Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services

​​Storm Water Frequently Asked Questions

 Floodplain FAQs



Do I need a special permit to grade, build or renovate in a floodplain?<div class="ExternalClass926C9F3F88664CC990802A63C4F21C54"><p>​Yes.  A Floodplain Development Permit is needed to make sure the changes comply with floodplain regulations.​​</p></div>
What if my property is in a Community Floodplain, also know as a Future Flood Zone? Do the additional restrictions apply?<div class="ExternalClassC7930C3F760B448486BEAA578E1FEB61"><p>​Yes.  Local floodplain ordinances apply to both Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-regulated floodplains and future or community flood zones.<br><br>Local floodplain ordinances require that the lowest floor of a structure be at least a foot* above the expected depth of floodwater in a 100-year flood.  What is defined as the lowest floor elevation depends on the foundation type.  <br><br>FEMA also requires an Elevation Certificate (form 81-31.) The FEMA Elevation Certificate to be submitted and approved before electrical power can be turned on.  This form must be filled out by an engineer, architect, or surveyor registered in the State of North Carolina.<br><br>*Matthews and Cornelius require more than one foot above the Future 100-Year Floodplain Elevation and the 100-Year Elevation on the smaller creeks.<br><br>*Davidson does not allow development in the FEMA Floodplain or "area of special flood hazard."</p></div>
Can I build on property in a floodplain?<div class="ExternalClassC9F5DBC19AD7438B909CBC25DC34BFDF"><p>​​It depends.  Building codes are different inside the floodplain than outside of the floodplain.  Floodplain development restrictions apply to grading, new construction and some renovations.​</p></div>

 Pollution Prevention FAQs



How does storm water cause pollution and flooding?<div class="ExternalClassB3F04DD6E2D14A72A96022AA26A3BCBE"><p>​As storm water flows across land, it picks up contaminants such as oil drippings from cars, fertilizers and pesticides from lawns, dirt particles, and bacteria from pet waste. All of that pollution is carried directly into creeks, which then flow to the lakes that supply our drinking water. Seventy percent of the pollution in our creeks and lakes is carried there by storm water runoff.<br> <br>Increased storm water runoff can also cause erosion, street flooding and creek flooding. If the amount of rainfall is more than our storm drains, pipes and creek channels can handle, the excess rain can cause flooding.​</p></div>

 Flooding FAQs



What is storm water?<div class="ExternalClassF1A4DFC6B26C4FFEBB903E1B2E82E3B9"><p>​Rain that is not absorbed into the ground becomes storm water. The excess water flows into storm drains, ditches and channels, which take the runoff directly into creeks. Storm water is not treated to remove pollution.</p></div>

 Easement FAQs



What is an easement?<div class="ExternalClass700952C8CBE249A7BD02657D1978E14B"><p>​​An easement is a legal, recorded document that allows the City access to your property during construction and future maintenance.​</p></div>

 Fees & Billing FAQs



How is the size of impervious area on my parcel determined?<div class="ExternalClass85525A1022E94B9C9273DFBF80F17840"><p>​​Impervious surfaces are identified and measured using aerial photography for each parcel in Mecklenburg County. </p><p>Your parcel’s impervious surface area is listed on the front of your City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County water services bill. You can also view your property’s impervious area by visiting the <a href="">GeoPortal website</a>, then click on Impervious Surface in the drop down menu.</p><p>Call 3-1-1 (or 704-336-7600) if you have questions about your parcel’s impervious area or would like to request an inspector to validate the square footage.<br></p></div>
What services and programs does the Storm Water fee provide?<div class="ExternalClassF1D2E1DE06554F39A5F596F5971F6734"><p>Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services works year-round to manage the runoff from rainfall, reduce flooding, restore floodplains and protect the water quality of surface waters countywide. We accomplish this by: </p><ul><li>Increasing drainage capacity to meet growth and development demands</li><li>Repairing and replacing aging storm drainage infrastructure</li><li>Restoring severely eroded streams and floodplains to hold excess rain</li><li>Mapping floodplains to protect drainage capacity and manage floodplain development</li><li>Responding to residents who call 3-1-1 to report drainage and flooding problems</li><li>Monitoring surface waters for evidence of pollutants</li><li>Enforcing ordinances to protect surface waters</li><li>Educating residents about flood safety, pollution prevention and volunteer opportunities</li></ul></div>
If I have questions about my Storm Water fee, who should I contact?<div class="ExternalClassE7009BD917FA426DBEC77E34A18FD335"><div>Call 3-1-1 (or 704-336-7600) if you have questions about your Storm Water fee or bill.</div><div> </div><div><p><a href="/services-site/Pages/CharMeck311.aspx">CharMeck 311</a>, open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., serves as the customer contact center for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services. <br></p></div></div>
Can I reduce my Storm Water fee?<div class="ExternalClass701FDC7BC3B34F1D98F838EC09CA98CB"><p>Property owners may qualify for a Storm Water fee credit if:</p><p>all or nearly all of their stormwater runoff drains either directly into the Catawba River or directly into an adjoining county</p><p>-OR-</p><p>the property owner has significantly reduced the amount of runoff through a stormwater control measure or pond that captures and holds it.</p><p>Visit the <a href="/StormWater/Fees/Pages/FeeCredits.aspx">Fee Credits</a> page for more information.</p></div>
What are the billing tiers?<div class="ExternalClass421FD8D66451413094878CC564608C77"><p><strong>Detached Single-Family Residential properties </strong>(one individual, detached, single-family home on a parcel) are in one of four billing tiers based on the property’s total amount of impervious surface. Each property in the tier is billed the same amount. </p><p>Tier I:   Up to 1,999 square feet of impervious surface<br>Tier II:  2,000 to 2,999 square feet of impervious surface<br>Tier III: 3,000 to 4,999 square feet of impervious surface<br>Tier IV: 5,000 or more square feet of impervious surface</p><p><strong>All Other properties </strong>(commercial buildings; attached single-family homes such as duplexes, triplexes and apartments; multiple single-family structures on one parcel) are billed for the actual amount of impervious area on the property. </p></div>
What is counted as impervious surface?<div class="ExternalClassEE4FAE5A74B2466AB3EA1AF6555B9BAB"><p>​Impervious surfaces are hard surfaces that do not allow rain to absorb into the ground.</p><p>Common examples of impervious surface include:</p><ul><li>Rooftops (on a home, garage or shed)</li><li>Driveways made of concrete, brick or asphalt</li><li>Private walkways and patios made of concrete or brick</li><li>Private swimming pool aprons</li></ul><p>Areas covered with grass, trees, gardens, and gravel are not included when measuring impervious surface area.</p></div>
How is the Storm Water fee determined?<div class="ExternalClass1D27835B621A4EEA828858F4F7114B99"><p>The Storm Water fee is based on a parcel’s impervious surface area such as rooftops, driveways and private walkways. The more impervious surfaces, the more stormwater runoff flows from the property into the storm drainage system. Homes with the least amount of impervious surface area pay the lowest Storm Water fee.</p></div>
How do I pay my Storm Water fee?<div class="ExternalClass14D6CEED53AE4F87BD88076A6EF41E50"><p>Most customers receive a monthly City of Charlotte/Mecklenburg County water services bill that includes the Storm Water fee as well as Charlotte Water drinking water and wastewater fees. While different departments and organizations provide these services, the fees and charges are included on one bill to simplify the billing and payment process for customers. </p><p>You may pay your water bill online, by phone, or in person at authorized payment locations. Visit the <a href="/Water/Pages/WaterBill.aspx">Water Bill Payment Options </a>page for more information.<br></p></div>

 RetroFIT FAQs



What is “floodproofing”?<div class="ExternalClassB6422C80144448E58B6A5F4ED317CAB5"><p>​​Floodproofing is making modifications to a house/building that will reduce flood damage.  Floodproofing projects can reduce post-flood expenses, speed up recovery, and potentially reduce flood insurance rates.  However they do NOT prevent flooding nor completely eliminate flood damage.</p></div>
Who is eligible to apply for a retroFIT grant?<div class="ExternalClassA26211B069D94C229A4123352E3A7B30"><p>​RetroFIT grants are currently only available to property owners with a habitable building in the mapped floodplain.  It’s aimed to reduce flood damage to homes and business that are not in full compliance with the floodplain regulations.</p></div>
Why is the County giving retroFIT grants to floodplain owners?<div class="ExternalClass08308588C3AA4673A31904A3E073DD7D"><p>​​In most cases, flood reduction projects along larger creeks (mapped as floodplains) are not feasible or cost effective.  Flooding occurs naturally in these areas where many older homes and businesses are located.  In cases where floodplain buyouts are not imminent, the County is assisting owners in making their building more “fit” to resist flood damage.​</p></div>
How often will retroFIT grants be offered?<div class="ExternalClassE2224C15088A4E8192E396B89CC132C5"><p>​​If funded, grants will be available at least once per year.  The annual application period will typically occur around July-September.  If all the funding is not committed after the initial application period, grants may continue to be offered during the year on a first come first serve basis.​</p></div>
What will a retroFIT grant pay for?<div class="ExternalClass5F6935201DEC4A29B66307E1D73E66DF"><p>​There are 7 types of projects allowed under the retroFIT program.  Allowed expenses vary by the type of project and will be specified prior to award.  Generally the grant will only fund work that is the minimum necessary to successfully complete the floodproofing work.  Owners may fund other upgrades or aesthetic improvements on their own.  RetroFIT will NOT fund any projects that remedy improvements completed in violation of the floodplain regulations.​</p></div>
What will I have to contribute?<div class="ExternalClass90B72C0061D740AAB6E16B4B65EA8CB7"><p>​Every grant requires a property owner cost share ranging from 5% to 25% of the grant amount.  The share varies based upon 1) the tax value of your property, and 2) the owners’ enrollment in the County Tax Assessor Low Income Homestead Exclusion or the Disabled Veterans Homestead Exclusion programs.  In addition to a financial contribution, the applicant/owner is responsible for hiring the contractor to complete the work.</p></div>
Will I have to pay for all the work before being reimbursed?<div class="ExternalClass90E90A97D8F240E89ED53E845FB3CCF1"><p>​In most cases, no.  The County can NOT make any payments for portions of work that is not complete, or for deposits/advances to a contractor.  In those cases, you will need to pay up front.  The County can make joint check payments (written to you and your contractor) after the entire project is complete or at substantial milestones that can be visually verified.​</p></div>
Where can I get funding for my share of the retroFIT grant?<div class="ExternalClass75EDF02C70D44B26B61B4DDCACB8A17E"><p>​Unlike other home improvements, finding funding for floodproofing projects is challenging.  Here are options to pursue:</p><p>Cash savings</p><p>Home equity line of credit or loan</p><p>HUD 203K loan program (floodproofing is eligible)</p><p>Flood insurance "ICC" coverage if your building has been substantially damaged by a flood</p></div>
Are there tax implications to accepting a retroFIT grant?<div class="ExternalClassF206564957E64036AF2B6EB9C603D54E"><p>​Each person’s tax situation will vary.  Because the grant is a “benefit”, property owners will receive a 1099-G from the County for any grant funds received.  We recommend you consult a tax<br>advisor prior to accepting the grant.​</p></div>
How long will it take to get approval?<div class="ExternalClassD25E4B8F1B9347F699F5A3428D6D68EF"><p>​Timeframe for approval will vary from an average of 45-120 days.  It will depend on the complexity of the project and responsiveness of the applicant/owner.  All retroFIT grants must be approved by the Storm Water Advisory Committee (SWAC) which meets the 3rd Thursday of each month.</p></div>
Am I required to sign anything?<div class="ExternalClass9BB706B38F4F48619C4801D99E2C41BE"><p>​​Yes.  Upon approval, the owner is required to sign a grant agreement with the terms and project requirements.  In addition the owner will sign a flood mitigation easement to ensure the floodproofing work will not be altered/removed.</p></div>
Can I sell my property after the improvements are made?<div class="ExternalClassDDA4B81E5D414EDA8A3F10741F7352C3"><p>​Yes.  If the grant is less than $2,300 OR the property is sold more than 5 years after completion, there is no impact.  If the grant is more than $2,300 AND the property is sold within 5 years of completion, the owner is required to reimburse the County based upon the value appreciation since the grant up to the grant amount.​</p></div>
I made flooding improvements on my property prior to the grant being offered. Can I apply for reimbursement for repairs/modifications and improvements made prior to this grant being offered?<div class="ExternalClass0EE7D655549C4956BEDCAD2D3ED9644D"><p>​No. Legislation creating the retroFIT program does not allow for retroactive reimbursements for expenses incurred prior to grant deadline and award. ​</p></div>
Who do I contact with other questions?<div class="ExternalClass292D7CB178E74B46BCEE4B89972DC567">Email any additional questions to <a href=""></a>  and put retroFIT in the subject line.​</div>