Regarding buildings damaged by Hurricane Ian:
The Town understands that high volume has caused some insurance, contracting, and assessing delays following Hurricane Ian. As of April 14, 2023, a Town-wide immediate repair mandate for all storm damaged buildings has not yet been issued.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, please note the following:
- Certain buildings may be deemed by the Town to be unsafe, unfit for human occupancy, or otherwise unlawful due to being dangerous to the life, health, property, or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure. Such structures may be condemned pursuant to the provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code and a Code Compliance case may be opened to ensure that certain actions are completed by the property owner to resolve these unsafe conditions.
- It will become necessary to revise this repair mandate policy at a future date as the International Property Maintenance Code requires buildings to be kept in good repair.
Accordingly, all property owners should be obtaining permits to repair or demolish their damaged buildings as soon as possible.
Note that the Florida Building Code (FBC) requires an issued 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. Debris can be picked up and windows boarded (to temporarily secure the building, etc), but an issued permit must be posted on the building site prior to reconstructing or repairing a building.
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.
Intent of Permitting:
The intent of permitting regulations is to help ensure that development activity is meeting all minimum standards, to protect the safety and health of the public, and to ensure that the cost of all work is recorded for tracking repetitive damage and substantial damage in the special flood hazard area. Federal, State, and local law requires the Town to do all of these as a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
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:
o Any construction, enlargement, alteration, repair, move, demolition or change of occupancy of any building.
o 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.”
For more information, please also see the civic alert at this link:
The Fort Myers Beach Land Development Code (LDC), section 6-441:
Any property owner or property owner's authorized agent who intends to undertake any development activity within or partially within any flood hazard area (including buildings, structures and facilities exempt from the Florida Building Code) must first make application to the floodplain administrator, and the building official, if applicable, and must obtain the required permits and approvals. No such permit or approval will be issued until compliance with the requirements of the floodplain ordinance and all other applicable codes and regulations has been satisfied.
Estero Island is entirely within the special flood hazard area on the flood insurance rate map.
The cost of all repairs (labor and materials) required to return a building to its pre-damaged condition must be included on the repair/improvement cost forms submitted with the required permit (remodel, residential, commercial, etc) to repair or rebuild the property. These cost forms are reviewed by Town staff during the permit review process to ensure compliance with FEMA’s 50% rule (National Flood Insurance Program minimum requirements for participating communities).
Please also visit the following resources provided for you by the Town of Fort Myers Beach Building Services Division:
Building Services FAQ (Frequently asked questions): https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/Faq.aspx?TID=23
“FEMA’s 50% Rule” FAQs: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1254/FEMAs-50-Rule
Building Services Resource Library: https://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/1257/Resource-Library
More information about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the Florida Building Code (FBC):