Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. Congress made major changes to the program in 1973, 1994, 2004, 2012 and 2014, with the goals of strengthening the program, ensuring its fiscal soundness, and informing the public of its mapping and insurance rate-setting through expert consultation, reports and studies. In 2018, FEMA engaged the broader policy community, including academia and other government agencies, and developed an affordability framework, in response to a congressional mandate.

Sequatchie County participates in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. Because of this, certain records and forms are required when building within a FEMA Flood Zone. Any area at risk of flooding is called a flood zone or floodplain. If you build within an eligible zone, sometimes a property owner will be required to carry floodplain insurance. Typically, this is required by your mortgage company. When applying for a building permit (within City limits), purchasing a home, or refinancing a home, usually either the permitting agency or financing company will require proof of elevation to make sure the structure is not in the flood zone. If the structure will be in the Flood Zone then an elevation certificate will be required, stating the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) and requiring a Licensed Surveyor to validate the elevation. If the structure is in the flood way, a no rise certificate is required.

When the BFE is determined, the top of the bottom floor should be a minimum one foot above the BFE. No wood can be below this elevation. This also affects manufactured homes, in which the metal framing would represent the wood. Insurance rates are also affected by the flood zone. If any part of the property in question is in the flood zone, the entire property is considered in the flood zone. If the floodway runs through the property, the placement of the structure must be proven to be out of the floodway.

To search if a property falls within a flood zone, you can search using the FEMA Flood Map Service Center. If you fall within the City of Dunlap and have questions concerning the flood zone, please contact City Hall at (423) 949-2115. If you have further questions, please contact the Assessor’s office or review the FEMA website.

Terms and Definitions

The following is a list of terms and definitions used in the Flood Management program.

FLOOD ZONE – A land mass which has a 1% chance of being flooded in any given rain fall event (100 year flood). Also referred to as ‘flood fringe.’ There is no longer grandfathering in flood zones.

FLOOD WAY – Channel of a river or other water course that must be reserved to discharge base flood water.

BASE FLOOD ELEVATION (BFE) – The maximum water elevation expected during the 1% chance – in the storm (100 year flood).

LOWEST FLOOR ELEVATION – The elevation of the lowest floor in the enclosed structure, including a basement that is livable.

ELEVATION CERTIFICATE – Used to provide elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community flood plain management ordinances, to determine the proper insurance rate, and to support a request for a letter of map amendment or revision. An elevation certificate is required for all legal real-estate transactions within a flood zone.

NO RISE CERTIFICATE – Letter from a licensed Engineer stating work within a flood way shall not cause an increase in the flood elevation.

LETTER OF MAP AMENDMENT (LOMA)/ LETTER OF MAP REVISION (LOMR) – A document issued by FEMA that officially removes a property and/or structure from the Flood Zone.

WET FLOODPROOFING – A fully enclosed area below the lowest floor. It shall automatically equalize hydrostatic water pressure (Hydrostatic Vents).

Flood Zones are classified as follows:

A – No base flood elevation determined. Requires building 3’ above highest elevation. (Many will be AE in the new maps)

AE – Base flood elevation determined

AH – Flood Depths of 1 to 3 feet

AO – Flood Depths of 1 – 3 feet

A99 – Protected from 100 yr. flood by Federal Flood Protection System

X – Areas of 500 year flood and 100 year flood (1% storm) with average depths of less than 1 foot or drainage areas of less than 1 square mile.

VE – Velocity Zone – Mainly Coastal areas. High risk areas