[CLARIFICATION] P&Z: No Full Basements In Flood Zones; Piers, Pilings Remain Only Options

Westport Planning & Zoning Commission chair Danielle Dobin says that — despite the implication in today’s “06880” story that the P&Z is considering a change in flood zone regulations — the pre-application hearing resulted in a resounding “no.”

Piers and pilings will continue to be the only options for homeowners living near the water.

On Thursday, 2 local design professionals presented a potential amendment to the current flood regulations. The changes would have permitted filling properties to FEMA-mandated elevations, in lieu of raising residential dwellings on piers or pilings.

P&Z staff and commissioners expressed concerns about the effect of foundations and basements on subsurface draining, and neighboring properties on lower grades.

They also addressed the impact of future sea level rise, and the departure from best practices that support raising flood-prone structures over raising the grade of flood-prone lots.

Staff and commissions noted that fill in flood zones is specifically discouraged by FEMA regulations.

Current zoning regulations regarding fill and basements in flood zones will not change, Dobin emphasized.

A raised home on Compo Cove.

2 responses to “[CLARIFICATION] P&Z: No Full Basements In Flood Zones; Piers, Pilings Remain Only Options

  1. Jack Backiel

    I can identify with this. I lived on Palm Beach island 16 feet from the beach and 140 feet from the Atlantic Ocean. When I stood on my balcony, the next piece of property was 5,400 miles away in Africa. Looking west, I was 1/8th of a mile to the intercostal waterway. Now there’s a flood zone for you!

  2. Donald Bergmann

    Of course the P&Z Commission was correct in precluding this effort to alter shorelines, most likely to be able to build bigger. However, I believe the P&Z Comm. erred many years ago when they allowed new construction in FEMA areas to exceed the normal 26 foot height limit on roof lines. The alteration in the roof height limit, an increase of up to five feet, was fair if a homeowner was elevating an existing house. The change should never have been permitted for new construction. If one wants to build a new house, it would be far more sound to require that such a house conform to all the rules and, in fact, be affected by the fact that there is climate change and rising waters. The worst example of the impact of this several year old change is the house at 233 Hillspoint Rd. It is so tall because the regulations allowed it to rise an additional five feet. I would like to see the regulation changed to prevent these tall houses in the case of new construction.
    Don Bergmann