Flood Zones

Floodplain Overlay District

Various areas of the City of Salem are susceptible to flooding. Nearly every year, and sometimes several times throughout the year during periods of heavy rain residential and commercial properties are threatened with the potential of flooding.

Standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover losses due to flooding. The City of Salem participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which makes it possible for property owners to obtain federally-backed flood insurance. This insurance is required to purchase a home within or near the FEMA floodplain with a federally-backed mortgage.

If you are considering flood insurance, constructing a new building, or adding to an existing building, you may need to know if your property is located within a floodplain. For any property located in the City of Salem, the Department of Community Development will determine if your property lies within the Floodplain Overlay District.

Permit Requirements

Always verify with the Department of Community Development before you build, re-grade, or fill on your property.

A zoning permit is required for the following development in the floodplain:

  • Construction of new structures
  • Modifications or improvements to existing structures
  • Excavation
  • Filling
  • Paving
  • Drilling
  • Driving of piles
  • Mining
  • Dredging
  • Land clearing
  • Grading
  • Permanent storage of materials and/or equipment

New buildings, including additions, in the floodplain must be protected from flood damage.

New residential structures and additions are required by the floodplain ordinance to have the lowest floor elevation at least one foot above the base flood elevation.

New non-residential structures and additions are also required to be one foot above the base flood elevation unless such structure is floodproofed. No existing structure shall be modified, expanded, or enlarged unless the new construction complies with this standard.

Existing structures that, if the cost of the repair, reconstruction, or improvement equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of that structure, shall be considered a substantial improvement and shall be required to conform to the floodplain ordinance as described above.

A pre- and post-construction flood elevation survey will be required to document the above requirements are met.

Please contact the Department of Community Development prior to the commencement of work, as other permits may be required.

Flood Mitigation

Flood Mitigation involves cost-effective measures taken now to avoid the loss of life and reduce future damages to public facilities, homes, and other improved property. By implementing flood mitigation measures you may prevent future damage to your property resulting from flood and potentially lower your flood insurance premium. You may want to consider discussing mitigation options with your flood insurance agent. Additionally, should your property qualify the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Grant Program may provide grant funds to assist with flood mitigation.

Flood Map

Once you enter the GIS system and locate your property select the layers tab and choose Floodzones:

Flood Layer Expanded

Zone AE is the flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to the 100-year floodplains that is determined in the Flood Insurance Study by detailed methods. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.

100-year floodplain is the boundary of the flood that has a 1-% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Officially termed the 1-% annual chance floodplain.

Floodway is the channel of a stream plus any adjacent floodplain areas that must be kept free of encroachment so that the 100-year flood discharge can be conveyed without increasing the elevation of the 100-year flood.

500-year floodplain is the boundary of the flood that has a 0.2-% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Officially termed the 0.2-% annual chance floodplain.