Public hearing on floodplain-related adjustments to Development Code on July 20

Friday, July 16, 2021

The Benton County Planning Commission will meet on Tuesday, July 20 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss upcoming changes to the floodplain management standards in the Benton County Development Code. This topic is the second item on the Commission’s agenda for this meeting. A summary of the updates is as follows:

  • Chapter 83
    • Reorganization of the chapter to match Oregon Model Floodplain Ordinance format.
    • Addition of language required for compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
    • Addition of language required for compliance with recent amendments to the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS) program.
    • Addition of FEMA, NFIP, and CRS approved language to authorize wet-floodproofing for accessory structures.
    • Clarification of requirements for demonstrating non-floodplain area available to site a dwelling and septic drainfield required for land division approval.
    • Relaxation of standard requiring the creation of non-floodplain access route for residential properties (for approval of property reconfiguration and land division).
  • Chapter 51
    • Amendment of floodplain-related definitions for compliance with NFIP and adjustment of citations referencing specific floodplain code sections in Chapter 83.
  • Chapter 57
    • Correction of the term Flood Plain to Floodplain.
  • Chapters 88, 94, 95, 97 and 99 
    • Adjustment of citations referencing specific floodplain code sections in Chapter 83.

The proposed updates bring the code into alignment with the minimum standards set by FEMA, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and NFIP’s Community Rating System. These updates are required for Benton County residents to retain the countywide 15% discount on federally-backed flood insurance for structures in a mapped floodplain.

In order for the County to update its Development Code, it goes through a public process to allow for feedback from the public. This process begins with the July 20 Planning Commission hearing before moving on to the Board of Commissioners for a public hearing on August 17, 2021.

Community members can provide input on the proposed updates in two ways:

  • Register in advance to attend the virtual public hearing on July 20, 2021 and share feedback.
    • To testify at the hearing, you must register by 5:00 pm on Monday, July 19 by contacting Linda Ray at 541-766-0250 or
  • Submit written testimony to the Benton County floodplain manager, Toby Lewis at
    • By 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20 (the day of the hearing) to have the testimony sent to the Planning Commission, however the Commission may not have an opportunity to review it prior to the hearing.

The draft updates can be read in full here.