Floodplain Management Ordinance


Floodplain Management Ordinance

Our nation’s floodplains are regulated by federal, state, and local regulations.  The Commonwealth of Kentucky regulates construction and development in floodplains so that buildings will be protected from flood damage.  The regulations require a floodplain permit before you start any repair, renovation, development, improvement, or construction.  Development means any changes to the property, including filling, regarding, and excavating. 


Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) annual edition is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the departments and agencies of the Federal Government. It is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to Federal regulation. The 50 subject matter titles contain one or more individual volumes, which are updated once each calendar year, on a staggered basis.

Follow the links to specific sections of the CFR for floodplain regulations.


Link to the 44 CFR 59.1 – Definitions.


To link to sections of the Title 44: Emergency Management and Assistance, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), follow the links below.

Subpart A—Requirements for Flood Plain Management Regulations

§60.1   Purpose of subpart.
§60.2   Minimum compliance with flood plain management criteria.
§60.3   Flood plain management criteria for flood-prone areas.
§60.4   Flood plain management criteria for mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone areas.
§60.5   Flood plain management criteria for flood-related erosion-prone areas.
§60.6   Variances and exceptions.
§60.7   Revisions of criteria for flood plain management regulations.
§60.8   Definitions.

Subpart B—Requirements for State Flood Plain Management Regulations

§60.11   Purpose of this subpart.
§60.12   Flood plain management criteria for State-owned properties in special hazard areas.
§60.13   Noncompliance.

Subpart C—Additional Considerations in Managing Flood-Prone, Mudslide (i.e., Mudflow)-Prone and Flood-Related Erosion-Prone Areas

§60.21   Purpose of this subpart.
§60.22   Planning considerations for flood-prone areas.
§60.23   Planning considerations for mudslide (i.e., mudflow)-prone areas.
§60.24   Planning considerations for flood-related erosion-prone areas.
§60.25   Designation, duties, and responsibilities of State Coordinating Agencies.
§60.26   Local coordination.


Variances and the NFIP – FEMA P-993 

The National Flood Insurance Program variances procedures are designed to help local governments protect their citizens and property from flood damage.  Allowing variances to the local floodplain management standards may significantly increase a property’s flood insurance rate and decreased community resilience.  Therefore, by implementing the NFIP variance procedures, a community will ensure variance are the minimum necessary and alternative actions are taken that protect and encourage safe development in the floodplain. The FEMA_P_993_FPM_Bulletin_Variance outlines the floodplain management variance criteria as set forth in Title 44 Code of Federal Regulations Part 60, Criteria for Land Management and Use, Subpart A – Requirements for Floodplain Management Regulations, Section 60.6 (44 CFR §60.6).


When Do I Need A Stream Construction Permit from the state?

Floodplain Permit

A permit is required before construction or development begins within any Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  If FEMA has not defined the SFHA within a community, the community shall require permits for all proposed construction or other development in the community including the placement of manufactured homes, so that it may determine whether such construction or other development is proposed within flood-prone areas. Permits are required to ensure that proposed development projects meet the requirements of the NFIP and the community’s floodplain management ordinance.

A community must also review all proposed developments to assure that all necessary permits have been received from those governmental agencies from which approval is required by Federal or State law.  In Kentucky, to build, develop, or repair in a floodplain, both the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) and the local permitting agency require permits.  The DOW administers KRS 151, which outlines the requirements for obtaining a Stream Construction Permit for floodplain development.  Stream Construction Permits are issued by the Cabinet pursuant to 401 KAR 4:060.  Kentucky requires a Stream Construction Permit for any development in areas along or across a stream, up to the one square mile drainage area, and is not limited to the Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) as shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

The state also requires that substantial improvements to a structure be based on a 1-year period in which the cumulative cost of construction equals or exceeds 50% of the structures fair market value.  Substantially improved structures will be required to bring the entire structure up to current minimum NFIP standards.

Link here for a NFIP Fact Sheet.

Download the Kentucky floodplain permit here: 

For in depth information, visit the KDOW’s Floodplain Management webpage.


Kentucky Model Ordinance

Two examples for your community’s ordinance, the minimum NFIP requirement and higher regulatory requirements.  




Need help explaining to city officials the value of freeboard?

February 2018 

The ASFPM developed a tri-fold called, “The Costs & Benefits for Building Higher.”  The terminology is relatively simple so that city officials not well versed in floodplain management can understand how communities are safer when building higher, and how their citizens can save money and increase the value of their homes.






Have questions, contact us at help@kymitigation.org