Building in a Flood Zone

  • All construction or fill within a floodplain requires a permit.
  • All new construction or substantial improvements within special flood hazard areas and local flood hazard areas shall comply with the standards set forth in the Floodplain Management Ordinance. See: Floodplain Management Ordinance.
  • All proposed new structures or substantial improvement of existing structures in a flood zone must be constructed at least two (2.0) feet above the Base Flood Elevation or 7.0 feet NAVD whichever is higher. Enclosed areas not elevated in these structures are limited to 600 square feet and can only be used for parking, limited storage and access to the building.
  • A crawlspace or garage must be vented to allow one square inch of effective flow area for every one square foot of the area below flood elevation, and must automatically allow movement of water in and out. The bottom of the vents may be no more than 1 foot above grade. Flood Vents must meet all requirements in FEMA Technical Bulletin 1 Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures (Aug. 2008).
  • After you finish building in a FEMA-regulated floodplain or local flood hazard area—but before anyone moves in or uses the building—you must complete an Elevation Certificate (FEMA Form 086-0-33). The Elevation Certificate form must be completed by a Maryland licensed land surveyor or registered civil engineer. An Elevation Certificate is necessary before you can receive a Certificate of Occupancy.
  • The Elevation Certificate is required by the National Flood Insurance Program to determine flood insurance rates for the structure. It also provides documentation that your community is enforcing its building and floodplain ordinances.