All development in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Floodplain requires a permit per Chapter 34 of the City of Friendswood Code of Ordinances Flood Ordinance.
Development includes, but is not limited to, all new construction, grading, and paving. Substantially damaged or improved structures, where the cost of repair (regardless of the cause of damage) or improvements equals or exceeds 50% of the buildings market value, also require building permits and elevation certificates, and are held to the same standards as new construction.
All new construction and substantial improvements must be built to 2 feet above base flood elevation in the FEMA Floodplain. Materials below base flood elevation must be water-resistant, and enclosures can only be used for parking, storage, or access. Owners of new enclosures will be required to sign a non-conversion agreement acknowledging that the enclosures can only be used for those purposes. This non-conversion agreement will be filed with the deed, and the enclosure will be subject to periodic inspection.
Before you do any kind of work to your structure in the floodplain, check with the Building Division by calling 281-996-3201 to see if a permit is needed. Some flood protection measures may need a building permit and others may not be safe for your type of building, so be sure to talk to the City of Friendswood Building Department.
Any development in the Floodplain without a permit is illegal, such as constructing berms and any other barriers that divert water onto other properties, and such activities should be reported to the Building Division.
Rather than wait for a flood to occur, you can act now to protect your property from flood damage. Even if you’ve never flooded before, in the life of a 30-year mortgage, there is a 26% chance of experiencing a flood if a property is located in the floodplain. Various retrofitting techniques are available to help minimize flooding such as elevating the building, constructing barriers out of fill or concrete, and wet or dry floodproofing to make the building watertight. Because of Friendswood’s susceptibility to storm surge from Galveston Bay during hurricanes and tropical storms, measures that protect against high winds such as storm shutters or reinforced garage doors should also be considered. There are several publications on retrofitting available at the public library that can help you decide which technique is best for you and your property. You can also download the Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding (FEMA P-312) from the FEMA online library for information on permanent retrofitting measures for your home.