Chapter 2: Oklahoma Floodplain Management Legislation
The Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act, Title 82, O. S. 2001, §1601-1618, as amended, was passed by the State Legislature in 1980 and revised several times. In approving the Act, the Legislature recognized the need for a united effort between local and state government to combat recurrent flood damages. The Act establishes a state and local partnership to reduce flood damages through sound floodplain management. A copy of the complete text of the Act as it appears in the Oklahoma Statutes is provided inPURPOSE AND POLICY
The State of Oklahoma recognized the personal and economic hardships caused by flood disasters, and recognized that it had become uneconomical for the private insurance industry to make flood insurance available to those in need of protection. Therefore, the Act paved the way for each community to implement wise floodplain management and thereby participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. This participation allows those citizens who need low-cost flood insurance to purchase it through the federal program. The act also addresses the need for the preservation and restoration of the natural resources and functions of the floodplains. Flood insurance through the NFIP becomes available when floodplain boards adopt floodplain regulations in compliance with certain requirements. The Act provides for the following:
In most cases OWRB staff will meet with community officials and provide a program overview. It is very important for community officials to understand that the program is Quid Pro Quo. That is community officials give their word that they will regulate development in the special flood hazard areas. In turn, FEMA allows the sale of low-cost flood insurance in that community.
Then, the Municipal governing body/Board of County Commissioners meets and adopts resolution to:
(OML agenda item must include all 3 points listed above.)
Then, the Floodplain Board publishes notice of public hearing in newspaper of general circulation in city/county at least 30 days prior to hearing. Notice must state time, place and purpose of hearing. Notice should also provide that copies of proposed regulations are available for inspection at certain locations. Floodplain Board shall also notify the OWRB 30 days prior to hearing and include copy of proposed regulations.
Then, the Floodplain Board holds hearing, makes resolution-adopting regulations and files these regulations with OWRB within 15 days. (OML agenda item must mention both hearing and adoption of floodplain regulations.)
Then, the Municipal government body/Board of County Commissioners adopts resolution-approving regulations adopted by Floodplain Board. (OML agenda item required.)
Then, the Floodplain Board completes the NFIP enrollment form. This form is available from the OWRB website. The Floodplain Board then submits two copies of the original resolutions, ordinance and form to FEMA, Region VI, 800 N. Loop 288, Denton, Texas 76201-3606.
In summary, it becomes apparent that joining the NFIP and adopting and approving these regulations and flood damage prevention ordinance is a legal process. Once a community joins the NFIP, it wants to be sure that these resolutions and ordinance were adopted and approved in accordance with the Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act. After all, when a community goes through this procedure it will have the power to enforce and administer its flood damage prevention ordinance (i.e. police power). and provide further detail on requirements and procedures for joining the NFIP.
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) is the state agency responsible for assisting local communities in Oklahoma in the implementation of the Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act. The Act assigns several duties to the OWRB including the following:
The NFIP recognizes that local governments do not always have the expertise or resources needed to develop and administer a floodplain management program that meets the requirements. The OWRB can offer the following types of assistance to local governments:
NFIP regulations contain the minimum standards a community is required to adopt to participate in the NFIP. These standards are discussed fully in , but they are mentioned briefly here to emphasize their importance. A community can adopt more stringent standards and is encouraged to do so, but doing so is strictly voluntary.
The Oklahoma Floodplain Management Act directs communities to establish floodplain boards and adopt floodplain management ordinances before applying to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The Act also directs communities to submit to OWRB the floodplain management ordinances for review before adoption. By reviewing the ordinances, the OWRB can determine if they comply with the intent, purposes and provisions of the state's Act, thus allowing the communities to make any necessary changes. Once communities are participants in the NFIP, they must ensure compliance with the ordinances.
Local communities that have never participated in or have been suspended from the NFIP are not eligible to receive some forms of disaster assistance from the federal government in the event of a flood disaster. Neither are individuals in nonparticipating communities eligible to receive Federal Disaster Assistance or loans for flood losses. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board works with communities to achieve a compliance that demonstrates a good faith effort before asking FEMA to step into the picture. Public assistance for road, bridge and various types of infrastructure repair will be available to nonparticipating and participating communities. Hazard Mitigation, Flood Mitigation and Pre Disaster Mitigation Funds will only be approved for NFIP participating communities. Communities with public buildings in the one hundred year floodplain are encouraged to join the NFIP and purchase flood insurance for that building. If the building is not covered by a flood policy the disaster benefit will be reduced proportionately.
As authorized by Title 82, Oklahoma Statutes 1980, Sections 1601-1619, the rules and regulations have been promulgated and adopted for any type of development on state-owned or state-operated property within floodplains. The purpose of these rules and regulations ". . . is to conform with the requirements necessary to establish eligibility and maintain participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as to protect the public health, safety and general welfare by restricting vulnerable floodplain improvements and uses which increase flood damage potential elsewhere." A copy of the OWRB Rules can be found and downloaded at .
Landlords in Oklahoma have a responsibility to their tenants to disclose flood information on their rental property. This responsibility became a law in 1986 and is known as Title 41, Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, Sec. 113a (see ). A seller of property in Oklahoma has the responsibility to present to the buyer, a written disclosure of known defects to the property that includes disclosure of the property's flood zone status. This law, which became effective July 1, 1995, is the Oklahoma Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act, Title 60, O.S., Section 831 et. seq. (see ).
©1998-2016, Oklahoma Water Resources Board
Page last updated: November 09, 2016