The Dennis Planning Board is bringing a Zoning Amendment to Town Meeting to remove some of the red tape involved in bringing existing structures up to flood zone elevation standards. The goal of the zoning amendment is to make it easier for existing non-conforming structures to be lifted to, or above, base flood elevation. The proposal allows existing non-conforming structures to be lifted to place the first floor up to three feet above Base Flood Elevation without the need to go before the Board of Appeals. Lifting a house higher than three feet, or reconstructing a house to be larger than the existing home (except for an allowed utility/laundry closet) will still require a visit to the Board of Appeals.
The goal of the amendment is to make it easier and quicker for existing homes to elevated before we get hit with a big storm. Additionally, the hope is that, with this change, it will be a quicker recovery after a big storm.
Looking at the newest FEMA flood insurance rates based upon the exposure of homes to flood waters, there can be big annual savings in flood insurance for lifting existing structures. A house that is exposed to three feet of flooding can expect to pay up to $7,279+ in annual flood insurance costs. A house built right at Base Flood Elevation can expect to pay $1,529+ annually and a house lifted to three feet above Base Flood Elevation might only pay about $350+ in annual flood insurance costs. (These costs do not include FEMA surcharges which might add about $150 to each of these amounts annually).
This zoning amendment will allow someone exposed to flooding to save between $1,200 and $7,000 annually on flood insurance.