Floodplain & flood mapping in the City of Brevard and Transylvania County

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Jay Kaiser (Exit Mountain Realty)

FloodPlain Issues in Summary Revised 9-8-2009 by Jay Kaiser (as interpreted by Barbara Tapley, 9/09) Below is a fantastic interpreted document for The City of Brevard in Transylvania County. The City of Brevard has rules and regulations somewhat similar but all the same different than that of the County in regards to what can and cannot be placed within a flood area.. The City has what is called the UDO Transylvania County is well known for its hundreds of waterfalls and the headwaters of the French Broad River. As is most river basins there is always a potential of flooding in the low lying areas. You might ask, how can the mountains flood? The French Broad River even though at 2000 foot in elevation and higher with some areas lower to 1800 feet is no different than areas nearly at sea level. Below you will see what Barbara found to be true for the city of Brevard. In the County (Transylvania County) there is one huge difference in that in the 100 year flood area you can in-fact build as long as what we call the free board is greater than one foot above the FFE. As a member of the Transylvania County Planning Board we have made a recommendation to the County Commissioners for a 2 foot free board. It was studied and the reduced cost of flood insurance versus the payback to build 2 feet higher has a short term payback in most cases. This is to be voted on Sept. 14, 2009. Barbara’s comments for the City requirements below: The purpose of mapping flood hazard areas is to prevent the loss of life and property that could occur if homes or businesses are built in areas where periodic flooding is possible. The flood maps are in the Transylvania County GIS accessible directly from their website or by clicking on the site on our MLS. Identify the parcel and apply “proposed flood mapping.” The “existing flood mapping” is easier to interpret, but should go away in another month or so when the proposed maps take effect. In summary, here’s what the designations mean: Flood Way: Indicated by slashes (//////) on former maps, but can’t see this on the new maps! You can call the City Planning Department for them to print out the version they are able to produce which does show the flood way. Nothing can be built in a designated flood way. 100 Year Flood Plain/AE: The new designation is “AE” and nobody seems to know what those initials stand for. This is the lighter blue color on the maps. New construction can occur in this zone provided flood studies (called “H and H” studies, Hydraulic and Hydrological) and subsequent engineering takes place. This can involve either fill and grading or elevating structures or both. A floodplain development permit from the city of Brevard is required prior to performing grading or construction. A new structure must be one foot (residential) or two feet (commercial) above what is determined to be the high water mark in a 100-year flood. 500 Year Flood Plain/A: This is the dark blue on the maps. This designation is not really cause for much concern…you can build anything you want in this zone. You do still need to get the floodplain development permit prior to any construction. Flood Insurance: Everybody in our county is eligible to buy flood insurance, regardless of what the flood risk of their property is. It is affordable and easy to get from any property insurance company. Without insurance, property damage/economic loss is the owner’s responsibility. Most mortgage companies will REQUIRE the purchase of flood insurance if any part of a property is in a flood zone (even the 500 year).

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