Floodplain Management

Contact: Duane Herrera, CFM

duane.herrera@bellcounty.texas.gov          (254)-933-5275

P.O. Box 264, Belton, Texas 76513

What is a Floodplain?

A floodplain is a geographic area subject to flooding; land adjacent to a waterway necessary to contain a flood. Floodplain can be associated with rivers, lakes, streams, channels, even small creeks that are normally dry most of the year.  The 100 year floodplain is an area subject to flooding as a result of the occurrence of a 100 year storm event- a storm that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year.  See also the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Web site for more information on floodplains and floodplain management. Floodplains are commonly found along low elevation points or low water crossings.

Floodplain Regulations in Bell County

Flood plain regulations are enforced to protect public safety and health. In addition, they encourage sound engineering practices and efficient flood plain management techniques. All construction in Bell County must adhere to federal flood plain regulations. Regulations are established by the Federal Government and implemented by the  Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The County Engineer's Office is responsible for examining construction for compliance with local and federal flood plain regulations.

Evaluating and Permitting Floodplains

County Engineer's Office is the designated flood plain administrator for Bell County. Official flood plain maps for the County are available for viewing in our office at 206 N Main, Belton, TX, 76513. Flood plain permitting within various cities in Bell County are handled by those cities directly.

Currently, residents can come to the County Engineer's Office for consultation to determine whether any specific location is within the flood plain. Alternatively, FEMA maintains a website (http://store.msc.fema.gov) where you can view the same maps we have. --

FEMA Map Service Center and Flood Map Store

Digital versions and images of flood maps are now available for viewing and printing from the on-line FEMA Flood Map Store at: http://msc.fema.gov/. This on-line store provides paper, scanned images on CD-ROM, and downloads of maps. The Flood Map Store allows users to create a FIRMette at no cost. A FIRMette is a section of the flood hazard map at 100% scale that can be printed on standard paper sizes (8.5 x 11, 8.5 x 14, and 11 x 17).

Floodplain Development Permit

If your property is in the flood plain you will need to elevate the structure higher than the base flood elevation (BFE). A flood plain permit will be required. To receive a permit, residents must obtain a permit application. Included in the packet are instructions and the forms necessary for the flood plain development permit:

    * Flood Plain Development Permit    * Elevation Certificate

Here is the Flooplain Permitting Process for anyone requesting a Development Permit in rural areas in Bell County.

1.    Requestor submits Floodplain Development Permit Application.

a. Print and submit FP Development Permit to Bell County Office.

2.    Bell County Reviews Application

a. Locate the development site on the community’s floodplain map.

b. Ensure project is considered a development

c. Owner/Developer submitted Application

d. Check for additional building or a substantial improvement of an existing building

e. Determine Base Flood Elevation

 3.    Bell County Prepares Package for Inquiry(includes)

a. Permit Application

b. Floodplain Map

c. Letter from Engineer (FPA Determines BFE & Slab)

d. Additional and Misc Items (as needed)

e. “No-Rise” Certificate if Applicable

 4.    Requestor obtains “Certificate of Elevation” (Surveyor, Engineer or Architect)

a. Submit copy to Bell County Engineer’s Office

 5.    Bell County Reviews Floodplain Package

 6.    Bell County Approves/Disapproves permit

Completion of the process qualifies the home for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Development within the flood way is prohibited except with extensive engineering and flood proofing. On July 28, 2008, Bell County Commissioners Court adopted the Bell County Flood Damage Prevention Court Order.  This Order is effective as of September 26, 2008.  The Bell County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance contains the full text of regulations.

Floodplain fill can make things worse

Floodplains are supposed to store floodwater.  If storage space is filled with dirt and other material, future flooding may worsen.  You are required to perform an engineering analysis to show how the floodplain fill will alter flooding.  Floodplain fill can alter other functions beside backwater, including wildlife habitats and wetlands.

Floodplain fill can make things worse

 Make sure your floodplain fill project won’t harm your neighbors.  Floodway fill is allowed only if an engineering study and the floodplain administrator can determine if the “no rise” in the flood level will occur. 



If you have questions please contact the County Engineer's Office at (254) 933-5275.