The "50% Rule" is a requirement mandated by the Floodplain Management Ordinance. The rule does NOT apply to structures located in an "X" or "D" zone. In all other flood zones, the rule applies and it requires any building or structure improved, damaged or repaired 50 percent or more than the value of the building or structure to be brought up to Florida Building Code standards, including any FEMA or elevation requirements.
To assist in the process, the Community Development Department has developed a 50% FEMA Rule Application Form. This document, with instructions on the front page, should be filled out as completely as possible with an affidavit attached from at least one of the following:
- Owner (accompanied by photos)
If the owner chooses to be the person to fill out the affidavit, photos of the outside structure (foundation, roof, back, front, side views and cracks) must be included along with photos of any interior damage. This will assist the plans examiner in making a determination about the structure. In all cases, no matter who may be the applicant, the property owner must sign the form to ensure awareness of the implications of the cumulative substantial improvement provisions of the Floodplain Management Ordinance. If the cumulative total of improvements and/or repairs exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure, it must be brought into compliance with applicable flood and building standards.
The last two pages of the document are an evaluation checklist to be filled out by the architect, engineer, contractor or owner. These pages are for screening purposes only and are an estimate of damages. Line items are prepared for each structural component of the home. A check mark should be placed beside the line item being evaluated and under the corresponding estimated damage. Every application along with every picture submitted will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The paperwork must be submitted at permit application to reflect the value of the work proposed. The department is mainly concerned with safety issues, specifically with structural damage to the weight-bearing walls and foundation. In addition, if the structure is below the base flood elevation, and is damaged 50 percent or more, the structure will have to be raised to comply with the latest floodplain regulations.The paperwork can be mailed or hand delivered to the E. Jay Carlson Community Development Building located at the Charlotte County Administrative Complex, 18400 Murdock Circle, Port Charlotte, FL 33948. If the structure is close to the 50 percent rule, the plans examiner will contact the owner. The department is mainly concerned with safety issues, specifically with structural damage to the weight-bearing walls and foundation. In addition, if the structure is below the base flood elevation, and is damaged 50 percent or more, the structure will have to be raised to comply with the latest floodplain regulations.
These steps are necessary for Charlotte County to comply with FEMA regulations as well as the Florida Building Code. By complying, Charlotte County is able to rank highest in the state (equal to Miami-Dade County) for flood insurance discount rates. This in turn translates into a savings of nearly $3 million per year in discounts for county residents. This is an average savings of about $133 per home that carries flood insurance.