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Floodplain Administrator

Norm Lortie is the Floodplain Administrator for Noble County. He may be contacted at the Building Department office for questions about development in the floodplain.

Noble County Ordinance Flood Hazard Areas

While Noble County is fortunate to have many beautiful lakes, these lakes are at risk for flooding along with the rivers and ditches that lead to and from these waterways. Any development in a floodplain as defined by the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (from FEMA) is subject to the Ordinance for Flood Hazard Areas (commonly known as the Floodplain Ordinance.)

Development in the Floodplain is required to meet certain standards in order to minimize flood effects on the development itself and the community as a whole.

Quick Guide to Building within a Floodplain

BFE = Base Flood Elevation | FPG = Flood Protection Grade

All Structures

  • All buildings, including any size shed, must be properly anchored to resist, flotation, collapse, and lateral movement.
  • Utilities, including electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air-conditioning equipment (including ductwork) must be elevated to FPG.
  • Walls of enclosed areas below FPG must have flood openings that allow floodwaters to automatically equalize during an event. For more information, consult FEMA NFIP Technical Bulletin 1, Openings in Foundation Walls and Walls of Enclosures (2008).
    • To obtain a permit the type and specifications of the flood openings must be submitted.
    • Flood openings must be installed no higher than 1’ above interior & exterior grade.

Homes/Attached Garages i.e. Livable Structures

  • The top of the lowest floor must elevated to, or above, the FPG, which is 2’ above BFE.
  • Crawl space ground elevation must be at or above the lowest adjacent grade.  Anything below the lowest adjacent grade is considered a basement, basements are not permitted within the Floodplain.
  • A benchmark for BFE/FPG is needed at the time of issuance of the permit.  Before a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued an Elevation Certificate must be obtained to ensure compliance.

Detached Garages/Sheds

*This guide is meant to be a quick reference and should not be used in substitution of the Noble County Ordinance for Flood Hazard Areas.  To ensure compliance please consult the Ordinance.

Floodplain Improvement Location Permit (Floodplain ILP)

A Floodplain ILP is required for any development or improvements in the floodplain. The permit fee is $50. Detailed plans are required for the issuance of a Floodplain ILP.

Floodplain ILP Issuance Requirements

  1. The elevation Benchmark set by the registered surveyor includes an as-built elevation certificate if a structure currently sits on the site, otherwise, an elevation benchmark must be set on the property.
  2. Building Plans showing the final elevation of the lowest floor.
    • Elevated buildings must show the method to be used for allowing floodwaters under the structure by either engineered flood vents or openings. The engineering spec. sheet is required for all flood vents.
    • Dry floodproofed structures must have an engineer or architect-approved set of plans that show the methods to be used for floodproofing.
  3. Permit Fee of $50.

Permit Inspection Requirements

Floodplain ILPs must have at least three inspections, one before the foundation wall is poured or after the blocks are set, one when the subfloor is installed or slab is poured, and one when the building is complete. Inspection appointments can be made by calling the Plan Commission office and requesting a Flood ILP Inspection.

Floodplain Acknowledgment Agreement

Before an Improvement Location Permit is issued for any property in a floodplain, the property must have a recorded "Floodplain Acknowledgement Agreement". The Agreement can be found below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is my property in a Floodplain?

    You can go to the FEMA Map Service Center to locate your property on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and then type in your address in the top right. If your property is shaded blue, your property is most likely in a floodplain. You can also use the DNR Floodplain Information Portal.

  • Can I place fill in the Floodplain?

    No. The only exception is if the same amount of material (per cubic foot) is taken off of the property. You can also move material around on your property so long as it does not cause ponding of water. Any removal of material in order to comply with the compensatory storage must be from the floodplain on the same property. And movement of material onto a property requires a Floodplain Improvement Location Permit.

  • Am I required to carry flood insurance?

    If your property is in a floodplain, Noble County strongly recommends that you purchase Flood Insurance. It is up to your lender to determine whether or not you are required to carry flood insurance.

  • My property has never flooded, why is it in a floodplain?

    Even though your property may have no history of flooding, it has been determined to be at a one percent (1%) annual chance of flooding. this means that in any given year, there is a 1% chance that your property will flood.

  • Are there any exceptions to the requirement to be flood resistant?

    There is one exception to the general standard:

    Structures built before the first Flood Map from the 1970s may have a one-time alteration to the building without coming into compliance only if the alteration is less than 50% of the structure's fair market value. We advise you to check with an insurance agent in order to determine how flood insurance rates will be impacted by an alteration prior to pulling a permit for the construction.

For more frequently asked questions, see this DNR Guidance.