Superstorm Sandy - Impacts and Recovery in Charlestown, Rhode Island

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  "Superstorm Sandy" presented at the July 24, 2014 Beach Special Area Management Plan Stakeholder meeting. Joe Warner, Building and Zoning Official, Town of Charlestown, RI View the video here:
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  • 1. Just a Tropical Storm!
  • 2. • “We’re too far North!” • “The Ocean water is too cold!” • “They always turn out to sea!” •“It won’t Happen here!”
  • 3. October 30, 2012 The day after……..
  • 4. • Structural • Electrical • Fuel Systems • Water Damage • Septic Systems (OWTS) • Potable Water Contamination • 82 Green Placards (Occupancy Permitted) • 26 Yellow Placards (Restricted Use) • 10 Red Placards (Unsafe)
  • 5. 1. Emergency Repairs/Shoring 2. Evaluation of Structures for “Substantial Damage” 3. DEM Review & Approval 4. CRMC Review & Approval 5. Town Zoning 6. Building Permits 7. Inspections 8. Certificate of Use and Occupancy
  • 6. When do we open a street or neighborhood while minimizing congestion on the roadways, preventing chaos and potential looting and still ensure public safety; with an ultimate goal of allowing residents into their dwellings as soon as possible to perform necessary emergency repairs? Step 1
  • 7. SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE – “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 the damage occurred.” RIGL 23-27.3-106.2 – “If the building is damaged by fire or any other cause to an extent in excess of fifty percent (50%) of the physical value of the building before the damage incurred, this code’s requirement for flood resistant construction for new structures shall apply.” Step 2
  • 8. • Public Education • Costs included for Substantial Damage vs. Costs included for Building Permit • Contractor Estimates • Tax Assessments (Re-valuation Year) • Detailed Evaluation (40-60%) • Private Appraisals • Breakdown of Construction Estimate • Substantial Improvement? • Substantial Damage Letters
  • 9. • Meetings with Local Building Officials & DEM • Waiver of CRMC Permits for roofing & Siding • Emergency Permits & Regulations • On-Site Visits • Emergency Regulations • Holding Tanks • On-Site Visits • Streamlined Review Process for Permit Concurrent Review by CRMC & DEM Step 3 & 4
  • 10. Dwellings relocated in compliance with DEM, CRMC and Town Zoning
  • 11. Post-storm house location Pre-storm house location
  • 12. Height? Setbacks? Timeline? Step 5
  • 13. Building Codes are Working! Step 6
  • 14. • 3 sets of plans to include foundation plan, floor plan, framing plan, cross section and elevations • Designed for appropriate wind and flood zone • DEM Approval • CRMC Approval • Zoning Approval
  • 15. 2010 FIRMS 2013 FIRMS
  • 16. Step 7
  • 17. • Required for Insurance • Banks • FEMA Funding • ICC Compliance Payment • Safety Step 8
  • 18. • Established a Communication Path between Building Officials, DEM, CRMC & FEMA • Revised the Inspection Placards and Rapid Inspection Forms • Revised the public outreach program • Application to the CRS Program • Established a pass/entry system • Assembled a Storm Ready Kit for the Building Department • All employees are Essential • Importance of GIS • Town adopted new Floodplain Ordinance allowing a maximum of 300 sq. ft. of breakaway wall enclosure in the V-Zone • Building Codes are Working
  • 19. Code Approved?
  • 20. • The public seems to be well aware of the potential damage resulting from high winds; however most seem to be unaware of the potential impacts of flooding, resulting from storm surge or heavy rainfall, which can have a much more devastating impact than the wind, far inland from the coastline. How do we better prepare and educate homeowners of the dangers and devastation caused by flooding prior to them having to learn the hard way?
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