What is a 100-year floodplain?
It is the area of land inundated by flood waters from a storm that has a one percent (1%) probability of being equaled or exceeded in any given 12-month period.  Some smaller water courses in Garland are not shown on the FEMA published Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), but are still subject to inundation in a 100-year flood.

What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)?
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) designate most of the 100-year floodplain (see above) as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  The SFHA is the land in the floodplain within Garland subject to a one percent (1%) or greater chance of flooding in any given 12-month period, and is designated as Zone AE on the FEMA published FIRMs for the City of Garland.

Am I required to carry flood insurance?
Per the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) all residential or commercial structures that are located within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) are required to carry flood insurance in order to secure a federally backed mortgage.  In addition, your mortgage company has the option to require flood insurance at their discretion.

The City of Garland cannot participate in negotiations to remove flood insurance purchase requirements from a given property.

Is my home or business in the floodplain?
A residential or commercial building is considered to be within the 100-year floodplain if floodwater levels during a 100-year flood event touch the exterior foundation of the building.

My mortgage company says my home or business is in the floodplain, but I disagree. What can be done to address this?
In order to officially remove a property from the 100-year floodplain, it is necessary to obtain a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) from FEMA.  If you want to apply for a LOMA, you must first obtain an Elevation Certificate for your property.

How do I obtain an Elevation Certificate?
The Engineering Department can produce Elevation Certificates upon request.  Elevation Certificates are kept on file in the Engineering Department.  Copies are available to the public free of charge. 

New Elevation Certificates for properties and structures that do not already have them can be prepared by the Engineering Department upon request.  Fees for the preparation of these certificates are outlined in Section 31.107 of the City of Garland Code of Ordinances.   

If a new Elevation Certificate is desired, the Engineering Department needs the following information:

  1. Name of the person requesting the Certificate and their role (homeowner, insurance agent, etc.) in the process, and a contact phone number. 
  2. The address of the property.
You may submit a request via email, by fax 972-205-2675 (Elevation Certificate Request Sheet) or by calling the Engineering Department at 972-205-2170.  When a request is received, and the required fees are paid as outlined in Section 31.107 of the Code of Ordinances, a representative of the Engineering Department will call the contact person listed to arrange a time to meet with the survey crew at the property.  It is not required for the survey crew to have access to the interior of the property, though many times it is helpful.  The field survey time required is approximately 30 to 45 minutes.  The entire process generally takes approximately one week.

If the Elevation Certificate shows that a Letter of Map Amendment (see below) can be obtained, the Engineering Department can prepare the necessary documentation for FEMA to issue one.  Once the fees have been paid and all necessary paperwork compiled, the City will submit the package to FEMA for review and issuance of a LOMA.  Generally, FEMA requires 6-8 weeks of review time to issue a LOMA once the paperwork is received in their office.

When can I develop in the floodplain?
Any development in a flood plain carries a risk of increasing flood elevations and causing damage to the development and nearby properties.  The City of Garland is committed to the concept of "zero-rise" flood plain development.  This means that any development within a flood plain in Garland must ensure that no rises in 100-year water surface elevations occur as a result of it.  This is normally accomplished by balancing fill in the flood plain with excavation.  A flood study must be prepared by a state-licensed professional engineer.   The flood study analyzes the development's impact on the floodplain.  Prior to any construction, the flood study is submitted to and approved by the Engineering Department.  These requirements apply to FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), as well as smaller flood plains within the City that do not appear on FEMA-published Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).  Sections 31.101 through 31.106 of the City of Garland Code of Ordinances contain the requirements that must be met in order to secure a Flood Plain Development Permit.  In addition, any development project within a FEMA SFHA must conform to all FEMA requirements outlined in Section 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (44 CFR), chapters 59 through 78. 

What is a Floodplain Development Permit?
A Floodplain development Permit is required for all development of any type within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). These forms must be completed by the project owner or contractor and submitted to the Engineering Department for review and approval. Find out more information on Forms.

What is the difference between FEMA designated zones A, AE, X (shaded), and X?
Zone A is the section of Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) where the 100-year water surface elevation has not been determined.  Only a few small areas within the City of Garland are Zone A.  Zone AE is the section of SFHA where the 100-year flood elevation has been determined, as well as a designated floodway (see below).  Zone X (shaded) is an area inundated by the 0.20 annual chance flood, better known as the 500-year flood, with average depths of less than 1 foot or with drainage areas less than 1 square mile; and  areas protected by levees from the 1% annual chance flood.  Finally, Zone X (un-shaded) refers to areas outside the land inundated by the 0.20 annual chance flood event.  It should be noted that some small creeks do not appear on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps.  Interested parties may contact the City of Garland Engineering Department to determine if flood plain information is available for these creeks.

What is the floodway?
Section 31.101 (N) of the City of Garland Code of Ordinances defines a floodway as "the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base (100-year) flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation by more than one foot".  Floodways are delineated on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).  This area must be kept clear of fences, buildings, fill, or any other obstructions that could inhibit flood flows.    Section 31.104 of the Code of Ordinances specifies requirements for any proposed development within a floodway.  In addition, FEMA regulations for floodway development must be followed.

What is a LOMA, LOMR, LOMR-F, or CLOMR?
LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) is a letter from FEMA that a given structure or parcel of property is not within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).  Typically a LOMA will remove the Federal requirement for the lender to require flood insurance coverage for a property located in SFHA.  However, the lender may determine as a business decision or policy that it wishes to continue the flood insurance requirement.

LOMR (Letter of Map Revision) is a letter from FEMA officially revising the current FIRM to show changes to floodplains, floodways, or flood elevations.  Typically these letters are associated with large scale map changes, or larger commercial or residential subdivision developments.  When a LOMR is issued by FEMA, the affected FIRM will be reissued, physically changing the map to reflect the results of the LOMR.

LOMR-F (Letter of Map Revision based on Fill) is a letter from FFEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land that has been elevated by fill material would not be inundated by the 100-year flood and therefore is not located within the SFHA.  This is similar to a LOMA, except that a LOMA details with properties that have not had any fill material brought in to elevate the structure above the 100-year flood elevation.

CLOMR (Conditional Letter of Map Revision) is a letter from FEMA commentating on whether a proposed project, if built as proposed, would meet minimum National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards or proposed hydrology changes.