Floodplain

Important Information Regarding National Flood Insurance Program Changes:
On July 6, 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was signed into law, which re-authorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until September 30, 2017. Of note to local property owners in Special Flood Hazard Areas, Section 100205 of the law includes several reforms affecting subsidized premium rates as well as increases for new and renewal policies.

 *For further information, click on the attachments below or contact a member of the New Hanover County Zoning staff.* (910)-798-7116

Floodplains naturally store and convey floodwaters and regulate water flows into rivers and lakes. However, when structures are built in floodplains, they become susceptible to damage from floodwaters. The County is dedicated to providing information to the public about floodplains in order to avoid or minimize property loss.

Please visit the following links for more information:

*Information for reference purposes only. Please consult with a zoning compliance official for floodplain determinations.* (910)-798-7116

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was established by the Federal Government in the 1960’s as part of an effort to correct shortcomings of traditional flood control and flood relief programs, and reduce the costs of flooding to the taxpayers. In 1979, the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) and the NFIP were transferred to the newly created Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The NFIP is self-funded; that is, flood insurance premiums are used to bear the cost of paying out claims under the flood policies. This program emphasizes the importance of not repeating the mistakes of the past: new construction and substantial improvements to old construction must meet standards designed to minimize loss of property during flood events, primarily through elevating the lowest floor of the structure, and through anchorage and foundations designed to allow flood waters to pass safely under the building. The flood prone area where these standards apply is termed the “100 Year Floodplain,” and is shown on maps prepared by FEMA. Development standards set by the NFIP reach the local level through local ordinances.

Only communities that adopt local floodplain regulations are allowed to participate in the NFIP–a crucial factor in low-lying areas such as New Hanover County, since financing to build or purchase homes in the floodplain is nearly impossible to obtain without flood insurance. The New Hanover County Floodplain Regulations were adopted for the unincorporated areas of the county in 1978, and have been amended several times over the years. The City of Wilmington and Towns of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach also participate in the NFIP, but under their own ordinances.

The County Inspection Department administers the portions of the County Floodplain Regulations that relate to buildings. The County Engineering Department is charged with responsibilities relating to grading and filling of areas within the floodplain–particularly in the floodways along certain streams. While the Inspection Department provides various types of inspection services within the county’s municipalities (Wilmington and the beach communities), those municipalities are responsible for the administration and enforcement of their local floodplain regulations. The city or town official is responsible for making floodplain determinations at the time of permit issuance and through the course of the project.

For more information about floodplains or the National Flood Insurance Program, please visit:

North Carolina’s Floodplain Management Program or visit: FEMA’s website

In addition to other floodplain administration duties, the County participates in FEMA’s voluntary Community Rating System program. Participation in this program enables all County residents that receive flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program to receive a discounted insurance premium. Click on the links below for more information about floodplain management.

New Hanover County Hazard Mitigation Plan

CLICK HERE for more information about shelters and evacuationEvac_shelters

230 Government Center Drive, Suite 110 • Wilmington, NC 28403
Planning & Land Use: Phone 910-798-7165 • Fax 910-798-7053
Building Safety: Phone 910-798-7308 • Fax 910-798-7811
Engineering: Phone 910-798-7139 • Fax 910-798-7051