Placer County moves to meet state flood standards for urban areas

Published on November 05, 2015

The Placer County Board of Supervisors Nov. 3 approved amendments to Placer County’s flood management policies that bring the county into compliance with state law requiring increased flood protection for urban areas.

Most of the proposed changes will have no physical effects on the environment as many of the county's policies and programs already address flood protection and flood plain requirements.

“Because the county has been prudent in regulating development in areas with higher flood risk, we’re essentially ahead of this process,” said Placer County Community Resource Development Agency Director Michael Johnson. “These amendments validate that the county has already met the 200-year standard in most areas of the county.”

The county’s amendments will bring local flood management in line with the requirements of the Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008. This state law requires cities and counties to amend their general plans to strengthen the linkage between land use planning and flood plain management practices and provide some new requirements for flood plain regulation.

The county currently participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, and therefore has existing standards that regulate development in areas at risk from a 1-in-100 year chance flood event. The state law requires urban areas to achieve at least a 1-in-200-year level of protection.  The 1-in-100 and 1-in-200 designations refer to the chance of flooding in any given year. The amendments will strengthen the connection between land use planning and flood programs.

The changes will alter four elements in the county’s general plan and the definitions of terms that reference flood protection. The amendments do not modify land use designations, the land use map or the capital improvement program. The amendments maintain existing limits on development and current designation of compatible land uses with flood plain management.