BUILDING IN A FLORIDA FLOOD ZONE (PART 1 OF 3)
Who does not like to live in a house right on the water’s edge? Most of us do, because of our sentimental and environmental attachment to the liquid body of water, the attractive view that water provides, sometimes all the way to the distant horizon, and the privacy that comes from the limited access at the waterside boundary where no one will unexpectedly knock on your door. Nor will anyone be able to build between you and the water. The sun rising or setting in the distance, the soothing sound of water, and the opportunity to dock a boat make waterfront properties more valuable to covet and enjoy. That is the upside.
But there are also some downside to a waterfront property, especially in Florida, where the topography is very low. SYLLA International, a modern design-oriented firm in Tampa, Florida, believes that it is important to get a professional architect to help you deal with potentially vexing issues you may encounter along the way. The biggest challenge you will encounter with a waterfront property in a low-lying area in Florida is the flood zone, whether it is a house you want to renovate or a new construction. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has classified many waterfront properties as flood zone areas with a varying degree of severity, and has assigned all such areas a base flood elevation below which no living floor of a house can be situated. The closer you are to the water, the greater the risk of flooding and the greater the requirements to meet certain flood zone regulations.
Before even buying a waterfront property with a house on the lot, your first decision should be whether to renovate the house or make an addition, or whether to tear it down and build anew. In our next blog, we will examine both options.