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West Virginia

County Commission > Building Permits

Rick Helton serves as the Floodplain Certified Manager  for Lincoln County. His other duties include inspecting salvage yards. Most importantly, he is in charge of enforcing floodplain laws, rules and regulations. Unless the Lincoln County government complies with F.E.M.A. rules and regulations, our citizens' abilities to obtain flood insurance and Federal disaster relief will be placed in jeopardy.

Mr. Helton's office is located across the street from the Courthouse on Market Street. You need to check with him before undertaking any building construction project on your home or business.

You must obtain a building permit for any substantial construction in Lincoln County. If you set up a mobile home on a site for occupancy, you must obtain a building permit. You must obtain a building permit if you develop or improve land in any way; construct or place any man-made improvements on land; or place or construct any structures on land, including but not limited to, buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling or storage of equipment or materials.

The Lincoln County Commission charges no fee for a building permit until the cost of improvement reaches $1,000, at which time a fee structure applies.

You must obtain a building permit for remodeling, also. If the remodeling, renovation or repair causes a significant improvement in the value of the property and if the property is located in a floodplain, you need to be concerned. For example, in instances where a house was built prior to 1987 (when Lincoln County joined the National Flood Insurance Program), if the lowest floor of the house is below the 100-year floodplain and the cost of the project is 50% of the value of the house before work begins, then the house comes under the new floodplain regulations. This means that you must take actions to bring the lowest floor of the structure up to or above the 100-year floodplain elevation.

If Lincoln County did not follow the F.E.M.A. guildelines, then the citizens might not be able to obtain any kind of Federal disaster relief or flood insurance. As we know, Lincoln County certainly is prone to flooding at certain locations, and we never know when we may experience a so-called 100-year flood.

The F.E.M.A. guidelines are strictest for residential structures. Non-residential structures can be built below the 100-year floodplain if they are waterproofed up to or above the 100-year flood level. The 100-year flood level is the elevation where, statistically, one flood every 100 years reaches that level. Another way of looking at it, the 100-year flood level is the elevation at which only a 1% chance exists that it will be flooded.

You may be zoned by the F.E.M.A. regulations in various ways. Zone A means that, while no specific elevation has been determined, it has been determined that the location will flood, whether or not within 100 year plane. Zone AE means that the parcel of land actually has been determined by hydrological studies to be located in the 100-year floodplain.

It is always better to be safe than sorry. Even if you have no doubt about the elevation (above sea level) of your land and whether it is located in the floodplain, you need to check with Rick Helton before you make or plan to make any expenditures on improving your land in any fashion.

Remember, elevation is not the sole determinant of floodplains. The slope of the surrounding land, the size of the streams in the area and the presence or absence of many other natural and man-made structures greatly influence whether your land will flood or what floodplain it is in. An elevation that is not in a floodplain at one location may be well within a floodplain at another location.

Rick will assist you in determining what you legally can and cannot do with your land. He will assist you with understanding and applying the varoius County, State, and Federal laws, rules and regulations so that you can achieve 100% use of your valuable real estate.