Floodplain Development

Our staff works with property owners to provide services to protect floodplains. The entire community benefits when urban floodplains are protected and restored.

Floodplain Regulations

  • Provide recommendations to elected officials regarding floodplain ordinances
  • Enforce floodplain ordinances, including notices of violation
  • Issue Floodplain Development Permits
  • Review building Elevation Certificates
  • Maintain accurate floodplain maps
  • Work with the National Flood Insurance Program

The regulatory side of Storm Water Services' Flood Mitigation Program focuses heavily on construction. Development in a FEMA or Community Floodplain requires a Floodplain Development Permit from the floodplain administrator. Some remodeling or redeveloping of existing structures within the regulated floodplains also requires a Floodplain Development Permit.

Protecting Floodplains

Wise land use in floodplains can save lives and property. The environmental benefits of restored floodplains include cleaner water in local streams and better habitat for wildlife. Green space along creeks can provide places for recreation or enjoying nature.

Floodplain Construction and Permits

There are two types of Floodplain Development Permits - General and Individual.

General Floodplain Development Permit

Individual Floodplain Development Permit

An Individual Floodplain Development Permit (IFDP) is required for all projects in the floodplain that do not meet the requirements covered by the General Floodplain Development Permit. In general, IFDPs are required for grading, filling, drilling, dredging, new construction, and renovations with a value of more than $10,000 if the structure does not already meet floodplain regulations.​

The Individual Floodplain Development Permit Process is as follows.​

  1. Submit the applicable Application Check Sheet indicating the type of development and location of the property within the floodplain.

  2. Final Construction Plans or Sketches - For development anywhere in a floodplain submit one set of final construction plans or sketches showing all proposed work as indicated on the check sheet.

  3. Floodway Engineering Analysis prepared by a North Carolina Professional Engineer - Submit if indicated on check sheet.​

  4. Affidavits - For building renovations requiring an IFDP, also submit:

    Owner Affidavit of Building Improvements - Upon review by the Floodplain Administrator, the property owner may need to record (via the Register of Deeds) one of the following documents in the property chain of title: Affidavit of Substantial Improvement/Community Exemption OR Affidavit of Non-Substantial Improvements.

  5. Payment of Fees - A permit fee is assessed for IFDPs based on the costs of technical and compliance review. Payment of fees is due after the initial review of the application and prior to the technical review for compliance. Mecklenburg County will provide information to pay the fee online after receiving the application. A permit will not be issued until the fee payment is received by the County.

Technical Review and Permit Approval - The complete IFDP package will be reviewed by Storm Water Services' staff for compliance with applicable floodplain regulations. Due to the wide variation in the complexity of the submittal reviews, review times will vary. If the application is approved, the permit will be issued and sent to the applicant. The permit will include stated terms and conditions about when and where the Permit applies.

Upon approval or denial of your FDP application, you may receive a brief Customer Service Questionnaire to help us continue to improve our process. You may also submit the Questionnaire on-line.

After Construction is Complete - Construction of new buildings or placement of fill material in or near the floodplain can impact floodplain lines.  Proper certification and/or as-built topographic mapping are required prior to final approval of projects in or near the floodplain.

All structures built on lots within the Community and/or FEMA Floodplain will automatically have a Permit and Occupancy Hold placed through the building permit system. After construction of a building is completed, a licensed Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer must fill out and submit to Mecklenburg County Flood Mitigation Program an Elevation Certificate form. The Floodplain Occupancy Hold will be removed and Certificate of Occupancy will only be issued upon submittal and approval of the FEMA Elevation Certificate.

For development in the Community Encroachment Area or FEMA Floodway Encroachment Area, a properly geo-referenced digital submittal of the topographic map is required.

For floodplain development outside of the above areas, a North Carolina Professional Land Surveyor or North Carolina Professional Engineer must complete a Certification of Development Outside the Community Encroachment Area.

Please note this information is a general summary. It does not take into consideration unique circumstances that may arise for individual properties during the permitting and building process. Specific legal requirements are outlined in local floodplain regulations.

Elevation Certificates

The Elevation Certificate form must be completed by a Land Surveyor, licensed engineer, or architect registered in the State of North Carolina. An Elevation Certificate is necessary before you can receive a Certificate of Occupancy and before the power company can turn on electricity to the building. The Elevation Certificate is required by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to determine flood insurance rates for the structure. It also provides documentation that the community is enforcing building and floodplain ordinances.

Buying or selling floodplain property

There are more than 20,000 parcels and 2,900 buildings in Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s regulated floodplains, many of which have flood prone structures. It is legal to buy and sell floodplain property. However, the State of North Carolina requires sellers to inform buyers of flood risks or drainage problems. In North Carolina, the State Residential Property Disclosure Statement requires the seller to tell the prospective buyer if the property is a “flood hazard” or that the property is in a "Federally-designated floodplain.” Other questions on the Disclosure Statement require the seller to tell of any problems with standing water, dampness, or drainage.

Buyers should ask—and verify what the seller has told them—before committing to buy any property.


Questions? Contact:

For questions regarding floodplain development, permitting and regulations:

David Goode, PE, CFM

Permitting & Compliance Program

For general floodplain questions: