The City has adopted ordinances to manage development within designated Special Flood Hazard Areas to prevent increased flooding and minimize future flood damage. Flood Insurance Rate Maps, published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are used as the basis for delineating the Special Flood Hazard Area and identifying regulated land.
A permit from the Building Division is required for all "development" in the Special Flood Hazard Area. "Development" is defined in the City's Flood Prevention Requirements (Code of Ordinances, Part III, Chapter 4, Article X, Section 1.D.1) to "include but not be limited to the subdivision of land; filling, grading, and other site improvements and utility installations; construction, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, improvement, replacement, repair, relocation or demolition of buildings, structures, and facilities that are exempt from the Florida Building Code; placement, installation, or replacement of manufactured homes and manufactured buildings; installation or replacement of tanks; installation of swimming pools…"
Proposed development must not increase flooding or create a dangerous situation during flooding, especially on neighboring properties. If a structure is involved, it must be constructed to minimize damage during flooding.
Permitting officials work with applicants to discourage development in the floodplain wherever possible, but when unavoidable, the effects of development must be minimized. The permitting review process may seem cumbersome at times, but it is a requirement for continued community participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Violations can not only jeopardize a community's standing in the NFIP, but they can impact the ability of residents to obtain flood insurance. If you see development occurring without permits, protect your rights by reporting violators to the Building Division by calling 561-742-6350.
The City's ordinance requires that all new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures located within the floodplain (e.g., Special Flood Hazard Area) shall have the lowest floor elevated to the base flood elevation plus one foot. Non-residential buildings must be similarly elevated or be "dry floodproofed" to the BFE plus one foot. "Dry floodproofing" means making the walls and floor watertight and strong enough to resist the pressure of floodwaters on the structure.
Substantially Improved Structures
Substantially improved structures are those where the cost of remodeling, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value. Substantially improved structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area are subject to the same flood protection standards as new structures.
Substantially Damaged Structures
A substantially damaged structure is one that has been damaged by a flood, fire, wind, or any cause where the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value before the damage occurred. Substantially damaged structures in the Special Flood Hazard Area are subject to the same flood protection standards as new structures.
For more information on the substantial improvement and substantial damage rules, see FEMA's desk reference (PDF).
To verify that a building has been properly elevated, the City of Boynton Beach requires the completion of an Elevation Certificate (PDF) by a professional engineer or surveyor. After the lowest floor is in place, its elevation above sea level is determined by a survey. The Elevation Certificate is part of the permit record and must be submitted before the building may be occupied.
Further information on the requirements for floodplain development, the permitting process and Elevation Certificates can be obtained from the Building Division by calling 561-742-6350 or by visiting us at City Hall (100 E Ocean Avenue, Boynton Beach, FL 33435). Check building records to view Elevation Certificates that have been archived by street address, if available.