The City of Allentown has many waterways, including the Lehigh River, Trout Creek, Little Lehigh Creek, Little Cedar Creek and Jordan Creek. While these waterways are beautiful assets to our parks and community, they also pose an increased flooding risk within our city. Allentown’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program and adoption of flood control regulations mitigate these flooding hazards and protect our community from flood-related damage.
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 Flood Control Ordinance.
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.
All new construction in the SFHA is required to be in full compliance with current flood control regulations: Article 1393: Flood Control.
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.
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.
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 www.FloodSmart.gov.
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:
To utilize our map information services, please contact the Floodplain Manager.
City of Allentown - 435 Hamilton Street - 610-439-5999