The purpose of this notice is to inform the building industry, and other interested persons, that the Board of County Commissioners approved revisions to the Floodplain Management Ordinance on March 8, 2016. The ordinance was originally adopted in 2003 and revisions were needed to update it and make it consistent with model language developed by federal and state agencies as well as to be consistent with the Florida Building Code.
As part of the review and adoption process, certain higher regulatory standards contained in the existing ordinance were reviewed by the Board and action was taken as follows:
1. The five-year cumulative substantial improvement or damage provision was reduced to a one-year cumulative approach. This will allow owners to improve their structures without having to bring the whole structure into compliance. In practice, the five-year approach led to excessive staff time in processing permit applications, unpermitted work leading to code enforcement cases and time spent finding a way around the regulation rather than complying. Further, this change will make the County more consistent with neighboring jurisdictions.
2. The limits of fill allowed in A-Zones was clarified so fill is limited to achieve a slope of no more than 6:1 with a limit of fill of no more than four feet above the average existing grade at the property lines. This approach limits fill based on the slope and the drainage requirements. The smaller the lot, or the closer to the property lines the structure is placed, the lower the amount of fill required.
3. The enclosure limitations language was changed to ensure there is no ambiguity that the subdivision of areas in a structure below base flood is prohibited. In addition, a requirement was added that a non-conversion agreement be executed.
Please note there are no costs to County government associated with these changes nor is additional staffing proposed. The changes ensure the County is compliant with both the Florida Building Code and federal regulations. The relaxation of some of the higher requirements will have no impact on the County’s Community Rating System (CRS) score, which is used by insurers to make rate decisions. The changes will make the County more consistent with regulations in neighboring jurisdictions. The relaxation of the five-year cumulative improvement standard will encourage homeowners to make improvements and will discourage unpermitted work. Finally, it is worth noting the County is the top scoring local government in the country in the flood-warning category and ranks in the top 20 communities in overall CRS score. This means the County will continue to maintain a Class 5 rating thus offering up to a 25 percent discount to flood insurance policy holders.
For information about the Floodplain Management Ordinance, please call “Chip” Hague, Floodplain Manager/Plans Examiner II at 941.623.1080 or email Hoyie.Hague@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.
Please call 941.743.1201 or email BuildingSvcs@CharlotteCountyFL.gov if you have any other questions.