On February 15, 2023, the Town received a letter from FEMA that called into question the basis on which building values were calculated by the Lee County Property Appraiser’s office to comply with FEMA’s 50% rule of property damage assessment.
Based on a retraction letter received by the Town of Fort Myers Beach from FEMA two days after the initial letter, on February 17, 2023, 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 buildings 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").
There are two ways to determine the 50% rule threshold amount:
Option 1) Use the Lee County Property Assessor's assessment of the building value on the Tax Roll Value Letter which has been adjusted to approximate market value.
To find the building value on the Tax Roll Value Letter, 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.
Option 2) 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.