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Planning & Zoning: Flood Information

Floodplain management is the operation of a community program of preventive and corrective measures to reduce the risk of current and future flood damage.  These measures take a variety of forms that included requirements for zoning, subdividing and building, building codes, and floodplain ordinances.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) establishes minimum criteria for floodplain management in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  As a participant in the NFIP, Peoria County is responsible for floodplain management and in return, flood insurance is available for properties in Peoria County through the NFIP.  Peoria County also participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) which enables discounted flood insurance rates for residents.

For more information on flood hazards, construction rules, or flood protection measures please contact the Planning and Zoning Department at (309) 672-6915 Mon-Fri 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM.

Know Your Flood Hazard

Local creeks and waterways such as the well known Illinois River and Kickapoo Creek may place Peoria County residents in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). We want you to be aware of the hazards associated with the SFHA and what can be done to reduce flood damages and protect your property. 

Major flood events have occurred in 1979, twice in 1982, 1983, 1995 and 2013.  The April 2013 flood event inundated over 300 properties, causing over 2.5 million dollars in damages.

The Peoria County Planning & Zoning Department can provide you with the following valuable information upon request:

  • Access to NFIP Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM)
  • Interpret whether a property is in or out of a SFHA as shown on the FIRM
  • Data from current FIRMs such as flood zone, base flood elevation (BFE) or depth
  • Flooding depth data and historical flooding information
  • Information regarding flood hazards not shown on the FIRM             
  • Access to existing Letters of Map Change (LOMC)
  • Access to Post-FIRM building elevation certificates by address

Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMS) are available at the Planning & Zoning Department, the local library, and through the FEMA Map Service Center

The Map Information Services Form identifies more information we can discuss with you.  Lenders, realtors, and agents may request a completed Floodplain Determination Form.  If you would like to make an inquiry you can call or visit our office.

Insure Your Property for Your Flood Hazard

The County participates in the Community Rating System Program (CRS) which reduces flood insurance policy rates for all unincorporated County residents through proper floodplain management programs.  Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, and business owners inside or outside the SFHA.  Contents coverage is available. 

Ask your insurance provider about discounted flood insurance rates from Peoria County's participation in the CRS program.

The cost of the policy will vary depending on the amount of coverage and the degree of the flood hazard.  The purchase of flood insurance is mandatory for buildings located in a SFHA in order to receive any form of federal or federally related financial assistance. This requirement affects loans and grants for the purchase, construction, repair, or improvement of any publicly or privately owned buildings in the SFHA.  If a building is located in a SFHA, the agency or lender is required by law to require the recipient to purchase a flood insurance policy on the building. 

Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect.

You can learn about obtaining flood insurance at the NFIP hompage or contact your local insurance agent.

Protect People from the Hazard

Many times, flooding along the Illinois River can be predicted up to a week in advance, giving ample warning for preparation and evacuation. However, in the event of a flash flood due a large rain event, you may be the first to notice the oncoming situation and have only hours to execute your plan. You can view Real-time Flood Gauge data of the Illinois River to track current water level and flood predictions.

  • Do not walk through flowing water.  Six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. 
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. Two feet of moving water can carry away most vehicles.
  • Turn off gas and electricity at the main switch.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical lines.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. 

The Peoria County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency (ESDA) will issue flood watches or warnings as appropriate through television and radio stations.

Before the next flood take the time to prepare a Disaster Supply Kit and make a Family Communications Plan in the event you are separated or need to evacuate.

Stay safe during and after a flood by following important tips provided by

Protect Your Property from the Hazard

There may be permanent flood protection measures you can do to protect your property.  The simplest action is to keep ditches and storm drains free of debris.  Check that your downspouts drain away from the house or building but not to your neighbor's building.  Some protection measures may need a building permit and others may not be safe for your type of building.  Contact the Planning & Zoning Department before alterations begin.   

  • Install a floor drain plug, standpipe, sewer backup valve, or other mechanism to prevent sewer backup flooding into your building. 
  • Check your building for water entry points often at basement windows, doors, and dryer vents. 
  • Relocate utilities such as washer, dryer, furnace, water heaters, HVAC equipment above the flood risk.
  • Elevate or remove contents from basements or levels below grade so flood waters cannot damage the contents. 
  • Elevate the building so that flood waters do not enter and cause damage.

More information on ways to protect your property from flooding is available from the following resources:

Financial assistance may be available for structure elevation, property demolition and acquisition, property relocation and acquisition, floodproofing of utilities, or floodproofing nonresidential buildings only.  Many funding sources require flood insurance coverage in order to be eligible for assistance.  Properties declared substantially damaged are eligible for funds in addition to insurance claims in order to retrofit the structure to meet current floodplain development codes.  Elevating or floodproofing utilities may lower insurance premiums resulting in yearly cost savings.  Sources of financial assistance include:

   Pre-flood Financial Assistance:

  • Flood Mitigation Assistance Program
  • Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural  Development grants and loans

   Post-flood Financial Assistance:

  • Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage
  • Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
  • U.S. Small-business Administration loan


Please review our Financial Assistance Information and contact the Planning & Zoning Department if you are interested in learning more about what financial assistance may be available for you.

Build Responsibly

All development within the SFHA is required to obtain a floodplain development permit prior to starting development projects in a floodplain area.  Development in the SFHA is subject to additional building code and floodplain code requirements meant to reduce future flood risk and flood damages.  You will need to complete and submit a Floodplain Development Permit Application to the Planning & Zoning Department.

All development within the SFHA requires a floodplain development permit. Development includes but is not limited to: construction, repair, replacement, or addition to a building, filling, paving, demolition, storage, and clearing of land.

View permitting requirements in the Peoria County Unified Development Ordinance Floodplain Development Regulations

Save time and resources by contacting the Planning & Zoning Department to discuss requirements if you are considering making any alterations to your property in the floodplain. 

Protect Natural Floodplain Functions

Floodplains play a valuable role in providing a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems.  Floodplains by their nature are periodically flooded at different points in time.  Open floodplains provide a natural catchment basin to collect and retain runoff which reduces the severity of floods while recharging groundwater levels.  Areas around the Kickapoo Creek are used as a means to filter farm chemical run-off so that bio-diversity is maintained in the ecosystem.  Floodplains provide educational opportunities for studying biological processes.  Floodplains provide recreational services from parks to boating.  Floodplains provide critical habitats for waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife.  It is critical that dedicated open spaces in the floodplains remain open to allow these benefits to occur naturally.

You can read more about the natural functions of floodplains in the FEMA-268 guidebook on Protecting Floodplain Resources.

It is illegal to dump materials into a waterway or storm drains.  If you see someone in the act of dumping or see debris in a waterway, contact the Planning & Zoning Department.

Outreach Materials:

Useful Handouts:

Documents listed below may be obtained at the Planning & Zoning Department.

Useful Guides:

Documents listed below may also be obtained through the Peoria Public Library System.

 FEMA publications:

 Useful Websites:

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