Floodplain Protection

Floodplain Management and Development Information
Please know that having property located in or near an identified floodplain, or more specifically, a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) does not inherently mean you cannot develop your property. There are steps you can take to mitigate your risk and, at the same time, ensure compliance with applicable flood regulations.

The County has made available a variety of documents on existing flood data as well as guidelines and flood protection methods for you to review in several convenient locations including:
Orange County Public Library - Hillsborough Branch on Margaret Lane
Orange County Planning Office located on the second floor of the West Campus Office Building at 131 West Margaret Lane, Hillsborough

If you are thinking about engaging in Land Disturbing Activity on your property for any reason (i.e. building a new structure, grading, removing trees, etc.) you should first contact the Planning Department to understand what issues, if any, the project may create.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
A Floodplain Development Permit application is a required document for any Land Disturbing Activity within the floodplain prior to starting any Land Disturbing Activity, including, but not limited to: 
Building fences
Clearing of land
Constructing a barn or shed
Installing a road or driveway
• Repairing or expanding an existing house or building
Note, no new structures are allowed in the floodplain.
Floodplain Location Services
Staff can assist residents with determining where existing floodplains are located on their property and can provide basic mapping services to delineate the existing floodplains.  While these services do not take the place of procuring a professionally prepared site plan where a surveyor formally delineates existing floodplains on your property, Staff can provide vital information such as the depth of anticipated flood waters and the location of any structure with respect to its proximity to identified floodplains. 

Orange County Interactive Geographic Image System (GIS) can also provide basic maps denoting the location of existing floodplain on properties within the County.
Assistance with Flood Regulations
Staff is able to provide assistance and supporting documents, with respect to existing flood regulations and FIRM data, such as:
 Base Flood Elevations as denoted on the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
• 100 and 500 year floodplain (SFHA) maps
Archived FIRM maps and flood data
Cross section elevations at selected locations
Approximate location of parcel lines
Zoning and watershed overlay designations
Two foot topographic contour lines
Approximate location(s) of structure(s) utilizing aerial photographic data
Any FIRM adjustment approved through the Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map revision (LOMR) process, and Elevation Certificates for certain parcels.
Additional Services
Staff is also available to assist with the following:
Completion of complimentary site visits to review your specific situation
Preparation of documents detailing specific advice/options on ways to protect your property (i.e. retrofitting/flood proofing of structures drainage improvements, etc.)
Review of any and all available financial assistance programs to assist with development/redevelopment activities
Completion of a Zoning Report, which utilizes Orange County Geographic Information Service (GIS) data, may identify environmental conditions that may restrict the overall development of a specific parcel. Additional information regarding Zoning Reports can be found here.
Community Rating System (CRS)
In 2022 the NFIP, on the behalf of FEMA, awarded Orange County a CRS score of Class 6 resulting in a discount of approximately 20% on flood insurance premium rates. Property owners receive this discount due to the County’s efforts in achieving the three central goals of the CRS program, including:
Reduce flood losses;
Facilitate accurate insurance rating; and
Promote the awareness of flood insurance

The County is committed to bolster our flood hazard mitigation program in a continuing effort to ensure affordable flood insurance for local residents. While we are unable to guarantee further reductions in insurance rates, we will continue our efforts to ensure preservation of the existing CRS rating and the aforementioned discount.
Copies of Orange County’s most current outreach letters can be viewed using the following links:
Additional Resources
• Flood.NC.gov - North Carolina's Flood Information Center 
• North Carolina Flood Risk Information System (FRIS)
• Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) MSC - Flood Map Service Center
• North Carolina Flood Inundation Mapping and Alert Network (FIMAN) Mapping and Alert Network
Draft Flood Hazard Data - North Carolina Floodplain Mapping Program Preliminary Data Viewer
Orange County Emergency Services
• Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and Community Rating System (CRS) Additional Information
• Flood Insurance, Flood Preparedness, Safety, and Additional Information
• Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings that Cannot be Elevated
• Retrofitting Existing Residences to Address Potential Flood Damage
• Protecting Manufactured Homes
• Flood Proofing Non-Residential Structures
• Questions and Answers About Flood Insurance for Real Estate Professionals