Flooding in our city is caused by three sources:
A river or stream leaves its banks during heavy storms
Ice / debris jams
Floodwaters can cover many blocks up to four or five feet deep. Other streams in Novi, including Shaw Creek, Leavenworth Creek, Munro Creek, Chapman Creek, Ingersol Creek, Bishop Creek, Thornton Creek, and Novi-Lyon Drain are smaller streams, which flood during or soon after heavy storms. Flooding can also be caused from Walled Lake, Shawood Lake, and Twelve Oaks Lake.
Floodwaters are not as deep, but they still cover streets and yards and can flood cars, garages, basements and lower floors. Flooding can come with little warning. A major flood occurred on June 26, 1968. Even typical spring flooding can cause damage. Maybe you have even seen Grand River Avenue over the Walled Lake Branch of the Middle River Rouge, west of Novi Road occasionally flooded over after a heavy rainstorm. Floods are also dangerous. Even though they appear to move slowly (a few feet per second), a flood two feet deep can knock a man off his feet and float a car.
Your property may be high enough that it was not flooded recently. However, it can still be flooded, the odds are that someday your property will be damaged.
Here are some ideas of what you can do to protect yourself.
City Flood Services
Contact the Community Development Department at 248-347-0415 for further information.
The first thing you should do is check your flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Novi Public Library.
You can also visit the Building Department (first floor of City Hall) to see if you are in a mapped floodplain. The Building Department can give you more information, such as flood elevations, flood depths and elevation certificates.
If requested, the Public Services Department can schedule a visit to your property to review its flood problem and explain possible ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage. Call the Public Services at 248-735-5640. These services are free. If you are in a floodplain or have experienced a flood, drainage or sewer backup problem, check out these sources of assistance.
There are a number of areas in the City of Novi that fall within the Floodplain or Floodway as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Mandatory Flood Insurance may be required. The City of Novi Community Development Department offers free floodplain determinations and will provide necessary flood plain information regarding your home or business. Elevation Certificates for many existing structures within or near the floodplain are also available. Please contact the Community Development Department at 248-347-0415 or visit us on the first floor of the Civic Center. Please see the Frequently Asked Questions and additional information below.
Current FEMA Flood Maps and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) are also available by clicking here. Information is also available on the FEMA website or www.floodsmart.gov.
Who do I contact for more information?
Please contact the City of Novi Community Development Department 248-347-0415 to obtain additional information about requirements for building in or near the floodplain. The Novi Public Library maintains a collection of FEMA documents for public review and reference.
If I build an addition or deck outside my building do I need to raise my existing building?
The addition or new deck must comply with all floodplain standards. If the value of the addition and remodeling of the home or business exceeds 50% of the value of the existing home or business, the existing structure(s) must be elevated one foot above the 100-year flood plain or flood-proofed according to the City’s floodplain standards.
Are there special requirements in the floodplain?
Section 7-24 of the Novi City Code and Chapter 12 of the Novi Zoning Ordinance include specific requirements. There are also floodplain requirements in the code as well as state and federal guidelines. The Michigan Building and Residential, electrical, mechanical and plumbing codes also contain special floodplain provisions. Plans prepared must show conformance with all of the standards that apply for your project.
Can I build in the 100-year floodplain?
If you wish to develop, construct or renovate a structure in or near the 100-year flood plain, please contact the Novi Community Development Department at 248-347-0415. You must file a plot plan and submit building plans that show compliance with all floodplain regulations as well as other city standards. All construction that is allowed in floodplain areas must have the lowest floor elevation at least one foot above the 100-year flood plain.
Why do the Floodplain maps change?
The City of Novi provides access and assistance for maps updated periodically by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The floodplain maps to show the areas that will flood during the 100-year flood in support of the National Flood Insurance Program. The changes in floodplain maps reflect changes in land use (such as increased building activity), changes in the waterways, and flood control improvements (such as detention ponds or other flood control measures). As more lots are covered with more buildings and parking lots, the amount of water that flows into creeks and lakes increases because there is less vegetation to absorb the water when it rains. This is one reason that storm water management and detention are important for new development
What is a 100 year floodplain?
If your property is in the 100-year floodplain, there is an estimated 1-in-100 chance in any given year that our property will flood. Please be aware that this does not guarantee that flood will only occur at 100 year intervals. While unlikely, 100 year flood events may even occur in consecutive years The statistical chance of flooding is not changed any one flooding event but repeated flooding may result in the floodplain being recalculated.
How do I find out if my property is in the floodplain?
You can request this information from Community Development Department 248-347-0415 located on the first floor of the Novi Civic Center located at 45175 Ten Mile Road. Building Official Tom Walsh is responsible for the administration of the City of Novi floodplain programs.
What is a Floodplain?
A floodplain is the area adjacent to a river, creek, lake, stream, or other open waterway that is subject to flooding when there is a significant rain. Floodplains can be entirely within the waterway, but typically extend outward.
The following common sense guidelines can help you from the dangers of flooding:
Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around barriers.
Do not walk through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive. Six inches of water can knock you off your feet.
Be alert to gas leaks. Turn off the gas to your house before it floods. If you smell gas, call 911 and your gas company. Do not use candles, lanterns or open flames if you smell gas or are unsure if your gas has been shut off.
Keep children away from the flood waters, ditches, culverts and storm drains. Flood waters can carry unimaginable items that have dislodged themselves. Culverts may suck smaller people into them rendering them helpless.
Clean everything that has been wet. Flood water will be contaminated with sewage and other chemicals which pose severe health threats.
Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their home may seek shelter in yours.
Do not use gas engines, such as generators, or charcoal fires indoors during power outages. Carbon monoxide exhaust can pose serious health hazards.
Property Protection Measures
If your property is susceptible to flooding, there are many flood damage reduction measures you can employ.
Watertight seals can be applied to brick and block walls to protect against low-level flooding.
Utilities such as heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and other major appliances can be elevated to higher floors in the structure or on raised platforms.
Temporary measures such as moving furniture and other valuables to higher floors or sandbagging exterior openings will also help.
Elevating or relocating the entire structure may also be a feasible option.
The City’s sandbagging plan is designed to keep critical roads, buildings and services protected, not to protect every house in town that might flood.
Floodplain Permit Requirement
Before any development or alteration of a floodplain can occur in the 100-yr. floodplain areas, (not just construction of buildings, but filling, excavation, fences, etc.) a floodplain permit must be obtained from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environmental (MDNR-E) under provisions of Part 31 of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act. Copies of this application form can be obtained from the MDNR-E’s website at www.michigan.gov/jointpermit.. City of Novi Floodplain permits and Building permits are also typically required for any construction.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that if the cost of improvements to a building or the cost to repair damages (from any cause) to a building exceeds 50% of the market value of the building (excluding land value), the entire building must be brought up to current floodplain management standards. Building improvement projects include exterior and interior remodeling, rehabilitation, additions and repair and reconstruction projects. Additionally, the cost of currently planned improvements will be added to the cost of previously made improvements and compared to the existing market value to determine if the improvements exceed 50% of the structure’s value. For residential properties this requirement would stipulate the improved house be elevated to at least a foot above the 100-year floodplain. Commercial properties can be flood-proofed by either elevation or other techniques up to a foot above the 100-year flood level. Substantial damage requirements come into play should a building be damaged to more than 50% of its original value, by any cause; fire, flood, tornado, etc. Should that occur, reconstruction must meet all current codes and ordinances, as discussed above in substantial improvements.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Through this program, most of the Nation’s developed floodplain areas have been mapped Copies of the Flood Insurance Rate Map (map showing the floodplain within the city limits) are located in City Hall and on the Mapping Portal on the City Website. If you would like to see where your property is located in relation to the floodplain, stop by City Hall and staff will assist you in determining its location.
AAnyone owning or renting property within the City of Novi may purchase flood insurance on their structures and contents, regardless of whether or not it is located within the 100-year floodplain. Anyone shown to be within the 100-year floodplain MUST carry flood insurance on their property if there is a mortgage from a lending institution that is backed by the Federal government, such as FSLIC, FDIC, FHA or Fannie Mae, to name a few. Since your property is located within the 100- year floodplain (or very near to it) you should be carrying Flood Insurance. If you have a mortgage as described above, you must have flood insurance. Keep in mind that your standard home or business owner’s insurance policy typically does not cover damages due to flooding. This coverage is available only through the National Flood Insurance Program and is sold through your regular insurance agent under a contract with FEMA. Contact your local insurance agent to obtain coverage on your property. If you are a renter, you should carry flood insurance on your contents. The landlord should be carrying flood insurance on the building itself. It is very important to remember that once you purchase flood insurance, there is a 30-day wait until it takes effect. That is to prevent waiting until a flood that is likely to occur the next day. Don’t put it off if you intend to protect your property with flood insurance. Floods can occur throughout the year. Please visit the FEMA Flood Insurance Website at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program
Elevation Certificates: The City of Novi maintains Elevation Certificates for all new or substantially improved construction should you need to view the one for your property. These certificates document the elevation of structure relative to the flood elevation as well as various floor levels of your structure and other building components relative to the floodplain. Finally, the elevation certificate will enable your insurance agent to correctly rate your home should you decide or be required to purchase flood insurance.
Natural & Beneficial Functions
The floodplain areas provide a significant resource to our community. These areas contain numerous wetlands that hold and store floodwaters during heavy rainfall and snowmelt events. The wetlands, in addition to providing flood storage, harbor and habitat for many species of animals. The floodplain and wetlands also help to improve and maintain high water quality in our streams and lakes by filtering runoff following rainstorms.
Drainage System Maintenance
Resident can participate in maintenance to help ensure the drains, basins and storm sewers operate as they were designed. Do not discard trash, lawn clippings or any other materials into either drains or the storm sewers. Doing so will decrease the capacity of the drainage systems and prevent the intended operation. This can cause flooding due to blockages of culverts or pipe, backing water up to higher levels than anticipated. Additionally, any foreign debris or material in the system eventually finds its way to the lakes and rivers, degrading the quality and making it less desirable to aquatic animals as well as humans.
If you have any questions regarding flood plan areas or other flood-related issues in Novi please contact the Community Development Department at 248-347-0423
To receive assistance with flooding or drainage problems please contact the Department of Public Services at 248-735-5640.
Additional resources available as follows:
• FEMA’s websites at: www.fema.gov and www.floodsmart.gov