Subdivision Floodplain Program
The State of Michigan has thousands of miles of rivers, streams, creeks, and lakes that add beauty and value to home sites. Aside from aesthetic value, their natural purpose is to convey or store storm water runoff. This can pose dangerous conditions as large rain events can turn babbling brooks into raging rivers. Each year losses reach into the millions of dollars from homes and businesses destroyed or damaged by flooding.
In an effort to provide consumer protection and minimize losses due to flooding, the Land Division Act (formerly the Subdivision Control Act), Act No. 288, Public Acts of 1967 as amended, Sections 116 and 117, require that preliminary plats for subdivisions be submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division (WRD) for review. (Other parts of the act involving subdivisions are administered by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Further information can be found at http://www.michigan.gov/lara.)
Section 116 requires the proprietor to submit the preliminary plat to the DEQ if the land proposed to be subdivided abuts a lake or stream, or abuts an existing or proposed channel or lagoon affording access to a lake or stream where public rights may be effected.
Section 117 requires the proprietor to submit the preliminary plat to the DEQ if any of the subdivision lies wholly or in part within the floodplain of a river, stream, creek, or lake. The 100-year floodplain must be shown on the final plat. All lots shown on the plat must have 3,000 square feet of buildable area above the 100-year floodplain elevation and be served by streets within the proposed subdivision having surfaces not lower than 1 foot below the elevation of the line defining the floodplain limits. Permits will be needed from the WRD for any filling, dredging, or construction within the floodplain, wetland, or below the ordinary high water mark of any inland lake, stream, creek, or drainage course.
There are 278 communities in the state with 100-year floodplain delineation reports approved by the DEQ that are available for use from the local municipality. Floodplain maps for identified communities may be obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at 1-800-358-9616. If approved floodplain delineation reports are not available, or if a lake or watercourse is not covered by such reports, the 100-year floodplain limits shall be determined by a qualified professional licensed in this state, practicing in the area of their expertise, using acceptable engineering practice. Generally, this entails surveying cross sections of the floodplain and computing a backwater profile. This determination shall be subject to review and approval by the DEQ.
Preliminary plats must be accompanied by a review fee of $500.00. If establishment of a 100-year flood elevation is required, an additional fee of $1,500.00 will be assessed. Checks must be made payable to the "State of Michigan".
Subdivision plats subject to this review should be submitted to the following address:
Department of Environmental Quality
Water Resources Division
Subdivision Floodplain Program
PO BOX 30458
Lansing MI 48909-7958