Orange County has been a member of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since approximately 1976. In 1968 Congress created the NFIP to help provide a means for property owners to financially protect themselves from the possible damage of structures resulting from flood events. The program is intended to supplement typical homeowner insurance policies, which do not cover damage to structures resulting from a flood. The NFIP offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates, specifically through the adoption and enforcement of regulations designed to mitigate/reduce flood risk, in the program.
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)
Part of the ‘regulations’ at our disposal are Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) denoting those areas of the County that are susceptible to flooding. The County utilizes these maps to verify the anticipated ‘elevation’ of flood waters during a storm event and works with property owners to ensure structures are not located in areas where flooding is a possibility. Through the enforcement of our flood damage prevention regulations, the County requires incorporation of design standards (i.e. elevation of structures and utilities, installation of flood vents, prohibition of specific activities, etc.) all in an effort to reduce the risk of loss during a flood.
Flood data can be accessed either on the County website at: https://gis.orangecountync.gov/orangencgis/default.htm.
Additionally, flood map information can be viewed at the Flood Risk Information System (FRIS) website which can be accessed at: https://fris.nc.gov/fris/.
Community Rating System (CRS)
As part of this initiative the County chose to voluntarily participate in the Community Rating System (CRS) program in an effort to assist local residents secure affordable flood insurance. CRS is a voluntary, incentive based program, which is part of NFIP that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities exceeding minimum, established, development standards. It is through the adoption and enforcement of these ‘heightened’ development restrictions that local property owners receive a savings on their flood insurance premiums.
As part of our participation within the CRS program, the County is required to demonstrate those program activities we are engaging in to satisfy CRS requirements. These ‘activities’ include:
- Maintaining databases within identified flood prone areas
- Restricting and/or prohibiting development within identified flood prone areas
- Public outreach and education through annual mailings, the holding of information sessions for local resident to discuss floodplain regulations, and the offering of mapping services (i.e. creating maps denoting areas of property encumbered by flood plain) to local residents and property owners
- The maintenance of elevation certificates for flood prone property
- Requiring the incorporation of flood hazard mitigation techniques when developing property
In 2018 the NFIP, on the behalf of FEMA, awarded Orange County a CRS score of 6 resulting in a discount of approximately 15% discount 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
- 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.
Review our 2020 CRS re-certification package (PDF).
Copies of our 2020 outreach letters can be viewed using the following links:
- Letter to property owners with flood insurance (PDF)
- Letter to property owners as well as insurance agents, lending institutions, surveyors, real estate agents, and developers describing the flood hazard mitigation services offered by Orange County (PDF)
Map of Orange County Flood Hazards
You can use the Orange County Interactive GIS to locate your property. Just click on the floodplain overlay and you will see if your property is subject to flooding.
Floodplain Development Permit Requirements
A Floodplain Development Permit (PDF) is a required document for any disturbance within the floodplain prior to the starting any development activity, including, but not limited to:
- Building fences
- The clearing of land
- Constructing a barn or shed
- Installing a road or driveway
- Repairing or expanding an existing house or building
No new structures are allowed in the floodplain.