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Floodplain Management Program

Effective March 23, 2022:

A Floodplain Development Permit will be required for all construction, development, improvements, and repairs performed in the 100-Year Floodplain per Flood Control Ordinance No. 15789. Please complete a Floodplain Development Permit Application for any proposed work located in the 100-Year Floodplain. All applications require a $25 permit application fee.

National Flood Insurance Program

The City of Allentown is one of the 23,000 communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was established by Congress with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 and provides flood insurance to property owners, renters and businesses. As a participant of the NFIP, Allentown has adopted floodplain management regulations that help mitigate the effects of flooding through the Codified Ordinances.

Floodplain Management

Floodplain Management is a community-based effort to prevent or reduce the risk of flooding. This is achieved through monitoring and regulating development and construction in a community’s Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), which includes the 100-Year Floodplain and Floodway. These areas are identified on FEMA’s Federal Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), dated July 16, 2004.

Development in the Special Flood Hazard Area

All new construction in the SFHA is required to be in full compliance with current flood control regulations: Codified Ordinances

Improvements to existing structures are also required to be in full compliance with current flood control regulations. However, improvement projects are subject to a substantial improvement review and determination. When the cost of structure improvements exceeds 50% of the value of the structure the project is considered a substantial improvement. Once a substantial improvement is determined, the owner is required to make additional flood control improvements to bring the structure into compliance with the Flood Control Ordinance.

FEMA defines development as any manmade change to the floodplain and, as a participant in the NFIP, we are required to maintain documentation and records of all floodplain development. So whether you are performing small improvements, such as putting up a fence, or embarking on a large construction project, please contact the Floodplain Manager to discuss how the Flood Control Ordinance applies to your specific project.

Am I in the Special Flood Hazard Area?

Using Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) panels, provided by FEMA, the following ArcGIS Web App can be used to help determine if you or your project are located in the Special Flood Hazard Area: Floodplain Inquiry App

Please utilize our Map Information Service if you require more detailed information concerning your location in the floodplain.

Flood Insurance

Allentown’s participation in the NFIP allows property owners, renters and business owners to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP. This is critical, as most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood insurance options offered through the NFIP cover buildings and/or building contents and will ultimately assist in recovery after a flooding event.

Homes and businesses located in the SFHA with mortgages from government backed lenders are required to have flood insurance. However, according to FEMA, more than 20% of flood insurance claims come from outside of the SFHA, so it is important for everyone to have flood insurance coverage. For more information on flood insurance please visit

Map Information Service

Maps are an effective method of communicating flood hazard information; however, maps aren’t always easy to read. If you need flood hazard information about your property, are a real estate agent with properties listed in the floodplain, or an insurance agent trying to write a flood insurance policy, we can assist. If you provide us with the street address of the property in question, we can provide you with the following information:

  • Whether the property is in an SFHA
  • The community number
  • The panel number and suffix
  • The date of the FIRM’s index (cover panel)
  • The FIRM zone, e.g., A, C, X, V, AE, A2, AO, etc.
  • The base flood elevation where shown on the FIRM
  • The elevation datum used on the FIRM, if other than NGVD

To utilize our map information services, please contact the Floodplain Manager.

No-Rise Certification Guidance

All development, construction, improvements, and repairs that encroach into the Floodway or an area of the AE Zone that does not have a FEMA delineated Floodway require a No-Rise Certification signed and sealed by a registered professional engineer. No-Rise Certifications will be reviewed as a part of the Floodplain Development permitting process. The City of Allentown’s No-Rise Certification Guidance can be reviewed here: No-Rise Certification Guidance


Contact Information
Hannah Hart
Floodplain Manager
610.437.7613 ext.2870