Gloucester Floodplain Ordinance Approved by City Council
March 3rd at 4:01pm.
The proposed Gloucester Floodplain Regulations were unanimously approved by the City Council and will go into effect on June 1, 2023. Under state law, the effective date of the floodplain regulations would have been January 27, 2023, which was when the first public hearing was posted. To give property owners time to get their plans through the permitting process, the Council voted to delay the implementation 3 months from the time the ordinance was approved.
As a reminder, the Gloucester Floodplain Ordinance creates a Floodplain Overlay District, which will consist of the Federal Floodplain District and the Future Flood Risk District. Please see a summary of each district below:
- The Federal Floodplain District includes all special flood hazard areas designated on the City’s Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued by FEMA (includes 1%-chance regulatory floodplain)
- The Future Flood Risk District includes areas projected to be subject to future flooding with 2.4 feet of sea level rise. The exact boundary of the Future Flood Risk District is defined by the Massachusetts Coast Flood Risk Model (MC-FRM) “2.4 Foot Sea Level Rise” map.
In addition, the Gloucester City Council is considering restrictions on residential construction. The following would be prohibited in VE Zones (areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event with additional hazards due to storm-induced velocity wave action):
- New construction of a residential dwelling
- Movement, alteration, or expansion of an existing residential dwelling or structure so as to increase its lot coverage in the VE zone
Additional regulations in AE Zones (Areas subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event) would include:
- Residential or accessory construction lot coverage cannot exceed 10% of the AE zone within the lot
- Movement, alteration, or expansion of an existing residential and/or accessory structure cannot cause the lot coverage of all structures to exceed 10% of the AE zone within the lot.
NSR advocated against the ordinance and provided written and verbal comment to the City Council in opposition.