BG City Flood Cleanup - Stf (copy)

A car became stranded in floodwater in the old Frederick Towne Mall parking lot on West Patrick Street in May 2018.

Frederick residents and businesses will soon have a chance to weigh in on an updated ordinance to help them get discounted rates for flood insurance in flood-prone parts of the city.

An update to the city’s floodplain ordinance would bring it into compliance with current Maryland Department of the Environment, Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Flood Insurance Program standards and regulations.

The city’s mayor and aldermen got an update on the proposed ordinance at a workshop Wednesday.

Updating the ordinance to current standards will upgrade the safety standards for structures within a 100-year floodplain, and could mean better rates on flood insurance, Scott Helgeson, manager of the city’s engineering department, told the participants in the workshop.

The city has been part of the National Flood Insurance Program since the 1970s, requiring that new development and construction must comply with certain floodplain regulations.

In 2012, the city became part of the NFIP’s community rating system as a Class 7 category, which gives residents a 15 percent discount on flood insurance premiums within a 100-year floodplain, and a 5 percent discount in other areas, according to a report prepared by city staff.

Updating the floodplain ordinance will improve the CRS rating and provide even more discounts on insurance premiums.

Flooding has been an ongoing problem in various parts of the city for decades, leading to the development of Carroll Creek Linear Park and other projects to help limit the damage.

In 2015 and 2018, flooding caused significant damage to parts of the city, along with less widespread damage from smaller storms.

In December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented the city with plans that would reduce flooding at four key points around the city, with a separate proposal coming for the downtown area.

The areas that were studied included Motter Avenue, Kline Avenue, Detrick Branch at North Market Street near Rosehill Manor and a tributary to Carroll Creek at West Patrick Street, near Frederick middle and high schools.

In January, it was announced that the city would receive a $1.5 million grant from FEMA to make repairs to a pump station that will help control flooding in the city.

The money will go to repairs to the city’s stormwater Pump Station No. 3, a key part of Frederick’s stormwater management system that moves water from densely-built parts of the city to a man-made stormwater retention pond.

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Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at

(2) comments

Greg F

In other states, I've witnessed entire towns moved off of flood plains. That there is a revitalization for them here is just plain stupid. Buildings like the old Ollie's building should be raised and never built on that land again. Anything that has been flooded recently will only see it again sooner than later the way the climate is changing, and flood insurance subsidies to build again are wasteful, at best.


This seems crazy. City officials want to incentivize more investment and activity within the 100-year floodplain? They want more people to put themselves and their buildings and businesses at risk of flooding? Surely it is in the public interest for people to build and live in the floodplain only if they assume the full costs of flood risk as reflected in insurance premiums. City officials will need to explain how the public benefits here.

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