Property Protection and Building in the Floodplain

Property Protection

The City of Cleburne has initiated numerous property protection measures to reduce flood risk in the community. The City has addressed property protection by requiring new construction in the high flood risk areas be constructed 2.0 feet above the 1% annual chance floodplain, or Base Flood Elevation (BFE.)

If the first floor level of your structure is lower than the BFE on the City’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), consider ways to reduce the risk of flooding such as retrofitting or renovating to protect your structure.

The City Department of Engineering Services can tell you about the causes of flooding, what the City is doing about it, and what would be an appropriate flood protection level for your structure. They can also visit your property to discuss flood protection alternatives, such as retrofitting.

Retrofitting measures may include:

  • Elevating the building so that flood waters do not enter or reach the lowest floor above flood level,
  • Constructing barriers out of compacted soil or concrete between the building and flood waters,
  • “Dry floodproofing” to make the building walls and floor watertight,
  • “Wet floodproofing” to protect a building by allowing floodwaters to enter uninhabited areas of the property such as parking and storage areas,
  • Preventing basement flooding from sewer backup or sump pump failure.

Retrofitting information can be found in the Cleburne public library or in the FEMA Retrofitting Guide.

Build Responsibly

All development in the City of Cleburne needs local and state permits. The City’s ordinances and building codes guide and regulate construction in floodplains. Without these provisions, flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would not be available. Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal and should be reported to the Engineering Services Department at City Hall, located at 10 N. Robinson Street.

The City of Cleburne participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). As a participating community, the City has adopted Floodplain Management practices through several ordinances that severely limit the development allowed in the 1% annual chance floodplain (the area inundated by a storm that has a 1% chance of occurring in any year).

The City of Cleburne standards require all new structures be constructed 2.0 feet above the 1% annual chance flood elevation or 1.0 foot above the "ultimate" water surface elevation, whichever is higher.

Mobile homes are required to be 3.0’ above the 1% annual chance flood elevation.

When developing along a major creek within the City of Cleburne, the developer must submit a Flood Study to the City showing the 1% annual chance floodplain and water surface elevation based on both current land-use and future land-use assumptions. For property with any portion located within the 1% annual chance floodplain, regardless of structure location, a flood insurance policy may be required by the mortgage lender.

The City Engineering Services Department is available to make site visits to review flooding issues, drainage and sewer problems, and provide one-on-one advice to property owners pertaining to development, renovation, and flood protection measures.

Substantial Improvement and Substantial Damage

What is substantial improvement? 
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that any reconstruction rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement, must conform or meet the same construction requirements as a new building and be constructed above the minimum Base Flood Elevation (BFE) listed on the city’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

What is substantial damage? 
Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a building or structure when the cost of restoring the building to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the building before the damage occurred. Substantial damage is determined regardless of the actual repair work performed.

The city of Cleburne requires by ordinance that any substantial improvement or substantial damage improvement must have a building permit. Permit information can be obtained at the Building Inspections Department located at City Hall, 10 N. Robinson Street.