While Noble County is fortunate to have many beautiful lakes, these lakes are at risks for flooding along with the rivers and ditches that lead to and from these waterways. Any development in a floodplain as defined by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (from FEMA) is subject to the Ordinance for Flood Hazard Areas (commonly known as the Floodplain Ordinance.)
Development in the Floodplain is required to meet certain standards in order to minimize flood effects on the development itself and the community as a whole.
- Homes (and all attached garages) must be elevated two feet above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) with all mechanicals and the lowest floor being at least two feet above the BFE. Homes with enclosures beneath the elevated floor must have at least two flood openings located in a minimum of two exterior walls. Flood openings must have a total net area of not less than one square inch for every one square foot of enclosed area. The bottom of the openings shall be within one foot of the exterior or interior grade immediately beneath the opening; whichever is higher.
- Other structures must either be dry floodproofed to at least at the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) or elevated to at least two feet above BFE
- Accessory Buildings 400 square feet or less do not have to meet the elevation or floodproofing requirement but must have permit and have to meet basic standards to reduce flood damage
- No Fill (dirt or stone) may be brought onto a site without the same amount being removed in the floodplain and from the same property. Any movement of fill must have a permit.
- All development requires a permit
Floodplain Improvement Location Permit (Floodplain ILP)
A Floodplain ILP is required for development in the floodplain. The permit fee is $50. Detailed plans are required for the issuance of a Floodplain ILP.
Floodplain ILP Issuance Requirements
- Elevation Benchmark set by registered surveyor, includes as-built elevation certificate if a structure currently sits on the site, otherwise an elevation benchmark must be set on the property.
- Building Plans showing the final elevation of the lowest floor.
- Elevated buildings must show the method to be used for allowing floodwaters under the structure by either engineered flood vents or openings. The engineering spec sheet is required for all flood vents.
- Dry floodproofed structures must have an engineer or architect approved set of plans that show the methods to be used for floodproofing.
- Permit Fee of $50.
Permit Inspection Requirements
Floodplain ILPs must have at least three inspections, one before the foundation wall is poured or after the blocks are set, one when the subfloor is installed or slab is poured, and one when the building is complete. Inspection appointments can be made by calling the Plan Commission office and requesting a Flood ILP Inspection.
Kenneth Hughes is the Floodplain Administrator for Noble County. He may be contacted at the Plan Commission office for questions about development in the floodplain.
Floodplain Acknowledgment Agreement
Before an Improvement Location Permit is issued for any property in a floodplain, the property must have a recorded "Floodplain Acknowledgement Agreement". The Agreement can be found here or here for properties with multiple parcels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my property in a Floodplain?
You can go to the FEMA Map Service Center to locate your property on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) here and then type in your address in the top right. If your property is shaded blue, your property is most likely in a floodplain. You can also use the DNR Floodplain Information Portal.
Can I place fill in the Floodplain?
No. The only exception is if the same amount of material (per cubic foot) is taken off of the property. You can also move material around on your property so long as it does not cause ponding of water. Any removal of material in order to comply with the compensatory storage must be from the floodplain on the same property. And movement of material onto a property requires a Floodplain Improvement Location Permit.
Am I required to carry flood insurance?
If your property is in a floodplain, Noble County strongly recommends that you purchase Flood Insurance. It is up to your lender to determine whether or not you are required to carry flood insurance.
My property has never flooded, why is it in a floodplain?
Even though your property may have no history of flooding, it has been determined to be at a one percent (1%) annual chance of flooding. this means that in any given year, there is a 1% chance that your property will flood.
Are there any exceptions to the requirement to be flood resistant?
There are two exceptions to the general standard:
- Unattached accessory structures 400 square feet or under.
- Structures built before the first Flood Map from the 1970s may have a one-time alteration to the building without coming into compliance only if the alteration is less than 50% of the structure's fair market value. We advise you to check with an insurance agent in order to determine how flood insurance rates will be impacted by an alteration prior to pulling a permit for the construction.