Supervisors Authorize Building Permits in Natomas in Flood Zone A99

Sacramento, CA., May, 19, 2015 --The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt a resolution today authorizing issuance of permits for specific types of development and construction in the area. Building permits can be issued effective June 16, 2015, the effective date of the approved A99 FEMA flood zone map for Natomas.

“Adopting this resolution allows a careful, measured approach to future development, and to move forward with projects essential to economic improvement in Sacramento County, including the Sacramento International Airport hotel and Metro Air Park,” said Phil Serna, Chair of the Board of Supervisors. “This will also allow for the repair of fire damaged structures, tenant improvements, and the completion of construction on infill and commercial/industrial sites in the area.”


There has effectively been a moratorium on new construction in the Natomas area since 2008 when FEMA mapped the area as a Zone AE, requiring new floor elevations to be 10 to 20 feet above ground.  Since then, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) has been implementing a series of levee improvements with a goal of achieving 100-year protection, and ultimately 200-year protection over time.

In June, 2014 the communities of Sacramento County, Sutter County and the City of Sacramento (Natomas Communities) jointly submitted a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requesting that Natomas be remapped to from Zone AE to Zone A99, potentially allowing new construction to resume in Natomas.   For FEMA to consider issuing Zone A99, the local community must demonstrate compliance with FEMA A99 requirements:

  • 100 percent of flood project is federally authorized
  • 60 percent of total project costs have been appropriated
  • 50 percent of project costs expended
  • All features  are under construction and 50 percent completed (by expenditure)
  • Community has not unnecessarily delayed the improvements.

The request was submitted based on the progress of levee improvement work thus far, the appropriation of local and state funding for the project, and the receipt of federal project authorization in 2014 through the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.
Finding that the FEMA requirements for considering an A99 Zone in Natomas were met, FEMA initiated the A99 remap process in August 2014.

On March 30, 2015 FEMA notified the Natomas Communities that the Natomas basin would be remapped to a Zone A99, effective June 16, 2015, allowing for the resumption of new construction in Natomas.
FEMA allows building construction at grade in Zone A99 provided that:

  • Local community makes a finding that new construction in A99 is “Reasonably Safe” from flooding
  • Flood insurance required for federally back loans
  • Annual certification is submitted to FEMA demonstrating adequate progress on remaining levee improvements

In addition, the County of Sacramento will require any permit applicant to sign an agreement acknowledging the ongoing federal requirement for flood insurance and the residual flood risk that exists within Natomas while the remainder of flood improvements progress towards completion.

SAFCA, in conjunction with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Natomas Communities, will continue work to complete the improvements necessary to achieve 100-year protection, as part of SAFCA’s long term goal to achieve 200-year protection over time for the Natomas area.

On March 31, 2015, the City of Sacramento took similar action to allow the issuance of building permits in Natomas under the Zone A99 designation. 


Contact: Chris Andis
Phone: 916-874-2691

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