What are a coastal high hazard areas (V zones) and what improvements can be made in these areas?

"Coastal high hazard areas (V zones) are located within areas of special flood hazard areas established in section 701.7.B of this Code and designated as zones V1-V30, VE, and/or V. These areas have special flood hazards associated with high velocity waters from surges; and, therefore, in addition to meeting all provisions in this section, the following provisions shall also apply:

1. All new construction and substantial improvements in zones V1-V30, V, and VE shall be elevated on pilings and columns so that:

a. The bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the lowest floor (excluding the pilings or columns) is elevated no lower than one foot above the base-flood elevation level; and

b. The pile or column foundation and structure attached thereto is anchored to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement due to the effects of wind and water loads acting simultaneously on all building components. Wind and water loading values shall each have a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (100-year mean recurrence interval).

2. Registered professional engineer or architect shall develop or review the structural design, specifications, and plans for the construction and shall certify that the design and methods of construction to be used are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the provisions of section 701.9.F.1. (a) and (b) of this Code.

3. Obtain the elevation (in relation to mean sea level) of the bottom of the lowest structural member of the lowest floor (excluding pilings and columns) of all new and substantially improved structures in zones V1--V30 and VE. The county administrator, or his designee, shall maintain a record of all such information.

4. All new construction shall be located landward of the reach of mean high tide.

5. Provide that all new construction and substantial improvements have the space below the lowest floor either free of obstruction or constructed with non-supporting breakaway walls; open-wood latticework; or insect screening intended to collapse under wind and water loads without causing collapse, displacement, or other structural damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system. 

For the purpose of this section, a breakaway wall shall have a design safe loading resistance of not less than ten and no more than 20 pounds per square foot. Use of breakaway walls which exceed a design safe loading resistance of 20 pounds per square foot (either by design or when so required by local codes) may be permitted only if a registered professional engineer or architect certifies that the designs proposed meet the following conditions:

a. Breakaway wall collapse shall result from water load less than that which would occur during the base flood; and

b. The elevated portion of the building and supporting foundation system shall not be subject to collapse, displacement, or other structural damage due to the effects of wind and water loads acting simultaneously on all building components (structural and nonstructural). Maximum wind and water loading values to be used in this determination shall each have a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

6. If breakaway walls are utilized, such enclosed space shall be usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access, or limited storage. Such space shall not be used for human habitation.

7. Prohibit the use of fill for structural support of buildings.

8. Prohibit man made alteration of sand dunes or mangrove stands that would increase potential flood damage.

9. All manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved within zones V1--V30, V, and VE on the community's FIRM on sites:

a. Outside of a manufactured home park or subdivision;

b. In a new manufactured home park or subdivision;

c. In an expansion to an existing manufactured home park or subdivision; or,

d. In an existing manufactured home park or subdivision on which a manufactured home has incurred substantial damage as the result of a flood, meet the standards of sections 701.9.F. one through eight of this Code and that manufactured homes placed or substantially improved on other sites in an existing manufactured home park or subdivision with zones V1--V30, V, and VE on the FIRM meet the requirements of sections 701.9.B.4. (a) through (b) of this Code.

10. Recreational vehicles placed on sites within zones V1--V30, V, and VE on the community's FIRM either:

a. Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days;

b. Be fully licensed and ready for highway use, on its wheels or jacking system, is attached to the site only by quick disconnect-type utilities and security devices, and has no permanently attached additions; or,

c. Meet the requirements of section 701.8.B and section 701.9.B and F of this Code.

11. Critical facilities: Construction of new critical facilities shall be, to the extent possible, located outside the limits of the special flood hazard area (SFHA) (100-year floodplain). Construction of new critical facilities shall be permissible within the SFHA if no feasible alternative site is available. Critical facilities constructed within the SFHA shall have the lowest floor elevated three feet or more above the level of the base-flood elevation at the site. Flood proofing and sealing measures must be taken to ensure that toxic substances will not be displaced by or released into floodwaters. Access routes elevated to or above the level of the base-flood elevation shall be provided to all critical facilities to the extent possible.

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1. How can I meet with someone from the Development Services Branch?
2. What are a coastal high hazard areas (V zones) and what improvements can be made in these areas?
3. What are the floodplain management regulations?