SEBASTIAN'S FLOOD HAZARDS

What Everyone Should Know

The purpose of this supplement is to inform residents and property owners of the presence of flood hazards in Sebastian, suggesting possible actions which may be taken to protect persons and property and to provide information on the development in floodplains and maintenance of drainage systems which flow into the creeks and rivers within flood hazard areas. Additional information can be obtained at the FEMA website fema.gov.

Indian River County provides a County Wide FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that is available for review on-line here: http://www.ircgov.com/maps/fema/map.html

Flood Warning System

A Flood warning system, such as is present today, was not in effect when past floods occurred. The Indian River County Emergency Management Department issues watches and warnings through local channel 25 on Comcast's Cable System.

Flood Safety

There are several actions residents of flood hazard areas can take to decrease the potential of injury due to flooding.

1. Know the flood warning procedures.
2. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream where water is above your knees
3. Keep children away from floodwaters, ditches, culverts, and storm drains.
4. If your vehicle stalls in high water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.
5. Evacuate the flood hazard area in times of impending flood or when advised to do so by the police or fire department.
6. Cut off all electric circuits at the fuse panel or disconnect switches. If this is not possible, turn off or disconnect all electrical appliances. Shut off the water services and gas valves in your home.

Standard Homeowners Insurance Policies
DO NOT Cover Losses Due to Floods

However, Sebastian is a participant in the National Flood Insurance Program, which makes it possible for Sebastian property owners to obtain federally backed flood insurance. This insurance is available to any owner of insurable property (a building or its contents) in Sebastian. Tenants may also insure their personal property against flood loss.

The actual annual premium will vary depending upon the amount of coverage and the degree of flood hazard. We urge persons who live or own property in flood hazard areas to purchase flood insurance to protect themselves from losses due to flooding. This insurance is required in certain instances, such as the purchase of a home with a federally backed mortgage.

The City of Sebastian Community Development Department provides flood zone information within the city limits of Sebastian. City staff will provide a determination of the zone, map panel number, and date of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for any property within our City limits, pursuant to the latest FIRM map. Copies of elevation certificates may also be available upon request. The Community Development Department can be reached at (772) 589-5518.

Property Protection Measures

There are various actions, which can be taken to flood proof structures. Electrical panel boxes, air conditioners, water heaters, and washers/dryers should be elevated or relocated to a location less likely to be flooded. Flood drains and interior and exterior backwater valves can be installed, and interior floodwalls can be placed around utilities.

If flooding is likely, and time permits, move essential items and furniture to interior areas of your home. Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, and lumber handy for emergency waterproofing. This action will help minimize the amount of damage caused by floodwaters.

 

Maintenance of Drainage Systems

Sebastian has a storm drainage system, which is composed of both open and closed segments. The open sections are drainage swales/ditches, which are utilized to carry storm water away from homes to drainage areas, such as creeks or rivers. The closed system is comprised of storm water drains and pipes, which carry storm water from streets and other developments to drainage retention or detention areas.

Maintenance of these systems is very important. Debris in ditches and streams obstruct the flow of water, which can cause overflow onto roads and into yards. Partial or complete filling in of these ditches can reduce the flood flow capacity, which will also result in overflow into roads or onto private property.

Maintenance of the drainage system is also important so that a high flood flow capacity can be realized. To aid in this, the City of Sebastian clears and performs other maintenance work on the system at least two times per year. Work is also performed on an emergency basis as needed.

Citizens are expected to perform routine maintenance on ditches located on right-of-ways in front or to the rear of their properties. This includes the removal of high weeds, litter or other items, which may be considered a nuisance. Also, property shall be maintained so that the water cannot become stagnant, and breeding areas are not provided for mosquitoes.

A litter ordinance is also in effect, which makes it unlawful to deposit litter in the bodies of water "in a park or elsewhere." This includes lakes, rivers, and streams.

If you know of unapproved changes occurring to the drainage system, such as filling or rerouting of streams or ditches, or a nuisance situation which exists, please contact the Sebastian Public Works Department (772) 228-7001 or Code Enforcement Department Hotline (772) 388-4436.

Additional information concerning floods and related topics is available for review at the Sebastian Community Development Department located at 1225 Main Street or at the North Indian River County Library, located at 1001 Sebastian Boulevard.

 

Floodplain Development
Regulations
 

The City of Sebastian has adopted, as part of the Land Development Code, regulations on development in flood districts. The purpose of these regulations is to control the alteration of natural floodplains and stream channels; prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert flood waters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas; restrict or prohibit uses which may result in damaging increases in erosion or in flood heights or velocities; and to control filling, grading, dredging, and other development which may increase flood damages.

These regulations specify two types of flood hazard zones – the floodway and the floodplain. The floodway is defined as the normal channel of a watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must remain unobstructed to convey the regulatory flood discharge without flood elevations above specified levels. The floodplain is an area inundated during a one-hundred-year flood event or identified by the National Flood Insurance Program as an A zone or V zone on the flood insurance rate maps.

Uses, which have low flood damage potential and do not restrict flood flows, shall be permitted in the floodway, provided they are not prohibited by another ordinance. These uses shall not require structures, fill, dumping of material or waste, or storage of materials or equipment. The most common zone uses of the floodway are agricultural or recreational in nature, and parking/lawn areas of residences.

Floodplain districts permit the same type of uses as floodway districts. The construction of structures, such as residences, is also permitted provided the lowest floor of any residential structure is no lower than one foot above the base flood elevation.

It is very important to contact the Sebastian Building Department if any work is to be performed in flood hazard zones. This is necessary as the regulations are extensive, and development permits are required for construction or substantial improvements in the floodway or floodplain.

 

DRAINAGE SYSTEM MAINTENANCE PROGRAM
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES (SOP)

The process for addressing city requests related to inspecting and cleaning ditches, swales and storage basins in the City of Sebastian is as follows:

a. Contact the Public Works Department by calling (772) 228-7001.
b. All complaints are inspected.
c. If an inspection identifies a problem, a work order is issued
d. The work order is then assigned to a crew until completion.

There are generally four maintenance related problems:

a. Water standing, but grass is green and healthy.
b. Water standing, killing grass, damp soil weeds and muck developing.
c. Water standing killing grass, cat-tails and aquatic weeds growing, pavement and/or road base failure.
d. Collapsed road crossing culverts or other danger to pedestrians or vehicle traffic or danger of flooding.

Flood Hazard Areas

Two types of flood hazard zones are designated in Sebastian: the floodway and the floodplain. To determine if you live in, or own property in, a flood hazard zone, contact the Sebastian Community Development Department at (772) 589-5518.

 Flood - Financial Assistance

Financial Assistance Information PDF

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