Know your flood hazard
By entering an address into the search bar of the floodplain map, residents can quickly learn where their property exists in relation to the floodplain. All Elevation Certificates and Letters of Map Change that have been recieved by the CIty are also availabe on the same floodplain map.
Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District
On January 4, 2021 the City Council approved a new Floodplain Management Overlay Zoning District to add to Chapter 55 (PDF), the Unified Development Code. The regulations including:
- Improved protection of public safety and welfare
- Reduced loss of life and property, especially for vulnerable populations and neighborhoods
- More consistency with State floodplain regulations
- Clarifying the permit approval process
- Better Community Rating System score
- Saving money and resources by lowering flood insurance rates and less flood damages to repair
- Furthering the City's sustainability and climate action goals
An overlay zoning district includes all lots in and within 50 feet of a floodplain. These lots are subject to the Floodplain Management regulations and restrictions as well as the typical zoning and development regulations, similarly to how historic district regulations work.
The Floodplain Management Overlay District regulates both lots in floodplains currently under EGLE (the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy) jurisdiction and those non-EGLE jurisdiction floodplains the same.
In the Flood Fringe:
- New residential buildings must have the lowest floor elevated 1 foot above the 0.2% annual chance flood elevation – the old “500-Year Flood".
- New nonresidential buildings must be elevated or flood proofed to 1 foot above the 0.2% annual chance flood elevation – the old “500-Year Flood".
- Substantial improvements to existing structures in the floodplain must meet the new construction requirements, but historic structures exempt.
In the Floodway:
- New buildings of any kind are prohibited in the floodway, but redevelopment of an existing site may be allowed with certain additional requirements, such as no residential uses
On Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, the city held a second virtual workshop to provide an overview of proposed regulation changes establishing higher building standards within the floodplain with the intent of minimizing public and private losses due to flooding. The video of this workshop is available here.
A recording of the first virtual workshop, held in July of 2020, is available on the city's YouTube channel.
A recent set of questions and answers (PDF) on the issue is also available.
Floods can strike with little or no warning. If you rely on a cell phone or have recently disconnected your landline, then it’s more important than ever to sign up for the city’s Alert Systems. This could be the city’s only way to reach you in an emergency.
National flood insurance program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.
To learn more please visit FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program.