All development in the Seabrook floodplain requires a permit per Chapter 38 of the Seabrook Code of Ordinances (revised in January 6, 2017). Development includes, but is not limited to, all new construction, filling, grading, and paving. Substantially damaged or improved structures, where the cost of repair (regardless of the cause of damage) or improvements to a structure equals or exceeds 50% of the building’s market value, also require building permits and elevation certificates, and are held to the same standards as new construction.
Communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program must regulate to minimum standards in order to provide subsidized flood insurance to their citizens. In some cases, the City of Seabrook has chosen to go beyond the minimum standards in order to provide further protections to its citizens. One higher standard Seabrook adheres to in its floodplain ordinance is the requirement of all new construction and substantially improved structures to be built at a minimum of 12 inches above the base flood elevation. For storage sheds and other accessory structures built in some floodplain areas, flood vents can be used in lieu of elevation. Contact the Community Development Department for additional information.
Higher standards are necessary to safeguard properties from future flood damage because the minimum standards are not always enough to provide the best protection. In the end, the higher standards will also mean a cost savings to the property owners on their flood insurance premiums. It is true that higher regulatory standards provide added protection to structures, but they do not completely eliminate the flooding threat.
Contact the Seabrook Community Development Department for advice before you construct or place anything in the floodplain to ensure that the proper regulations are followed. Any development in the floodplain without a permit is illegal, and such activity should be reported to the Seabrook Building Department. Permit information can also be obtained at the Building Department located at 1700 First Street, 2nd floor. For more information on requirements for development, refer to the Permits page or call the Building Department staff.
Elevation certificates are required by the Seabrook in order to verify that new construction and substantial improvements meet the ordinances and regulations of the City. Elevation Certificates on some properties in the floodplain and in other areas of the city are on file with the Building Department and are available for review during regular business hours.
The following FEMA publications are useful when considering how to build a safe and compliant home in the floodplain: