The City of Bentonville participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program and the Community Rating System. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for the City of Bentonville. A Floodplain Development Permit is required for any construction on properties located within a SFHA. It applies to all structural development, placement of manufactured structures, clearing, grading, mining, drilling, dredging, placement of fill, excavating, watercourse alteration, drainage improvements, roadway or bridge construction, individual water or sewer installations or any other development in a Special Flood Hazard Area. Participation in the Community Rating System (CRS) program mitigates home and business damage by flooding. Please click here for additional information on flooding.
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- Protect human life and health;
- Protect natural floodplains against unwise development;
- Eliminate adverse impacts of necessary floodplain development;
- Minimize expenditure of public monies on flood control projects;
- Minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public;
- Minimize prolonged business interruptions due to flooding events;
- Minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone and sewer lines, streets and bridges located in Special Flood Hazard Areas;
- Minimize future flood blight areas to help maintain a stable tax base;
- Provide for notice to potential buyers when property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
1. KNOW YOUR FLOOD HAZARD
To find out if a subject property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, the Engineering Department and Bentonville Public Library maintain a repository of Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The FIRMs are used to guide development to minimize flood losses and promote public safety. The FEMA Map Service Center website (https://msc.fema.gov/portal) is useful too. A Special Flood Hazard Area is an area that will be inundated by the flood event having a 1-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This information can also be viewed on the City of Bentonville GIS website under FEMA Base layer. Any person interested in information regarding Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), flood insurance, floodplain regulations, elevations certificates, or Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM Maps) may contact the Stormwater Coordinator or set an appointment with the Floodplain Manager at the Bentonville Municipal Building, Engineering Department. Please provide a current address, a subdivision name/block/lot number or a tax parcel identification number to expedite any information request. The city maintains a database of some Elevation Certificates.
An Elevation Certificate is a document prepared by a licensed engineer or land surveyor that provides a structure’s finished floor elevation in relation to the Base Flood Elevation has determined by FEMA. This data is used to minimize flood loss and to set flood insurance premiums. FEMA offers Elevation Certificate training. An easy nine-session course called “EC made EZ” can be watched in less than an hour. Go to:
“EC Made EZ” is in PowerPoint form at:
The bank says my property is in the AE Zone, what does that mean? It means the property is in a special flood hazard area (SFHA) subject to National Flood Insurance Program. Zone AE is the 100-year (1% annual chance) floodplain with base flood elevations (BFE). This flood hazard zone is drawn on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The AE Zone is next to the floodway; the creek bed. Studies have been completed to determine the approximate 100-yr floodplain line and base flood elevations. The base flood elevation is the water surface elevation with a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in a given year. There is a 1% annual chance the land will be flooded per year. This does not mean the land will flood every year, nor does it mean the land will not flood more than once in a year. During a 30-yr mortgage, new development built at or below the base flood elevation in an AE Zone has a 26% chance of being flooded at least once (USGS). New habitable development in the AE zone in the City of Bentonville is required to be built three feet above the base flood elevation and the associated utilities such as heating and air must be at least at BFE.
2. INSURE YOUR PROPERTY FOR YOUR FLOOD HAZARD
Considering weather pattern changes, storm events are now shorter and more intense in Northwest Arkansas. Flood insurance is recommended for all properties located in the Special Flood Hazard Area or near a drainage feature. Sometimes a property can be subject to localized flooding and not be located in a designated floodplain. Flood insurance is also available for property outside the regulated floodplain (SFHA). Flood insurance rates are going up as claims rise nationally, but rates are lower for properties that are elevated above the base flood elevation or located outside the floodplain.
Insurance agents can provide flood insurance rates and coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. Elevation Certificates are typically required.
Flood insurance can be purchased even if the property has been flooded. Properties in the SFHA may be at an elevation where they have not flooded recently. However, they can still be flooded in the future because the next flood could be worse. If a property is in a floodplain, it is highly likely the property will be damaged someday. Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Keep in mind, even if the last flood missed the structure or there has been some flood proofing, the next flood could be worse. Don’t wait for the next flood to buy flood insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Usually these policies just cover the building’s structure and not the contents. Additional insurance may be needed to cover contents affected by flooding events.
3. PROTECT PEOPLE FROM THE HAZARD
Typical flooding in the City of Bentonville is a result of flash flooding. This happens when a large amount of precipitation comes down in a short time frame. Sign up to receive customized emergency alerts from Benton County. See websites below.
Be prepared. Designate a place where your family can rendezvous after an evacuation order is issued. Below are some safety measures that can be taken.
- Do NOT drive through flowing water. Turn Around Don’t Drown. Observe traffic safety signage.
- Avoid walking through flooded streets. It can carry bacteria, trash, and hazardous materials. If necessary, use a stick to verify ground beneath.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Turn off power and gas.
- Watch out for animals seeking refuge, especially snakes.
- Have emergency supplies such as medicines and clean water on hand.
- Do not eat flooded food items.
- Listen to radio for emergency instructions.
Remove moldy items from the structure. During flood clean up, wear sturdy shoes, gloves, and a face mask. Wet down molded objects before removing them to reduce airborne toxins. Remove the carpet to prevent mildew. Dry out the walls. Clean and dry right away
4. PROTECT PROPERTY FROM THE HAZARD
Here are some ideas on how to protect property before the storm.
- Flood proof the structure. Build berms or apply waterproof building materials; especially to doorways.
- Elevate the structure. Elevate washer and dryer, refrigerator, furnace, and/or water heater.
- Elevate utilities above the base flood elevation.
- Institute sewer backflow prevention methods.
- Move valuables upstairs.
- Keep sand bags on-hand for known water entry points
Inventory the structure. Photograph contents and put important papers and insurance policies in a safe place. Keep Waterproof and/or fireproof boxes, or offsite copy in a safety deposit box. Dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster can be overwhelming. A few immediate actions can help ease recovery. Step 1: Immediately contact insurance agent. Remember, typical homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, so a separate flood insurance policy is needed. Have the flood insurance policy number and personal contact information ready. Step 2: Document! Take photos and/or video of damages. Get a notebook and make a list of all the damaged items. Keep the originals of flood related bills, receipts, and other documents. Also, write down who spoke with, their information, the date, and a description of what was discussed. Step 3: Separate the damaged property from undamaged property. Do not throw away anything before an adjuster has seen it, unless disposal is required for immediate environmental health reasons. Do what it takes to protect undamaged property. Step 4: Make a list of the structural damage to give to the insurance adjuster. The adjuster will conduct a site visit and prepare an estimate of damages. Use that estimate as a guide when obtaining bids for repairs from licensed professional contractors. Submit claims completed and signed with supporting documents generally within 60 days of the event. Keep a complete copy of the claims for recordkeeping. Contact insurance agent for details on National Flood Insurance Program coverage.
5. BUILD RESPONSIBLY
If the property is in a floodplain, certain development requirements apply. If it is in the floodway, additional studies and certifications are required. Any reconstruction, remodeling, addition, or improvement to a structure equaling or exceeding 50% of the market value of the structure, requires the structure to come into full compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Code (Code). Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up the same standards. That is, if a structure is damaged more than 50% of the market value, it must be rebuilt to Code. Licensed contractors should be used for reconstruction after major storm events.
COB Floodplain Development Permit Review
Any residential Building Permit Application that shows a property located in the floodplain undergoes a Floodplain Development Permit Review by the Engineering Dept. Floodplain Manager. The review comments are sent to the Building Inspections Dept. and applicant/owner. The project must meet code elevation requirements. Other best practices are advised as needed. Elevation Certificates and other forms may be required.
Upon Floodplain Permit Application approval, the licensed surveyor or engineer sends the “Building Under Construction” Elevation Certificate (EC) to the Engineering Dept. Floodplain Manager a minimum of 48hours prior to pouring the slab. Structures are required to have a finished floor elevation a minimum of 3’ above the base flood elevation. The Floodplain Manager will review the final EC and issue a Certificate of Compliance prior to the structure receiving a final site inspection. The final Elevation Certificate is kept on file electronically in the Engineering Dept.
Large Scale Developments Floodplain Development Permit Review Standard Operating Procedure
Any Large Scale Development (LSD) that is located within a flood hazard area will be required to submit a Floodplain Development Permit Application. An approved Floodplain Development Permit must be acquired before the Preconstruction Meeting is scheduled.
A “Building under Construction” Elevation Certificate will be requested a minimum of 48hrs before the slab inspection for LSD structures in the floodplain to verify finished floor elevation. Structures are required to be a minimum of 3’ above the base flood elevation. The Floodplain Manager will review the final EC and issue a Certificate of Compliance prior to the structure receiving a final site inspection. The final Elevation Certificate is kept on file electronically in the Engineering Dept.
6. PROTECT NATURAL FLOODPLAIN FUNCTIONS
The city maintains ditches, inlets, culverts, and drainage ways. They clean debris to promote proper drainage. Sediment or limbs blocking a pipe can reduce flood conveyance and storage. A blocked channel may even result in flooding of property. If your property is next to a drainage feature, help keep the conveyance clear of debris. Piles of leaves and grass, and stockpiling of old unsecured items such as tires can dam up drainage ways causing adjacent properties to flood. Remember, only rain in the drain. Dumping trash in low spots that drain to streams or floodplain is prohibited. Report dumping to the Floodplain Hotline 479-271-3168 or Code Enforcement.
Biologically, floodplains support biodiversity while maintaining the integrity of the stream ecosystem. Plants buffer floodwaters and provide wildlife habitat. Using the lowlands as open space for recreational opportunities is better than the risk of damage to structures and danger to the public.
For more information or help with the following items, please contact the Stormwater Coordinator.
- Providing copies of Elevation Certificate
- Reading Maps for people
- Providing Technical Assistance on Property Protection
- Providing technical assistance on Flood Insurance
- Administering the permit requirements for construction and development in the floodplain
- Maintaining the drainage system and carrying out related procedures and responsibilities
For property protection measures and information or to request a site visit, contact the Stormwater Coordinator at 479-271-3168 8am-4pm Mon-Fri or come by the Municipal Utility Complex, Engineering Department, located at 3200 SW Municipal Dr., by appointment.
Please provide a current address, a subdivision name/block/lot number or a tax parcel identification number to expedite information request. There is no charge for this service.