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State of North Carolina Floodplain Protection Ordinances

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Provisions regarding the authority of local governments to regulate use in floodplains are found in Part 6, Article 21, of Chapter 143. Under § 143-215.54, local governments are authorized to adopt ordinances to regulate uses in flood hazard areas and to grant permits for use in such areas. Flood hazard areas are defined at § 143-252(1d) as areas that local government has determined that development must be regulated in order to prevent flood damage. Base floodplains, defined at § 143-252(1b) as areas subject to a 1% or greater chance of flooding in a given year, must be designated as flood hazard areas. § 143-215.52(1d). A local government may show designated flood hazard areas by map, drawing, written description, or by reference to a National Flood Insurance Program map. § 143-215.56(c)

Any floodplain ordinance the local government adopts must, at a minimum, meet the requirements for participation in the National Floodplain Insurance Program; prohibit new facilities for solid waste disposal, hazardous waste management, chemical storage, and salvage yards (except as provided by § 143-251.54A(b)); and require that any chemical or fuel tank located in a 100-year floodplain be elevated above base flood elevation or designed to meet certain criteria as watertight.§ 143-215.54A(a).

Section 143-215.57(c) authorizes local governments to develop their own procedures for issuing permits. In considering whether to issue a permit for use in a floodplain, a local government may take into account the impact the proposed obstruction may have on future and existing development. § 143-215.57(a). The local government must take into account the danger the proposed structure may cause by backing up or diverting water, by being swept downstream, and the “injury or damage at the site of the obstruction itself.” § 143-215.57(a).

Finally, under § 143-215.55, local governments have the power to acquire by purchase, exchange, or condemnation any property that it believes necessary in order to prevent flood damage.