In Seabrook, any development within the floodplain, including new construction, filling, grading, and paving, requires a permit as per Chapter 38 of the Seabrook Code of Ordinances (revised November 18th, 2016). Substantially damaged or improved structures, where repair or improvements equal or exceed 50% of the building's market value, also need permits and elevation certificates, following the same standards as new construction.
Seabrook, as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), adheres to minimum standards but has chosen to exceed them for enhanced citizen protection. One such higher standard is requiring new construction and substantially improved structures to be built at least 18 inches (1.5 feet) above the Base Flood Elevation. For accessory structures like storage sheds, flood vents are required instead of elevation.
These higher standards provide added protection and potential cost savings on flood insurance premiums for property owners. While they don't eliminate the flooding threat entirely, they contribute to better-safeguarding properties. Before any construction in the floodplain, it's crucial to contact the Building Department for guidance to ensure compliance with regulations. Illegal development in the floodplain should be reported to the Seabrook Building Department.
Elevation certificates are mandatory to verify that new construction and substantial improvements meet city ordinances. They are available for review at the Building Department during regular business hours.
The following FEMA publications are useful when considering how to build a safe and compliant home in the floodplain: