Highlands County Floodplain Management Ordinance Brochure

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The U.S. Congress established the NFIP on August 1, 1968, with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) of 1968. The NFIP was broadened and modified with the passage of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and other legislative measures. It was further modified by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA) of 1994 and the Flood Insurance Reform Act (FIRA) of 2004. The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Highlands County has participated in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since 1983, which allows eligibility for flood insurance (new insurance policies and renewal of existing policies). Additional information about the NFIP can be found at  and at

Questions and Answers

Below are answers to general questions that will provide citizens with the most accurate information pertaining to the Highlands County Floodplain Management Ordinance and National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Q: What does approving this Ordinance accomplish for a citizen?

A: By approving this Ordinance, Highlands County will be allowed to participate in the NFIP. Through the NFIP, property owners in participating communities are able to insure against flood losses. By employing wise floodplain management, a participating community can reduce risk and protect its citizens and the community against much of the devastating financial losses resulting from flood disasters. Careful local management of development in the floodplains results in construction practices that can reduce flood losses and the high costs associated with flood disasters to all levels of government.

Q: If this Ordinance is not adopted, will I be able to purchase or renew Flood Insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

A:  No. Flood insurance through NFIP can only be purchased in communities that participate in NFIP. If Highlands County does not adopt a Floodplain Management Ordinance that meets or exceeds the minimum NFIP requirements by November 18, 2015, Highlands County will be suspended from the program until it comes into compliance. Federally backed loans cannot be made for acquisition or construction of improved real estate located in the Special Flood Hazard Area in non-participating communities.

Q: What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)?

A:  The NFIP is a Federal program created by Congress to mitigate future flood losses nationwide through sound, community-enforced building and zoning ordinances and to provide access to affordable, federally backed flood insurance protection for property owners. The NFIP is designed to provide an insurance alternative to disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods.

Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between local communities and the Federal Government that states that if a community will adopt and enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the community as a financial protection against flood losses.

Q: What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map?

A:  A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is an official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

Contact Information

Highlands County

Development Services Department

501 S. Commerce Ave. Annex

Sebring, FL 33870