Development Within a Flood Plain

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Clay County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program and is required to regulate development in Special Flood Hazard Areas pursuant to the requirements of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the County’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. Clay County Ordinance 87-45 requires that all development in Special Flood Hazard Areas obtain a permit. Development is defined as “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 permanent storage of materials. Based upon 44CFR 59.1 of the NFIP, the definition is broad in scope and includes activities which are not regulated by the Florida Building Code, in addition to those activities which are so regulated.  For development which is not regulated by the Florida Building Code, a Floodplain Permit application will be the primary application. For development which must comply with the Florida Building Code, the Floodplain Permit review and approval process must precede an application for a building permit. Development of multiple building sites, whether or not approved through the County’s Subdivision approval process, will be required to obtain a Floodplain permit prior to development of any of the lots.

The Floodplain Permit form will be the mechanism to ensure that all development meets the standards listed below, including those cases where companion permitting processes follow the issuance of a Floodplain Permit.

  1. Finished floor elevations, including basements, and machinery and/or equipment must be at least one (1) foot above the base flood elevation. An Elevation Certificate Form, signed and sealed by a registered land surveyor must be submitted in conjunction with the Floodplain Permit application in order to document the elevation compliance. An approved FEMA letter (LOMA, LOMR, LOMR-F, CLOMR, CLOMR-F) for the lot may be submitted with the application in place of an Elevation Certificate.

  2. New construction or substantial improvement of elevated buildings that include fully enclosed areas formed by foundation and other exterior walls below the base flood elevation shall be designed to preclude finished living space, be constructed entirely of flood-resistant materials, and designed to allow for the entry and exit of flood waters to automatically equalize flood forces on exterior walls.

  3. Mobile Homes/Manufacture d Homes shall be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement. Stands or lots are to be elevated on compacted fill or on pilings so that the lowest floor of the home will be at least one (1) foot above the base flood level in Flood Zone AE and three (3) feet above the highest adjacent grade in Flood Zone A.   An Elevation Certificate form, signed and sealed by a registered land surveyor must be submitted in conjunction with the Floodplain Permit application in order to document the elevation compliance. An approved FEMA letter (LOMA, LOMR, LOMR-F, CLOMR, CLOMR-F) for the lot may be submitted with the application in place of an Elevation Certificate.

  4. Electrical, plumbing, and other utility equipment is prohibited below the base flood elevation, except for the minimum electric service required by code.

  5. While permits for septic tanks are issued by the Health Department, adherence to the restrictions of the County Floodplain Ordinance is necessary to ensure that mounded systems and vulnerability to flood water erosion is considered in the review of development activities under the County’s Floodplain Permit program.

  6. Issuance of a septic tank permit in conjunction with a site built home, modular home or mobile/manufactured home for property located in the floodplain or floodway must be approved by the Health Department prior to the issuance of a building permit or move-on permit by the County.

  7. If the development is located in a floodway, it must be demonstrated through hydrologic and hydraulic analyses that the proposed encroachment would not result in any increase in flood levels within the community during the occurrence of the base flood discharge. Documentation must be provided in the form of a No-Rise Certification form signed and sealed by a registered Professional Engineer and submitted with the Floodplain Permit application.

  8. If the initial development of a lot is limited to the placing of fill, but further development is anticipated in terms of the construction of habitable structure(s), an Elevation Certificate will be required at the future time of permitting.  If located within a floodway, a revised No-Rise Certification will be required if the initial submittal did not factor in the future development. If a future septic tank application will be submitted to the Health Department, it is strongly recommended that the applicant discuss the future development with the Health Department at the time of initial development in order to assure that a septic tank may be allowed to be placed on the property in the future.

Questions regarding the Floodplain Permit forms and accompanying documentation should be directed to the Clay County Floodplain Manager, telephone number (904)529/541-3825.