Floodplain Management

Welcome to the City of Hendersonville's Floodplain Management Webpage – a central hub for information on how our community is working proactively to address and mitigate the impacts of flooding. As stewards of public safety and environmental sustainability, we recognize the significance of effective floodplain management in safeguarding our residents, infrastructure, and natural resources.

This website aims to provide comprehensive resources, up-to-date information, and practical guidance to enhance awareness and preparedness within our community. As a city committed to sustainable growth, environmental protection, and public safety, we invite you to explore the resources and tools available here to better understand flood risks, floodplain management regulations, and best practices.

For any questions related to the floodplain management please contact the City Floodplain Administrator.


Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common disaster in the United States.

Flooding can be caused by many factors. In our community, flooding is generally caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains, and intense thunderstorms that cause riverine flooding, or a flood that occurs when rivers and streams overflow their banks and flow into surrounding areas. Due to Hendersonville's mountainous terrain, our community has a higher likelihood of experiencing flash flooding. Flash flooding is considered the most dangerous type of flooding because it occurs so quickly that people are caught off-guard. A situation may become dangerous if people encounter high, fast-moving water while traveling. If people are at their homes or businesses, the water may rise quickly and trap them, or cause damage to the property without them having a chance to protect the property

To learn more about flooding, its impacts, and how to be prepared for flooding visit www.ready.gov/floods

Floodplain Basics 

A floodplain is an area of land near a waterway that floods when the waterway is carrying a larger volume of water than normal.

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) depict areas of known flood risk in a community. These maps are created as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When discussing floodplain management, you will often hear the terms 100-year floodplain, floodway, and special flood hazard area.

Natural floodplains provide flood risk reduction benefits by slowing runoff and storing flood water. They also provide other benefits of considerable economic, social, and environmental value that are often overlooked when local land-use decisions are made. Properly managed floodplains can provide several benefits to the community.

Floodplains frequently contain wetlands and other important ecological areas which directly affect the quality of the local environment. Some of the benefits of floodplains to a functioning natural system include:

  • Fish and wildlife habitat protection
  • Natural flood and erosion control
  • Surface water quality maintenance
  • Groundwater recharge
  • Biological productivity
  • Higher-quality recreational opportunities

Floodplain Management Overview

Floodplain management is a community-based effort to prevent or reduce the risk of flooding, resulting in a more resilient community. 

The City of Hendersonville's Floodplain Management Program is administered under the City's Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance [PDF] and enforced by the City's Floodplain Administrator. The purpose of this program is to promote public health, safety, and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions within flood-prone areas.

The Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance outlines specific provisions designed to:

(1) Restrict or prohibit uses that are dangerous to health, safety, and property due to water or erosion hazards or that result in damaging increases in erosion, flood heights, or velocities;

(2) Require that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities that serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction;

(3) Control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels, and natural protective barriers, which are involved in the accommodation of floodwaters;

(4) Control filling, grading, dredging, and all other development that may increase erosion or flood damage; and

(5) Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers that will unnaturally divert flood waters or which may increase flood hazards to other lands.


Development in the Floodplain

For the purposes of floodplain management, development is defined as   any manmade change to improved or unimproved real estate, including, but not limited to, buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations, or storage of equipment or materials. 

Prior to any development activities located within special flood hazard areas, an application for a floodplain development permit shall be made to the floodplain administrator. Floodplain Development Permit requirements can be found here: Floodplain development application, permit and certification requirements

Development in the Floodway or Non-Encroachment Areas (NEA)

Floodways and non-encroachment areas are extremely hazardous areas due to the velocity of floodwaters that have erosion potential and carry debris and potential projectiles. For these reasons no encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements, and other developments shall be permitted unless it is demonstrated that the proposed encroachment would not result in any increase in the flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood, based on hydrologic and hydraulic analyses performed in accordance with standard engineering practice and presented to the floodplain administrator prior to issuance of a floodplain development permit.

Know Your Flood Hazard

Everyone lives in an area with some flood risk—it’s just a question of whether you live in a high-risk, low-risk, or moderate-risk flood area.

Flood zones are indicated in a community’s flood map. Each flood zone describes the flood risk for a particular area, and those flood zones are used to determine insurance requirements and costs.

stream riverine flood zones

Certain flood zones also carry additional permitting and development requirements, which is another reason why it is important to know which flood zone you are located in before proceeding with any development.

Several resources are provided below to help determine your property's flood hazard. 

FEMA Flood Zone Definitions

FEMA Flood Map Service Center 

NC Flood Risk Information System 

Insure Your Property

It's important to remember that flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. The City of Hendersonville participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which makes federally backed flood insurance available for all structures in the City regardless of whether or not they are located within a regulatory floodplain. Coverage is available for the building itself as well as its contents. Renters are highly encouraged to purchase flood insurance for their contents. Note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.

Contact your local insurance agency for more information.   


City Floodplain Administrator

Michael Huffman, CFM