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Floodplain management

Local floodplains are managed by the Floodplain Management Overlay (FPMO) District found under Article VI of the Isle of Wight County Zoning Ordinance. The 100-year floodplain is land that, on an annual basis, stands a one percent chance of flooding. In general, the purpose of the FPMO district is to limit the kinds of development allowed to occur in the 100-year floodplain for the protection of life and property. FPMO district regulations address issues that include residential development, hazardous materials, filling in the floodplain, construction standards, and non-structural development.

In order for local residents to qualify for flood insurance, communities must have a program of floodplain management. Flood insurance is governed through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The official Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are published through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), showing the 100-year floodplain as well as other official classifications of floodplains. The most recent FEMA flood maps for Isle of Wight County were published on December 2, 2015.

As a general rule for development purposes, the floodplain management program aims to keep new structures out of the 100-year flood plain. That means locating most new development in Zone X, which is outside of the 100-year flood plain and is defined as that area of land with a 0.2 percent chance annual chance of flooding. Parts of some floodplains have determined Base Flood Elevations (BFEs); these areas have been subject to special hydrologic studies that identify the base flood elevation. Other parts of the 100-year floodplains have estimated flood plain elevations, where the approximate extent of the floodplain is estimated based on topographic maps.

Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center to find your flood hazard information.