The City of Bellevue has been implementing floodplain regulations since 1978. The intent of these regulations is to protect human life and safety, minimize environmental and property damage, and reduce expenditures for disaster assistance and flood control.
What is Happening Now?
On July 27, 2020, the City Council adopted Ordinance 6521 amending the Land Use Code to adopt Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) updated Federal Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Insurance Study (FIS), and to conform the city’s Land Use Code (LUC) to the current federal and state standards.
On July 13, 2020, the City Council held a virtual public hearing to amend the Bellevue Land Use Code to conform the frequently flooded areas regulations to current federal and state standards and adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s updated countywide Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Study.
- City Council Agenda Memo
- Attachment A: Staff Report
- Attachment B: Recommended LUCA Strike-Draft
- Attachment C: Management Brief
Frequently Asked Questions
The City of Bellevue amended the Bellevue Land Use Code to conform the frequently flooded areas regulations to current federal and state standards and to adopt the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s updated countywide Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Study, for the city’s continued eligibility in the National Flood Insurance Program. The following is additional information regarding Ordinance 6521.
Why are the changes being made?
What do the amendments include?
Necessary Amendments to the Definitions
Twelve new definitions are added to the Land Use Code, and six definitions are amended to improve clarity. These changes are for consistency with federal standards and are required by FEMA.
New terms added to the LUC:
- Alteration of watercourse
- Area of special flood hazard
- Base flood
- Flood elevation study
- Floodplain or flood-prone area
- Floodplain administrator
- Highest adjacent grade
- Historic structure
- Mean sea level
- New construction
- Start of construction
Amended terms in the LUC:
- Base flood elevation (BFE)
- Flood or flooding
- Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)
- Substantial improvement
Necessary Amendments to the Performance Standards
The amendments to the performance standards aim to improve flood prevention measures for new or substantially improved structures within frequently flooded areas. An example is a new standard to require automatic entry and exit of floodwaters for a garage attached to a residential structure, built below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), for residential and mixed-use projects.
Necessary Amendments to the Floodplain Variance Process
The amendments require a variance process if a proposed development in a frequently flooded area does not comply with all required performance standards and include additional decision criteria consistent with FEMA’s requirements.
Necessary amendments to procedural requirements
The proposed amendments provide that the Director of Development Services must review certain application submittals and materials when evaluating and approving proposals for development within a frequently flooded area.