Anniston's Floodplain Management Program

Anniston’s Floodplain Management Program

Flood damages in the United States continue to escalate. From the early 1900’s to the year 2000, flood damages in the United States have increased six fold, approaching $6 billion annually. This occurred despite billions of dollars for structural and non-structural flood control measures. We continue to intensify development within watersheds and floodplains, and do it in a manner where flood prone or marginally protected structures are suddenly prone to damages because of the actions of others in and around the floodplain.

For decades, the national response to flood disasters was generally limited to constructing flood-control works such as dams, levees, seawalls and the like, and providing relief to flood victims. This approach did nothing to reduce losses, nor did it discourage unwise development. In some instances, it may have actually encouraged additional development. To compound the problem, the general public could not buy flood coverage from insurance companies and building techniques to reduce flood damage were often overlooked.

In the face of mounting flood losses and increasing costs of disaster relief to the U. S. taxpayers, Congress established The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. This Act was broadened by the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973. This was further modified by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994. Today, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.

In support of the NFIP, FEMA identifies flood hazard areas throughout the U.S. and it’s territories by producing Flood Hazard Boundary Maps and Flood Insurance Rate Maps. Several areas of flood hazards are identified on these maps, one of which is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), a high risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year.

The City of Anniston has been a participant in the NFIP since 1980, and as such, must adopt and enforce a minimum standard for floodplain management. Permits are also required to develop in the SFHA in order to ensure that construction materials and methods used will minimize future flood damage. In return, the Federal Government makes flood insurance available for almost every building and its contents in the community.

Therefore, in an effort to protect human life; minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone and sewer lines, streets and bridges; maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use of and development of flood prone areas; to minimize expenditures of public money for costly flood control projects; to minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public; to minimize prolonged business disruptions; and to insure that potential home buyers are notified that properties may lie in a flood area, the City of Anniston enacted Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance number 04-O-03.

Although development in the SFHA is restricted, it is not prohibited. Property owners and developers wishing to build new homes or make significant improvements to existing homes and those wishing to conduct land disturbing activities within the SFHA must contact the Floodplain Administrator of the City of Anniston to obtain a permit prior to the commencement of these activities.

For questions about Anniston’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance, to review Flood Hazard Boundary Maps, or to obtain permits for development within Special Flood Hazard Areas, contact the Engineering Department at 256-231-7750.

For information about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit www.fema.gov/business/nfip/.