Floodplain Development

If your property is located in Flood Zone “A” or Flood Zone “V” on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), your property is subject to regulations. Before starting development on any lot, tract or parcel, the owner or developer must first contact Planning & Community Development to determine what permits will be required.

Permits are required for… 
Natural And Beneficial Floodplain Functions

In a natural or relatively undisturbed state, floodplains provide three valuable resources:

  1. Protect the physical, biological, and chemical integrity of water. Pathogens and toxic substances in surface runoff and sediment are decreased. Subsurface conditions favor infiltration and storage which recharge groundwater aquifers and naturally purify the water.
  2. They support large and diverse plant and animal populations. Floodplains are where the land and the water meet and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems mix. They are valuable to estuarine and marine fisheries.
  3. Because of their location and unique beneficial characteristics floodplains are attractive for recreation sites as well as being excellent areas for scientific study. Floodplains provide an excellent base for agricultural, aquaculture, and forest production with sound management practices.
Flood Map Determinations

The Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are the result of the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) which investigated the existence and severity of flood hazards in Currituck County. The maps contain official delineation of flood insurance zones and base flood elevation lines.

Base flood elevation lines show the location of the expected whole-foot water surface elevation within the 100-year flood zone. Currituck County is divided into zones, each of which has a specific flood potential as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Atlantic Ocean, Albemarle Sound, and Currituck Sound are the primary sources of flooding in Currituck County.

To learn if your property is located in a Flood Zone, or to obtain information on the following topics:

  1. elevation certificates for existing development within special flood hazard areas;
  2. elevation requirements;
  3. the history of flooding in your area;
  4. selecting a qualified contractor;
  5. site visits for advice on flood protection measures; or,
  6. review of plans to retrofit your home.

call the Planning and Community Development Department on the Mainland 252-232-6052 or 252-232-6031 on the Outer Banks.

Additional information on flood protection can also be found at the Currituck County Library in Barco and Corolla. Most of FEMA’S books are available on protection and construction in flood prone areas for your convenience.

Substantial Improvement Requirements

No new building may be constructed and no substantial improvements of an existing building may take place within any floodplain unless the lowest floor of the building or improvement is flood-proofed or elevated to or above the base flood level. “Substantial Improvement” means any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a building the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty percent (50%) of the market value of the structure either:

(i) before the improvement or repair is started or

(ii) if the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred. “Substantial Improvement” occurs when the first alteration on any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of the building commences, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.

The term does not, however, include either:

(i) any project for improvement of a structure to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications that are solely necessary to insure safe living conditions, or

(ii) any alteration of a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a State Inventory of Historic Places.

“Substantial Damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a building whereby the cost of restoring the building to its before-damage condition would equal or exceed fifty percent (50%) of the market value of the building before the damage occurred.

Drainage System Maintenance

Drainage ditches, streams, channels, and canals must be kept free of debris that can cause them to lose carrying capacity. Debris from dumping, vegetation and sedimentation can build up in a drainage system and cause flooding.

Dumping of debris in drainage systems is unlawful in North Carolina. Keep drainage ditches on your property clear and functional, and report dumping in any ditch, stream, channel, or canal.

Natural And Beneficial Floodplain Functions

In a natural or relatively undisturbed state, floodplains provide three valuable resources:

  1. Protect the physical, biological, and chemical integrity of water. Pathogens and toxic substances in surface runoff and sediment are decreased. Subsurface conditions favor infiltration and storage which recharge groundwater aquifers and naturally purify the water.
  2. They support large and diverse plant and animal populations. Floodplains are where the land and the water meet and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems mix. They are valuable to estuarine and marine fisheries.
  3. Because of their location and unique beneficial characteristics floodplains are attractive for recreation sites as well as being excellent areas for scientific study. Floodplains provide an excellent base for agricultural, aquaculture, and forest production with sound management practices.