Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration today took a step to suspend some zoning restrictions to advance the post-Sandy rebuilding process, on the heels of the Federal Emergency Management Agency issuing provisional flood maps to dictate where and how properties can be rebuilt, Crain’s reported.
“We are beginning the process of updating our building code and zoning regulations so that new construction meets standards that reflect the best available data about flood and climate risks,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a release. “This is particularly important for homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy — and the rules we are putting in place today will enable them to rebuild and open safely.”
With this temporary lift, homeowners can raise their first floors, effectively pushing up the total property height by several feet. Normally, the homeowner would have to pay to exceed the height limit, but this decision would waive the costs. Raising the height to FEMA standards offers protection against future storms and some cost incentives. A home built higher, and therefore safer in FEMA’s eyes, would have cheaper taxes.
“This limited and targeted suspension of zoning regulations in the flood zones shown on the newly issued FEMA flood-risk maps will help ensure that new and rebuilt homes and businesses and other buildings will be safeguarded from coastal flood waters,” City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said in the release. [Crain’s] —Zachary Kussin