Floodwater near a home during a storm

Floodplain Regulations

New requirements going into effect April 2022

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Approved Regulations Allowed Activities Benefits Regulation Change Process Watch - Virtual Meeting

New floodplain regulations were recently approved. These changes limit development in the floodplain. Making this change will keep flooding from getting worse in areas near streams and creeks. Also, it's important to have green space near creeks so that water can flow without impacting buildings on a property and putting people at risk when it rains. 

New regulations will go into effect April 2022 after federal floodplain maps are updated. 

Current regulations | Approved regulations | Common questions

Don't know what the floodplain is? Watch this video to learn more

Approved Regulations

Effective April 2022

Extend building restrictions for new development to the entire floodplain.

  • You would no longer be able to build new structures in the floodplain. 
  • New roads would also need to provide dry access during a major rainstorm.  
  • These changes would impact vacant lots in the floodplain.


  • Properties in the floodplain already developed
  • Properties 0.5 acres or less

Effective Date

We chose the April 2022 effective date so that it coincides with the release of the new federal floodplain maps. If your property is no longer in the floodplain, according to the maps, you will not be required to follow these regulations. 

Allowed Activities

You can still do these activities in the floodplain (under current and new regulations). What you can do is based on the size and location of your property. You also are able to build on areas of your property that are not in the floodplain. 

Farming and Wildlife Yard / Home Areas Recreation
  • Farming or pastures
  • Outdoor plants or nurseries
  • Wildlife sanctuary
  • Lawn
  • Yards 
  • Gardens 
  • Parking areas
  • Play areas
  • Golf courses
  • Tennis courts
  • Picnic ground
  • Parks, greenways, and bikeways
  • Hiking or horseback riding trails
  • Other recreational uses


  1. Reduce the severity of flooding. Flooding is not as bad when water has more room to flow and soak into the ground. 
  2. Benefit the quality of streams and rivers; 
  3. Protect wildlife habitat;
  4. Reduce risk to people and chances of property damage; 
  5. Reduce instances of emergency rescue since fewer people will be in harm's way; and, 
  6. Lower flood insurance premiums for people living in Raleigh.

Regulation Change Process

  1. Input from community stakeholder group and the public. We collected survey responses in late December 2020 to early January 2021. See results.
  2. Recommendations shared with the Planning Commission and its text change committee. 
  3. Recommendations approved by Stormwater Management Advisory Commission & Raleigh City Council.
  4. Official ordinance change process, including a public hearing that was on May 4 and input (if approved by Council).

Watch - Virtual Meeting

We held a virtual meeting on Dec 8, 2020. Staff presented on ways you can stay safe in the floodplain. We also shared what we're doing to protect communities in the floodplain with proposed regulation changes.

Watch a recording of the meeting below.  

Virtual Floodplain Meeting - December 8, 2020



Ben Brown, PE
Stormwater Administrator 

Lead Department:
Engineering Services
Service Categories:
StormwaterPermits - ResidentialPermits - Non-Residential