Floodplain Management

Department of Planning and Development Services
Floodplain Management

Floods are a part of nature. Whenever extreme rainfall occurs in a short period of time, the runoff can exceed the capacity of rivers, streams, and channels. Floods not only cause damage to property, but disrupts life and cause significant economic losses. Flooding is defined, in part, as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties, at least one of which is your property, from overflow of inland or tidal waters, from unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or from mudflow.

FloodingThe City of Sanford participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NFIP was created in order to provide insurance protection against losses from flooding. In order for the City of Sanford to participate in the NFIP, it has adopted regulations that control new growth in Special Flood Hazard Areas to reduce future flood risks and in return the Federal Government makes flood insurance available to property owners.

The Planning and Development Services Department administers the City’s Floodplain Ordinance, and coordinates with the City’s Building Division to ensure that federal floodplain management requirements are met. By doing this, the City:

• Protects life, health and property
• Saves tax dollars
• Ensures that federally-backed flood insurance is universally available within the city
• Helps citizens avoid liability and lawsuits

1. Is my property in a flood zone?
Answer: This can be determined by reviewing the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), which are available from FEMA. Copies of these maps are also available for review at the Sanford City Hall in the Department of Planning and Development Services. You can also visit Seminole County's GIS webpage and use their interactive map for "FEMA Flood Prone Areas" at http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/information-services/gis-geographic-information-systems/other-maps.stml

2. Should I purchase flood insurance?
: The City recommends that all homeowners purchase flood insurance, whether the property is in the floodplain or not. Flooding can occur at many locations throughout Sanford, including in areas which are not mapped in the floodplain.

3. How can I purchase flood insurance?
Answer: Contact your insurance agent. Generally, the company providing your homeowner's insurance can also provide flood insurance.

4. I already have homeowner’s insurance. Isn’t that enough to protect me against flood losses?
Answer: NO! Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage.

5. What regulations apply to new building construction in a flood zone?
: Sanford uses the current Florida Building Code, with some modifications and higher standards. One of the higher standards dictates that the lowest floor level of any new structure, including the basement, shall be a minimum of 2-feet above the base flood elevation. Contact the Building Department for more information on building construction. All proposed development, filling, excavating, etc. requires a Floodplain Development Permit. You can find the application here.

Areal View6. What regulations apply to site work, utility construction and filling in a flood zone?
: Site work, utilities, and the placement of fill in floodplains are regulated at the City level in the land development regulations and Chapter 46 of the City Code. Additional requirements are imposed by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE). Be aware that floodplains are usually associated with wetlands, and that the presence of wetlands on a site will impose additional requirements.

7. My property is mapped as being in a flood hazard area but it has never flooded.
What can I doFlooded Street to  eliminate the need for flood insurance or reduce the cost of flood insurance?
: You can apply for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). Generally, a surveyor would measure the floor elevation and other site elevations and provide the information to FEMA on the proper forms. If the improvements are found to be above the floodplain elevation, FEMA will issue a letter of map amendment, and the lender can then, at their option, remove the requirement for flood insurance. Even in such cases, however, the City recommends that the owner continue to purchase and maintain continuous flood insurance.

Whether or not you have flood insurance there are certain things you can do to prepare yourself in case a flood does occur in your neighborhood. Remember, flooding can occur anywhere it rains.

  • Educate yourself
  • Safeguard your possessions
  • Prepare your house
  • Develop a family emergency plan
  • Protect your family and home
  • Know who to contact after the storm

For detailed information on preparing for floods, contact your insurance agent or visit http://www.ready.gov/floods

For more information please contact:
Michael Cash, CFM
Planning Engineer

City Resources:
Floodplain Ordinance:  http://library.municode.com/HTML/19985/level2/PTIICOOR_CH46FL.html
Land Development Regulations, Schedule M, Environmentally Sensitive Land: Schedule M    
Request a flood zone determination: Flood Zone Determination

Seminole County Resources:
Interactive ArcGIS FEMA Floodplain Mapping: http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/information-services/gis-geographic-information-systems/other-maps.stml
Water Atlas, a good resource with historic lake levels, and a good place to learn about water bodies in your neighborhood: http://www.seminole.wateratlas.usf.edu/
Basin Studies (Engineering / ICPR analyses): http://www.seminolecountyfl.gov/departments-services/public-works/engineering-division/basin-study-reports.stml

State Resources:
St. Johns River Water Management District: www.sjrwmd.com
Florida Department of Environmental Protection: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/
Florida Division of Emergency Management, Floodplain Management Program: http://www.floridadisaster.org/Mitigation/SFMP/Index.htm
Quick Guide to Floodplain Management in Florida: http://www.floridadisaster.org/Mitigation/SFMP/Documents/FLQG_web

Federal Resources:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): http://www.fema.gov/
FEMA Map Service Center: https://msc.fema.gov/portal
(at this link you can view the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM’s) for any mapped location in the country)
FEMA Mitigation Assistance: http://www.fema.gov/flood-mitigation-assistance-program
Flood preparedness: http://www.ready.gov/floods
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/

Other Organizations:
Association of State Floodplain Managers, ASFPM http://floods.org/
Florida Floodplain Managers Association (FFMA) www.flfloods.org

Latest news and updates:
Flood insurance and legislation on flood plain management: