All development (inside or outside of the ﬂoodplain) requires a permit from Hays County. Development is deﬁned as All land modiﬁcation activity, including but not limited to, construction of buildings, roadways, paved storage areas, parking lots, storm water management facilities and other impervious structures or surfaces (i.e. house, swimming pool, shed, slab / foundation, ﬁll, clearing, etc.).
What Is A Floodplain?
The non‐technical and simpliﬁed deﬁnition of a ﬂoodplain is “an area adjacent to a body of water.” But using this deﬁnition to determine if your property is in a ﬂoodplain is deceiving. You may be located ﬁve miles or more from a river or stream and ﬁnd your house covered with water from the overﬂow of their banks. Flood‐ plains have varying characteristics and may not be easily identiﬁed as such. Communities experiencing large population growth can create a ﬂoodplain where none previously existed.— Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
FEMA statistics show that homes in a ﬂoodplain are 26 times more likely to incur damage from a ﬂood than from a ﬁre during a 30‐year mortgage. If you want to obtain a mortgage for a property located in a ﬂoodplain, and the federal government backs the mortgage, you must purchase ﬂood insurance. The National Flood In‐ surance Program (NFIP) provides insurance to communities that adopt and enforce ﬂoodplain management ordinances to reduce future ﬂood damage.
FEMA Flood Maps: Know Your Risk
When properties are mapped into high‐risk areas (shown as ﬂood zones labeled with letters starting with “A”), construction restrictions and ﬂood insurance requirements may apply. In these areas, known as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), property owners with a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender will be required to carry ﬂood insurance once the maps become eﬀective. Some lenders may decide to re‐ quire ﬂood insurance purchase in advance of the maps becoming eﬀective. Property owners who obtain and maintain ﬂood coverage before the maps become eﬀective may be eligible for cost‐saving rating options provided by the National Flood Insurance Program. They should contact their insurance agent for more information and to learn about the available options.
When a property is mapped from a high‐risk zone into a moderate‐ or low‐risk zone (a zone labeled with the letter “X”), ﬂood insurance may no longer be required once the maps become eﬀective. However, the ﬂood risk has only been reduced; it has not been removed.
When property owners are mapped into a high-risk zone they can maintain coverage by converting their existing policy to a lower‐cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP), with lower premiums for residences. Again, property owners should discuss their options with their insurance agent. To learn more about ﬂood insurance, talk with your insurance agent or visit www.FEMA.gov/NFIP.
Flood Hazard Zone & Risk Level
Flood maps refer to areas of high, medium, or low risk as “ﬂood hazard zones” and the zones of highest risk as “Special Flood Hazard Areas.”
|Risk Level||Flood Hazard Zone|
|High Flood Risk||AE, A, AH, AO, AR, A99 Zone. These properties have a one‐percent‐annual‐chance of ﬂooding in any year – and a 26 percent chance of ﬂooding over the life of a 30‐year mortgage. Statistics show they also have a much greater chance of having a ﬂood than a ﬁre.
Insurance note: High‐risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas, and ﬂood insurance is mandatory for most mortgage holders *
|Moderate or Low Flood Risk||Shaded X Zone. These properties are outside the high‐risk zones and are in areas of moderate ﬂood risk. Remember: the risk is reduced, but not removed.
X Zone. These properties are in an area of overall lower risk.
Insurance Note: Lower‐cost preferred rate ﬂood insurance policies are often an option in these areas
|Undetermined Risk||D Zone. The D zone designation is used for areas where there are possible but undeter‐mined ﬂood hazards. In areas designated as a D zone, no analysis of ﬂood hazards has been conducted. Flood insurance is optional and available.|
FEMA Revision of Flood Risk Maps
FEMA welcomes public input on the preliminary maps through the appeals process. Additional information that is provided to FEMA can result in more accurate FIRMs and better informs the community and its residents of ﬂooding risk.
If a property owner or other resident would like to submit an appeal or comment, they must submit their written request along with the required scientiﬁc supporting data to their local ﬂoodplain administrator. In unincorporated Hays County, this information should be submitted to the County Floodplain Administrator. If your property is inside the city limits, you can contact the ﬂoodplain administrator for your city.
An appeal is a formal written objection to the addition/modiﬁcation of preliminary Base Flood Elevations/ Flood Depths, Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) boundaries, Zone designations, or regulatory ﬂoodway boundaries depicted on the preliminary FIRMs that the County has received.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program regulations, an appeal should be accompanied by data and documentation indicating that the proposed new or modiﬁed ﬂood hazard information shown on the preliminary products is scientiﬁcally or technically incorrect. Appellants are asked to demonstrate that better methodologies, assumptions, or data exists and provide alternative analyses or data used to develop the new or updated ﬂood hazard information on the preliminary FIRM with their appeal package.
In order for FEMA to incorporate this information, the data provided will be reviewed to see if the information submitted is scientiﬁcally and technically sound and if any alternate analysis/data provided results in a change to the proposed BFEs, base ﬂood depths, SFHA boundaries or zone designations and/or the regulatory ﬂood‐ ways shown on the preliminary map.
A comment is an objection to a base map feature modiﬁcation/addition, update to the Flood Insurance Study report materials, or any other non‐appealable change. Comments usually involve changes to items such as road names, corporate limits updates, or other map features.
If needed, property owners and other residents should submit a map or other materials showing more up‐to‐ date information on these items to the County ﬂoodplain administrator. The County will then consolidate all comments and appeals received and provide them to FEMA. FEMA may use this information to revise the preliminary maps or will explain why no changes could be made.
Property owners and residents can ﬁnd their property on the preliminary maps at FEMA’s website or on Hays County’s website to determine if new ﬂood hazard information aﬀects their property. Areas eligible for appeal include:
- Streams with changes to Base Flood Elevations
- Flooding/Ponding areas with changes to base ﬂood depths
- Flooding sources with changes to SFHA boundaries
- Modiﬁcation/addition of Zone designations
- Modiﬁcation/addition of the regulatory ﬂoodways depicted on the FIRMs
Hays County will forward this information to FEMA to review. FEMA will respond to all appeals through formal written correspondence to both the community and the original appellants. If warranted, FEMA will re‐ vise the preliminary FIRM to reﬂect the information submitted in support of the appeal and provide copies of the map with the appeals resolution letter.
Hays County Flood Maps
In Texas, ﬂooding is the number one natural disaster. To identify ﬂood hazards, the risks they pose to people and property, and the regulatory boundaries of ﬂoodplains, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops ﬂood hazard maps, oﬃcially known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps or FIRMs.
Recently, Hays County received preliminary ﬂood hazard maps in an eﬀort to best describe the ﬂood risks within the county. The updated ﬂood hazard maps were prepared with the most up to date information avail‐ able. These maps, once ﬁnalized, will serve as the basis for Hays County’s ﬂoodplain management program and serve as a tool for identifying areas prone to ﬂooding. The maps are also used to determine ﬂood insurance rates and requirements.
Property owners and residents are provided with an opportunity to review and provide feedback on the FIRMs during a formal review period called the “90‐day Appeal Period.” This period coincides with FEMA revising the Flood Risk Maps. Submitted written appeals and comments will be consolidated by the communities within Hays County and provided to FEMA for consideration.
Why Hays County’s Flood Maps Need Updating
Hays County’s current ﬂood hazard data dates back to the late 1970’s—late 1990’s and no longer accurately represents the area’s ﬂood risk. Drainage patterns have changed due to factors such as land use, surface ero‐ sion, and other natural forces. As a result, the likelihood of ﬂooding in some areas has increased signiﬁcantly. Moreover, the technology used to estimate ﬂooding has improved. Up‐to‐date maps will more accurately rep‐ resent the risk of ﬂooding; therefore, representing an important tool for Hays County to use in the eﬀort to reduce risk and create a more resilient community.
A wide variety of information exists to help you better understand your ﬂood risks and what you can do. To learn more about ﬂood map updates, who to contact, or where to get more information, the following re‐ sources may be of assistance.
Property owners and renters can learn more about ﬂood insurance at the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website: www.FEMA.gov/NFIP.
For current eﬀective ﬂood maps and past (historic) ﬂood maps, visit the Map Service Center: https:// MSC.FEMA.gov.
For more details about the eﬀects of map changes on the insurance, lender requirements and other technical questions related to the ﬂood maps (not local), contact:
FEMA Map Information eXchange (FMIX) 1‐877‐FEMA‐MAP (Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time)
To ask speciﬁc questions regarding Hays County’s maps or to view the maps in person, visit or call the Hays County Floodplain Administrator at:
Hays County Development Services
2171 Yarrington Rd, Suite 100, Kyle, Texas 78640 512‐393‐2150
8:00‐5:00 Monday – Friday
To learn how to be more prepared for a disaster, visit www.Ready.gov.