This, from the Greenwich Association of Realtors:
FEMA Flood Maps Public Hearing
The Greenwich Planning and Zoning Commission is planning to hold a public hearing regarding the proposed FEMA Flood Zone elevation changes that will take place July 1 2013. These new elevations will affect over 1900 properties. They will also be discussing how to administer the requirements.
Of imminent concern is the 50% rule. [Expenses exceeding 50% of the building’s value – not the land, which is generally far more valuable than the house that sits on it, fall subject to all FEMA requirements – no grandfathering – Ed] This is particularly onerous to homes that have sustained recent damage and may have reached the 50%. They may now have to get variances for building height and also possibly for setbacks since raising a house up to 5 feet will require stairs etc that may have to be in required setbacks.
Another issue is the properties that are being made non-conforming by the new increase in elevation. If you are in compliance now, and will not be in July, the current regulation states that any improvements made since 1987 will count toward the 50% of improvements rule. This means that although your home may have been renovated and compliant on June 30, you will not be able to improve the home after July 1, without lifting it, if your total improvements since 1987 exceed the 50%.
The value for these homeowners should be reset to zero starting in July, but this is not a given and we need to make sure that P and Z comes up with some equitable and non-discretionary policy that is fair and reasonable.
The architectural and quality of life implications of having the first floor of a neighbor’s house being elevated to the 2nd floor level of your home may be quite disruptive to the neighborhood fabric. [emphasis added]
I do so love understatement.