The following is a general outline and guide to checking flood status of a property and obtaining flood insurance.
Checking Flood Status Of Property
Certain areas of Brunswick County are subject from time-to-time to
flooding that might result in losses and disruption of life activities
for citizens who live in those flood hazard areas. Such losses might be
caused by: 1) the cumulative effect of obstructions in floodplains,
which result in increases in flood heights and velocities; 2) by uses
or structures constructed in flood hazard areas vulnerable to floods or
hazard to other lands that are elevated inadequately, not flood
proofed, or otherwise unprotected from flood damages. To minimize
public and private losses due to flood conditions in specific areas,
Brunswick County adopted a Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance (Sec. 1-4.26 to 1-4.80). The purposes of that ordinance are as follows:
- Restrict or prohibit uses that might be dangerous due to water or
erosion hazards, and that might result in damaging increases in erosion
or in flood heights or velocities.
- Require that uses vulnerable to floods be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction.
- Control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels, and
natural protective barriers that are involved in the accommodation of
- Control filling, grading dredging, and the development that might increase erosion or flood damage.
- Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers that might
unnaturally divert floodwaters or that might increase flood hazards to
Special Flood Hazard Areas
Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) were identified by the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a flood insurance study dated 15
May 1986, which included accompanying maps and other supporting data,
and any later revision declared by FEMA. (Note: The age of the maps and
the methods used to generate the FIRM maps place some limitations upon
the accuracy of the maps. Final interpretation must be approved by
FEMA, the agency that produced the maps.) Brunswick County participates
in the National Flood Insurance Program to reduce effects and costs for
citizens. A development permit is required from Brunswick County.
Permit procedures, standards, and responsibilities to reduce flood
impact have been defined for the following:
- residential construction
- non-residential construction
- elevated buildings
- coastal high hazard areas
Determining Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Status
To following describes how to determine FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) status of a parcel:
- Floodplain data for a specific parcel can be obtained from a
Property Development Technician or Supervisor. Review is on a
first-come, first-served basis, and appointments may be scheduled.
Telephone requests are discouraged, as data cannot be considered to be
reliable! (In the past, citizens have called to ask for a review of
their Tax Map and Parcel Number. Later, it was determined that the
parcel identification was in error. Your coming to the Planning
Department will allow you to point out your property correctly on Tax
and FEMA flood maps.)
- As part of the application process for any property development
permit in the unincorporated areas of Brunswick County and certain
towns, flood status of a parcel is verified by Central Permitting.
Property Development Technicians interpret the location and status of a
parcel relative to FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Flood area status
might determine the type and cost of construction that can be made on a
parcel. If a citizen has questions about interpretation of any flood
status, the following alternatives might provide the needed
- Review of plans by Chief Building Inspector.
Building Plan requirements for structures in a flood plain may be
discussed with the Chief Building Inspector. (Call 253-2050 to make an
appointment.) An Elevation Certificate is required for all structures
proposed to be located in a Special Flood Hazard Area.
- Request for Second Opinion. A request for review or second opinion may be submitted to the Planning Director. (Call 253-2025 to schedule an appointment.)
- Review by the U.S. Corps Of Engineers.
A citizen may contact the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers at P.O. Box
1890, Wilmington, NC 28402-1890, telephone 910-251-4728. For a fee,
review of a particular parcel may be made by comparing local flood
maps, regional topographic elevation maps, and other methods as deemed
appropriate. Such review, however, does not change FEMA maps.
- Review by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Any error in mapping must be reviewed and corrected by FEMA through a
Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) to remove property officially from a
flood plain. To receive a flood mitigation package, a citizen may
contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region IV at 3003
Chamblee-Tucker Road, Atlanta, GA 30341, telephone 770-220-5442.
A fee must be paid, and approximately 13 official data items must be
provided to receive a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter Of Map
Revision -- Based on Fill (LOMA-BOF). Preparation of some of the data
will require certification by a licensed surveyor or a registered
professional engineer. Although FEMA may issue a Letter Of Map
Amendment to remove a structure from a Flood Hazard Area, it is the
lending institutions' prerogative to require flood insurance if it
deems such action appropriate.
- National Flood Insurance Program.
In 1968, the United States Congress passed the National Flood Insurance
Act, which created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The
NFIP was designed to reduce future flood losses through local
flood-plain management. The program further intended to provide
protection for property owners against potential losses through an
insurance mechanism that would allow a premium to be paid for the
protection by those most in need of it.
(NOTE: If any structure
located on your property is covered by a flood insurance policy, and if
your mortgage company or lending institution agrees to waive the flood
insurance requirements, the NFIP will refund the premium paid for the
current policy year -- providing that no claim is pending or has been
paid on the policy during the current policy year. To receive a refund,
a written waiver or certificate must be obtained from the lending
institution and presented to your insurance agent, who will process the
premium refund. Additionally, the NFIP offers a low-cost policy for
one-to- four bedroom family homes in areas that are not designated as
Special Flood Hazard Areas, but where flood exposure still presents a
significant risk.) For more information about the FEMA flood insurance program, visit the FEMA website or contact the agency at the address and/or phone number above noted.