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Floodplain Information

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

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:

For current effective flood maps and past (historic) flood maps, visit the Map Service Center: https://

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 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday – Friday

To learn how to be more prepared for a disaster, visit

Hays County