Flood Plain and Floodway Information

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BUILDING IN THE FLOOD ZONES

General Information

New Buildings

Existing Buildings 

Helpful Links

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 PERMITS

Flood Plain Development PermitAdobe_Icon

Elevation Certificate and InstructionsAdobe_Icon

Flood Proofing Certificate for Non-Residential StructuresAdobe_Icon

 
GENERAL INFORMATION

Charlottesville has established a flood hazard protection zoning district which was designed to promote public health, safety and minimize losses due to flood conditions. There are over 270 City parcels within this area with numerous buildings constructed within this area. This guideline is produced to assist Building, Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical contractors with a better understanding of the construction requirements within this area and required by the Charlottesville City Code - Zoning Ordinance.

Building Permit applications for parcels within the FEMA designated Floodplain (100 yr.) must have the proposed finished floor elevation in relation to mean sea level shown on the plans. NOTE: Builder shall notify City Building Inspections and Engineering once FFE has been established. An elevation certificate (FEMA Form 81-31) from a Virginia registered land surveyor or professional engineer of the lowest floor elevation or a flood-proofing certificate (FEMA Form 81-65- used only with non-residential commercial buildings) must be received by Neighborhood Development Services within 21 days of establishment of floor level and before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued for a new building. FLOOD-PROOFING IS ONLY ALLOWED FOR COMMERCIAL NON-RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS. ALL 1 TO 4 FAMILY RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS MUST BE RAISED ABOVE THE BFE with an exception for manufactured homes. NO BUILDING PERMITTED WITHIN THE FLOODWAY.

Any modification, amendment or changes to these requirements need approval from Charlottesville’s Flood Plain Manager in Neighborhood Development Services (434-970-3182). Appeals are heard and decided by the City’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

BFE: Base Flood Elevation (100 Year flood elevation)
FFE: Finished Floor Elevation (Floor level of habitable /usable space within the structure)
NDS: Charlottesville Neighborhood Development Services Department
Substantial Improvement: Based on most recent City assessment value (back to top)

NEW BUILDINGS

1 to 4 Family Dwellings: (Not Including Manufactured Homes)

An As-Built Survey is required, showing the finished floor elevation, before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.

Note: Accessibility requirements could apply for 4 family dwellings. See Chapter 11 of VA Construction Code.

Enclosed Areas or Crawl Space Under: (This enclosed area can only be used for parking of vehicles, building access or limited storage) The FFE in a building with an enclosed area or crawl space under shall have the FFE raised at least 1’ above the BFE. If solid flood damage resistant foundation walls support this structure, then provide at least two flood vents on different sides having a total net area of not less than 1 square inch for every 1 square foot of each separately enclosed crawl space area. The bottom of these vent openings shall be no higher than 1 foot above grade. These vents must be designed to permit the automatic flow of floodwaters in both directions. Floor allowed to be a concrete slab within this enclosed area below the BFE.
Basement Under: If this area is a habitable area with partitions and /or finished flooring, walls, fireplaces, plumbing facilities and code required electrical and /or plumbing facilities, then the basement FFE must be raised at least 1’ above BFE with Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Tank requirements also met.
Mechanical/ Electrical /Plumbing/Tanks: These utilities must be installed at least 1’ above BFE. Ductwork, registers and HVAC units must be raised. Plumbing fixture openings (vents, sinks, toilets, tub/showers, floor drains and washing machine outlet boxes) must meet this dimension. Electrical meters, panels disconnects, receptacles and wiring must be installed higher in/on the wall. Automatic backflow preventers are required in the sanitary sewer system.

• New above-ground storage tanks. All above-ground propane storage tanks, including new tanks installed to replace an existing tank, must meet the following requirements:

(i) Tanks that are associated with new or existing utility service or that are attached to or located under a building, tank inlets,     fill openings, outlets, and vents, shall be elevated above the elevation specified in ASCE/SEI 24.05 (American Society of Civil Engineers/Structural Engineering Institute) or most current standard.

(ii)Tanks shall be designed, constructed, installed, and anchored to resist the potential buoyant and other flood forces acting on an empty tank during design flood conditions.

Manufactured Homes: (Newly Installed)

The FFE must be at least 1’ above the BFE with the home strapped down per manufacturer’s requirements. Alternatively, the chassis (steel undercarriage) can be supported on reinforced piers (re-bar in masonry block or concrete piers and concrete footing) at least 3’ above grade and also strapped/anchored to resist flotation collapse or lateral movement.
Mechanical/ Electrical /Plumbing/Tanks: Plumbing: Automatic backwater valves in sanitary sewer system meeting the requirements in the VA Plumbing Code must be installed during ALL installations. Tanks: See information required for new 1 to 4 family dwellings

• Accessory Structures: (Value of $3000.00 or Less)

Sheds and detached garages shall be firmly anchored and not be used for human habitation including work, living, cooking or having restroom facilities.

• Non Residential Construction: (Other than 1 to 4 Family Dwellings)

An As-Built Survey is required, showing the finished floor elevation, before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued.

Note: Accessibility requirements could apply. See Chapter 11 of VA Construction Code.

The FFE elevation (including basements) must be at least 1’ above BFE and solid foundation walls installed per requirements above for 1 to 4 Family dwellings. Alternatively, non-residential buildings can be flood-proofed rather than being elevated. All areas below the BFE have water tight walls substantially impermeable to water and having structural components able to resist hydrostatic/hydrodynamic loads and the effect of buoyancy. A Registered Design Professional shall design and certify that these requirements are met. The design document including specific flood-proofed elevation must be submitted with the building permit application. Minimum requirements for flood-proofing and certification can be found at Charlottesville City Code Section 34-256
Mechanical/ Electrical /Plumbing/Tanks: See section for 1 to 4 Family Dwellings for non-flood –proofed buildings. If flood-proofed, then electrical, gas and mechanical systems must be designed for continuing function during flood conditions. Sanitary sewer and storm drainage with openings below the BFE must have backwater valves, plumbing vents must be installed at least 1’ above BFE. (back to top)

EXISTING BUILDINGS (Additions and Renovations)


1 to 4 Family Dwellings: (Not Including Manufactured Homes)
Additions: An addition is considered new construction and must meet all requirements for new 1 to 4 family dwellings.
Alterations, Repairs and Improvement: (Substantial improvement to an existing dwelling) If these involve a cost of 50% or more of the market value of the structure before work has started, then these changes must meet all requirements for new 1 to 4 family dwellings.
Sanitary Sewer Replacement or New Sanitary Sewer: Automatic backwater valves meeting the requirements in the VA Residential Code must be installed during ALL installations.
Mechanical/ Electrical /Plumbing/Tanks: If total costs including building work is defined as a substantial improvement then see section for new 1 to 4 Family Dwellings.

• Manufactured Homes:

Additions: An addition is considered new construction and must meet requirements for newly installed manufactured homes.
Alterations, Repairs and Improvement: (Substantial improvement to an existing manufactured home) If these involve a cost of 50% or more of the market value of the structure before work has started, then these changes must meet all requirement for a newly installed manufactured home.
Sanitary Sewer Replacement or New Sanitary Sewer: Backwater valves meeting the requirements in the VA Residential Code must be installed during ALL installations.
Mechanical/ Electrical /Plumbing/Tanks: If total costs including building work is defined as a substantial improvement, then see section for newly installed Manufactured Homes.

• Non Residential Construction: (Other than 1 to 4 Family Dwellings)

Additions: An addition is considered new construction and must meet requirements for new non-residential construction. An As-Built Survey is required, showing the finished floor elevation, before occupancy is allowed.

Alterations, Repairs and Improvement: (Substantial improvement to an existing structure) If these involve a cost of 50% or more of the market value of the structure before work has started, then these changes must meet requirements for new non-residential construction.
Sanitary Sewer Replacement or New Sanitary Sewer: Automatic backwater valves meeting the requirements in the VA Plumbing Code must be installed during ALL installations.
Mechanical/ Electrical /Plumbing/Tanks: If total costs including building work is defined as a substantial improvement, then this work must meet requirements for new non-residential construction.


HELPFUL LINKS

Biggert – Waters Reform Act 2012
(BW-12) require the NFIP to raise insurance rates for some older properties in high-risk areas to reflect true flood risk.

Frequently Asked Questions

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