The September 2013 floods remind all of us portions of the City of Louisville are prone to flooding. Flooding does not only occur along Coal Creek. They can occur near drainage facilities, irrigation ditches, and some City streets.
Safety should be your first priority during a flood. Did you know that 6” of moving water can knock you off your feet? Never walk through flowing water and use a pole or stick to make sure of the depth before you walk through standing water. Do not drive through flooded areas; more flood victims drown in their cars than anywhere else. If your home has been flooded, shut off the gas and electricity if you are able.
The City of Louisville participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available for all buildings, whether they are in a designated floodplain or not. Flood insurance covers direct losses caused by surface flooding, due to either a creek overflowing its banks or a local drainage event. Regular homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage caused by floods and there is a 26% chance of a flood occurring during a 30-year mortgage if your property is in a floodplain.
You can find out if your property is located in a floodplain by calling the Louisville Planning Division at 303.335.4592. Any property is eligible for flood insurance, regardless if it is in a floodplain. Louisville residents are eligible for a discount on insurance premiums. Renters should also buy flood insurance for their contents. For more information on flooding and flood insurance, go to www.floodsmart.gov.
The City has worked hard to reduce the threat and damage from flooding by recognizing that floodplains have natural and beneficial functions if they are preserved and maintained properly. Keeping floodplains open and natural minimizes flood damage by allowing water to spread over a larger area.
In some instances, construction in the floodplain cannot be avoided, and the City has a permitting process to address these situations. All types of construction on a property in a floodplain must have a floodplain development permit, including minor residential improvements such as a deck.
If the improvements you make to your home or commercial building exceed more than 50% of the value of the building, it must be elevated above the base flood elevation as part of the construction. If you see construction without a City permit posted, contact the Planning and Building Safety Department at 303.335.4592.
Homeowners, realtors, lenders, and insurance agents can obtain photocopies of floodplain maps and Elevation Certificates at the Planning Division. Additional information can be obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) web site, www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/info.
Development in the flood regulatory district requires prior approval of a Floodplain Development Permit. The Board of Adjustment has jurisdiction over such permits.
Additional resources to assist you in the administration of the City’s floodplain regulations are also available through the Building and Engineering Divisions.