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Floodplain Management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has identified special flood hazard areas within the boundaries of St. Mary’s County. Special Flood Hazard Areas are subject to periodic inundation which may result in loss of life and property; health and safety hazards; disruption of commerce and governmental services; extraordinary public expenditures for flood protection and relief; and impairment of the tax base, all of which adversely affects the public health, safety and general welfare. Structures that are inadequately elevated, improperly flood-proofed, or otherwise unprotected from flood damage also contribute to flood losses.

In order to reduce the adverse impacts associated with flooding the County has adopted floodplain management regulations which have been approved by FEMA and deemed to be in full compliance with the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The floodplain management regulations were amended in November 2014 following a Countywide Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and updates to the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). These regulations can be found in Chapter 76 of the Ordinance. To speak to a staff member about the regulations and to find out if your property is in a flood zone, please call the Department of Land Use and Growth Management at 301-475-4200, ext. 1528 or ext. 1542.

Development in a Floodplain

A permit must be obtained prior to starting any development or construction which is wholly within, partially within, or in contact with any flood hazard area including filling; grading; construction of new structures; the substantial improvement of any building or structure including the repair of a substantially damaged building or structure; placement or replacement of manufactured homes including the substantial improvement or repair of a substantially damaged manufactured home; erecting or installing a temporary structure; or alteration of a watercourse. Creation of any new flood-prone building site is prohibited in any subdivision governed by the County’s Zoning Ordinance regardless of size, number of lots, or location.

Development in or near a flood hazard area generally requires an applicant to submit one or more of the following documents at the time of permit application, or during the construction phase. Click on the specific document you wish to download as shown under “Resources” to the left of this page:

  • Agreement to Submit an Elevation Certificate-Applicant for a permit to build in the floodplain agrees to have an Elevation Certificate prepared by a licensed engineer or surveyor.
  • Elevation Certificate (to be used at framing and final stages of construction)-Shows surveyed elevations and other pertinent data to a property; must be completed by a licensed engineer or surveyor.
  • Non-conversion Agreement-also known as a Declaration of Land Restriction; Owner agrees not to convert certain enclosures below the lowest floor of elevated buildings and certain accessory structures.
  • Substantial Improvement Worksheet-Used to calculate the cost of any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a building or structure to determine whether or not the cost of the improvement equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the building prior to start of construction.
  • V-Zone Design Certificate-Must be submitted for construction in the V-zone and the information must be certified by a licensed engineer.