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    Build Responsibly

    Requirements for Building in the Floodplain

    How and where buildings are built makes all the difference in how much damage is done during a flood. To protect personal health, safety, welfare, and property, there are regulations in place outlining what can and can't be done in floodplains. 

    On the Federal Level, FEMA provides that those wishing to develop in floodplains need:

    You can find more resources for individuals regarding day-to-day operations, as well as post-disaster information, on FEMA's website. 

    Virginia State Building Code has requirements regarding floodproofing buildings, which can be found in Section 1612 of the 2015 Virginia State Building Code

    The City of Lynchburg's Zoning Ordinance, Article IV Section 35.2-59 explains the following:

    • What must be done to alter or relocate a watercourse
    • Prohibited uses
    • Uses permitted by-right
    • Regulation of real estate sales
    • Procedures required for variances
    • Requirements for building permits

    The City of Lynchburg also has Plan Requirements for grading and new structures. These include:

    Sec. 24.1-16. - Flooding.
    Land subject to flooding and land deemed to be topographically unsuitable shall not be platted for residential occupancy, nor for such other uses as may increase danger to health, life, or property, or aggravate erosion or flood hazard. Such land within the subdivision shall be set aside on the
    plat for such uses as shall not be endangered by periodic or occasional flooding or shall not produce conditions contrary to public welfare.

    Sec. 24.1-16.1. - Possible flood plain.
    To ensure that owners will have sufficient land upon which to build a structure which is flood free, compliance with floodway widths and the 100-year flood elevations contained within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance study (FIS) is mandatory. The city planner may require the subdivider to provide elevation and flood profiles based on a 100-year flood plain (which means a flood of a magnitude likely to happen, on the average, only once every century) sufficient to demonstrate the land to be completely free of the danger of flood water at an elevation of at least three feet below any probable floor level of any building for human occupancy.
    (Ord. No. O-10-034, 4-27-10, eff. 7-1-10)

    Sec. 24.1-16.2. - Flood control and drainage.
    The subdivider shall provide that information necessary to determine what improvements are required to develop the subject property, including topography, drainage plans and flood control devices. The plans for such improvements shall include a statement from a licensed professional engineer or other persons appropriately licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, that such improvements when installed will be adequate for development. In subdivisions where the streets are dedicated to public use, the city engineer shall either approve or disapprove the plans.

    Always check with the Community Development Department at (434) 455-3900 or visit the Customer Service Center on the second floor of City Hall, 900 Church Street, Lynchburg, VA 24504, before you build on or alter property in the floodplain.

    Flood Awareness Home Page