Raising Floor Heights of Lanais to Level of House
Requirement demand by Mr. Hutchins.
“Item 5. Show on the Plans that the new Enclosed areas will be topped to match the Existing Finish Floor Elevation of the Main Living Area of the Home. 2017 FBC 107.2.1 & 107.3.5 & R322 & County Ordinance 2016-043 Sec. 54-516(a(3))”
Cabana’s reply to this demand.
Cabana’s response to this demand was a comment that the Lanai and laundry room were non-habitable spaces and not subject to this rule. As additional evidence to this is the fact that the room was still a Lanai is that the exterior sliding glass door that was originally between the house and the Lanai is still there, but only pocketed so as to add additional wall space on the interior and exterior.
A later email dated June 10th to Hutchins’s supervisor, Kathleen Croteau saying that the house and the rooms were not in a V or A flood zone and therefore not required to change the floor height. A look at the Sarasota Flood Zone maps will confirm this.
Hutchins totally ignored this and in a subsequent Review Memo of June 3rd he reiterated the same demands. He didn’t even bother to verify his demands. To ignore this proof was the sign of an arrogant and inflexible bureaucrat and not that of a “Civil Servant” under which he holds his position and to follow the legislative mandates required from his office. He blindly follows rules with total disregard for the rights of the homeowners who pay his salary.
How does this rule affect you as a homeowner?
In checking the applicable codes quoted by Mr. Hutchins, we first need to see if that they are applicable in this case.
County Ordnance 2016-043 Sec. 54-516 (a)(3):
Sec. 54-516. – Design and construction standards in special flood hazard areas, community flood hazard areas, and otherwise legally designated flood hazard areas.
(a) Zones A, A1 through A30, AE and Community Flood Hazard Areas (CFHA):
(3) Additions, Alterations, and Rehabilitations to Existing Construction. Additions, alterations, rehabilitations (Webster defined as: the restoration of something damaged or deteriorated to a prior good condition), and change of Occupancy Classification that increase the level of nonconformity of Existing Construction are prohibited. Additions, alterations, and rehabilitations to New Construction that do not meet or exceed the minimum requirements of this Article are prohibited.
Cabana’s comments: In checking the referenced Sarasota Flood Zone map using our address 270 Dragon Road, Venice at: ag3.scgov.net/sarcoflood/ it is obvious that our house is not in a flood zone A thru VE. The majority of the house is outside the flood zone with only a small insignificant edge of a bedroom and garage in the AE zone with none of the Lanai or Laundry rooms in any affected zone. There is not enough of the house in the zone to cause any safety problems.
You as a homeowner should be concerned that if you are in such a zone and attempt to do “anything” to your home, Ordnance item (3) appears to specify that you will be required to raise the floors. I would take “rehabilitations” to mean, for example: by just replacing a roof, door, windows, etc. where you need to get a permit, you would need to raise the elevation of any porches, lanai, or similar on your home.
—- This is the injustice of this rule being applied to Sui’s situation. —-
Financial Hardship on Sui
Since Sui has used up all her funds to get the renovation to where it is just about completed, forcing her to raise the floors would put an extreme financial hardship on her to do so. It would necessitate the removal and re-installation of the cabinets and plumbing to raise the floor. Then on top of that, she would have to raise the roof to achieve the minimum ceiling height.
Raising the floor in the Laundry room approx. 6″ would put the floor 6′ – 5″ from the ceiling which is 3″ below the 6′ – 8″ minimum (or 7′ as Hutchins is specifying). That would require raising the roof above the laundry area and would destroy the outline of the hidden rear of the house and which would cause another financial hardship This is a ridiculous thing to have to do.
The important question you need to ask yourself is: “how in the world is raising a non-habitable, exterior porch room’s floor by 6 inches going to protect her safety in a flood?“ A reasonable person would retreat to higher ground inside the habitable area of the house. In the last 40 years of the home’s existence, there has never been such a threat of one.
A far more insidious element here is the “Selective Enforcement” that is practiced by the Building Dept. and will someday affect you as a homeowner. If you’ve already run afoul of them, you know. But even if you ever want to make any additions, alterations, rehabilitation or some event causes damage and you have to pull a permit to repair it, then, you will come under their guns.
To be specific, the community flood hazard zones encompass hundreds if not thousands of homes in Sarasota County. There are probably many that do not meet the minimum flood level requirement and according to the rules, they will need to be raised.
But in practice, if the county forced all the violators to raise the floors to comply, they will be flooded with complaints and lawsuits from the homeowners who probably also just happen to be voters. They would overload the system and administrators creating what is referred to as a “Slippery Slope” whereby the courts or county would be unable to handle them. So they tend to ignore the fact that they are breaking the law.
However, where they get you is when you go for a permit. In doing so, they are discriminating against you as a violator while ignoring all the existing violators around you. Selective Enforcement….you betcha your bippy.
The bureaucrats know that if you are only one they can target you under the guise of protecting the public safety and nobody will come to your rescue. Most people will think, “I’m glad it’s not me“…..until they get caught. This is a standard stalking technique used by all predators….separate the weak one out of the herd and then there’s supper tonite.
However, we can use the reverse technique of the herd by coming to the rescue of the weak one to protect them from the predators. Do this to protect Sui.
Join her protest today to send a message to the bureaucrats so it doesn’t happen to you in the future!