Floodplain Management

Reducing Flood Damage


Map of Floodway/Floodplain Floodplain management is the implementation of preventative or corrective measures taken by a community to reduce the impacts of flood damage.

This can include emergency preparedness plans, construction of flood control structures, or regulations that guide communities toward responsible building inside and near the floodplain.

Common Floodplain Management Terms

  • One Hundred Year Flood - The one hundred-year flood, also called the base flood, is the flood that has a one % chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
  • Base Flood Elevation (BFE) - BFE is the elevation at which a structure is required to be built to in order to reduce chance of flooding.
  • Floodplain - A floodplain is any land susceptible to being inundated by water.
  • Floodway - A floodway is a channel of a river or other watercourse and adjacent land that must be reserved in order to pass the 100-year flood without increasing the elevation more than a designated height.
  • Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) - The FIRM is designed to illustrate special flood hazard areas, e.g, the limits of the floodway, floodplain, and 100-year flood.
  • Flood Insurance Study (FIS) The FIS provides detailed information for a watercourse that has had a detailed study performed on it. Your local flood insurance study can provide base flood elevations.
  • Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) The SFHA is the land in the floodplain subject to a one % or greater chance of being flooded in any given year as determined
  • Substantial Improvement - Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement.

Floodplain Overlay District

Is your property in or near the Floodplain (PDF)? The Floodplain Overlay District applies to properties that have been identified on a FIRM as being in a SFHA. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent: the loss of life and property, the creation of health and safety hazards, the disruption of commerce and governmental services, the extraordinary and unnecessary expenditure of public funds for flood protection and relief, and the impairment of the tax base by:

  1. Regulating uses, activities, and development which, alone or in combination with other existing or future uses, activities, and development, will cause unacceptable increases in flood heights, velocities, and frequencies;
  2. Restricting or prohibiting certain uses, activities, and development from locating within districts subject to flooding;
  3. Requiring all those uses, activities, and developments that do occur in flood-prone districts to be protected and/or flood-proofed against flooding and flood damage; and,
  4. Protecting individuals from buying land and structures which are unsuitable for their intended purpose because of flood hazards.

Current Regulations for the Town of Vinton: Floodplain Overlay District

Get Flood Insurance

Homeowners' insurance does not cover damages caused by flooding. The Town of Vinton recommends that people who live near or in a floodplain purchase flood insurance, even if it is not mandated by your mortgage company. Every year, 25% of flood damages occur on properties outside of the floodplain. Flood insurance is available to everyone in the Town of Vinton, even if you do not live in a floodplain. To learn more about flood insurance, visit the FloodSmart, the official website of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Elevation Certificates

An Elevation Certificate is a document that provides information necessary to verify that the building is in compliance with local floodplain management ordinances and aids in the proper evaluation of an insurance premium. The elevation certificate also can be used to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), or Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F). In the Town of Vinton, elevation certificates are required when submitting plans for a new structure, or a substantial improvement to an existing structure. New or substantially improved residential structures are required to be elevated at least 2 feet above the base flood. New or substantially improved non-residential structures are required to be elevated at least 1 foot above the base flood. For new structures, an as-built elevation certificate is required to be submitted upon completion of construction to ensure that the building was elevated to the required height.

Contact the Town of Vinton’s Planning and Zoning Department to check the extent of the property within the SFHA. Additionally, Planning and Zoning can provide elevation certificates for buildings on your property that are currently on file. 

You can also use Roanoke County’s Floodplain Inquiry GIS tool to see if an elevation certificate exists for buildings on your property. Follow the steps below to find this information:

  1. Follow this link to the Floodplain Inquiry tool: https://gisweb.roanokecountyva.gov/floodview/
  2. To locate a parcel, simply click on the map or enter an owner name, address or parcel number in the search box and select from the list, or use your current location.
  3. Once a parcel is selected, you will see information pertaining to the floodplain characteristics of the property including its Flood Zone, FIRM Panel #, and a link to the PDF copy of the Elevation Certificate (if one exists for the property).
  4. A copy of the Elevation Certificate* can be opened by clicking on the hyperlink containing a four digit number to the right of the text saying “Flood Certificate” (Circled in red in the sample image below).  

*For an official copy of your historical elevation certificate for buildings on your property, reach out to the Town of Vinton Planning and Zoning Department at 540-983-0605 or by email.

Image of GIS page showing where to find Flood Certificates