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The BOB program makes travel via bus routes more widely accessible to customers and potential customers who do not live work close to a bus route. It also enables recreational travelers to take the bus to some of the most desirable bike riding locations in the city.
Benefits include increasing ridership, farebox revenue and system usage.
Nothing! It’s free! Customers pay the regular fare but there is no additional charge for bringing a bike.
No permit is required.
No, as long as the riders can independently put the bike on the rack, they may use the system. Children and persons unable to lift their bikes must be accompanied by another rider capable of lifting the bikes.
No, the actual time to load and secure, or unload a bike is approximately 20 seconds.
No, the bus operator should not need to since the racks are very simple to operate and there are easy-to-understand instructions posted right on the track.
Bus operators are required to observe the customer loading the bike and note that the customer has secured the bike properly. Bus operators will not be required to physically assist the customer. On occasion, they may be asked to answer questions regarding the program and the racks.
One or two bikes can be carried on the rack at any one time. Only 16-inch wheel bikes or larger, with a single seat and two wheels can be carried. Bikes with a permanent pannier or child carrier are too heavy and bulky for the racks. Key West Department of Transportation (KWDoT) bike racks will not accommodate mopeds, gas powered motor bikes of any kind, or tandem bicycles.
No, only regular bikes can be transported.
No. A customer cannot lock a bike on the rack.
It is possible to load bikes from either side, but to be safe, bikes should only be loaded from the curbside. Passengers should never stand in or near oncoming traffic.
Bikes should be loaded into the inside slot first, if vacant. But bikes can be loaded or removed from either slot at any time.
The customer who removes the last bike from the rack is responsible for placing the rack into the closed position.
No, the handle bars of the bike are no higher than the bottom of the windshield.
The bus operator should get off the bus and make sure the bike is secured properly before proceeding.
The bus operator should contact Dispatch immediately. They should collect pertinent information about the bike and the bike owner including:
This information must be included in the written report filed with Safety and Training.
The customer should contact the Key West Department of Transportation’s (KWDoT) Lost and Found by calling 305-809-3910.
The Building Department is located at:1300 White StreetKey West, FL 33040
The building is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19.
The Building Department Permit Counter is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm by telephone and email the Building Department only.
Not only is it the law, but building permits can also protect you. With a building permit you get the advice of reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Building Code, zoning laws and the approved plans. Additionally, a building permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.
Working without a permit, when one is required, can result in fines and can cause problems when you sell your home and probably more importantly, you lose the assurance that the work you’re paying for is built to code, a minimum standard for safety.
The following are unlawful without a building permit:
No permit shall be required, in this or any of the following sections, for general maintenance or repairs which to not change the occupancy, and the value of which does not exceed five hundred dollars in labor and material as determined by the Building Official.
The most common types of projects that permits are requested for are listed below:
Building permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex.
Owner-builder applicants making application for a building permit should be advised of the following provisions and requirements that apply to owner-builders:
There are three types of demolitions permit namely:
Electrical permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex of which the owner resides.
Not only is it the law, but mechanical permits can also protect you. With a mechanical permit you get the advice of reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Standard Mechanical Code, zoning laws and the approved plans. Additionally, a mechanical permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.
Mechanical permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex.
Not only is it the law, but plumbing permits can also protect you. With a plumbing permit you get the advice of reviewers and inspectors who will approve each phase of your project, checking to see that the work is done in accordance with the Standard Plumbing Code, zoning laws and the approved plans. Additionally, a plumbing permit is required to show compliance with sanitary, safety and welfare concerns including required setbacks from property lines and adjacent structures.
Plumbing permits are issued in the name of the person performing the work. Only licensed contractors or owner/builder may obtain a permit. Owner/builder permits are limited to the construction of one single-family residence or duplex.
Once a permit has been issued and work has begun, inspections are performed by the City’s inspectors at intervals designated by the Building Code. Simply stated, an inspection is required prior to concealing any part of the construction. The building permit that is issued will indicate the types of work that requires inspections and when to call for one. This permit must be displayed on the job site. The contractor should call the Building Department when the stage of work indicated on the building permit has been completed.
Failure to comply with the inspection requirements could result in a request to dismantle any work done beyond the inspection stage. In order to prevent delays in performing inspections, we ask your assurance that properly installed and visible address appear on buildings.
A Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) is required for all new construction, additions or when a change of use is desired.
A Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) can be issued by the Building Department after all applicable final inspections are approved; all required documents filed with the Building Department and all applicable fees are paid. Other required fees are Solid Waste accounts and establishment of Sewer accounts. These accounts are established with the Revenue Department of The City of Key West.
For further information on required documents, please call the Building Department at 305-809-3956.
No. The building height exemption was added to the existing ordinance, but didn’t change other provisions already in the ordinance. Thus, the building size limitations - which governs how tall the physical size of a building may be - remain the same.
This is simpler to understand with an existing building that’s going to be elevated. It’s the distance from the ground to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) level, plus up to a maximum of four additional feet. The BFE level differs by location; in some instances, buildings on a single lot may have different BFE levels if a flood zone line runs through the lot. Review How to Read Flood Maps for more information.
Determining how high above ground the minimum flood level (BFE) is for any site can’t be determined until it’s known how high above sea level the land is at. The level of the grade is usually determined by obtaining an Elevation Certificate for the location or building from a land surveyor.
These examples include mathematical expressions. In the following examples the addition symbol (+) will be used and the equals symbol (=).
There are now minimum elevation standards for new buildings. The Building Height Exception doesn’t being to be calculated until those minimums are exceeded. Given that the maximum exception is Base Flood Elevation (BFE) plus four-feet, a maximum three-feet of height exception is possible.
The BFEs are minimum expected flood levels. Deeper flood levels are possible. Additionally, there are substantial flood insurance discounts for every additional foot above BFE (known as freeboard) is up to a maximum four feet.
Note: The current building code requires new and Substantially Improved buildings be elevated to BFE plus one-foot. This height is referred to as the Design Flood Elevation (DFE). By default, these buildings end up having a minimum one-foot of freeboard.
No. The exception only approved a maximum first floor height of 4 feet above the flood level. No City official, board or commission has the authority to allow this to be exceeded. Only another public referendum could change this limitation.
The referendum was designed to assist with the elevation of buildings above flood levels, not to allow the construction of larger buildings. The regulated size of buildings hasn’t changed, only how high those same sized building may be elevated. The 40-foot cap is to ensure that no matter what else may be calculated towards elevation, anything above 40-feet isn’t permitted.
For example: Suppose it’s calculated that the maximum a building might be elevated at the bottom to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) plus four-feet - would be ten-feet above the ground. However, if adding 10-feet to the bottom of the building would cause the top of the building to be at 42-feet, then the building may only be elevated eight-feet, to the 40-foot limit.
Three different places, depending upon what measurement is needed.
It’s easy to be confused, because at first blush we’re trying to reconcile three different measurements that aren’t directly related to each other:
The only way to reconcile these different measurements is to measure all the relevant heights to one common basis, sea level (NGVD). The following diagram, shows the basic measurements necessary to evaluate utilizing the Building Height Exception. These measurements are all relative to sea level.
This information goes with the diagram of the house:
The City of Key West permits only 25 mobile vendor licenses, for selling products and services from public roads. There are presently no licenses available. Anyone interested in obtaining a vending license should contact the licensing office at 305-809-3955 the first week of November (of any year). If a license is available, a registration period will be held the last two weeks of November, and the license will be awarded by random selection shortly thereafter. Licenses fees average $1,000 for mobile vending.
The City of Key West does not require licensing for sunset performers, however, a permit/permission is required by the Cultural Preservation Society (CPS). Please call 305-292-7700 for more information or visit the Sunset Celebration website.
View the requirements:
All requirements must be met, plus there must be handicapped-accessible commercial restrooms on the property. If retail goods are sold from the booth or cart, special permission must first be granted from the City Commission.
In all districts in the city where residential uses are permitted, a home business license is allowed, however, certain conditions must be met, including:
The City has many contractor classifications, and recognizes three levels of licensing: state certified licenses, state registered licenses, and specialty licenses. The state tests for certified licenses, and contractors licensed in this manner may work anywhere in the state.
Municipalities and counties hold testing for registered and specialty licenses. The City of Key West tests all contractors, and conduct the tests three times a year. After passing the required tests, contractors must apply for and receive a state registration and/or local competency card, obtain liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage, and acquire a business location.
The City has very few zoning districts in the historic district which allow transient use, and the City has very strict off-street parking and density (units-per-acre) requirements. These restrictions coupled with a current cap on new transient licenses makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to convert a residential property to transient use.
Key West has several ordinances pertaining to transportation businesses. The Vehicle for Hire Ordinance regulates and caps taxi services. The Entertainment Ordinance caps pedicab and other "entertainment" type licenses. The Sightseeing Ordinances caps sightseeing vehicle businesses. Limousine licenses are available, but are very strictly defined and regulated.
Business taxes in the City of Key West range from $19.95 (rental unit) to $1,260 (utility company) per year, most averaging $100 to $300. Businesses operating in the City also need to obtain a Monroe County Business Tax Receipt (call 305-295-5000 for more information). Businesses using a fictitious name, need to register that name with the State of Florida, which costs $50.
City Hall is located at:1300 White StreetKey West, FL 33040Phone: 305-809-3955Fax: 305-809-3978
HoursMonday through Friday7:30 am to 4:30 pm
Commercial construction, demolition, drilling, or reasonably similar activities are limited to Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. No exceptions contained in this subsection shall apply on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Domestic power tools sound levels are only allowed between Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm from any of the following hand-powered or mechanically powered tools:
The office in City Hall is closed on weekends. However, if you would like to report a complaint or possible code violation when the office is closed, you may call (305) 809-3740. If you need to contact a Code Inspector, you can call the Key West Police Department’s non-emergency number, (305)-809-1000, and request a Code Inspector to return your call.
No. Boats, Trailers or a Recreational Vehicle (RV) must be parked and/or stored on your property without extending into a public right-of-way or an adjoining property.
The City of Key West does not have any laws pertaining to tenant-landlord agreements.
CERT is short for Community Emergency Response Team.
Keys residents are known for their eagerness and willingness to respond to tragic events and disasters. Many want to help, offer their services, and be a part of the solution. Yet in the middle of such an event there may be confusion as to where or how they can assist.
A CERT provides a well-organized structure, with effective communications, to help identify the scope of the incident, understand the plan and the logistical requirements, and deploy the team safely and efficiently.
The team does the following:
People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community. They can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes, their neighbors, or their workplace.
Properly trained, they would:
To become a member of the CERT a volunteer must complete required training, such as:
Disaster is typically considered an event that causes injury, loss of life, and widespread damage. Citizens trained in the manner proposed should also be able to deal more effectively with daily emergencies. They can then advise responders of the pre-emptive steps that have been taken. This might include:
In addition, members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community. CERTs have been used to assist in fire safety awareness, distribute disaster education material, and provide services at specials events, such as parades, sporting events and festivals
The "team," in its most general sense, would refer to the group of citizens that seek training and share a common interest in becoming more aware of the problems and solutions that may affect them, their families, and their neighborhood. The graduate of this course is encouraged to go back to their community and garner the interest necessary to form "neighborhood teams" that can prepare for and respond to each other’s needs in the event of an impending or actual emergency situation.
The graduate of the CERT Program is made aware of the problems that they could face during a major emergency. They share this information with friends in their neighborhood. As these friends learn of the availability of information that could enhance their family’s safety, interests in certain areas of personal preference or potential expertise emerge. People will seek new knowledge in areas that they find of interest or that they are capable of performing.
Some people are good at "hands-on" tasks; others feel comfortable with leadership, support or documentation duties. Keys residents enjoy a challenge, especially a challenge that makes them feel philanthropic, or gives them a feeling of the "right to belong" to the community where they live. As the interest in this "new challenge" grows, so do the number of people that want to belong to this "New Team" that is emerging in our community.
Email Alan Averette or call the Key West Fire Department at 305-809-3933.
Learn about right-of-way permit application differentiation (PDF).
Fill out a Permanent Right-Of-Way Application Form (PDF)
Fill out a Temporary Right-Of-Way Permit Application Form (PDF)
Find an example of Maintenance of Traffic Plans (PDF)
The original modern developers of the City of Key West designated certain routes in the City as public "Rights-of-Way" to allow commerce to exist. Businesses and residents need to have avenues to transport goods and move around the island. The City was granted designated Right-of-Ways, which are required to be maintained for the purpose of allowing people the right of passage.
The City must maintain the streets in a manner that is conducive to the passage of people and goods. The City has the responsibility to ensure that use of the Right-of-Way maintains proper public access and the infrastructure is properly designed and installed.
"Right-of-Way" permits are required for all construction and landscape work and for any use of the Right-of-Way, such as
Permits are required for filling low spots with rock, asphalting on the edge of pavement, sidewalks, and brick driveways.
"Maintenance of Traffic" permits are required when any use of the Right-of-Way will cause a temporary blockage of the street, sidewalk or parking lanes. These requirements include cones, barricades, flaggers, and other means to ensure vehicles and pedestrian traffic are routed safely.
There are a number of utilities and their contractors which use the City’s Rights-of-Way. These include:
Yes. The City is a member of the Utility Coordination Association, and we meet monthly to update each other on projects. We maintain a five-year plan for all utility work and attempt to schedule projects on the same road in the same time period to reduce costs of asphalt overlay. Sometimes, work can not be coordinated due to the nature of, or extent of, repairs or funding availability.
Monroe County is responsible for maintaining the street portion of the following Rights-of-Way (the City maintains the sidewalks):
The Florida Department of Transportation maintains:
Sanitary sewer (the sewer servicing your house) questions should be referred to OMI, a contract service of the Utilities Department at 305-292-5100. Storm drain questions should be referred to the Utilities Department at 305-809-3902.
Build up from street debris or falling leaves accumulates at storm grates. If you want to help, you can use a shovel or rake to clear off the top of the grate. If this does not correct the problem, contact the Utilities Department at 305-809-3902.
Also, it is not cost effective to build storm drainage pipes large enough to handle every storm. Local streets are designed to be temporarily covered by water during heavy storms.
The City of Key West is responsible for seeing that the drainage from public streets is properly handled. Water flowing onto your property from privately owned property is a matter between the private property owners. We suggest you talk with your neighbor and work together to arrive at a solution. The City has no specific codes or jurisdiction over storm drainage from one private lot flowing into another private lot.
During heavy storms, Public Works and OMI crews are very busy and cannot be everywhere at one time. The City appreciates help from the public. If there is a plugged drain or grate over a culvert adjacent to your property, we encourage you to take preventive measures, if you are able, and clear it out rather than wait to report a problem. To report a drainage problem, call 305-809-3902.
The fee is to help pay to build a storm drainage system that will prevent a storm sewer overflow into the outstanding Florida waters.
City code states that public sidewalks are to be maintained by the adjacent property owners. If a citizen complains about an unsafe sidewalk, it will be inspected after the complaint is received. If it is found to be hazardous, a repair notice will be sent to the adjacent property owner.
Sidewalk inspectors look for hazards that cause people to trip and fall. For example, sidewalks that are raised, badly cracked, or have holes and rough spots or damage by tree roots may be hazardous. Guidelines suggest lips or settlement exceeding 1 3/4 inches may be considered a hazard. Hazards may be reported to the Engineering Services Department at 305-809-3965.
Once they are notified that a hazard exists, property owners have 30 days to complete repairs either by doing the work themselves, hiring a contractor or asking the City to make repairs. A City permit is required for sidewalk repair within the City right-of-way. Fees or bonds are based on the linear footage of sidewalk being replaced. The City also provides property owners with an inspection to be sure that the repair is completed according to City code. Permits can be downloaded from the Engineering Department section on this website or obtained at the Engineering Services office located at 1300 White Street. Call 305-809-3965 for further information.
Yes. Property owners who complete their own work in the right-of-way must obtain a permit from the Engineering Services office at 1300 White Street. This permit offers inspections for forms and final finish work. Information is available to property owners who need advice on how to make repairs. Inspections are included in the permit. Call 305-809-3965 for more information.
ADA accessible curb ramps are installed on all newly constructed corners. Curb ramps are installed any time an existing corner requires reconstruction or by request. Some ramps will be placed in the downtown area or installed where none exist.
The City of Key West advertises all major city contracts in the Citizen. Information can also be obtained online at DemandStar, or by phone at 1-800-711-1712.
A Right-of-Way permit is required to remove a tree or plant trees and other plantings on the City’s Right-of-Way. Contact the Engineering Services Department, 305-809-3965, AND the Landscape Division of the Planning Department, 305-809-3764. A Landscaping permit is required before a right-of-way permit will be issued.
If the container is placed on private property, a permit is not required. If there is no room on the private property and it is necessary to use the right-of-way, a permit is required. Permits for dumpsters may only be applied for by the Dumpster Company supplying the container. They are responsible for the placement of the container and removal of the container. A property owner may not apply for a dumpster permit.
Flood waters could undermine the ground under the first floor, causing the entire building to collapse. The water may never touch your unit, yet it could be destroyed by flood damage, which wouldn’t be covered by a homeowner’s policy.
Most local insurance companies offer flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Regardless of which Agent you contact, NFIP coverage should cost the same. The easiest was to find an agent in Key West is to search the internet for: Flood insurance agents "key west."
The best recommendation is to have a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP; if they qualify per National Flood Insurance Program rules) in place before the maps become effective. If not, they still have 12 months from the effective date to purchase a PRP. They will then be rated using the Newly Mapped Procedure (PDF). (Note that the link to the latest version of this fact sheet is broken, so what is included is to the old fact sheet with the same information-previous look. We’ll get you the updated version.)
With the Newly Mapped Procedure, the rate starts out at the Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) rate and then will increase each year no more than 18% (currently it has been at around 15% each year). It will stop increasing when it reaches one of two values:
If your flood risk has increased, your building and flood insurance requirements may change with the new flood maps become effective. The National Flood Insurance Program, (NFIP) has cost-saving options to help reduce the financial impact such as Newly Mapped Procedure (PDF) and Grandfathering. View Map Changes for Property Owners (PDF).
If your flood risk has decreased, there’s still a risk. Ask your agent about converting your policy to a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy. Please remember, maps cannot be used for insurance rating until the effective date has been reached.
If you have flood insurance in place and continue coverage after the new maps become effective, this will lock the lower Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in place for future rating. If the building is sold, you can transfer the policy to the new owner so they may continue benefiting from this lower-cost rating option. (This also applies for properties changing from Zone A to Zone V).
Fact sheets are available at this link. FEMA has produced a video explaining this new type of flood zone. The most important to understand is that communities need to build to V zone standards seaward of the Limit of Moderate Wave Action Line (LiMWA). There are no special insurance rates or different requirements between the LiMWA and Zone V (Coastal A Zone); however, if a person builds to the V zone standards in the Coastal A Zone, it may result in lower premiums.
While there aren’t yet any negative flood insurance rates associated with these new Coastal A Zones, the entire flood insurance rate structure is being redesigned for the year 2021; so this may change.
Email the City’s Floodplain Administrator/FEMA Coordinator Scott Fraser, or call at 305-809-3810 for a review. If you still disagree, FEMA has other options.
Large projects will need to be reviewed by the HARC Commission, these include:
Also, projects that do not comply with the HARC Guidelines and ordinances cannot be staff approved and will also need to be reviewed by the HARC Commission.
A Certificate of Appropriateness is an issued document stating that the proposed work is appropriate for the historic district and meets the regulations in the land development regulations and HARC Guidelines.
Section 102-152 of the Land Development Regulations states A certificate of appropriateness is required for the erection of any new structure, building, fence, deck or sign or the painting, repainting, repair, alteration, remodeling, landscaping or demolition of the exterior of any existing building, structure, fence, deck, sign, landscape, or lot. HARC Guidelines state that, All exterior work must have HARC approval whether a building permit is required or not. If a building permit is required, the applicant shall obtain HARC approval prior to the issuance of the permit.
A certificate of appropriateness is required for the erection of any new structure, building, fence, deck or sign or the painting, repainting, repair, alteration, remodeling, landscaping or demolition of the exterior of any existing building, structure, fence, deck, sign, landscape, or lot.
All exterior work must have HARC approval whether a building permit is required or not. If a building permit is required, the applicant shall obtain HARC approval prior to the issuance of the permit.
The Guidelines also state that HARC approval must be secured on:
Contributing buildings mean structures that "contribute" to the Historic District, historically and architecturally. These are considered more significant historically and architecturally and should be rehabilitated more carefully than noncontributing structures. The regulations for contributing buildings are typically stronger and more stringent than noncontributing buildings. Staff has a survey that contains which structures are contributing and which structures are noncontributing.
Noncontributing buildings may be considered historic, and therefore have stricter regulations compared to non-historic buildings.
Historic building means any building or structure which, in whole or in any structural part, was built 50 or more years prior to the current date, and which is located in the historic zoning districts of the city or has been designated as a historic building and/or structure, (Section 102-1).
Historic building means any building or structure which, in whole or in any structural part, was built 50 or more years prior to the current date, and which is located in the historic zoning districts of the city or has been designated as a historic building and/or structure,
When staff refers to something being "historic," that means it was constructed 50 or more years prior to the current date.
Yes. A Certificate of Appropriateness is required for any exterior change to a property located in the Historic District, even if it is not publicly visible. Please see the How to Apply page for more information.
Possibly. First, staff will need to visit your property to assess the windows you want to replace. Learn more on our Historic Windows page.
If replacement of roofing material is necessary, the HARC Guidelines for Roofing (PDF) state, that historic roofing must be replaced with similar metal shingles, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation (PDF) both state, Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials.
that historic roofing must be replaced with similar metal shingles,
Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials.
Yes. HARC understands the importance of raising historic and significant structures out of the floodplain, but there are certain restrictions on how much you can elevate your structure. It is important to retain the pedestrian quality of the historic district as well as retain the historic house’s proportions and architectural character. As such, it is inappropriate to elevate a structure in order to park a car underneath, as well as elevating a contributing or historic building or structure in order to build a new addition underneath.
Elevating a structure will require a HARC Commission Review.
Yes - as long as the addition is appropriate to the building and the neighborhood. Learn more on our Additions page.
Yes, although HARC requires the equipment to not cause damage to the historic fabric and that the panels to be as non-publicly visible as possible. Please see the Solar Collectors Guidelines (PDF) for more information.
HARC only has jurisdiction over the interiors of properties that are listed individually (PDF) on the National Register of Historic Places. If there is an interior feature that a property owner wants to be protected, they should look into preservation/conservation easements on our Resources page. There are benefits such as tax deductions for donating an easement.
Yes, the City of Key West was added to Florida’s Certified Local Government (CLG) Program in 1991. The CLG Program was enacted as part of the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 1980. The program links three levels of government - federal, state and local - into a preservation partnership for the identification, evaluation and protection of historic properties. Designation as a certified local government, either as a municipality or a county, makes historic preservation a public policy through passage of a historic preservation ordinance. The ordinance establishes a historic preservation board to develop and oversee the functions of its historic preservation program.
Since its inception in 1986, Florida’s Certified Local Government Program has assisted in the survey, designation and preservation of thousands of historic and cultural resources and helped to increase public awareness of historic preservation. Participation in the program is also an important consideration in the local planning process, as governments in Florida are required to address historic preservation in comprehensive planning decisions. By identifying historic resources in a local government’s comprehensive plan, proposed development projects will be reviewed for consistency with preservation goals and strategies.
Through the Division’s Small Matching Grants program, CLGs in good standing are eligible to compete for pass-through subgrants funded by the Historic Preservation Fund grant the Division receives annually from the National Park Service. The federal CLG subgrants may be for survey, planning and National Register nomination projects. In addition, Small Matching grant match funding requirements are waived for all grants awarded to CLGs in good standing, whether state or federally funded.
Repointing, also known as replacing mortar and pointing, is common maintenance needed for masonry buildings and structures. Properly done, repointing restores the visual and physical integrity of the masonry. Improperly done, repointing not only detracts from the appearance of the building, but may also cause physical damage to the masonry units themselves
When repointing is needed, the City will require an architect or engineer, hopefully one with extensive knowledge of historic preservation, to prepare a report that includes a mortar analysis and a brick strength analysis. The new mortar should match the original mortar in strength, color, appearance, texture, and materials. The profile of the mortar joint is also important and will need to be replicated.
Please refer to Preservation Brief 2: Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Masonry Buildings for more information.
Find out on our Plaque or Star or Marker page.
View the following list that explains what will and will not be considered as an exemption:
Yes, to some degree. Any building governed by the Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) may be elevated to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Raising it higher would require HARC approval. Additionally, there may be building height limits that might apply. View the Elevation/Freeboard page for more information.
We broadcast the following meetings which are held in the commission chambers at City Hall:
In addition to meetings, we broadcast informational programs. See the City TV Meeting Replay Schedule for details.
The city maintains an information channel which broadcasts continuously between meetings and events. Some of the items you will see on the information channel include:
Meetings will replay according to the City TV Meeting Replay Schedule until it is replaced by the next meeting in the group or another special event to be aired.
City Commission meetings have been recorded to DVD and stored in the City Clerk’s office. Copies of archived DVDs are available for a fee.
Email Key West City TV with other questions and comments.
Bus schedules may be downloaded directly from the City of Key West website or at Key West Transit. They may also be picked up from KWDoT at 5701College Road or Revenue Department at City Hall located at:1300 White StreetKey West, FL 33040
On the mobile website, the bus schedule link is located at the bottom of the home screen. Bus schedules may also be requested from any City of Key West bus driver and are available at the Chambers of Commerce, area hotels, and many other retail outlets.
Small pets are allowed on all buses provided they are in an animal carrier. Service animals are allowed on all buses and are the responsibility of the owner.
The bus stop to head downtown is located across Caroline Street from the garage in front of West Marine. The bus stop to head outbound (shopping centers and Stock Island) is on Caroline Street by the tour bus parking lot right next to the garage.
For a standard LOMA request there’s no fee. Yet, a LOMA application requires an Elevation Certificate. If you don’t have one, then you’ll need to obtain one from a surveyor. (Find a Land Surveyor) Before you order a new Elevation Certificate, check with your flood insurance agent to see if they have one on-file.
However, if your building was constructed atop fill that was brought in for its construction, then a different type of LOMA Application (LOMA-Friday) will be necessary, and there’s a significant Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fee for these applications.
Yes. While the flood zone determination may be outdated, the elevation measurements should still be the same. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will use the Lowest Adjacent Grade measurement to review your LOMA request.
Yes. If you have a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Elevation Certificate for your building, there’s an easy way to tell if your building qualifies for a LOMA. Much older and some very new Elevation Certificates may have this information in different blocks. View the following to see how the building qualifies:
No. However, if conditions at the building have changed or if a certificate is very old, some lending institutions may require you obtain a newer version. While there’s an expiration date on the certificate, that’s an expiration date for the version of the form, not the completed certificate. Often, a new version of this form isn’t available before the old version expires, so the older version is extended. So don’t be concerned, if the date your certificate was completed was after the form’s expiration date.
If you already have elevation certificates for each building (only one building can be on an Elevation Certificate) and they all qualify for a LOMA, then you can just submit a separate LOMA application for each building. If you don’t have Elevation Certificates for each building, then you can apply for a LOMA that reclassifies the entire lot as being in a different flood zone, which would include all structures on that lot. The key to filing such an application, is that instead of the Lowest Adjacent Grade needing to be higher than the flood level, the lowest point on the entire lot must be higher. You’ll need a land surveyor to complete a special Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Elevation Form.
No, but for several reasons we wouldn’t recommend cancelling your flood insurance policy:
Yes. Setup an account with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to submit your application. Using this method, you’ll actually be completing the MT-1 form online. Then you’ll be asked to upload your supporting documents. If you’re handy with computers and online forms then you may find this useful.
If you find this process challenging, then you might be better-off mailing in your application:LOMC Clearinghouse847 S Pickett StreetAlexandria, VA 22304-4605Attention: LOMA Manager
Some lots straddle the boundary line between different flood zones. If the boundary line touches the building (not the property), then that building is in the higher regulated zone.
City staff do not know how your building is rated, or if there are multiple buildings on the lot, each of which may be in different flood zones, so you were included in the notice. If you know your buildings are rated as being entirely within the "Shaded-X" flood zone, then you can disregard that notice.
In the example pictured, a flood boundary line touches three buildings (with red dots). All three of these buildings are considered within the more expensive "AE-6" flood zone, rather than the less-expensive "Shaded-X" zone.
As of March 2018, LOMA application processing times are averaging about 3 three weeks. Applications submitted online are processed faster.
All residential rental properties are required to have a City of Key West Business Tax Receipt. Residential rentals are divided into two primary categories: non-transient (may not be rented for less than 29 days at a time) and transient (no rental timeframe limitations unless restricted via a home owner association agreement).
In today’s web-based environment, it has become very easy for illegal vacation rentals to be advertised on various types of social media. The City of Key West strongly recommends that the general public confirm the validity of licensed vacation rentals prior to sending payment to the advertiser.
Additional information regarding transient rentals can be found within the City municipal code. Please email the Licensing Division if you have any questions as to the validity of an advertised vacation rental property.
The City of Key West has established caps for several types of licenses/permits. As a result, no new licenses or permits will be issued for the following license/permit types unless an existing business owner chooses not to renew:
There are currently 25 Mobile Vendor licenses in effect, which is the maximum number allowed. If any existing mobile vendors does not renew their license by October 31 of each year, the licensing page of the City of Key West’s website will be updated to indicate that applications will be accepted during the month of November, and a lottery will be held at the end of November to determine which applicant(s) is/are awarded the available Mobile Vendor License(s). For more information on mobile vendors, please reference the City municipal code.
There are currently 20 entertainment vehicles (pedicabs) licensed in the City of Key West, which is the maximum number allowed. If any of the existing pedicab providers does not renew any of their Entertainment Vehicle permits by October 31 of each year, the licensing page of the City of Key West’s website will be updated to indicate that applications will be accepted during the month of November, and a lottery will be held at the end of November to determine which applicant(s) is/are awarded the available Entertainment Vehicle permit(s). The number of pedicab drivers is not capped; only the number of pedicab vehicles is capped at 20. For more information on entertainment vehicles, please reference the City municipal code.
There are currently 56 vehicles for hire (taxis) licensed in the City of Key West, which is the maximum number allowed. If any of the existing taxi cab providers does not renew any of his/her Vehicle for Hire permits by July 31 of each year, the licensing page of the City of Key West’s website will be updated to indicate that applications will be accepted during the month of October, and a lottery will be held at the end of October to determine which applicant(s) is/are awarded the available Vehicle for Hire permit(s). The number of taxi cab drivers is not capped; only the number of vehicles is capped at 56.
A City of Key West Street Performer or Street Artist does not include the right to operate at Mallory Square. All activity at Mallory Square is handled by the following entity:
Key West Cultural Preservation SocietyP.O. Box 4837Key West, FL 33040Phone: 786-565-7448Email the Sunset Celebration Organizers
Participants in the sunset celebration at Mallory Square are not required to have a City of Key West Street Performer or Street Artist permit.
A significant number of City of Key West Business Tax Receipts, licenses, and permits require a license from the State of Florida as part of the application process. This includes, but is not limited to:
A copy of an active state license will be required with renewal payments for all City of Key West Business Tax Receipts, licenses, and permits which required one upon application. The majority of state licenses are obtained and can be confirmed through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), Florida Licensing Division.
The City of Key West requires that all Corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s), Limited Partnerships, and Fictitious Names (DBA’s) be registered with the State of Florida. Business Tax Receipts, licenses, and permits will only be issued in one of the above names only if it has been registered with the State of Florida. In addition, all name registrations must be kept active with the State of Florida. For more information, please visit The Division of Corporations Website.
Anyone with a City of Key West Business Tax Receipt should also apply for a Business Tax Receipt with Monroe County.
Anyone with a Monroe County Business Tax Receipt only needs to apply with the City of Key West if they intend to do business within the city limits. City limits refers to all of the Island of Key West, and a portion of Stock Island north of U.S. Highway 1.
The City of Key West does allow some businesses to be operated from a private residence. There are several restrictions on home-based businesses, including but not limited to: no client contact can occur at the residence, only permanent residents of the location may be employed by the business, and no accessory structure on the property can be used for the business. For more information on home-based occupations, please refer to the City municipal code.
The following types of businesses cannot be operated from a private residence:
This item varies due to request. If the request is a special event needing permitting the requestor must contact the City Manager’s office in order to receive permits with insurance. Bayview Park is scheduled through the Community Services office at 305-809-3765.
We do not have any City owned campground facilities. Interested parties should contact the Chamber of Commerce at 305-294-2587.
In conjunction with the Monroe County School Board and the City of Key West we offer summer programs, within the school system, to include the Boys and Girls Youth Club. Please call the Monroe County School Board at 305-293-1400 or the City of Key West Community Services Department at 305-809-3765 for more information.
The City Commission Agenda may be viewed online. To view all agendas and actions sorted by date, visit Legistar. In addition the Agenda is available for public review in the Office of the City Clerk, at City Hall:1300 White StreetKey West, FL 33040Phone: 305-809-3831
The City Commission meetings are usually held every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month. A City Commission meeting date may be changed due to a public holiday. All meetings begin at 5 pm and are held at City Hall. Meetings are broadcast live Comcast Channel 77 and AT&T Uverse Channel 99. Visit the city Events Calendar for a list of all public meetings.
The City Commission consists of the Mayor and six City Commissioners. A listing of these officials can be found on the City Commission page.
Any of the marked "Residential" spaces in the Historic District. Additionally, vehicles displaying a valid Residential Permit decal can park for free up to 4 hours, once per day at the following locations:
You must enter your permit number in the pay station and display your receipt on your dashboard near the permit decal to receive the 4-hour credit.
Yes, the unmarked spaces are available to everyone.
You need to bring a valid driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of residency. For proof of residency, we accept residential lease, warranty deed, Voter’s ID, Utility bill in your name and address, real estate tax bill, etc.
Parking Permits are $20 per year. We accept all methods of payments. No discounts apply.
Yes, but you must be listed as an insured driver on the vehicle’s insurance and meet eligibility requirements.
Yes, if the documents are valid, and you meet the eligibility requirements, you can still apply for the permit.
Yes, bring your lease contract with to verify you are the lessee and you must meet eligibility requirements.
No, to qualify under the residency category you must live within the City Limits.
No, the $20 fee is to cover the cost of issuing the decal. It cannot be prorated, refunded, or transferred.
Yes, a handicap placard by Florida State Statute allows vehicles transporting a disabled person to park in a handicap space and park at municipal metered areas for 4 hours without paying. All other parking regulations need to be observed including "residential" permits. If you do not otherwise qualify for the Residential Permit, the handicap placard or plate does not qualify you.
Yes. No vehicle may be parked on the street for more than 72 hours without moving per City Ordinance. For long term storage, check the Park n Ride (300 Grinnell) or private parking lot offering long term storage
No. Boat and boat trailers, RV’s and oversized vehicles (vehicles over 20 feet in length) cannot park on City streets or in City managed lots.
Yes, if you are eligible under one of the listed categories you may list all vehicles registered to you.
No, moped/scooter/motorcycles are exempt and can park in residential spaces at this time. However, no rental moped/scooter/motorcycle is eligible to park in "residential" spaces.
No, all permits expire in October regardless of when it was purchased.
To access the City’s code, click Code of Ordinances and the Land Developments Regulations.
View the zoning map (PDF) to view where your property is located.
The use of your property is determined by the zoning district’s Permitted and Conditional Uses. Once you have identified the zoning district of the property, zoning regulations can be found under Section 122 of the Land Development Regulations (LDRs).
Property can be rented so long as an occupational license is obtained for non-transient rental use.
Your property can be rented transiently if it is in a zoning district that allows for this use. Those districts are HRCC-1, HRCC-3, HCT, HNC-1 and HNC-3. Redevelopment or conversion of permanent housing to transient or other commercial uses shall be permitted only if no on-site reduction of permanent housing occurs within the HNC-1 and 3 districts. Please contact our Department for further clarification 305-809-3720.
Each zoning district has a density calculation for the number of units allowed per acre. Please contact our Licensing Department at 305-809-3955 to determine the number of legal units associated with your property.
A property may be subdivided so long as the lots created through the subdivision meet the minimum lot size per the zoning district requirements. Additional information can be found in the City’s Code of Ordinances, Land Development Regulations (LDRs) under Chapter 118.
The addition shall meet the zoning district’s dimensional requirements to building coverage, impervious surface ratio and setbacks. Construction will require building and site plans prepared by a registered architect or engineer and be approved and permitted by the Building Department.
Yes, please see the City’s Code of Ordinances, Land Development Regulations (LDRs) Section 122-1181 through 122-1187.
Code Compliance can be reached at 305-809-3740.
Yes, Urban Forester can be reached at 305-809-3768.
Sign regulations vary depending upon location within a particular zoning district. View Guidelines for Business Advertising (PDF).
A home based business is allowed so long as the use does not exceed 20% of the existing floor area and that there is no customer traffic to the property.
Please contact the Building Department at 305-809-3956.
If you intend to construct or add to a structure, and the proposed construction would not meet standards or other requirements in the Land Development Regulations.
A certified applicant is an individual who has completed a course of study approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Division of Criminal Justice Standards and Training in Law Enforcement, and has successfully completed the state exam.
To find out what is necessary to meet Florida Certification Requirements, contact:
In many cases you may be eligible to take a two-week compliance course, which will allow you to take the Florida State Exam. You may call the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Division of Criminal Justice Standards and Training at 850-410-8600 to determine if you meet the requirements.
The Florida Supreme Court has determined that public records are all materials made or received by an agency in connection with official business which are used to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge. They are not limited to traditional written documents. Also considered public records subject to inspection unless a statutory exemption exists are the following:
Nothing in the public records law requires that a request for public records be in writing or in person, although individuals may wish to make their request in writing to ensure they have an accurate record of what they requested. Unless otherwise exempted, a custodian of public records must honor a request for records, whether it is made in person, over the telephone, or in writing, provided the required fees are paid.
Nothing in the law requires the requester to disclose the reason for the request.
The law provides that the custodian shall furnish a copy of public records upon payment of the fee prescribed by law. If no fee is prescribed, an agency is normally allowed to charge up to 15 cents per one-sided copy for copies that are 14 inches by 8.5 inches or less. A charge of up to $1 per copy may be assessed for certified copy of a public record. If the nature of volume of the records to be copied requires extensive clerical or supervisory assistance, or both, the City Clerks office may charge a reasonable service charge based on the actual cost incurred.
A custodian of a public record who contends that the record or part of a record is exempt from inspection must state the basis for that exemption, including the statutory citation. Additionally, when asked, the custodian must state in writing the reasons for concluding the record is exempt.
As soon as a document is received by the City of Key West, it becomes a public record, unless there is a legislatively created exemption which makes it confidential and not subject to disclosure.
The rule on personnel records is the same as for other public documents unless the Legislature has specifically exempted an agency’s personnel records or authorized the agency to adopt rules limiting public access to the records, personnel records are open to public inspection. There are, however, numerous statutory exemptions that apply to personnel records.
No. To allow the maker or sender of documents to dictate the circumstances under which documents are deemed confidential would permit private parties instead of the Legislature to determine which public records are public and which are not.
Arrest reports prepared by a law enforcement agency after the arrest of a subject are generally considered to be open for public inspection. At the same time, however, certain information such as the identity of a sexual battery victim is exempt.
The local state attorney has the statutory authority to prosecute alleged criminal violations of the open meetings and public records law. Certain civil remedies are also available.
The Sunshine Amendment was added to Florida’s Constitution in 1976 and provides for full and public disclosure of the financial interests of all public officers, candidates and employees. The Sunshine Law provides for open meetings for governmental boards.
Code Compliance Hearings are held in the Commission Chambers located in City Hall at 1300 White Street, Key West.
Email Code Compliance, or call at (305)-809-3740 and request the case file. There is a charge of $0.15 for a single page and $0.20 for a double sided page.
You can contact the Office of the City Clerk at (305) 809-3831, and request a DVD of the Code Compliance hearing.
Your next course of action would be to request for a continuance. The request must be in writing and submitted within five (5) business days of the scheduled hearing date. Requests for continuance may be sent to Code Compliance Legal Analyst Madelyn Marrero. The request shall be granted or denied by the Special Magistrate. If your request is granted, your case will be continued to another date. If your request is denied, your case will be heard on the original hearing date that is scheduled.
Code Compliance DepartmentAttn: Madelyn Marrero1300 White StreetKey West, FL 33040
Call the Department at (305) 809-3740 and ask to speak to the Director.
Call the Department at (305) 809-3740, and ask to speak with the Code Inspector.
Call the Legal Analyst, Madelyn Marrero, at (305) 809-3736.
A Stormwater Utility is a service unit within the City government which generates revenues through fees. The stormwater utility is responsible for funding the planning, operation, construction and maintenance of stormwater systems. The utility generates its revenue through user fees. The fee is based on the amount of stormwater a particular parcel passes to the stormwater system (which starts at the sidewalk or property line.) The more runoff a parcel contributes (for non-residential units), the greater the fee.
Each single-family parcel is charged based on an average residential units. Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs) were developed by field verification of open space and impervious surfaces on an average home lot and the costs of the utility equally distributed to the parcels. As of January 1, 2009 it is $7.35 per month. Commercial units are based on how many Equivalent Residential Units (ERUs) there are on the parcel.
An ERU is a unit of measure which serves as an index to compare the rainwater (stormwater) runoff generated by different size properties with different amounts of impervious surface. Impervious surface is a surface that will not allow water to pass through to the soil. Rooftops, driveways, parking lots and pools are typical examples of impervious surface. The service fee, which is not a tax, is billed with the other city utilities monthly.
Pollution is carried in rainwater. When it rains all the rainwater that is not absorbed into the ground (or evaporated) carries any contaminants that may be distributed on lawns, streets, roofs, and parking lots and straight to the waters surrounding the island either directly over the beaches or street ends or through pipes or wells. Pollution reduction and treatment is needed to reduce the amount of contamination flowing into the nearshore waters in which we swim and fish.
Reducing the amount of water in the streets was the original use of stormwater piping. Because of rigorous design standards, the Clean Water Act, and state and local codes we are required to reduce the pollutant load to our waters, which are the best in the state categorized as "Outstanding Florida Waters". Therefore our stormwater program is now two-fold, with the goal of reducing flooding and standing water as well as reducing the amount of pollutants getting to the system and then treating the contaminates that do enter the system. The City’s Generic Permit for Discharge of Stormwater from Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4 GP) contains a five-year plan indicating how the city will comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). As of January 15, 2005 the City was required to operate under this permit.
The requirements for NPDES are stringent and therefore there is a strong emphasis on education and public participation throughout the initial five years. The goal of the program, which stems from the Clean Water Act of 1972, is to eliminate pollutant discharges into American waters.
The City immediately took action to implement the elements outlined in the plan. Although the city has taken great strides in recent years to reduce illicit discharges, we welcome this opportunity to further develop systems and educational elements that will improve our Outstanding Florida Waters. Highlights of the program are:
FEMA’s Flood maps for Key West first became effective December 31, 1974. Buildings constructed after that date were required to be at certain elevations above sea level. Existing buildings within regulated flood zones were grandfathered into the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at their current elevations. However, that grandfathered status ceases once the building has been renovated by half it’s market value. Once that threshold is reached, renovation plans must include elevating the home to current flood levels.
Actually, the first flood maps were effective circa 1970/71, back when the NFIP was administered by HUD. When Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took over, it had great difficulty discerning records for the early years of the program. As a result, FEMA stipulated, that any community with flood maps having an effective date prior to December 21, 1974 - such as Key West - would now be governed by this 1974 date rather than the earlier map dates.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has mapped flood zones across the city based upon the ground elevation of those areas. Zones identifiers such as "AE", "AO", "VE" and "Coastal A" require that buildings within these flood zones are subject to special flood hazard building requirements. Zones identified as "X" or "Shaded-X" are mapped as being above expected flood levels, so those special building requirements don’t apply to buildings fully inside these type of flood zones. View Online Flood Maps.
It starts with the County Property Appraiser’s value for the building (just the building’s value, Market Improvement Value, not including the land value) before any work has been performed. Then 15% is added to that building value. So a building on the Property Appraiser that has a value at $100,000, would have a market value of $115,000. This is called the Adjusted Property Appraiser’s value.
Obtain a private Market Value property appraisal from a local property appraisal company, also known as an Actual Cash Value (ACV) (appraisals based upon Replacement Cost Values may not be used for this purpose, unless they properly account for depreciation; which most don’t).
Typically, in this locality, a private appraisal usually shows buildings at significantly higher values. With a private appraisal, the 50% threshold will be based upon the value of this building shown on the private appraisal; not the overall value of the property, just the building’s value. This is the property value minus land, site improvements and values for other buildings on the lot. On a private appraisal, the value of the building utilized is the labeled "Depreciated Cost of Improvements," which is often found on page 3 of a six-page Uniform Residential Appraisal Report. Submitting a private appraisal to the City doesn’t affect your property tax rate.
Whatever appraisal value you end up using, you’ll have to keep using that value for the next five years. Because the % of improvement is determined by the value of the building prior to improvements, you can’t keep obtaining appraisals to include the new work you’ve done to increase the 50% threshold. Nor can you use one appraisal method at the beginning, and another later during this five-year window.
The value of improvements is based upon a total of costs of improvements made to a building within the past five years. Non-building related work for site improvements such a patios, driveways/pavers, pools/spas, irrigation, fences etc. aren’t included. For a list of costs that are included or exempt from Substantial Improvement calculations, please review the Substantial Improvement Brochure (PDF).
The cost of renovations or new construction is estimated as follows:
This rate is the same for owner-builders, volunteer labor or discounted materials, because Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires the City apply the value of the work, rather than any discounted actual costs. For example, if a volunteer organization offered to construct a home at no cost it would still have the same value.
In some instances, permitted work that never received final inspections may be considered within the current five-year period; unless it can be determined - to the Inspectors satisfaction - that the work had been completed more than five years ago. If work to a building wasn’t finished during any five-year period, this five-year window is extended until final inspections have been approved. In other words, this five-year clock doesn’t reset upon uncompleted projects, simply because it took longer than five years to finish the work.
If decks are attached to a building then these costs are included. If the deck is separated from the building - by a little as a fraction of an inch - then these costs are excluded from these calculations. FEMA considers that during flood conditions attached decks may toque loads upon an attached building; yet decks will break-away on their own when not so attached. The City will still seek to determine reasonable cost estimates for these type improvements, as opposed to applying the square-foot costs:
No. FEMA prohibits the use of floodproofing in lieu of elevation. Homeowners are free to employ floodproofing measures, but if elevation is required, floodproofing isn’t an alternative. There’s no flood insurance discount for floodproofing a home, but there’s major discounts for elevating one.
No. The 50%-Rule applies to buildings, irrespective of ownership.
Probably. Commercial buildings may employ floodproofing in lieu of elevation as long as it’s where people work and not where they sleep. Unless the building has residential usage:
Floodproofing is prohibited in VE-type flood zones and Coastal A Zones.
Every location within a regulated flood zone has a pre-determined flood level, known as the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). In type "A" flood zones, the height of a building is measured to Finished First Floor, usually referred to as the first habitable floor.
For example, an "AE-6" flood zone indicates when a substantial flood event occurs, minimum flood levels at this location are expected to be six feet above sea level. Current building codes require Substantially Improved buildings be elevated one-foot higher than the BFE (known as the Design Flood Elevation or DFE). Therefore, a home within an "AE-6" flood zone would need to be elevated to at least seven-feet above sea level. View Online Flood Maps for more information.
Type "VE" flood zones are located along shorelines and have more stringent construction standards. The appropriate flood level for these buildings is measured at the lowest horizontal cross-member. That underside of that cross-member must be one foot higher than the Base Flood Elevation for the specific site. Within Coastal A Zones, this higher standard is also required.
If you’re seeking a building permit under the Building Permit Allocation System (B-PAS), the minimum height requirement is 1.5-feet above BFE.
To know this, you’ll need an Elevation Certificate, provided by a land surveyor. That certificate, will record the height of the land above sea level, and the height of a building’s first finished floor above sea level. Subtract the height of the land from required elevation of the home, and the result is how high the building must be elevated. For example, a home in an AE-6 flood zone has an Elevation Certificate showing the grade is four feet above sea level. The building must be elevated seven feet (BFE plus 1 foot).
The following equation includes mathematical symbols. In the equation the subtraction symbol (-) and the equals symbol (=) will be used:
Required height (7 feet) - Grade height (4 feet) = Height of elevated first floor above grade (3 feet). Watch the video explanation of Elevation and Freeboard for help.
The standards are higher in VE and Coastal A flood zones, and buildings permitted under the Building Permit Allocation System (BPAS).
Unfortunately, no. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doesn’t allow any margin of error when it comes to building elevation requirements. However, since in "A" type flood zones, a building’s height is measured at the Finished First Floor, you could build-up the floor with another layer of 1/2 inch plywood or install floor tile and the building would then measure to the required height (carpeting and rugs don’t count).
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has exempted such structures from the elevation requirements related to Substantial Improvement unless anything is done to the structure that would affect its status as a contributing historic structure. Utilities and machinery are still required to be elevated to proper flood levels, however, your building won’t be exempt from very high flood insurance costs, depending upon the depth of the building below the flood level.
There’s a major difference between "Historic Structures" and "Contributing Historic Structures." Only the latter are exempt from elevation/floodproofing requirements. A "Historic Structure" may be any building older than 50 years. Whereas a "Contributing Historic Structure" is a documented building on the state list of historic structures; this list is maintained by the local Historic Architectural Review Commission (HARC) board.
Generally, structures are substantially improved in one of five ways:
As defined in 59.1 of the NFIP regulations, a building is considered to be substantially damaged when: damage of any origin is sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. Buildings can also be declared Substantially Damaged due to neglect or excessive deterioration. Such buildings can’t be renovated nor repaired without elevation.
damage of any origin is sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
Substantial Improvement can occur gradually during five years or less, when repairs/renovations/additions total 50% of the building’s value. Substantial Damage usually occurs during severe storm events, a fire or severe neglect/deterioration. Once so declared, a Substantially Damaged building can’t be repaired without meeting current flood damage prevention requirements (usually elevation).
All structures that are determined to be substantially damaged are automatically considered to be substantial improvements, regardless of the actual repair work performed. In other words, if the cost necessary to fully repair the structure to its before damaged condition is equal to or greater than 50% of that structure’s market value before damages, then the structure must be elevated (or floodproofed if it’s non-residential) to or above the level of the design flood elevation, and meet other applicable program requirements.
Different buildings often have different building standards that require different inspections types. Additionally, the value of improvements needs to be tracked individually by building. This better assists the Applicant as well, in that buildings can be brought online as inspected and approved, whereas lumping all buildings into a single application would tie the status of all to the final inspection of the very last piece of the overall project. If the plans encompass multiple buildings, then only one set needs to be submitted (not duplicate sets for each application.)
Once the 50% threshold is reached - for any reason - elevation is required.
Yes, for a couple of reasons:
Yes. If the base of the building is below the flood level, all improvements to the building are included, no matter where on the building they occur.
New and Substantially Improved Mobile homes within a mobile home park need to be elevated so that the bottom of the frame reaches or exceeds the Base Flood Elevation for that site. Mobile homes placed or moved anywhere within the city must be elevated to Base Flood Elevation to the bottom of its frame. Mobile homes aren’t permitted in type "V" or "Coastal A" flood zones.
The date the project was permitted is the controlling date. When trying to determine which flood maps standard would have applied when a building was constructed, look for the date the construction was approved and permitted. Compare that date against the effective dates of the flood maps in effect at that time. The most recent flood maps prior to the date of permitting apply.
Yes. While in Florida solar equipment may be exempt from increasing property taxes, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) still considers such a building improvement.
If the cost of constructing an addition is less than 50% of the main structure’s value, then only the addition needs to be elevated, (Florida Building Code (FBC) 1101.1). If the cost of the addition - along with any renovations to the main building - is more than 50%, then both the addition and the existing building require elevation. An exception is buildings that have legal additional living units, stand on their own merits. Buildings with non-residential uses have an option to floodproof, and the same scenarios apply. View more information to an exert of Florida Building Code concerning such additions (PDF).