Flood Plain Question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Darren, May 2, 2005.

  1. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    Depending on how much of the property is in the flood plain, you may want to cancel the deal. Find out what the county flood plain ordinance says. The FEMA website has a section which will tell you if your area has such an ordinance. If it does, you will be required to get a building permit. Keep in mind a 100 year flood ocurrs more often than once every 100 years. It is also an arbitrary flood that was selected by Congress as a minimum to pass the National Flood Insurance Program.

    The reason I mention that is there are floods which greatly exceed the 100 year flood. You can build to be safe from a 100 year flood and get wiped out by those that exceed that criteria. Building a new house in a flood plain is not a good idea especially if you can avoid buying the land to start with.
     
  2. indypartridge

    indypartridge Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Being in Indiana, I can't tell you much about what building restrictions there are in Arizona. I can say that we've hit "100 year flood" levels THREE times in the past two years!
     

  3. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    My house in Colorado is in a low area near the White River. Before the dam was built upstream that site was a lake. Yet I was told it was NOT in a flood plain and I could NOT get flood insurance. OTH, a house I built on the edge of a canyon WAS considered in a flood plain according to the county inspector. No way it would have flooded short of a Noah type flood. Yet if I had taken out a mortgage on it I would have been required to carry flood insurance. :bash:
     
  4. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Many states do not allow you to build a dwelling in a flood plain. I would do a _lot_ of local & state research on permits for houses, wells, & septic.....

    There is a road by me built to a '25 year' flood level, and 2 others that were built to 100 year level. The 25 year road flooded out (one year washed out) 3 out of 5 years. The 100 year roads have gone under water 2 times in the last 50 years, and one was under a 3rd year. So, are these roads now safe for the next 300 years, or??????

    Building in a flood plain of less than 100 years is not allowed in my state, and after helping carry sand bags 2 years out of 3 to protect many houses, I would _not_ want that property. It is a shake of the dice, will it catch you in your lifetime or not?

    --->Paul

     
  5. Michael W. Smith

    Michael W. Smith Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we have areas around here in a "100 year flood plain" and in the past hundred years, my guess is that they have flooded a total of 4 times and almost flooded several other times. While flood insurance is pretty much a "have to" if your home is built with a mortgage, I don't think it helps out a whole lot. I would be leary of this property, and if you do build, it wouldn't hurt to build it up higher than normal in case a flood does come.

    The last flood that occured around here was in 1996. My workplace was under 9' of dirty, muddy, oil covered water. My sister's house had 3' on her first floor so pretty much ruined everything that was on the first floor as well as the basement. Had to tear out everything, gut the house on the first floor, spray it with bleach several times, let it dry out for several weeks and then rebuild. Since the 1996 flood, it has almost flooded at least twice since then with the river almost overflowing it's banks (and yes, our town does have a flood protection plan). After the flood in 1996, FEMA offered to buy alot of houses that got flooded (even though they DIDN'T have flood insurance). Whoever sold to them got a market value (for a flooded house) and those houses were torn down with regulations stating NOTHING could be build on those properties again. Those properties have now reverted to the borough, but the borough is even having trouble trying to get permission for a park for that land. Of course the borough now also has to mow and upkeep the property as well.

    If the property is truly what you want, go ahead and buy it, but before doing that, you may want to check into IF you can even build on it, and if allowed to do so, how much an extra 3" - 4" up off the ground it will cost for house building.
     
  6. JessieGirl

    JessieGirl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the great information. I was able to find out a bit today. Basically, everything hinges on the County Flood Dept. giving approval to build on that piece of property. They will be sending me a report on it in the next 3-4 days, stating if it can be built on, and what stipulations there may be (raising the ground level, engineered drainage). The City said if the County gives approval, then it's ok with them. The insurance agent said if the Country gives approval, then they will be able to insure it. So at this point all we can do is wait for the County report.

    The other problem is the the legal access to the property has been washed out. It's only about 100 feet off of the main road that is in good condition, so I'm not sure how that will work either. I'm checking with the city on that one too.

    We'll see how it goes...we aren't out any money at this point, and I don't want to end up with a useless piece of land (we are paying 80,000 for 2.5 acres, which is actually very cheap around here).

    Thanks again for all your help. I'll keep you updated.

    Jess
     
  7. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    FEMA doesn't care if you raise the ground level. BUT you have to demonstrate how high the fill will cause the 100 year flood to increase. That means an engineering study. If it causes the flood level to increase more than one foot, you will have to pay to revise the flood insurance rate map for your area. Now that you've mentioned the roadway washed out, I'd strongly suggest you bail out of the deal. That kind of money is way too much to spend for something that is susceptible to mother nature's whim.

    While our house will never flood, the access does frequently. Life takes on different priorities when the weather channel is your favorite because you're always worried about the creek rising. Once you've built a house in a flood susceptible area, you run a risk of difficulty in getting your investment out in the future. I've seen houses setting in flood plains up for sale for years until someone stupid enough came along to buy them. Invariably it was someone from out of state that had no idea that the nice little creek in their back yard could easily rise twenty feet, fill the house, cover the state highway out front and turn into a raging torrent that's ten times as wide as the cute little stream. In this area realtors aren't required to tell you that. It's strictly buyer beware.

    If you ever have to move in the future due to a a transfer, etc. you could end up getting stuck with something that sells slowly if at all. Even if the price seems like a bargain, that's not a reason to buy something.

    The sons of a man who died over five years ago have been trying to sell a 3+ acre parcel for $75,000. During that period three realtors have tried to sell the parcel. While the property isn't in a flood plain it has defects. It's located within a city which means a variance would have to granted for a septic tank or the owner would have to put in a lift station to pump the sewage uphill. I figure the road and utilities would add a sizeable amount to the building cost.

    Add to that a big chunk of the property isn't buildable. Most of it, the forested part, is either a steep slope or a vertical drop to the portion alongside the railroad tracks. The opposite boundary is the right of way for a large gas transmission line. I figure there's somewhat less than an acre that's buildable. At $75,000 for the parcel, it's a ripoff. But some fool with more money than brains will eventually buy it and rue the day after they figure out the problems. Did I mention that there's not much soil over the rock?

    Do yourself a favor and take your money elsewhere. You're not looking at a bargain.
     
  8. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    The first part of that word is flood. Let that be your guide. Look for another lot.
     
  9. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    I would NOT buy a piece of land that is 100% within the floodplain. Most floodplain land is valued at about 10% of the value of surrounding properties out of the floodplain. Most states, as far as I know, have adopted federal guidelines established by FEMA that says you cannot build a home unless the finished floor elevation (FFE) is 2 feet above the level of the 100 year flood. Flood insurance is subsidized by the federal government, and designed to help existing structures that were either built before the FEMA guidelines were in place, or in areas that become a part of the floodplain after they are built. If you lose the building in a fire or tornado, etc., you usually CANNOT rebuild. My advice.... find another property.
     
  10. OldFarmGal

    OldFarmGal Well-Known Member

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    $80,000 for 2.5 acres? For a flood plain? Did I read that right??? :confused: And how much more to "elevate" the property?

    OMG!! RUN, honey! Run fast, run far!!
     
  11. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    Two neighbours have houses close to the Verde river. The county passed an ordinance stating all new buildings must be built much further away from the river than these two houses due to being in a flood plain. The county told them they were "grandfathered in". A few years later, the county said "if you want to live where you are - you must raise your houses 3 feet higher than they are"!

    Moral: never trust the zoning, as it can change in the future.

    Why do you think the land you are looking at has been for sale for so long?? Don't you think others have looked at it and run?

    Please, I was a realtor for many, many years, don't buy it! If you can get *in* cheap, unless you're very knowledgable, you can get stuck getting out! Most places, you can't change the flow of the water either & if you do, you stand the chance of getting sued by the guy whoes property you inadvertently flooded.

    Anyway, even if you spend all that time & money raising your house, do you really want to pass out water wings to all your animals every time it rains?? :haha: :no: :haha:
     
  12. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    I have several rentals in a flood plain I'm supposed to have flood insurance but don't buy it until they complain 3 years ago. 80k in a flood zone ???????? offer half.


    mikell
     
  13. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The access is washed out? That should tell you something!

    The first time our property flooded all the folks from around here assured us that it only happened once every 50-100 years. And then it happened again. And again.

    So, in the three years we've owned the place that only floods once every 50-100 years it's flooded THREE times. Twice the drive was washed out (county fixed it...we were lucky). We currently have erosion problems on one side of the drive that Soil Conservation is going to help us fix.

    Maintaining and dealing with property in a flood plain is a pain. We have reasons to like having a flood plain, but we also had enough property to be able to build a house on higher land.

    There's no way I would buy a piece of property I wanted to live on if it was completely in a flood plain.

    Here's a few photos of some of our floods the first was the worst and I don't have a photo of it. Two teenage girls tried to drive across the flooded road in a Honda and were washed off onto our property. Both drowned.

    http://pic.funtigo.com/img/i184775_23996.jpg
     
  14. JessieGirl

    JessieGirl Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. We are moving towards the idea that this may not be a good idea. The only thing that is tempting is that here in Arizona, people are building in flood plains, even in the river beds sometimes. We had one big developer (Pulte) put a housing tract right in the Agua Fria river bed!! It's just so dry here, there is very little flooding...although we did get ALOT of rain this year. But we are just 1 family and it does scare us to have to pay all those developing/engineering costs.

    Still waiting for the Country Flood Report, but we have started looking elsewhere in the meantime.

    By the way, this land is about 1/2 price compared to what the regular parcels are going for...but not sure if that is worth the risks.
     
  15. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    Find out all you can locally about this property. Being in a floodplain will cause you some extra work(and money) with permits and certificates and such BUT it may be well worth it to you. I am building my home in a floodplain. I am jumping through the hoops as required by the county. I have some extra costs. BUT to me it is worth it as the location is beautiful and the flood issue will keep other development slow. And, by the way, flood insurance is available whether you are in a flood area or not.
     
  16. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I'd run. Run fast. Especially if it is an area with zoning etc.
     
  17. steveaust

    steveaust Member

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    I would be backpeddling out of the purchase all together.There is plenty of land on top of hills with great views, thats where i bought and i soak up the view up every chance i get. :) :) :) :)
     
  18. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    After helping with flood relief, helping to prevent and cleanup my dear friends' house after the flooding (100year) which came up every hard rain to the house finally flooded it...and they lost feet of property to erosion each year.....panic setting in every time the weather radio went off for flood warnings......

    RUN now while you can!

    You'll find something. Just because others are building there doesn't mean you won't all lose your shirts. Look at what happened in coastal communities.