Town: Inaccurate Information “Spreading Widely” About Garage

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The battle between Rick and Amy Loughery and the Town of Fort Myers Beach is heating up. The Town has issued another statement about the situation, claiming inaccurate information is “spreading widely.” Rick is still on his roof, awaiting a ruling from FEMA, which will come no earlier than Monday.

The Town did not specify who they are accusing of spreading the inaccurate information. You can watch my interview with Amy Loughery from this morning HERE.

Here’s the full Friday night statement from the Town of Fort Myers Beach:

“Town leaders and staff have been working through a situation with a property owner on Estero Boulevard that is drawing a lot of attention. Inaccurate information about this situation is spreading widely. The situation is that a resident built a garage in 2019 that survived Hurricane Ian in 2022 but unfortunately does not comply with current Florida Building Code, FEMA floodplain, and other regulations that have changed. This building must be brought into current compliance. Town staff and leaders have consulted with officials from the state and FEMA, met with the parties involved, and collectively determined that these are the options for the property owners:

1) A new single-family home can be built with the garage connected to the new home. The home’s rebuilding must be built to current regulations, and the surviving garage portion must also be brought up to current standards (Coastal A Zone, FBC 8th Ed).

2) Convert the surviving garage into a stand-alone accessory structure (storage and parking only) and build a new detached single-family home. The home would be treated as new construction, and the garage must be brought up to current accessory structure
standards (Coastal A Zone, FBC 8th Ed, flood ordinance) and must meet local zoning
regulations as well.

3) Demolish the surviving garage and rebuild a new home with a new garage as new
construction, meeting current regulations. The Town must follow floodplain regulations and building codes that govern construction throughout the State of Florida, as well as through FEMA. Since the Town has agreed to be a participating community in the National Flood Insurance Program, which reduces flood insurance costs for residents, consistently following the rules is critical to maintain the Town’s good standing.

Maintaining the Town’s good standing impacts post-disaster FEMA funding and mortgage availability for all residents. The state and federal agencies that watch over these programs pay very close attention to the Town’s adherence to their rules.
Every local government that participates in the FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) has a Class rating from Class 1 to Class 10. Flood insurance premium discounts in CRS communities range from 5% to 45% and are discounted in increments of 5%. A Class 10 community is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount. A Class 9 community receives a 5% discount for all policies, a Class 8 community receives a 10% discount, etc., all the way to a Class 1 community, which receives a 45% premium discount.

The Town’s new attorney also represents the City of Anna Maria that was impacted by
Hurricane Irma in 2017. When FEMA discovered some non-compliance with the 50% Rule by that city, its CRS rating went from a Class 5 (with a 25% discount) to a Class 7 (with a 15% discount). The City lost 10% in flood insurance discounts resulting in many millions of dollars in lost discounts to property owners.

Historically, the Town of Fort Myers Beach has had a CRS rating of Class 7 which provides a 15% discount on flood insurance. If Fort Myers Beach does not strictly enforce the 50% Rule, there is the strong possibility that the property owners in the Town could end up losing 10% of their FEMA flood insurance discount. Since flood insurance is required to obtain a mortgage, that extra cost could make rebuilding in the Town even more financially difficult.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m my opinion the federal government shouldn’t be an “insurance company “. If fema provides the discounts, they must be the agency providing flood insurance at taxpayer’s dollar. Name one organization that the federal government has taken over that isn’t a disaster to the taxpayer.

  2. Was the building code the same in 2019. If so why was it allowed to be built?
    Are the options based on the thinking it was an attached garage?
    The owners are saying it was detached. If it was detached are there different options?

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