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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Permits required for building in Lawrence County - residents living in revised floodplain

LAWRENCE COUNTY - DECEMBER 8, 2023 - Lawrence County Emergency Managment Director Valarie Luchaeur has reminded Lawrence County residents they must obtain a permit if they live in a designated flood plain.


This makes the second time this year of the reminder to residents of the new requirement by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.


Photo: Springville, and Heltonville residents may be reguired to obtain a permit if they reside in the new designated flood plain in Lawrence County


There are restrictions in building or making repairs to structures in a flood plain.


Recently, Springville Community Center ( Old Springville Gym) was required to build flood walls, and make sure the doors to the building serve as flood gates.


Photo: The Indiana Department of Natural Resources required additional construction to the Springville Community Center in protecting the building from construction


Those requirements added additional construction costs to the project.


" Some people may not know they live in a flood plain, they may not have in the past but are now," said Luchuaer.


Photo: Flooding in Springville February 2019


Indiana Floodplain Information Portal


The Indiana Floodplain Information Portal (INFIP) is a mapping application developed by the DNR, Division of Water that provides floodplain information for public use. The portal displays floodplain information from both FEMA and DNR sources, including mapped floodplains and flood elevation points along waterways. In addition, the revised INFIP allows users to generate a Floodplain Analysis and Regulatory Assessment (FARA) by using the FARA Report Generator. A FARA is required for local floodplain permitting and FEMA Letter of Map Amendment applications in A zones.



  • A FARA is also required for regulatory determination when the upstream drainage area is greater than 1 square mile, for areas that are unmapped on the FIRM, or for areas known to be flood prone.

  • Base Flood Elevation (BFE) determinations are often used for proposed development and flood insurance purposes.

  • The Indiana Floodplain Information Portal (INFIP) displays the Best Available Floodplain mapping as well as the BFE.

  • The layers tab allows the user to view the effective layer.

  • A FARA can be generated by selecting “run” once a point is selected.

  • A BFE will be provided for the site, then the FARA should be downloaded and saved by the user for future reference.

  • There is the opportunity for users to submit a site for review if they wish to contest the FARA, if their site is near a stream without a mapped floodplain/floodway, or if their point is nearest to a stream with no floodplain and the tool took the BFE from a different stream.



First-time users of the site are encouraged to review the 



Photo: A recent flood in Heltonville required residents in Heltonville to be rescued from their home, as well as residents along U.S. 50 East near Bedford


In June 2019, cabin owners on the West River Road in Martin County were informed they were in violation of Indiana law and told they must leave their property.


The Indiana Department of Natural Resources told the residents they were in violation of the Flood Control Act. This law was passed in the 1980s.



The Flood Control Act ( Indiana Code 14-28-1) requires approval to have a structure such as a cabin in a floodway.


Failure to comply with the law homeowners could face fines of $100,000 fine, and in some cases $ 500 daily.



The Lawrence County Commissioners appointed Luchauer to the Flood Management Comittee earlier this year.



Due to the high frquency of historical flooding the Indiana Department of Natural Resources have been enforcing the law across the state.


For breaking news and information go lczephyr.org go to like/follow the Lawrence County Facebook page.


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