This page is under development, please check back for updates or call our office for more information.
- Stormwater Management
- Floodplain Administration
- Grant Administration
Municipalities which have been mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and have identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs) are encouraged to adopt a floodplain ordinance, which regulates development activities in the floodplains. The state of Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has published a suggested model ordinance (link to PDF) that most municipalities have followed as a guideline. Additional information from PEMA can be found on their website. Since variation does exist, it is important to review your local ordinance. Please contact your local municipal officials for more information.
The Floodplain Development Permit is the mechanism by which the community evaluates any and all impacts of activities proposed in the regulated floodplains. All activities must follow the community’s Floodplain Ordinance. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides flood insurance to individuals at typically much lower premiums than could otherwise be purchased through private insurers, and makes certain federal funds are available to communities. In order for citizens to be eligible for the national flood insurance rates, or for communities to receive certain kinds of federal funds, the community must agree to meet minimum floodplain standards. As of the end of 2021, there are 29 communities participating in the NFIP out of 31 total municipalities within Venango County; Pleasantville Borough has no mapped SFHAs and Barkeyville Borough is a non-participant despite having mapped SFHAs. Although it is the responsibility of municipalities within the county to maintain and enforce their own floodplain ordinances, there are some municipalities which choose to delegate floodplain management services to the county level. In Venango County, this currently includes the following municipalities:
What is development? According to the NFIP, development is "any man‐made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to building or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials" (Title 44 CFR 59.1). For the purposes of enforcing the local floodplain ordinance, this would generally mean that any activity which alters the natural topography of the floodplain would need to be reviewed. Any structure which is principally above ground and enclosed by walls and a roof (including manufactured homes and prefabricated buildings) would be subject to the permit review process. There are three activities which are NOT considered development: 1) maintenance of existing buildings (built prior to the community adoption of current maps, which varies depending on the community), 2) resurfacing roads, and 3) agricultural activities which do not involve filling or grading. There are also special provisions for recreational vehicles and travel trailers which must meet conditions in order to be permitted and approved. In some situations, structures may be exempt from the building permit process, but would still need a floodplain development permit regardless of any other exemptions.
Want to know if a property is in a floodplain? Try out the National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) interactive map. There are additional resources on the FEMA website, including the Map Service Center, which contains effective mapping products, including Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels, Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports, processed Letters of Map Change (LOMCs), and spatial data downloads.
If you believe you are in need of a floodplain development permit or have any other questions about this process, please contact our office at 814-432-9689 for more information.
Risk Rating 2.0
FEMA is updating the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The methodology leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology to enable FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarily sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk.
PHASE I: New policies beginning Oct. 1, 2021, will be subject to the new rating methodology. Also beginning Oct. 1, existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums.
PHASE II: All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology.
What does this mean for Venango County residents? In April, all policies will see rate changes because FLOOD ZONES (i.e. SFHA) will no longer be factored into rating. This means that whether or not you are in or out of the SFHA does not impact your policy rating, but it DOES still determine whether or not you are subject to the mandatory purchase requirement.
Try this link for more information from FEMA. There is also a set of interactive maps to help visualize the anticipated impact of Risk Rating 2.0 on policies for Single Family Homes (SFH) as well as all policies.
Looking to get a quote for flood insurance? Check out FloodSmart.gov to see if NFIP coverage is available for your property.
Municipal Assistance Program
Municipalities can apply for funding through the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP) which can cover up to 50 percent of eligible costs related to (1) community planning, (2) floodplain management, and (3) shared services. For more information, please review the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) webpage. These grant applications are due by the end of February on an annual basis.
- Protect Your Home From Flooding (Brochure)
- Guidelines for Maintaining Streams: When to Call DEP (PDF)
- Pennsylvania Association of Floodplain Managers (PAFPM) - An organization which provides many resources for local officials and advocates of floodplain preservation.
- Pennsylvania Construction Code Academy (PCCA) - A resource maintained by the Pennsylvania Municipal League to provide professional development to code officials through certification and continuing education training by offering multi-formatted sessions and operating a clearing house of information relevant to additional education opportunities.
- FEMA Elevation Certificate (PDF) - The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is to be used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance premium rate, and to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision based on fill (LOMR-F). The Elevation Certificate also provides a way for a community to document compliance with the community's floodplain management ordinance. This form has sections which require a licensed land surveyor or engineer to complete.
- FEMA Floodproofing Certificate (PDF) - Under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the floodproofing of non-residential buildings may be permitted as an alternative to elevating to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). A floodproofing design certification is required for non-residential structures that are floodproofed. This form is to be used for that certification. This form has sections which require a licensed land surveyor or engineer to complete.
- No-Rise Certification (PDF) - Any project in a floodway must be reviewed to determine if the project will increase flood heights. An engineering analysis must be conducted before a permit can be issued. The community's permit file must have a record of the results of this analysis, which can be in the form of a No-Rise Certification. This No-Rise Certification must be supported by technical data and signed by a registered professional engineer. The supporting technical data should be based on the standard step-backwater computer model used to develop the one-percent annual chance (i.e. 100-year) floodway shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM).