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The term "100-year flood" is very misleading. People tend to believe that it happens only once every 100 years. The truth is that an uncommonly big flood can happen any year, even multiple times in a single year. The term "100-year flood" is really a statistical designation saying there is a 1-in-100 chance that a large damaging flood will happen during any year. A better term would be the "1-in-100 chance flood” or one percent chance of flooding annually.
80% of all disasters declared in the United States are caused by floods. To relate it better to home and business owners, many mortgages have a repayment period of 30 years. Buildings in areas that are in or are very close to a 100-year flood plain have a 26% chance of experiencing a flood during the life of the loan. However, during that same period, there is only a 4% chance of a fire.
In the past 20 years, most of the areas in the City affected by flooding are not in designated floodplain areas.
There are several major drainage ways that traverse the city from the Arkansas River to various creeks and irrigation ditches as well as areas in floodplains where no apparent watercourse exists. To find out whether your property is in a floodplain, contact the Engineering Department at 719-269-9011 for a determination.
The answer is no. Typical homeowner’s and commercial structure insurance policies do not cover flood damages.
A separate Standard Flood Insurance Policy is required to cover damages caused by surface water during a flood event. Buildings located within a 100-year flood plain are required to have flood insurance if they are financed with a federally backed mortgage or home equity loan. Flood policies can be issued for most structures and their contents, including site built, modular and manufactured single family homes, condominiums and commercial structures.
Cañon City participates in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) program. Because of this, citizens are eligible to purchase Standard Flood Insurance at a reduced rate. The average premium for a Standard Flood Insurance Policy in Cañon City varies. A 30-day waiting period is mandatory for new flood insurance policies. Your local insurance agent can provide information on specific rates and coverage.
It is important to know that you do not have to be located within the 100-year flood zone to qualify for a flood policy. Flood zones are always changing due to natural events and upstream development. It is recommended that if there is a potential for flooding in your area, you should take advantage of a Standard Flood Insurance Policy.
One of the most important natural functions of the floodplain is to store runoff during and immediately after large rain events. Sometimes there is too much storm water runoff for creek and stream channels to effectively handle. Too much water flow can breech the banks. The floodplain allows the water flow to slow down and spread out. Eventually the water will dissipate back into the streams and rivers.
Slowing the water down and storing it in the floodplain helps decrease erosion and reduces flooding effects downstream. A large undisturbed area provides natural plant and animal habitat. Storm water is also filtered in these areas which improves quality of our drinking water.
Community parks and common open space in subdivisions often occupy areas of the floodplain. Floodplain land can be used for recreation during non-flood periods with minimal disturbance.
For additional information on the usefulness of floodplains, watch the Floodplains as a Community Asset Video.
Cañon City allows limited development in certain areas of the floodplain. A floodplain development permit is required for all development within the 100 year floodplain. This includes:
You can secure a floodplain development permit at the Cañon City Engineering Department, located at:128 Main StreetCañon City, CO
Prior to any work being done, you should contact the Cañon City Engineering Department at 719-269-9011, to discuss your project. Development within the 100-year floodplain requires an elevation certificate to be completed. Construction or land disturbing activity in the 100-year flood zone is illegal without the proper local, state and, sometimes, federal permits. You can report any suspected illegal activity to the zoning office.
If substantial damage occurs to existing structures, substantial improvement would be required. Substantial damage is damage of any origin to a structure where the cost of restoration to it’s before damage condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value before the damage occurred. Substantial improvement is any combination of repairs, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, taking place during any one-year period for which the cost equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement. Additions or improvements less than 50% of the market still require compliance with the minimum flood prevention requirements.