Cape Coral City Helps Hurricane Ian Recovery Removing Five-Year Look-Back for FEMA’s 50% Rule

hurricane Ian damaged house rooftop covered with protective plastic tarp against rain water leaking until replacement of asphalt shinglesGood news for Cape Coral, Florida homeowners with damage from Hurricane Ian: The Cape Coral City Council has followed Lee County’s lead removing the five-year cumulative impact or look-back rule as to FEMA’s 50% rule making it easier for Cape residents to rebuild.

During a Special Meeting on November 30, 2022, the Cape Coral City Council voted to approve Ordinance 96-22, which amends Articles 11 and 12 of the City’s Land Development Code as follows:

“This ordinance removes the 5-year cumulative impact rule, which adds the cost of building repairs and additions to the cost to repair damages when determining whether a structure is substantially damaged (at or above 50% damage by market value).”

For example, the amount spent on repairs to one’s home over the last five years previously counted against a homeowner on top of the new damage estimates from Hurricane Ian. But the City of Cape Coral has now voted to take that five-year window away, so homeowners who made improvements before Ian will not be penalized. If you have questions about the Ordinance, contact the Land Use attorneys at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. for assistance.

What is FEMA’s 50% Rule?

Many homeowners are still confused about FEMA’s 50% rule. It stipulates that, as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), repairs to damaged structures cannot exceed 50% of the building’s value. A homeowner must bring their home up to the current code if they do. The 50% rule is an NFIP regulation, requiring structures with damage exceeding 50% of their market value to be rebuilt in a manner consistent with current flood elevation and state building codes.

In some cases, entire home slabs must be raised to at least 7 feet above sea level. The NFIP aims to reduce future flood damage and break the cycle of repetitive flood damage. However, in Cape Coral those recovering from Hurricane Ian can now breathe a sigh of relief with the City eliminating the five-year “cumulative impact rule,” potentially saving residents with older homes from costly repairs.

Talk to Our Florida Land Use & Zoning and Local Government Lawyers

If you have questions about navigating a City’s Code, ordinances and permits, contact a Florida Land Use & Zoning attorney at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo today. Learn more about how our Local Government Law attorneys can help you through the Florida legal process. Arrange a consultation by calling Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. at 239-649-6555 or send us an e-mail today.

Related post: Good News for Hurricane Ian Home Repairs: 50% Rule Amendments Adopted in Lee County, Nov 2022