- Floodplain Regulations
The City has adopted the minimum Federal and State floodplain regulations and additional higher standards. The primary purpose of the minimum regulations and higher standards is to protect people from injury or loss of life and to protect property from damage due to flooding. The City’s floodplain regulations are in Chapter 26, Article VIII of the City Code and can be viewed here: ARTICLE VIII. - FLOODPLAIN CONTROL
Floodplain Regulation Updates
The City’s floodplain regulations are periodically reviewed to ensure that current best practices are being used to regulate activities in the mapped floodplains. These reviews often result in additional standards being adopted or in other revisions to the floodplain regulations. In 2014, the regulations were substantially revised to adopt new state regulations, new floodplain maps, and to update the language in the regulations to current standards. Additional changes were made in 2015, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.
Highlights of those changes are discussed below:
- In 2015, new onsite disposal systems, commonly known as septic systems, were prohibited within mapped floodplains. In addition, any building permits for work within a mapped floodplain were required to include any floodplain boundaries on a site plan and to stake those boundaries during construction. Landlords were also required to disclose the floodplain status of the property to their tenants.
- In 2019, the Local Flood Hazard Areas (LFHA) upstream of 26th Avenue associated with Sloan’s Lake were adopted so that the City can regulate areas with a high risk of flooding that occur outside of the federally adopted floodplains. Properties within the LFHAs will be regulated by the City in the same way as the City’s other floodplains. However, flood insurance, while strongly encouraged, is not mandatory.
- In 2020, the regulatory authority for floodplains was transferred from the Public Works Department to the Community Development Department.
- In 2021, tents and makeshift structures used for human habitation were prohibited from the mapped floodplains. In addition, the review and approval process for floodplain permits was changed including transferring the variance and appeal authority from the Board of Adjustment to the Building Code Advisory Board and requiring Federal and State review of any variances.
- In 2022, the definition for Local Flood Hazard Areas (LFHA) was added so that the City can regulate areas with a high risk of flooding that occur outside of the federally adopted floodplains. In addition, the revised federally adopted floodplain along 26th Avenue associated with Sloan’s Lake was adopted as a mapped floodplain.
Floodplain Higher Standards
In addition to the minimum Federal and State Regulations, the City has adopted the following higher standards:
- The freeboard requirement is the minimum height above the flood elevation for most buildings. This requirement has been set at one foot for most structures, but at two feet for critical facilities.
- Certain areas that are removed from the floodplain by using fill materials, would still be regulated as if they are still in a floodplain with respect to freeboard. This basically means that basements would not be allowed in those areas.