The County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and administers flood management regulations and other measures designed to minimize potential flooding losses. Any development requires a permit from Planning and Zoning Department. The County ensures development is taking place according to flood regulations. Regulations include:
Required elevations of the floor in living areas
Flood-proofing of certain construction
Limitations on placement of fill
Prohibitions of certain substantial improvements, additions or reconstruction
In accordance with NFIP standards, the County requires that if the cost of any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements to a building equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value within a 10 year time period, such work is considered a substantial improvement. The existing building is then required to meet the same standards as a new building. For residential structures, these requirements typically mean raising the living area to the base flood elevation or above.
The County's substantial improvement requirements are enforced through the development and building permitting process. Applicants for remodeling or repair of non-conforming structures (i.e. buildings which are not elevated to or above the base flood elevation) are required to submit a cost estimate of improvements and an appraised value of the existing structure, to determine if the work constitutes a substantial improvement. With these requirements, the County ensures more of the older non-conforming structures will be elevated to base flood elevations and protected from potential flood damage. See the Bay County Floodplain Management Ordinance (PDF) for more information.