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 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 with 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. 1523.
The St. Mary’s County GIS Map is also available for public viewing of the mapped Special Flood Hazard Area. Special Flood Hazard Areas are defined as any A or V flood zones on a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Visit St. Mary’s County GIS Map, enter a property address without the street suffix, click on the layer icon , and then the select either the FEMA Floodplain (Simple) or FEMA Flood Hazard Layers (Expandable).
Development in 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 with the permit application, or during the construction phase. To speak with a staff member about the permitting process for projects in the Special Flood Hazard Area, please call the Department of Land Use and Growth Management at 301-475-4200, ext. 1523 for residential projects or ext. 1528 for non-residential projects.
- Permit Application – This form must be submitted for all applications for development.
- Agreement to Submit an Elevation Certificate – An applicant for a permit to build in the floodplain must agree to have an Elevation Certificate prepared by a licensed engineer or surveyor.
- Elevation Certificate – This form documents surveyed elevations and other pertinent data to a property. This form must be completed by a licensed engineer or surveyor.
- Elevation Certificate Attachment A – Guidance for the Revised Elevation Certificate
- V-Zone Certificate – This form must be submitted for construction in the V-zone and the information must be certified by a licensed engineer.
- Non- Conversion Agreement – This form is also known as a Declaration of Land Restriction. This form is required when the property owner must agree not to convert certain enclosures below the lowest floor of elevated buildings and certain accessory structures. (Jessica is working on this one).
- Dry Flood Proofing Certificate & Technical Bulletin – This form is required for non-residential buildings that install dry flood proofing measures.
- Troubleshooting Tip: If you get a “Please Wait” error when trying to download the new Elevation Certificate form, it’s due to some incompatibility issues with the alternative PDF viewer used by certain browsers. Here’s a work around:
- Right click on the Download File link and select “save link as”
- Save it to your PC
- Once it’s on your PC, you will be able to open it.
Substantial Damage/Substantial Improvement
The St. Mary’s County floodplain management regulations and codes specify that all structures in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), or floodplains, that are to be substantially improved or are substantially damaged are required to be in compliance with current floodplain regulations.
Please note that a building may be substantially damaged by any cause, including fire, flood, high wind, seismic activity, land movement, or neglect, where the cost to repair equals or exceeds 50 percent of the original market value. All costs to repair a substantially damaged building to its pre-damage condition must be identified. The forms below may be required during the permit review process. To speak with a staff member about the permitting process for projects in the Special Flood Hazard Area, please call the Department of Land Use and Growth Management at 301-475-4200, ext. 1523 for residential projects or ext. 1528 for non-residential projects.
- SI-SD Worksheet – This form is used to identify costs to repair or renovate a structure in the Special Flood Hazard Area.
- Homeowner Affidavit – This form is a required certification by the owner that the costs of repair are complete and accurate, and it includes the designation of a contractor.
- Contractors Affidavit – This form is a required certification by the contractor that the costs of repair are complete and accurate.
What are we doing about flooding in St. Mary’s County?
Hazard Mitigation Grants
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers several grant opportunities for hazard mitigation projects to reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural hazards and to reduce the reliance on Federal disaster funds and flood insurance. The full description of these programs can be found in the FEMA publication Hazard Mitigation Assistance Unified Guidance, and on the FEMA website. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) administers these programs in the State and offers this application guidance package for potential applicants.
- HMGP Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
- PDM Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program
- FMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants
For more information about mitigation assistance grants, please contact the Department of Public Works and Transportation at 301-475-4200 ext. 3522.
- Grant Application [Note: property owners may not apply independently, but only through their municipal or County government. MEMA staff will facilitate that through their local liaisons.]
- Hazard Mitigation Plan
- Nuisance Flooding Page
- Maryland River Gauges
National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program administered by FEMA, which makes federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters and business owners. Insurance costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers and the property's flood risk. In order to qualify for flood insurance, the County must participate in the NFIP. The County has been a participant since February 19, 1987.
Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance Flood Insurance
Pursuant to the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for all federal or federally related financial assistance for the acquisition and, or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas. Special Flood Hazard Areas are defined as any A or V flood zones on a FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
The mandatory purchase requirement also applies to secured loans from such financial institutions as commercial lenders, savings and loan associations, savings banks, and credit unions that are regulated, supervised, or insured by federal agencies, such as the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Comptroller of Currency, the Farm Credit Administration, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the National Credit Union Administration. Additionally, all loans purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market are subject to the mandatory requirement for flood insurance.
The requirement for mandatory insurance applies to real property when a building or portion of a building is in a Special Flood Hazard Area. However, lenders, own their initiatives, may require the purchase of flood insurance even though a building may be entirely outside a Special Flood Hazard Area.
Who has a Mandatory Purchase Requirement?