The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the responsibilities of the Town of Fort Myers Beach as a participating community
The Town of Fort Myers Beach is a participating community in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP works with communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations that help mitigate flooding effects. Property owners, renters, and businesses in NFIP participating communities are eligible to purchase flood insurance, helping them recover faster when floodwaters recede. The Town has earned a class 5 rating in the program, providing all property owners in Fort Myers Beach a 25% discount on flood insurance rates.
The Town of Fort Myers Beach is entirely within a special flood hazard area (SFHA) on the Federal Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). If a structure is located within a SFHA, flood insurance is required for mortgages and other loans. Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by Federally regulated institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land, facilities, or structures located within the SFHA.
To participate and remain in good standing in the NFIP, communities must, at a minimum, regulate all development in the designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) in accordance with NFIP criteria and any applicable State and community floodplain management laws. Repealing or amending previously compliant floodplain management measures, or failure to enforce its floodplain management regulations, can result in suspension from the NFIP which can result in the following sanctions:
• No resident will be able to purchase a flood insurance policy.
• Existing flood insurance policies will not be renewed.
• No Federal grants or loans for development may be made in identified flood hazard areas under programs administered by Federal agencies such as HUD, EPA, and SBA.
• No Federal disaster assistance may be provided to repair insurable buildings located in identified flood hazard areas for damage caused by a flood.
• No Federal mortgage insurance or loan guarantees may be provided in identified flood hazard areas. This includes policies written by FHA, VA, and others.
• Federally insured or regulated lending institutions, such as banks and credit unions, must notify applicants seeking loans for insurable buildings in flood hazard areas that there is a flood hazard and that the property is not eligible for Federal disaster relief.
The Florida Building Code (FBC):
The FBC contains the minimum design and construction requirements throughout the State of Florida which ensure safe and resilient structures. The FBC is intended to reduce casualties, costs and damage by creating stronger buildings designed to withstand disasters.
The FBC requires a building permit for the following:
- Any construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, move, demolition or change of occupancy of any building.
- Any enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, conversion or replacement to any impact-resistant coverings, electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing systems.
The Town of Fort Myers Beach is responsible for ensuring that all construction activity is compliant with NFIP regulations, state building code, local ordinances and the Fort Myers Beach Land Development Code (LDC). One important NFIP regulation is “FEMA’s 50% rule.” Building permit applications must be submitted along with plans and specifications that incorporate code compliance measures. Building permit applications for the Town of Fort Myers Beach must include repair/improvement cost forms listing all work necessary to restore the building to its pre-damaged condition. These forms will be evaluated by the floodplain coordinator to ensure compliance with NFIP regulations including “FEMA’s 50% rule.”
Please remember that the Florida Building Code (FBC) requires an issued building permit prior to commencing construction. Construction activities started prior to receiving an issued building permit covering that scope of work are violations and will result in citations, fines, and/or other legal action. The permit holder must post the issued permit on the job site throughout construction in a weather protected condition, visible from the street, and must make the Town-reviewed plans available for inspectors during scheduled inspections.
For more information, please visit the following resources provided for you by the Town of Fort Myers Beach Building Services Division:
- Building Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/Faq.aspx?TID=23
- “50% Rule” FAQs: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1254/FEMAs-50-Rule
- Building Services Resource Library: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1257/Resource-Library