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Current Floodplain Development Regulations

Learn about floodplain policies in Raleigh

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Current Floodplain Development Regulations

New development has building restrictions in the entire floodplain.

  • You cannot build new structures in the floodplain.
  • New roads need to provide dry access during a major rainstorm.
  • Vacant lots are impacted by floodplain regulations.


  • Properties that are already developed within the floodplain.
  • Properties that are 0.5 acres or less.

New federal floodplain maps were released July 19, 2022. If your property is no longer in the floodplain, according to the maps, you will not be required to follow these regulations.

Allowed Activities

These activities are allowed under current floodplain regulations.

Farming and WildlifeYard / Home AreasRecreation
  • Farming or pastures
  • Outdoor plants or nurseries
  • Wildlife sanctuary
  • Lawn
  • Yards 
  • Gardens 
  • Parking areas
  • Play areas
  • Golf courses
  • Tennis courts
  • Picnic ground
  • Parks, greenways, and bikeways
  • Hiking or horseback riding trails
  • Other recreational uses

Regulation Changes

What type of properties need to follow new regulations?

The changes only apply to vacant properties that are larger than 0.5 acres. This about 400 properties in the floodplain and 1,545 acres of land.

What properties are exempt? 

  • Undeveloped properties that are less than 0.5 acres
  • Properties already developed in the floodplain

When are the new regulations effective?

The new regulations will be effective April 1, 2022. The effective date coincides with the local floodplain maps that are being updated by FEMA. Until then, the current regulations remain in effect. 

How do I appeal or get a waiver for the new regulations?

You would need to get a variance through the Board of Adjustment after the new regulations go into effect in April 2022. You follow this process for current regulations too. 

Property Value

How will the floodplain regulations affect my property value?

Although you are not able to build new structures on a vacant lot (that's more than 0.5 acres) in the floodplain, there are still activities that you can do on your property. Take a look at those options.

The new regulations only apply to the part of your property that is in the floodplain. You can develop areas of your property that are not in the floodplain. 

Floodplain Maps

Will my property always be in the floodplain?

The State of North Carolina manages the floodplain maps that we use. These maps are being updated. They are expected to be available in April 2022. The new floodplain regulations will go into effect at this time to coincide with what's reflected on the maps. 

Once the new maps are available, you may see a change in where your property is located within the floodplain. If it is no longer in the floodplain, you are not required to meet those requirements. 

Flood Insurance

Should I have flood insurance?

It is always a good idea to have flood insurance. We work closely with community partners on efforts to reduce flooding impacts. These initiatives and policy changes also help lower flood insurance rates in Raleigh. 

Green Space

What if I'm interested in returning my developed property to green space?

If you are interested, we can work with you to get a conservation easement or purchase your property in the floodplain. We'd remove buildings on the property and return the area to green space. This allows water to flow naturally and keeps you out of harm's way when it does flood. Projects are selected based on funding and how your property ranks in terms of flood risk reduction.

  • Voluntarily selling your property; 
  • The City buying it at fair market value;
  • Working together to find you a new home; and,
  • The City covering relocation costs. 

Contact Us

Have more questions? Contact us at 919-996-3777 or floodplain@raleighnc.gov.



Raleigh Floodplain Team

Engineering Services
Service Categories:
Board, Commission or Committee:
Stormwater Management Advisory Commission
Related Services:
Know Your Flood Risks