Flood Hazard Permits


Snohomish County is one of nearly 20,000 communities across the United States that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. This program requires the county to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances and development regulations to reduce future flood damage. In return, the National Flood Insurance Program makes federally-supported flood insurance available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in Snohomish County’s flood hazard areas.

The basic premise of this program is that it is safer and less costly to minimize flood damage through appropriate development codes in flood hazard areas, and to insure against future flood damage instead of relying on more costly disaster-relief assistance after a flood event.


This approach has proven both sensible and cost-effective. The cost of flood damage nationwide has been reduced by nearly $1 billion a year through communities implementing sound floodplain management requirements and property owners purchasing flood insurance. Buildings constructed in compliance with National Flood Insurance Program building standards experience almost 80% less damage annually than noncompliant buildings. Every $3 paid in flood insurance claims saves $1 in disaster assistance payments.

This guide is intended as a quick reference to help farm operators know when flood hazard permits may be needed. Because every property and situation is different, more information may be required before an answer can be given. Federal regulations may also apply. Please call Planning and Development Services at 425-388-3311 to have your questions answered.


You can gain some basic information by reading Planning and Development Service's Flood Hazard Areas Bulletin Number 42 (PDF).

Then find out how flood hazard area designations affect your property, following these steps:

If your activity occurs within a designated Flood Hazard Area (See Flood Hazard Areas map) and the activity involves either raising or lowering the elevation of any ground within the floodplain.

If it involves building a structure or anything else that could obstruct floodwater flow.

No activities, including agriculture, have permit exemptions in Flood Hazard Areas.

Next steps if a permit is needed.
If your activity occurs outside the floodplain (See Flood Hazard Areas map).

If it is within a Flood Hazard Area, the activity occurs on ground that is at least one-foot above the 100-year base flood elevation.

For further information on the county’s work in flood management, please see the Public Works Surface Water Management Division section.