There are two ways to determine the 50% rule threshold amount:
You may use the Lee County Property Assessor's assessment which has been adjusted to approximate market value. Based on the retraction letter received by the Town of Fort Myers Beach from FEMA on February 17, 2023, two days after their initial letter, FEMA has recognized the Lee County property appraiser as the authority to assess real property values. The county property assessor’s office has been charged with deriving property valuations taking into consideration various factors. Accordingly, the Town will continue to use the “Tax Roll Value Letter” when it is an available option (generally available for single-family residential properties) on the Leepa.org website, or an independent appraisal of the pre-hurricane building market value submitted with a building permit application, to determine the pre-hurricane market value of properties in the Town of Fort Myers Beach. According to the Town of Fort Myers Beach floodplain ordinance, these are the two building valuation options available for determining if a building has exceeded the substantial damage or substantial improvement 50% threshold (i.e. the "50% rule").
To find this value, first visit the Lee County Property Appraiser’s website (http://www.leepa.org). Type your property address into the Site Address line of the Quick Property Search area and hit Search:
Click on the “Parcel Details,” link:
On the next screen, click on the yellow “Tax Roll Value Letter” text (link) in the center of the page:
Next, find the “Building Value” in the table in the center of the first page:
Use half of this value (divide by 2) to determine the “50% rule” threshold for the building.
* Note: The Lee County Property Appraiser’s office website (LEEPA.org) does not have a Tax Roll Value letter for every parcel, particularly larger multi-family residential, condominium, or hotel buildings, non-residential properties, and vacant land parcels.
Many commercial properties are valued via the income capitalization approach. However, this valuation method is not an accepted method for FEMA’s 50% rule because it is based on how the property is used, and not the value of structure alone.
If a Tax Roll Value Letter is not available for your parcel, you should consult with one or more Florida-licensed property appraisers as soon as possible to obtain a private appraisal of your building value. You will need to include a copy of this private appraisal with your building permit application.
For more information, see LEEPA’s Hurricane Ian FAQ - Why does this parcel not have a Tax Roll Value Letter?
A private actual cash value (ACV) appraisal of the pre-damaged building value can be obtained by the property owner through an independent appraisal. This appraisal must be prepared and certified by a property appraiser licensed in the State of Florida. The appraisal must show the actual cash value of the building in its pre-damaged state, not the land or other improvements/accessory structures. Submit this appraisal with any building permit application for review.