Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) rules and regulations affect all construction within the City of St. Pete Beach. Essentially, FEMA rules require that the first finished floor level of all new residential buildings be elevated above the base flood elevation and that all new commercial buildings be elevated and/or flood proofed. When the costs of additions to or remodeling of existing buildings will trip the substantial improvement threshold, the entire structure must be brought into compliance with FEMA regulations.
The entire City of St. Pete Beach is located within a flood zone, and we strictly enforce the rules and regulations promulgated by FEMA which administers the National Flood Insurance Program. The key element relating to the impact of these rules and regulations on a proposed construction project hinges on the determination of whether the magnitude of the project constitutes a "Substantial Improvement" as defined in the Federal Regulations:
Any construction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the "start of construction" of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred "substantial damage," regardless of the value of or actual cost of repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either (1) any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions or (2) any alteration of a "historic structure," provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a "historic structure.'