County Floodplain Map Updates
Project Status: Study
Start Date: January 2023
Estimated End Date: Summer 2024
Magisterial District: Brookland Fairfield Three Chopt Tuckahoe Varina
The Department of Public Works, Design Division is working to update and revise the Community Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA). This project will survey structures (e.g. culverts, bridges, dams, etc.) in or adjacent to a stream to update the existing county-identified 100-year floodplains. This project will complement the county-wide floodplain map updates being performed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The current floodplain maps (county and FEMA) were last adopted in 2007. The first step in this process is to collect field survey data to get ground elevations of structures that may impact how water flows through our streams. Once field survey data has been collected, the engineering models will be updated to create new floodplain boundaries. After that, new maps will be created and ultimately approved by the County Engineer. Once draft maps have been created, the Department of Public Works will conduct various outreach efforts to educate the community on the revisions. The survey data collection is anticipated to be completed in Summer/Fall 2023, and draft maps are anticipated to be available in Spring/Summer 2024.
Field survey data is currently being collected along County floodplains. The purpose of the survey work is to gather information that may impact how water flows, so we can ensure the engineering models are using the most accurate information. This may include but is not limited to surveying drainage structures (bridges, culverts, etc.), topographic and utility features, as well as taking photos. In order to conduct this work, our survey crew may need to cross private property. If your property is in or around a floodplain, you may receive a letter from us about permission to access your property to conduct this survey work. Because it’s unclear what the ground conditions might be when we get there, we used a 75-foot radius around each structure to identify properties we may need to access in case the most direct route to the stream isn’t useable, like if it’s blocked by lots of brush, trees, fences, or something else. Because of this, you may receive a letter about accessing your property, but we might not actually access your property.
What to expect:
- A. Morton Thomas and Associates (AMT) is conducting this survey work on behalf of the County.
- You may see vehicles or survey crew members with the AMT logo instead of the Henrico County logo.
- A small survey crew may walk along your property to a stream or structure and use survey equipment to collect the ground elevations or take photos.
- This work does not involve accessing any buildings or any personal property you may have on the site.
- There may be wooden stakes/flags placed in the ground to mark the work area while they are surveying, but these will be taken with them when they leave the site. If you notice a stake or flag that was left behind by accident, please feel free to notify us or throw it away yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Will the survey crew need access to my home, crawlspace, building, etc.?
A1. No. The survey crew only needs to walk across your property to access the stream and/or identified structure (culvert, bridge, etc.). They should only be walking through your driveway and/or yard. No one will be accessing your home/building or any other personal property that is on your site. Building information is not being collected as part of this effort.
Q2. I have a gate, dog, or something similar that may serve as an obstacle and/or prevent access to my property. What should I do?
A2. There are different options you can choose from when it comes to having a potential obstacle:
- You could prevent access altogether by responding to the survey letter and stating you do not want us to access your property.
- If you want to grant access to us, you can respond using the contact information provided in the letter and let us know about the potential obstacle. It may be possible that we don’t need to use your property at all to access the stream, so we can note that and you have nothing to worry about. If it looks like there’s not an alternate route, we can coordinate with you and the survey crew to visit your property at a certain day/time, so you can either prepare in advance or be present to allow access.
- If you want to grant access to us, you can not respond to the letter at all, and permission is assumed after 30 days. In this case, the survey crew will not know about the obstacle until they arrive at your property, so they may knock on your door to see if you’re home to allow access around the obstacle. If you’re not home, they will either try to find a different way to the stream or they will not access that structure, and we will try make assumptions related to the missed structure in the engineering model if possible.
Q3. I don’t want anyone on my property without me present, but I don’t want to deny access. What should I do?
A3. We can coordinate with you and the survey crew to schedule a day/time that works best for you! Just respond using the contact information provided in the letter, and we can coordinate this. This has been done on multiple occasions, so it’s not a problem at all!
Q4. Will the survey crew park in my driveway or block my driveway access?
A4. No. The survey crew will only park on the street or in a designated parking area like a parking lot. If parking on the street, they will ensure that driveways are not blocked.
Q5. Will this study result in a flood mitigation project to address our drainage problems/will I have to pay for any kind of mitigation project?
A5. No. This study is being conducted to update the floodplain maps with new data only. It may be used in the future to help identify where flooding issues are located or where mitigation efforts are needed, but that is not part of this project.
Q6. I live near a stream, culvert, bridge, or other structure but haven’t received a letter. Should I have?
A6. It’s possible that you do not live in or near a county-identified floodplain and are not part of this study, or it could be that we haven’t gotten to your property yet. There are several hundred properties that were identified as part of the survey effort, so we are notifying property owners in three different batches. Each batch will take approximately 3 months to complete (1 month for property owner notification, 2 months for survey work). There may be some overlap, but in general, we anticipate property owner notification letters being sent in December 2022, March 2023, and June 2023. The letters are sent to the property owner based on the current tax assessment information. If your contact information hasn’t been updated recently with the Assessor’s Office (e.g. HOA contact change), or if you’re a renter, you may not receive the letter directly. If you haven’t received a letter and would like to check if one was sent to you, please contact us.
Q7. The letter I received gives a two-month date range for when the survey crew may access my property. Can I get a more specific timeframe for when they might come or be notified again before they show up?
A7. Approximately 2 months has been scheduled for each batch of survey work, so the survey crew can work around delays like bad weather, traffic, etc. and have flexibility to move from one site to the next. We can work with you to schedule a date we come to your property if you prefer to be at home (see Q3 above). If you just want to have a little bit more notice, such as if you’re a property manager or HOA that needs to let tenants or other property owners know, we can generally provide a 2 weeks’ notice. Please contact us using the contact information in the letter, so we can coordinate with you to call or email when we have a better idea of when the survey crew should be getting to your property.
Progress to Date
- March 15, 2023: Batch 2 survey letters mailed to identified parcels in the Fairfield and Varina Magisterial Districts.
- January 2023 – March 2023: Batch 1 survey data collection.
- December 19, 2022: Batch 1 survey letters mailed to identified parcels in the Tuckahoe, Three Chopt, and Brookland Magisterial Districts.