During the City Commission meeting on Monday October 12, 2020, City Commissioner John Valdes was named to chair a new five-member committee whose purpose is to update the city’s flood mitigation code, building code, and zoning code, as they relate to flood protection. To overstate the obvious, members of the commission agreed that there is a need to update the current code’s flood protection rules.
The threats evaluated in this most recent attempt to reach a resolution on flood mitigation have been around for years and expressed by residents at countless rezoning and zoning modification meetings. For example, one of the stated goals of the new committee would be to come up with a plan to limit the amount of impervious surface that is allowed on residential lots.
“There is currently no limit to the amount of paving a homeowner can do on their property,” stated Valdes, who has been involved in construction, renovation and preservation projects in St Augustine and St Johns County for more than 10-years.
Of course, Historic City News has observed that it would not be a committee of the City of St Augustine without a lot of heady individual requirements that must be met to serve (without compensation) on the five-member, Blue-Ribbon panel.
So, to be considered for a chair at the table, applicants should have experience in at least one of the following professions: architect, landscape architect, structural engineer, civil engineer, building construction, building contractor, historic preservation, or real estate.
And what does this commission expect in return for one of the five coveted appointments? While there are no “performance standards” by which the committee is to be measured, the following goals have been suggested for the Building Code Advisory Committee:
- To devise a plan to protect older homes from flooding caused by new homes that are required to be constructed at higher elevations.
- To safeguard the Historic District’s integrity while providing ways to “lift” historic buildings out of flood zones while protecting our historic streetscapes.
- Provide incentives for property owners to use building techniques which do not require land filling for new home construction.
- Limit the amount of impervious surface that is allowed on residential lots. There is currently no limit to the amount of paving a homeowner can do on their property.
*Stated goals for the Building Code Advisory Committee were offered by the City Manager and his staff but are not meant to limit the committee. The deadline to apply to serve on the Building Code Advisory Committee is Wednesday, October 28, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Applications are available on the city’s website at www.CityStAug.com/BuildingCodeAdvisoryCommittee