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Regulatory Handbook -> Local Permits -> Floodplain Development Permit

Floodplain Development Permit

What is the Purpose of this Permit?
Local governments participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are required to review proposed development projects to determine if they are in identified floodplains as shown on the FEMA maps. If a project is located in a mapped 100-year floodplain (A or V zone), the local government must require that a permit be obtained prior to development (see definition below).

Proposed projects are reviewed and conditions imposed on any permits issued to reduce the potential for damage from floodwater. Permits are required for any development (see definition below) in the floodplain. Permit processing time varies by jurisdiction and project complexity. Though a public hearing is not normally required, there are exceptions. State law requires that local entities have a local floodplain ordinance that meets or exceeds NFIP requirements. Ecology has approval authority over these ordinances.
Who Issues this Permit?
Local Government - City or County
What Activities Require this Permit?
Any development (see definition below) within the 100-year floodplain.

Development is defined as: any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials located within the area of special flood hazard.
How Much Will this Permit Cost?
Determined by local government.
Do I Need to Include Anything with my Application?
Determined by the property owner's local government.
Is the Decision on my Permit Dependent on Anything Besides the Information in my Application?
Determined by the property owner's local government.
How Long Will it Take to Review my Application?
Permit processing time varies by jurisdiction and project complexity.
Where do I Submit my Application?
Local government will review property location and determine whether or not the property is within the 100-year floodplain. Some local governments charge a fee to determine whether or not the homeowners property is located within the 100-year floodplain.
How Long is my Permit Valid?
Usually lasts for the duration of the project.
What is the Appeal Process for the Permit?
Property owners can challenge floodplain determinations through the local government appeal process. The property owner has the right to hire a surveyor or engineer to delineate the parcel and determine whether or not it is within a 100-year floodplain. If the property is not within a 100-year floodplain the property owner can submit the finding and request a letter of map amendment from FEMA for a fee.
Notes / Comments:
Floodplain management programs are not consistent statewide, the process varies between local governments along with the fees associated with the permit. What is consistent statewide is if a property owner builds or proposes to build a residence within the 100-year floodplain, and they intend to finance the construction through any federally insured lending institution, then they must complete an elevation certificate and submit it as part of the application. Flood insurance will be required by the lending institution. The premium rate will be based on the elevation of the structure in relation to the base flood elevation within the 100-year floodplain. Also, any other development (see definition above) must be reviewed and permitted by the local government.
Statewide Contact:
Local Government - City or County
Planning Departments
For assistance contact 1-800-917-0043 (Office for Regulatory Innovation and Assistance)
* Permit information last updated 4/23/2018
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