Flood Information

Being prepared for floods is crucial for safeguarding lives and property. Establishing an emergency plan, securing essential supplies, and staying informed about weather conditions are fundamental steps to mitigate the impact of floods and ensure the safety of individuals and communities. In addition, being proactive and understanding agency guidelines, resources and information is a value. To be more knowledgeable, review State and Federal Flood information below.
Flood Information by Government Agency
Federal Flood Information

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) Building Restrictions

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have been issued for the City of Stockton.  Building restrictions apply in areas designated on these maps as a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), identified as Zones A, AO, AH, and AE.

For properties shown within a SFHA, building restrictions may apply to new construction and certain reconstructions and additions.  Such restrictions may include the requirement to elevate new and existing structures above the base flood elevation, including electrical and mechanical service equipment.

Flood Maps

In 2009, FEMA completed a comprehensive update of the FIRMs for San Joaquin County, including all the incorporated cities in the County, under the Map Modernization Program. The new FIRMs replaced the existing paper maps for our area issued in the early 1980s. Past flooding disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, resulted in FEMA reevaluating local flood risk and protection requirements.

Electronic copies of the maps are available on the San Joaquin County Public Works Department website, under “Flood Zone Viewer.” Using this site, property owners can enter the APN or physical address of the property to determine if the property is located in an SFHA. For information from the FIRMs and other flood-related information for a particular site, contact the City's Community Development Department, Building and Life Safety Division.

Also, in 2007, the State passed legislation requiring a higher level of flood protection for communities in California’s Central Valley.  Specifically, this requires certain new development projects achieve a 200-year level of flood protection, exceeding the 100-year standard required by FEMA.  (See External Link below.) These new flood protection requirements are scheduled to start by July 2016.  Areas subject to these requirements can be viewed on San Joaquin County’s 200-Year Flood Zone viewer. 

Properties within shallow flooding areas, defined as three feet of depth or less, are exempt from the higher flood protection standard.  Contact the Flood Management staff of the Building Division to learn if a particular property and project would be subject to this requirement.

Flood Insurance Requirements

Owners of structures having a federally backed mortgage on properties identified on FIRMs as being in an SFHA may be required by their mortgage company to carry flood insurance.  

Insurance premiums vary depending on:

  • location and elevation of the lowest floor of the structure
  • amount of coverage sought to include structure only or structure and contents.

All homeowners and renters are strongly encouraged to consider obtaining flood insurance, whether or not they reside in a "Special Flood Hazard Area." The cost of insuring a home or business and its contents against flooding may be far less expensive than the cost of flood repairs or reconstruction. Please consult with your insurance agent and contact City staff as well.

Additional Flood Information

  • City of Stockton Property Viewer
  • Flood Information Brochure
  • For general information about flood zones and flood insurance, contact the City's Community Development Department, Building and Life Safety Division, or the National Flood Insurance Program. (See External Links below.)
  • To find a local agent, contact the National Flood Insurance Program or search the internet.
  • To view or purchase flood hazard maps for a nominal fee, contact FEMA Map Service Center. (See “External Links” below.)
  • Information brochures about protecting yourself and property from flood-related hazards are available on the San Joaquin County Public Works Department website. (See "External Links" below.)
  • For information about the State of California, urban level of flood protection, and 200-year flood protection, please visit State Flood Information on this website.

External Resource Links

California State Flood Information

200-Year Floodplain Building Requirements

The State of California Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008, commonly referred to as SB 5, adds additional flood risk considerations for land use planning and sets a higher, 200-year level of flood protection for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley. Cities and counties within this region were required to amend General Plans and adopt zoning and building code regulations to provide for this "urban level of flood protection."  

A 200-year flood event statistically occurs on average once every 200 years or has a 0.5 percent chance of occurring in any given year. A 200-year floodplain map has been developed for the Stockton area showing anticipated depth of flooding throughout the Stockton metropolitan area. This map includes a significant portion of the western side of the City near I-5 and some areas in the central and eastern side of the City that would experience flooding during a 200-year flood event. A link to the 200-year flood map can be found under External Links at the bottom of this page.

Changes Adopted

The City of Stockton adopted changes to its General Plan in June 2015. Building and zoning code changes apply to all permits issued after July 2, 2016. These changes include:

  • increased building setbacks for flood fighting along levees,
  • requirements to elevate buildings above the floodplain or use flood-resistant building materials for development in areas identified as flood hazard zones on federal flood maps, and
  • streamlining the process of making specific findings for development of residential and commercial land uses.

A "finding" is a conclusion based on facts and commonly required to support the decision to approve a land-use permit. Before an affected project can be approved, findings must be made that the proposal meets the new state flood protection requirements.

Findings will be made for the following:

  • Construction of all new residential structures,
  • Discretionary permit or other discretionary entitlement with construction of a new building or construction that increases allowed occupancy for an existing building,
  • New development agreements for all types of property development,
  • Tentative maps consistent with the Subdivision Map Act for all subdivisions, and
  • Parcel maps for which a tentative parcel map is not required, consistent with the Subdivision Act.

Residential Uses

All new residential structures will require findings for 200-year flood protection. The illustration below shows regulations that apply to residential structures built in deep floodplains (red on the map), intermediate-depth floodplains (yellow/orange), and shallow floodplains (blue):

These regulations do not apply to existing residential structures or where structures are being replaced due to fire or damage.

Commercial Uses

Certain prior commercial discretionary uses are now considered "by-right" uses and will not require SB 5 findings. This means many commercial land-use projects consistent with the applicable zoning district will only need ministerial site plan and design review.

Findings may be required for non-residential projects subject to discretionary permits that result in an increase in the allowed occupancy of an existing building. In some cases, buildings may need to be flood-proofed or constructed on raised foundations to meet this requirement.

Development Criteria

The Community Development Director is authorized by the Stockton Municipal Code to establish criteria for development in 200-year floodplains. The criteria in the link below outlines the different requirements for development projects including Residential, Non-Residential, Subdivisions, and Accessory Dwelling Units.

Flood Risk Requirements

To determine the flood risk for your property and/or use, please Contact Us at the Building and Life Safety Division. Additional information is available in the Stockton Municipal Code (SMC) for:

  • Section 15.44.040 – Definitions
  • Section 15.44.135 – Allowable Land Uses and Permit Requirements
  • Section 16.20-020, Table 2-2 – Allowable Land Uses and Permit Requirements
  • Section 16.36.110 – Setback Regulations and Exceptions
  • Section 16.90 Floodplain Management Findings (200-year flood protection)

These regulations are separate and in addition to those required under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood regulations and do not trigger a requirement for flood insurance.  For more information about 100-year Federal flood zone requirements, please visit the Federal Flood Information webpage.

External Links

Last Update : 12/08/2023, 12:07:44 PM