Storm Damage Guidance FAQ

If you live south of Sunrise Highway, your property may be in or near the flood hazard area as mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  A map of the 100-year and 500-year floodplains within the Town of Hempstead is available in the Real Estate Division of the Building Department.

You may also view the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) at https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search#searchresultsanchor

Certified Floodplain Managers and Plan Examiners are available in the Building Department to assist you with maps and flood protection information and provide advice on retrofitting techniques for structures in the floodplain. Also available for review are current and past FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). Information on Flood Insurance can be obtained at the National Flood Insurance Program’s website www.floodsmart.gov

The Town’s zoning ordinance identifies portions of the Town as being within the 100-year floodplain.  In other words, there is a one percent chance of flooding in any given year.  This would be a 26 percent chance of a structure flooding over the course of a 30 year mortgage commitment. The zoning ordinance and New York State Building Codes have special provisions regulating construction and other development within those floodplains.  Without those provisions, flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program would not be available to property owners and renters in the Town of Hempstead. FEMA mandates that local communities adopt and enforce a floodplain management program to participate in the NFIP.

Before performing any construction, placing fill or developing a property in the flood plain, contact the Plan Examiners Office at 516-812-3073 to discuss Town regulations. 

A permit issued by Building Department is required to make any repairs to flood-damaged buildings.  Buildings with damages amounting to 50 percent or more of the building’s value (Substantial Damages) may be subject to removal or elevation to be brought into full compliance with the floodplain regulations in compliance with FEMA and the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, (Title 19NYCRR) and Local Codes.  FEMA requires that the first floor be at the base flood elevation indicated on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps, with an additional two feet added as freeboard under the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code.

The requirements of FEMA, the New York State Fire Prevention and Building Code, (Title19 NYCRR) and Local Codes are minimum standards that all development must meet.  To increase the safety of your property and reduce insurance premiums, you should consider building to even higher standards. 

We suggest scheduling a meeting with a plan examiner prior to filing for any construction or development within a flood zone since requirements are site specific. Plan Examiners are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm by appointment. To schedule an appointment regarding properties in the flood zone kindly call 516-812-3073.

In accordance with Federal regulations Buildings existing in a flood plain that does not meet the current regulations may only be improved to less than 50 percent of the building’s value (Substantial Improvements).  Additions or alterations that are not a result of storm damage also are limited to less than 50 percent of the building’s value. Documentation regarding constructions costs must be submitted when filing for a building permit. See the substantial damage/Improvement package for more information on filing requirements.

Superstorm Sandy damaged many properties within the Town of Hempstead. Building permits are required for any repairs or replacement of plumbing, electric, sheetrock or insulation. Permits if issued for the repairs of storm damage are listed on the Building Department Record Search Sheet in addition to the color designations; (RED indicates most likely Substantial damage, YELLOW indicates most likely minimal damage) from the rapid preliminary damage assessment performed directly after the storm.

Further information can be obtained by meeting with a plan examiner within the Building Department. Plan Examiners are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm by appointment. To schedule an appointment regarding properties in the flood zone kindly call 516-812-3073.

Flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program is available to residents of the Town because of its adoption and enforcement of a flood plain management program prescribed by Federal and State regulations and law. This includes the enforcement of substantial damage or improvement or the 50 percent rule. Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before damage occurred. Substantial improvement means any combination of repairs, reconstruction, alteration, or improvements to a building, in which the cumulative cost equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the building prior to improvement.  If a structure is determined to be either substantially damaged or improved, it must comply with the current flood construction requirements which may involve the elevation or reconstruction of the structure.