Apply for a Floodplain Permit
The Division of Water is authorized through KRS 151 to manage development in floodplains. Any type of development in, along, or across a stream requires a floodplain permit from the Division. Typical activities requiring a permit include, but are not limited to, residential & commercial structures, stream crossings, fill, stream alterations & relocations, excavation, grading, and small stream impoundments. State floodplain development requirements are outlined in 401 KAR 4:060 of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations. The Division of Water has two types of permits that it issues for floodplain development: 1) General Permit, or 2) Individual Permit.
The Division of Water's General Permit for Floodplain Development approves development that does not change the Base Flood Elevation and has minimal flood risk potential. One of the benefits of the General Permit is that it does not require the permittee to submit an application for review by the Division of Water. The eligible activities are already approved with conditions listed on the permit. Additionally, there is no Public Notice requirements for the permittee as the General Permit has already been noticed by the Division.
The Floodplain General Permit lists 15 eligible activities listed that can be conducted with the General Permit. Some of these eligible activities include riparian buffers, below grade utilities, guardrails, fences, campers & RVs, open space uses, stream obstruction removals, below grade swimming pools outside the floodway, and more. Some activities are specifically excluded from the General Permit such as structures (residential, non-residential, and appurtenant), structures impounding water, and developments occurring in a special use waters, exceptional waters, or outstanding state resource waters.
Any proposed developments that do not meet the General Permit's eligibility requirements, or that have the potential to change the Base Flood Elevation, are required to obtain an Individual Permit from the Division of Water. See the 'Individual Permit' section below to learn more about the Individual Permit for floodplain development. To learn how the General Permit affects the local permitting process, see the 'Local Communities' section below.
401 KAR 4:060 of the Kentucky Administrative Regulations lists the stream construction criterial for development along, across, or adjacent to a stream. These regulations require that an application be completed by the applicant and submitted to the Division of Water for review. This regulation also requires that a public notice is given as part of the stream construction permit application process.
Applicants can now submit their permit application package digitally multiple ways. The eForms submittal process allows applicants to submit applications directly to the division for review. Additionally, the eForm also allows access to almost all Kentucky online forms, will remember previous entries and will auto populate data which saves time, and will receive a confirmation your form was received and is being reviewed. Application packages may also be digitally submitted via email to DOWFloodplain@ky.gov. An auto-response email will notify you that your application was received and is being processed by the Division. The Division also still accepts applications sent via regular us mail as well.
Apply for a state floodplain construction permit. Applications submission instructions are also available.
In addition to the state floodplain development permits, local permits are also required. Communities that participate in the NFIP are required to review & issue local floodplain permits in addition with state floodplain permits. Kentucky statute gives local communities the authority to adopt higher standards than the statewide minimum requirements. Locally adopted higher standards benefit communities by reducing flood damage and the overall impacts of floods. These impacts include human risk, environmental damage, property damage, flood insurance claims, displacement of residents, and burden on community infrastructure and services.
Talk to your local floodplain coordinator about community specific development requirements or about applying for a local permit.