Floodplain Development

Our staff works with property owners to provide services to protect floodplains. The entire community benefits when urban floodplains are protected and restored. The main purpose of floodplain rules is to provide a safe place for rising flood waters. Preserving natural floodplains reduces flooding in developed areas. This prevents expensive damage to buildings and roads. It also helps protect the quality of the water that we drink and conserves plant and wildlife habitat. Along with other measures, these rules are also required to make federally subsidized flood insurance available to Town residents.

In Rutherfordton, floodplain development is regulated through the Floodplain and Flood Damage Protection Standards in the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Rutherfordton Development Ordinance Article 18: Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance 

Any activity that will disturb land in a FEMA mapped floodplain requires a floodplain development permit. This means permits may be required not only for buildings but also structures like fences, sign posts, and trails. It is important to keep floodplains clear of items that could float downstream in a flood and cause damage. This means that items such as swimming pools, sheds, and picnic tables also require permits to make sure they are properly anchored in place.

If you have questions about Rutherfordton’s floodplain development standards and permitting, contact the Town Manager Doug Barrick at 828-287-3520 or dbarrick@rutherfordton.net.

We encourage all homeowners, contractors, developers, architects, engineers or anyone working within a Floodplain to read and familiarize themselves with Article 18 the Town’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance 

You will be required to complete a Floodplain Development Permit

Floodplain Regulations

  • Provide recommendations to elected officials regarding floodplain ordinances
  • Enforce floodplain ordinances, including notices of violation
  • Issue Floodplain Development Permits
  • Review building Elevation Certificates
  • Maintain accurate floodplain maps
  • Work with the National Flood Insurance Program

The regulatory side of the Rutherfordton Flood Damage Prevention Program focuses heavily on construction. Development in a FEMA or Community Floodplain requires a Floodplain Development Permit from the floodplain administrator. Some remodeling or redeveloping of existing structures within the regulated floodplains also requires a Floodplain Development Permit and compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.

Protecting Floodplains

Wise land use in floodplains can save lives and property. The environmental benefits of restored floodplains include cleaner water in local streams and better habitat for wildlife. Green space along creeks can provide places for recreation or enjoying nature.

Floodplain Construction and Permits

A Floodplain Development Permit (FDP) is required for all development within the floodplain. To determine if your proposed development or lot is in or touching the floodplain, check the 3D Intera​ctive Floodzone Mapping application.

The requirements are different in a regulated floodplain. Additional rules and permitting requirements apply to new construction, additions or renovations, even grading the soil in the floodplain. Floodplain regulations apply to both the FEMA Floodplain and Community Floodplain.

Floodplain Development Permit

To comply with federal regulations, a Floodplain Development Permit has been issued by the Town of Rutherfordton covering certain activities in the floodplain. These generally include passive land use or activities that do not cause a technically-measurable increase on the Base Flood Elevation. As well as for grading, filling, drilling, dredging, new construction, and renovations with a value of more than $10,000 if the structure does not already meet floodplain regulations.​

If your project involves unique circumstances not covered by the types of development listed, contact Town Hall.

Elevation Certificates

After you finish building in a FEMA-regulated floodplain—but before anyone moves in or uses the building—you must get an Elevation Certificate (FEMA form 81-31).
The Elevation Certificate form must be completed by a Land Surveyor, licensed engineer, or architect registered in the State of North Carolina. An Elevation Certificate is necessary before you can receive a Certificate of Occupancy and before the power company can turn on electricity to the building. The Elevation Certificate is required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to determine flood insurance rates for the structure. It also provides documentation that the community is enforcing building and floodplain ordinances.

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