminate alluvial fan
flood hazards from the area protected by such
measures. The provided analyses must include,
but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
NFIP Regulations
(1) Engineering analyses that quantify the
discharges and volumes of water, debris, and
sediment movement associated with the flood
that has a one-percent probability of being
exceeded in any year at the apex under current
watershed conditions and under potential
adverse conditions (e.g., deforestation of the
watershed by fire). The potential for debris flow
and sediment movement must be assessed using
an engineering method acceptable to FEMA.
The
assessment
should
consider
the
characteristics and availability of sediment in the
drainage basin above the apex and on the
alluvial fan.
(2) Engineering analyses showing that the
measures will accommodate the estimated peak
discharges and volumes of water, debris, and
sediment, as determined in accordance with
paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and will
withstand the associated hydrodynamic and
hydrostatic forces.
(3) Engineering analyses showing that the
measures have been designed to withstand the
potential erosion and scour associated with
estimated discharges.
(4) Engineering analyses or evidence showing
that the measures will provide protection from
hazards associated with the possible relocation
of flow paths from other parts of the fan.
(5) Engineering analyses that assess the effect of
the project on flood hazards, including depth and
velocity of floodwaters and scour and sediment
deposition, on other areas of the fan.
(6) Engineering analyses demonstrating that
flooding from sources other than the fan apex,
including local runoff, is either insignificant or
has been accounted for in the design.
(d) Coordination. FEMA will recognize
measures that are adequately designed and
constructed, provided that: evidence is submitted
to show that the impact of the measures on flood
hazards in all areas of the fan (including those
not protected by the flood control measures),
and the design and maintenance requirements of
the measures, were reviewed and approved by
the impacted communities, and also by State and
local agencies that have jurisdiction over flood
control activities.
(e) Operation and maintenance plans and
criteria. The requirements for operation and
maintenance of flood control measures on areas
subject to alluvial fan flooding shall be those
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specified under Sec. 65.10, paragraphs (c) and
(d), when applicable.
(f) Certification requirements. Data submitted to
support that a given flood control measure
complies with the requirements set forth in
paragraphs (c) (1) through (6) of this section
must be certified by a registered professional
engineer. Also, certified as-built plans of the
flood control measures must be submitted.
Certifications are subject to the definition given
at Sec. 65.2.
(Approved by the Office of Management and
Budget under control number 3067-0147)
[54 FR 33551, Aug. 15, 1989]
§ 65.14 Remapping of areas for which local
flood protection systems no longer provide
base flood protection.
(a) General. (1) This section describes the
procedures to follow and the types of
information FEMA requires to designate flood
control restoration zones. A community may be
eligible to apply for this zone designation if the
Administrator determines that it is engaged in
the process of restoring a flood protection
system that was:
(i) Constructed using Federal funds;
(ii) Recognized as providing base flood
protection on the community's effective FIRM;
and
(iii) Decertified by a Federal agency responsible
for flood protection design or construction.
(2) Where the Administrator determines that a
community is in the process of restoring its
flood protection system to provide base flood
protection, a FIRM will be prepared that
designates the temporary flood hazard areas as a
flood control restoration zone (Zone AR).
Existing special flood hazard areas shown on the
community's effective FIRM that are further
inundated by Zone AR flooding shall be
designated as a ``dual'' flood insurance rate zone,
Zone AR/AE or AR/AH with Zone AR base
flood elevations, and AE or AH with base flood
elevations and Zone AR/AO with Zone AR base
flood elevations and Zone AO with flood depths,
or Zone AR/A with Zone AR base flood
elevations and Zone A without base flood
elevations.
(b) Limitations. A community may have a flood
control restoration zone designation only once
while restoring a flood protection system.
NFIP Regulations
This limitation does not preclude future flood
control restoration zone designations should a
fully restored, certified, and accredited system
become decertified for a second or subsequent
time.
(1) A community that receives Federal funds for
the purpose of designing or constructing, or
both, the restoration project must complete
restoration or meet the requirements of 44 CFR
61.12 within a specified period, not to exceed a
maximum of 10 years from the date of submittal
of the community's application for designation
of a flood control restoration zone.
(2) A community that does not receive Federal
funds for the purpose of constructing the
restoration project must complete restoration
within a specified period, not to exceed a
maximum of 5 years from the date of submittal
of the community's application for designation
of a flood control restoration zone. Such a
community is not eligible for the provisions of
Sec.61.12. The designated restoration period
may not be extended beyond the maximum
allowable under this limitation.
(c) Exclusions. The provisions of these
regulations do not apply in a coastal high hazard
area as defined in 44 CFR 59.1, including areas
that would be subject to coastal high hazards as
a result of the decertification of a flood
protection system shown on the community's
effective FIRM as providing base flood
protection.
(d) Effective date for risk premium rates. The
effective date for any risk premium rates
established for Zone AR shall be the effective
date of the revised FIRM showing Zone AR
designations.
(e) Application and submittal requirements for
designation of a flood control restoration zone.
A community must submit a written request to
the Administrator, signed by the community's
Chief Executive Officer, for a floodplain
designation as a flood control restoration zone.
The request must include a legislative action by
the community requesting the designation. The
Administrator will not initiate any action to
designate flood control restoration zones without
receipt of the formal request from the
community that complies with all requirements
of this section. The Administrator reserves the
right to request additional information from the
community to support or further document the
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community's formal request for designation of a
flood control restoration zone, if deemed
necessary.
(1) At a minimum, the request from a
community that receives Federal funds for the
purpose of designing, constructing, or both, the
restoration project must include:
(i) A statement whether, to the best of the
knowledge of the community's Chief Executive
Officer, the flood protection system is currently
the subject matter of litigation before any
Federal, State or local court or administrative
agency, and if so, the purpose of that litigation;
(ii) A statement whether the community has
previously requested a determination with
respect to the same subject matter from the
Administrator, and if so, a statement that details
the disposition of such previous request;
(iii) A statement from the community and
certification by a Federal agency responsible for
flood protection design or construction that the
existing flood control system shown on the
effective FIRM was originally built using
Federal funds, that it no longer provides base
flood protection, but that it continues to provide
protection from the flood having at least a 3percent chance of occurrence during any given
year;
(iv) An official map of the community or legal
description, with supporting documentation, that
the community will adopt as part of its flood
plain management measures, which designates
developed areas as defined in Sec.59.1 and as
further defined in Sec.60.3(f).
(v) A restoration plan to return the system to a
level of base flood protection. At a minimum,
this plan must:
(A) List all important project elements, such as
acquisition of permits, approvals, and contracts
and construction schedules of planned features;
(B) Identify anticipated start and completion
dates for each element, as well as significant
milestones and dates;
(C) Identify the date on which ``as built''
drawings and certification for the completed
restoration project will be submitted. This date
must provide for a restoration period not to
exceed the
maximum allowable restoration period for the
flood protection system, or;
(D) Identify the date on which the community
will submit a request for a finding of adequate
NFIP Regulations
progress that meets all requirements of
Sec.61.12. This date may not exceed the
maximum allowable restoration period for the
flood protection system;
(vi) A statement identifying the local project
sponsor responsible for restoration of the flood
protection system;
(vii) A copy of a study, performed by a Federal
agency responsible for flood protection design
or construction in consultation with the local
project sponsor, which demonstrates a Federal
interest in restoration of the system and which
deems that the flood protection system is
restorable to a level of base flood protection.
(viii) A joint statement from the Federal agency
responsible for flood protection design or
construction involved in restoration of the flood
protection system and the local project sponsor
certifying that the design and construction of the
flood control system involves Federal funds, and
that the restoration of the flood protection
system will provide base flood protection;
(2) At a minimum, the request from a
community that receives no Federal funds for
the purpose of constructing the restoration
project must:
(i) Meet the requirements of Sec.65.14(e)(1)(i)
through (iv);
(ii) Include a restoration plan to return the
system to a level of base flood protection. At a
minimum, this plan must:
(A) List all important project elements, such as
acquisition of permits, approvals, and contracts
and construction schedules of planned features;
(B) Identify anticipated start and completion
dates for each element, as well as significant
milestones and dates; and
(C) Identify the date on which ``as built''
drawings and certification for the completed
restoration project will be submitted. This date
must provide for a restoration period not to
exceed the
maximum allowable restoration period for the
flood protection system;
(iii) Include a statement identifying the local
agency responsible for restoration of the flood
protection system;
(iv) Include a copy of a study, certified by
registered
Professional
Engineer,
that
demonstrates that the flood protection system is
restorable to provide protection from the base
flood;
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(v) Include a statement from the local agency
responsible for restoration of the flood
protection system certifying that the restored
flood protection system will meet the applicable
requirements of Part 65; and
(vi) Include a statement from the local agency
responsible for restoration of the flood
protection system that identifies the source of
funds for the purpose of constructing the
restoration project and a percentage of the total
funds contributed by each source. The statement
must demonstrate, at a minimum, that 100
percent of the total financial project cost of the
completed flood protection system has been
appropriated.
(f) Review and response by the Administrator.
The review and response by the Administrator
shall be in accordance with procedures specified
in Sec. 65.9.
(g) Requirements for maintaining designation of
a flood control restoration zone. During the
restoration period, the community and the costsharing Federal agency, if any, must certify
annually to the FEMA Regional Office having
jurisdiction that the restoration will be
completed in accordance with the restoration
plan within the time period specified by the plan.
In addition, the community and the cost-sharing
Federal agency, if any, will update the
restoration plan and will identify any permitting
or construction problems that will delay the
project completion from the restoration plan
previously submitted to the Administrator. The
FEMA Regional Office having jurisdiction will
make an annual assessment and recommendation
to the Administrator as to the viability of the
restoration plan and will conduct periodic onsite inspections of the flood protection system
under restoration.
(h) Procedures for removing flood control
restoration zone designation due to adequate
progress or complete restoration of the flood
protection system. At any time during the
restoration period:
(1) A community that receives Federal funds for
the purpose of designing, constructing, or both,
the restoration project shall provide written
evidence of certification from a Federal agency
having flood protection design or construction
responsibility that the necessary improvements
have been completed and that the system has
been restored to provide protection from the
NFIP Regulations
base flood, or submit a request for a finding of
adequate progress that meets all requirements of
Sec.61.12. If the Administrator determines that
adequate progress has been made, FEMA will
revise the zone designation from a flood control
restoration zone designation to Zone A99.
(2) After the improvements have been
completed, certified by a Federal agency as
providing base flood protection, and reviewed
by FEMA, FEMA will revise the FIRM to
reflect the completed flood control system.
(3) A community that receives no Federal funds
for the purpose of constructing the restoration
project must provide written evidence that the
restored flood protection system meets the
requirements of Part 65.
A community that receives no Federal funds for
the purpose of constructing the restoration
project is not eligible for a finding of adequate
progress under Sec.61.12.
(4) After the improvements have been
completed and reviewed by FEMA, FEMA will
revise the FIRM to reflect the completed flood
protection system.
(i) Procedures for removing flood control
restoration zone designation due to noncompliance with the restoration schedule or as a
result of a finding that satisfactory progress is
not being made to complete the restoration. At
any time during the restoration period, should
the Administrator determine that the restoration
will not be completed in accordance with the
time frame specified in the restoration plan, or
that satisfactory progress is not being made to
restore the flood protection system to provide
complete flood protection in accordance with the
restoration plan, the Administrator shall notify
the community and the responsible Federal
agency, in writing, of the determination, the
reasons for that determination, and that the
FIRM will be revised to remove the flood
control restoration zone designation. Within
thirty (30) days of such notice, the community
may submit written information that provides
assurance that the restoration will be completed
in accordance with the time frame specified in
the restoration plan, or that satisfactory progress
is being made to restore complete protection in
accordance with the restoration plan, or that,
with reasonable certainty, the restoration will be
completed within the maximum allowable
restoration period. On the basis of this
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information the Administrator may suspend the
decision to revise the FIRM to remove the flood
control restoration zone designation. If the
community does not submit any information, or
if, based on a review of the information
submitted, there is sufficient cause to find that
the restoration will not be completed as provided
for in the restoration plan, the Administrator
shall revise the FIRM, in accordance with 44
CFR Part 67, and shall remove the flood control
restoration zone designations and shall
redesignate those areas as Zone A1-30, AE, AH,
AO, or A.
[62 FR 55717, Oct. 27, 1997]
§ 65.15 List of communities submitting new
technical data.
This section provides a cumulative list of
communities where modifications of the base
flood elevation determinations have been made
because of submission of new scientific or
technical data. Due to the need for expediting
the modifications, the revised map is already in
effect and the appeal period commences on or
about the effective date of the modified map. An
interim rule, followed by a final rule, will list the
revised map effective date, local repository and
the name and address of the Chief Executive
Officer of the community. The map(s) is (are)
effective for both flood plain management and
insurance purposes.
[51 FR 30317, Aug. 25, 1986. Redesignated at
53 FR 16279, May 6, 1988, and further
redesignated at 54 FR 33551, Aug. 15, 1989.
Redesignated at 59 FR 53599, Oct. 25, 1994]
Editorial Note: For references to FR pages
showing lists of eligible communities, see the
List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in
the Finding Aids section of the printed volume
and on GPO Access.
§ 65.16
Standard Flood Hazard
Determination Form and Instructions.
(a) Section 528 of the National Flood Insurance
Reform Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C. 1365(a)) directs
FEMA to develop a standard form for
determining, in the case of a loan secured by
improved real estate or a mobile home, whether
the building or mobile home is located in an area
identified by the Director as an area having
special flood hazards and in which flood
insurance under this title is available. The
NFIP Regulations
purpose of the form is to determine whether a
building or mobile home is located within an
identified Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA),
whether flood insurance is required, and whether
federal flood insurance is available. Use of this
form will ensure that required flood insurance
coverage is purchased for structures located in
an SFHA, and will assist federal entities for
lending regulation in assuring compliance with
these purchase requirements.
(b) The form is available by written request to
Federal Emergency Management Agency, PO
Box 2012, Jessup, MD 20794; ask for the
Standard Flood Hazard Determination form. It is
also available by fax-on-demand; call (202) 6463362, form #23103. Finally, the form is
available
through
the
Internet
at
http://www.fema.gov/nfip/mpurfi.htm.
[63 FR 27857, May 21, 1998]
§ 65.17 Review of determinations.
This section describes the procedures that shall
be followed and the types of information
required by FEMA to review a determination of
whether a building or manufactured home is
located within an identified Special Flood
Hazard Area (SFHA).
(a) General conditions. The borrower and lender
of a loan secured by improved real estate or a
manufactured home may jointly request that
FEMA review a determination that the building
or manufactured home is located in an identified
SFHA. Such a request must be submitted within
45 days of the lender's notification to the
borrower that the building or manufactured
home is in the SFHA and that flood insurance is
required. Such a request must be submitted
jointly by the lender and the borrower and shall
include the required fee and technical
information
related to the building or manufactured home.
Elevation data will not be considered under the
procedures described in this section.
(b) Data and other requirements. Items required
for FEMA's review of a determination shall
include the following:
(1) Payment of the required fee by check or
money order, in U.S. funds, payable to the
National Flood Insurance Program;
(2) A request for FEMA's review of the
determination, signed by both the borrower and
the lender;
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(3) A copy of the lender's notification to the
borrower that the building or manufactured
home is in an SFHA and that flood insurance is
required (the request for review of the
determination must be postmarked within 45
days of borrower notification);
(4) A completed Standard Flood Hazard
Determination Form for the building or
manufactured home, together with a legible hard
copy of all technical data used in making the
determination; and
(5) A copy of the effective NFIP map (Flood
Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) or Flood
Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)) panel for the
community in which the building or
manufactured home is located, with the building
or manufactured home location indicated.
Portions of the map panel may be submitted but
shall include the area of the building or
manufactured home in question together with
the map panel title block, including effective
date, bar scale, and north arrow.
(c) Review and response by FEMA. Within 45
days after receipt of a request to review a
determination, FEMA will notify the applicants
in writing of one of the following:
(1) Request submitted more than 45 days after
borrower notification; no review will be
performed and all materials are being returned;
(2) Insufficient information was received to
review the determination; therefore, the
determination stands until a complete submittal
is received; or
(3) The results of FEMA's review of the
determination, which shall include the
following:
(i) The name of the NFIP community in which
the building or manufactured home is located;
(ii) The property address or other identification
of the building or manufactured home to which
the determination applies;
(iii) The NFIP map panel number and effective
date upon which the determination is based;
(iv) A statement indicating whether the building
or manufactured home is within the Special
Flood Hazard Area;
(v) The time frame during which the
determination is effective.
[60 FR 62218, Dec. 5, 1995]
PART
70--PROCEDURE
CORRECTION
NFIP Regulations
FOR
MAP
Mapping Deficiencies Unrelated to
Community - Wide Elevation Determinations
Sec.
70.1 Purpose of part.
70.2 Definitions.
70.3 Right to submit technical information.
70.4 Review by the Director.
70.5 Letter of Map Amendment.
70.6 Distribution of Letter of Map Amendment.
70.7 Notice of Letter of Map Amendment.
70.8 Premium refund after Letter of Map
Amendment.
70.9 Review of proposed projects.
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.;
Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, 43 FR
41943, 3 CFR, 1978 Comp., p. 329; E.O. 12127
of Mar. 31, 1979, 44 FR 19367, 3 CFR, 1979
Comp., p. 376.
§ 70.1 Purpose of part.
The purpose of this part is to provide an
administrative
procedure
whereby
the
Administrator will review the scientific or
technical submissions of an owner or lessee of
property who believes his property has been
inadvertently included in designated A, AO, A130, AE, AH, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE,
AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A, VO, V1-30, VE, and V
Zones, as a result of the transposition of the
curvilinear line to either street or to other readily
identifiable features. The necessity for this part
is due in part to the technical difficulty of
accurately delineating the curvilinear line on
either an FHBM or FIRM. These procedures
shall not apply when there has been any
alteration of topography since the effective date
of the first NFIP map (i.e., FHBM or FIRM)
showing the property within an area of special
flood hazard. Appeals in such circumstances are
subject to the provisions of part 65 of this
subchapter.
[62 FR 55718, Oct. 27, 1997]
§ 70.2 Definitions.
The definitions set forth in part 59 of this
subchapter are applicable to this part.
[41 FR 46991, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979]
§ 70.3 Right to submit technical information.
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(a) Any owner or lessee of property (applicant)
who believes his property has been inadvertently
included in a designated A, AO, A1-30, AE,
AH, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO,
AR/AH, AR/A, VO, V1-30, VE, and V Zones
on a FHBM or a FIRM, may submit scientific or
technical information to the Administrator for
the Administrator's review.
(b) Scientific and technical information for the
purpose of this part may include, but is not
limited to the following:
(1) An actual copy of the recorded plat map
bearing the seal of the appropriate recordation
official (e.g. County Clerk, or Recorder of
Deeds) indicating the official recordation and
proper citation (Deed or Plat Book Volume and
Page Numbers), or an equivalent identification
where annotation of the deed or plat book is not
the practice.
(2) A topographical map showing (i) ground
elevation contours in relation to the National
Geodetic Vertical Datum (NVGD) of 1929, (ii)
the total area of the property in question, (iii) the
location of the structure or structures located on
the property in question, (iv) the elevation of the
lowest adjacent grade to a structure or structures
and (v) an indication of the curvilinear line
which represents the area subject to inundation
by a base flood. The curvilinear line should be
based upon information provided by any
appropriate authoritative source, such as a
Federal Agency, the appropriate state agency
(e.g. Department of Water Resources), a County
Water Control District, a County or City
Engineer, a Federal Emergency Management
Agency Flood Insurance Study, or a
determination by a Registered Professional
Engineer;
(3) A copy of the FHBM or FIRM indicating the
location of the property in question;
(4) A certification by a Registered Professional
Engineer or Licensed Land Surveyor that the
lowest grade adjacent to the structure is above
the base flood elevation.
[41 FR 46991, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44544 and 44553, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751,
Feb. 8, 1984; 50 FR 36028, Sept. 4, 1985; 51 FR
30317, Aug. 25, 1986; 53 FR 16280, May 6,
1988; 59 FR 53601, Oct. 25, 1994; 62 FR
55719, Oct. 27, 1997]
NFIP Regulations
§ 70.4 Review by the Director.
The Director, after reviewing the scientific or
technical information submitted under the
provisions of Sec. 70.3, shall notify the applicant
in writing of his/her determination within 60
days after we receive the applicant's scientific or
technical information that we have compared
either the ground elevations of an entire legally
defined parcel of land or the elevation of the
lowest adjacent grade to a structure with the
elevation of the base flood and that:
(a) The property is within a designated A, A0,
A1-30, AE, AH, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE,
AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A, V0, V1-30, VE, or V
Zone, and will state the basis of such
determination; or
(b) The property should not be within a
designated A, A0, A1-30, AE, AH, A99, AR,
AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A,V0,
V1-30, VE, or V Zone and that we will modify
the FHBM or FIRM accordingly; or
(c) The property is not within a designated A,
A0, A1-30, AE, AH, A99, AR, AR/A1-30,
AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A,V0, V1-30,
VE, or V Zone as shown on the FHBM or FIRM
and no modification of the FHBM or FIRM is
necessary; or(d) We need an additional 60 days
to make a determination.
[66 FR 33900, June 26, 2001]
§ 70.5 Letter of Map Amendment.
Upon determining from available scientific or
technical information that a FHBM or a FIRM
requires modification under the provisions of
Sec. 70.4(b), the Administrator shall issue a
Letter of Map Amendment which shall state:
(a) The name of the Community to which the
map to be amended was issued;
(b) The number of the map;
(c) The identification of the property to be
excluded from a designated A, AO, A1-30, AE,
AH, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO,
AR/AH, AR/A, VO, V1-30, VE, or V Zone.
[41 FR 46991, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44553, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751, Feb. 8,
1984; 50 FR 36028, Sept. 4, 1985; 59 FR 53601,
Oct. 25, 1994; 62 FR 55719, Oct. 27, 1997]
§ 70.6
Distribution of Letter of Map
Amendment.
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(a) A copy of the Letter of Map Amendment
shall be sent to the applicant who submitted
scientific or technical data to the Administrator.
(b) A copy of the Letter of Map Amendment
shall be sent to the local map repository with
instructions that it be attached to the map which
the Letter of Map Amendment is amending.
(c) A copy of the Letter of Map Amendment
shall be sent to the map repository in the state
with instructions that it be attached to the map
which it is amending.
(d) A copy of the Letter of Map Amendment
will be sent to any community or governmental
unit that requests such Letter of Map
Amendment.
(e) [Reserved]
(f) A copy of the Letter of Map Amendment will
be maintained by the Agency in its community
case file.
[41 FR 46991, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979, as amended at 48 FR
44544 and 44553, Sept. 29, 1983; 49 FR 4751,
Feb. 8, 1984]
§ 70.7 Notice of Letter of Map Amendment.
(a) The Administrator, shall not publish a notice
in the Federal Register that the FIRM for a
particular community has been amended by
letter determination pursuant to this part unless
such amendment includes alteration or change of
base flood elevations established pursuant to
part 67. Where no change of base flood
elevations has occurred, the Letter of Map
Amendment provided under Sec. 70.5 and 70.6
serves to inform the parties affected.
(b) [Reserved]
Editorial Note: For a list of communities issued
under this section and not carried in the CFR see
the List of CFR Sections Affected, which
appears in the Finding Aids Section of the
printed volume and on GPO Access.
NFIP Regulations
§ 70.8 Premium refund after Letter of Map
Amendment.
A Standard Flood Insurance Policyholder whose
property has become the subject of a Letter of
Map Amendment under this part may cancel the
policy within the current policy year and receive
a premium refund under the conditions set forth
in Sec. 62.5 of this subchapter.
[41 FR 46991, Oct. 26, 1976. Redesignated at 44
FR 31177, May 31, 1979]
§ 70.9 Review of proposed projects.
An individual who proposes to build one or
more structures on a portion of property that
may be included inadvertently in a Special Flood
Hazard Area (SFHA) may request FEMA's
comments on whether the proposed structure(s),
if built as proposed, will be in the SFHA.
FEMA's comments will be issued in the form of
a letter, termed a Conditional Letter of Map
Amendment. The data required to support such
requests are the same as those required for final
Letters of Map Amendment in accordance with
Sec. 70.3, except as-built certification is not
required and the requests shall be accompanied
by the appropriate payment, in accordance with
44 CFR part 72. All such requests for CLOMAs
shall be submitted to the FEMA Regional Office
servicing the community's geographic area or to
the FEMA Headquarters Office in Washington,
DC.
[62 FR 5736, Feb. 6, 1997]
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APPENDIX F:
FEMA FORMS
This Appendix includes copies of the following certificates that are mentioned in the Study
Course and used in implementing your floodplain management ordinances:
♦ FEMA Form 81-31, Elevation Certificate and Instructions
♦ FEMA Form 81-65, Floodproofing Certificate
The following FEMA forms may be of interest to local officials, but are not included in this
Appendix:
♦ FEMA Form 81-92, MT-EZ, Application Form for Single Residential Lot or Structure
Amendments to National Flood Insurance Program Maps;
♦ FEMA Form 81-87, MT-1, Application Forms for Conditional and Final Letters of Map
Amendment and Letters of Map Revision Based on Fill;
♦ FEMA Form 81-89, MT-2, Application Forms for Conditional Letters of Map Revision and
Letters of Map Revision; and
♦ Standard Flood Hazard Determination form.
Current copies of all of these certificates and forms can be obtained from the following
sources:
♦ They may be downloaded from FEMA’s website at http://www.fema.gov/nfip/forms.shtm;
♦ They are available on the CD-ROM version of the National Flood Insurance Program
(NFIP) Floodplain Management Requirements: A Study Guide and Desk Reference for
Local Officials;
♦ You may request the forms by calling the FEMA Map Assistance Center (FMAC) toll-free at
1-877-FEMA-MAP (1-877-336-2627); and
♦ You may request the forms electronically at [email protected]
While some of the forms may have passed their expiration dates, they are still current and
should still be used.
They may be reproduced for local use.
FEMA Forms
F-1
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FEMA Forms
F-2
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FEMA Forms
F-3
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FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM
ELEVATION CERTIFICATE
AND
INSTRUCTIONS
FEMA Forms
F-4
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NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM
ELEVATION CERTIFICATE
PAPERWORK BURDEN DISCLOSURE NOTICE
FEMA Form 81-31
The public reporting burden for this form is estimated to be 3.0 hours per response. The burden
estimate includes the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and
maintaining the needed data, and completing, reviewing, and submitting the form. You are not required
to respond to this collection of information unless a valid OMB control number appears in the upper right
corner of this form. Send comments regarding the accuracy of the burden estimate and any suggestions
for reducing this burden to: Information Collections Management, Federal Emergency Management
Agency, 500 C Street, SW, Washington, DC 20472, Paperwork Reduction Project (3067-0077). NOTE:
Please do not send your completed form to the above address.
PURPOSE OF THE ELEVATION CERTIFICATE
The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program
(NFIP). It is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community
floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, and to support a
request for a Letter of Map Amendment or Revision (LOMA or LOMR-F).
The Elevation Certificate is required in order to properly rate post-FIRM buildings, which are
buildings constructed after publication of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), for flood insurance
Zones A1-A30, AE, AH, A (with BFE), VE, V1-V30, V (with BFE), AR, AR/A, AR/AE, AR/A1-A30,
AR/AH, and AR/AO. The Elevation Certificate is not required for pre-FIRM buildings unless the
building is being rated under the optional post-FIRM flood insurance rules.
As part of the agreement for making flood insurance available in a community, the NFIP requires the
community to adopt a floodplain management ordinance that specifies minimum requirements for
reducing flood losses. One such requirement is for the community to obtain the elevation of the lowest
floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved buildings and maintain a record of such
information. The Elevation Certificate provides a way for a community to comply with this requirement.
Use of this certificate does not provide a waiver of the flood insurance purchase requirement. Only a
LOMA or LOMR-F from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can amend the FIRM
and remove the Federal mandate for a lending institution to require the purchase of flood insurance.
However, the lending institution has the option of requiring flood insurance even if a LOMA/LOMR-F
has been issued by FEMA. The Elevation Certificate may be used to support a LOMA or LOMR-F
r