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The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has a free-of-obstruction requirement that states that they will allow no type of lower area enclosure or construction practice that prevents the free flow of coastal floodwaters and waves beneath the footprint of an elevated building during a base flood event. Compliance with this requirement helps our entire community as we protect our access to Federal Flood Insurance and keep insurance coverage premiums at a lower rate.
Requirements for enclosures are:
Per the county Erosion Response Plan, the enclosure is limited to 299 square feet or fewer.
The enclosure will be constructed with engineer-certified, non-supporting breakaway walls, lattice work, or insect screening.
[NFIP definition of breakaway walls: “a wall that is not part of the structural support of the building and is intended through its design and construction to collapse under specified lateral loading forces, without causing damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system” (See FEMA Publication TB-9A, August 2008, page 32.)]
The enclosure will be constructed with flood resistant materials and not have a finished interior.
The enclosure will only be used for parking vehicles, storage, or building access. No habitable or recreational use of an enclosure will be permitted.
Utilities and attendant equipment shall not be attached on, passed through, or be located along breakaway walls. (See FEMA Publication TB-9, Page 26 for additional information.)
Garage doors are NOT exempt from the NFIP requirement to be breakaway.
Partial-height breakaway walls do NOT meet NFIP requirements.
Complete a Building Permit Application (remodel/addition), and submit it to the Building Official.
Complete a Certificate of Compliance Agreement Form, and submit it to the Building Official.
If the location of property is within 1,000 feet of mean high tide (MHT), the Building Official will submit an application to the Texas General Land Office for review and comments before issuing a building permit. Please plan on allowing ten (10) working days for this review process.
Submit certification by an engineer to the Building Official that enclosure walls are breakaway.
Furnish to the Building Official a Non-Conversion Agreement signed, notarized, and filed at County Clerk’s Office as a deed restriction and copy of this filing.
An enclosure (even with breakaway walls) will increase the flood insurance premium for the entire building.
The use of garage doors below base flood elevation (BFE) may increase the flood insurance premium for the building.
Technical Bulletin 9, Design and Construction Guidance for Breakaway Walls Below Elevated Coastal Buildings (2008) | FEMA.gov
Technical Bulletin 5, Free-of-Obstruction Requirements (2008) | FEMA.gov
Use the Beachfront Remodel/Addition Building Permit Application if your property is located 1,000 feet from MHT. (Generally, this is property seaward of Bluewater Highway and Fort Velasco Drive. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.)
Use the Non-Beachfront Remodel/Addition Building Permit Application if your property is located at a distance greater than 1,000 from MHT. (Generally, this is property landward of Bluewater Highway and Fort Velasco Drive. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.)
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