Flood Zone Zoning Amendment

The Dennis Planning Board has been working on the zoning amendment below for quite a long time. The proposal attempts to make the town more flood proof, by encouraging existing structures to be elevated to above base flood elevation with fewer strings attached. If a homeowner meets the conditions established in this amendment, they will not be required to visit the Board of Appeals to elevate their existing structure. This can cut a good 60 days out of the process. While this might not seem like such a big deal at face value, after Hurricane Sandy, there were homes, in other states, waiting well over a year to obtain local permits to elevate structures. The biggest time savings will be in a post-disaster recovery situation where there could be hundreds of homes in need of relief to be reconstructed and elevated. We are looking to eliminate this type of a time lag.

The proposal will be heard on March 6th by the Dennis Planning Board as it is prepared for May Town Meeting.

Amend Section 6 Flood Zone

Amend Section 6.6 Definitions by adding the following:

“Attendant structure” means an area to accommodate utilities, laundry facilities or mechanicals which are otherwise typically located within a basement area.

“Existing structure” means any commercial or municipal structure or residential dwelling that presently exists, or existed prior to the catastrophic even prior to, at the time a request is made to elevate.

“Highest applicable flood elevation standard” means the one-percent (1%) FEMA base flood elevation plus up to an additional three feet.

“New and appropriate elevation” means any elevation to which a structure is raised, or is to be raised, that is equal to or higher than the applicable FEMA base flood elevation, provided, however, in no case shall the new and appropriate elevation exceed the highest applicable flood elevation standard.

“Original dimensions” means the exact vertical and horizontal dimensions of a structure as it presently exists.

Add new Section 6.7 Special Provisions for Lifting Existing Structures to New And Appropriate Elevations

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other provision of the Dennis Zoning By-law to the contrary, except as otherwise provided pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection, a person shall be allowed to lift an existing structure located in an Area of Special Flood Hazard to a new and appropriate elevation, or constructing a staircase or other attendant structure necessitated by such raising without the need for Board of Appeals relief, provided, however, this exemption shall apply only to the minimum extent or degree necessary to allow the structure to meet the new and appropriate elevation with adequate means of ingress, egress, and accommodation of typical basement facilities.

(2) Appurtenant to lifting an existing structure, the existing structure may be relocated elsewhere on the lot as long as said relocation does not create a new, or increase the intensity of a setback nonconformity. For the purposes of accomplishing meeting the new and appropriate elevation, the restrictions found in Section D 2 (the so-called 40% rule) shall not apply.

(3) The exemption established pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not be available to a person who has altered or is seeking to alter the original dimensions of a structure if, had the alteration not been made, the structure could have been raised to meet the new and appropriate elevation either without the exemption or with an exemption of lesser degree than is needed with the alteration.


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