Improvements in the form of structural additions, alterations, modifications, reconstructions, etc. to a floodplain nonconforming structure (it was complaint at the time of construction but does not comply with current regulations) are limited to 50% of the equalized assessed value of the structure. The cost of labor (even if doing the work yourself) and materials contribute towards the 50% allowance - this handout will be used in the permitting process to ensure that all necessary items are accounted for.
Elevating the lowest floor to the flood protection elevation (two (2) feet above the base flood elevation) is exempt from this 50% limit, though permits are still required to complete the work. Elevating the structure will also reduce flood insurance costs because the risk of flood damage is reduced.
The 50% allowance for structural additions, alterations, modifications, reconstructions, etc. is an allowance over the life of the structure. If the 50% is to be exceeded, then the structure will need to be brought into full compliance with floodplain regulations. Maintenance of a floodplain nonconforming structure, such as painting, re-shingling a roof, replacing flooring, etc. is also limited to 50% of the equalized assessed value of the structure; however, the limit is on a per-event basis rather than cumulative.
Retrofitting is another option to reduce damage and loss due to flooding events. The Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your Home From Flooding is a graphic publication created by FEMA, which describes retrofitting options for homes in the floodplain. FEMA's website also has several helpful tips for protecting your property from flooding. These can be viewed and/or downloaded at https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/13261.
Because developing within the floodplain can be very complex, it is best to contact the Planning and Zoning Office prior to purchasing property in a floodplain or prior to conducting any work within a floodplain.