Issue #85 — Friday, October 24, 2014
Three feet is just a little more than the height of a fire hydrant, but in the world of flood insurance, three feet can make the difference between a $ 6,000 and a $ 800 homeowner’s premium.
According to Scott Fraser, Key West’s FEMA Coordinator, in some cases, raising a home up to an additional four feet above FEMA requirements could result in even greater savings on a homeowner’s annual insurance premium; as much as 94%.
The City Commission is asking voters to consider passing a referendum which would allow homeowners to break through the building height barriers found in the municipal code for the dual purpose of protecting homes from flood damage and drastically reducing insurance costs.
Some residents have expressed concerns about a secret “developers’ agenda” or unintended consequences that might result if the referendum is passed. In Key West restrictions on building height were put in place as a result of strong demand by residents and they were aggressively safeguarded when a charter amendment was enacted that would require voters to approve any changes – so it’s no wonder that people are paying strict attention to this paticular referendum question.
In the video above The Blue Paper asks Scott Fraser to help residents understand how things would work if the referendum on height were to pass.
Here is the text of the referendum:
To protect property against flooding and reduce flood insurance costs for taxpayers citywide, should the City permit an exception to building height regulations when buildings are voluntarily raised off the ground, up to four feet above FEMA established flood levels, yet no more than 40 feet in height?
The video below explains the potential insurance cost savings when homes are elevated above FEMA flood levels:
This month, I attended the Gulf Coast Caucus meeting of the National Association of Counties where we discussed how to grapple with the consequences of revisions to the National Flood Insurance Program. I also attended a regional climate change meeting and learned more about the impacts we are likely to see from rising sea levels. My long-time involvement with the County and FIRM on these issues leads me to support the City’s referendum on making a limited exception to the height limit to allow homeowners to protect themselves from flood damage and exorbitant flood insurance costs. It’s an important and prudent approach to flood plain management.
I’ve been disappointed to hear and read speculative and uninformed remarks in opposition to the referendum and would like to address some specific issues.
- There has been no substantiation of the cost of elevating a structure other than some speculation at an August City Commission meeting. In fact, I personally know of one property owner who has received a quote of approximately $ 50,000 to elevate a large home in the Meadows, and have heard of another who paid around $ 30,000 to elevate a small home in Bahama Village. (City staff is investigating prices.) Further, it is likely that these costs will come down as technology improves and there is demand for the service.
I am Phil Goodman, the current District 2 Commissioner on The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Board. I am running on my record as a fiscal conservative and placing the needs of the taxpayers of Monroe County as a top priority. I am a 15 year resident of Cudjoe Key and live there with my wife of 43 years, Debby, and our daughter Carey. I am a graduate chemist from North Carolina State University with an MBA degree from the University of North Carolina. I am a Registered Parliamentarian with the National Association of Parliamentarians, a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council, the USCG Auxiliary, the Advisory Board of Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Key West Military Affairs Committee. During my three years on the Mosquito Control Board I have been pro-active in informing Monroe County citizens about the role of mosquito control in the Keys by giving presentations to various organizations throughout our County.
EARLY VOTING. One more time: If you want to consider yourself a good citizen, you need to register to vote and then vote in every election. There is almost no good reason not to do this. Election day this year is November 4– but Early Voting started last Monday. The Key West location for Early Voting is the Supervisor of Elections Office on Whitehead at Southard. The office is open for Early Voting Monday- Saturday, 8;30am- 5pm. Last day to vote early is Saturday, November 1. On the ballot, voters will see choices for governor, U.S. House of Representatives, several other statewide offices, a County Commission seat, two Mosquito Control seats, a circuit judge runoff, as well as several state constitutional amendments and local referenda. For an advance look at the ballot, log onto the Supervisor of Elections website: keyselections.org
IS LEGALIZED MARIJUANA COMING TO TOWN? Maybe, When you go to vote, you will see a proposed state constitutional amendment that would authorize the use of marijuana for certain medical conditions. If approved by a majority of voters, will we soon see a prescription-only pot store on Duval Street?