Aug 3, 2010

CASE STUDY: How FEMA Map changes and Bill 24 could affect an Ewa Property:

Two recent changes will affect development on Oahu.
  • FEMA is revising the flood maps to incorporate a Hawaii Hurricane study for the coastline along the southern shore of the Hawaiian islands. 
    • For Oahu, the changes will mostly affect Ewa and Hawaii Kai to Kaneohe. Effective Jan 19, 2011 (tentatively), some properties will find that they have been reclassified to be within a high hazard flood zone. Other properties will discover that they are no longer in a high hazard flood zone.
    • For existing homes, this may mean significant changes in the costs of flood insurance. According to information estimates provided by DLNR, annual flood insurance premium for a home in Flood Zone A is est $1,106 vs Flood Zone VE is est $5,149 (if the replacement cost value of the home is less than $334,000) but can go higher to $9,624 (if the replacement cost of the home exceeds $500,000).
    • Here's what the various Flood Zones mean.
    • Click here to see if your property will be within the revised flood high hazard zone. Click on the FLOOD HAZARD ASSESSMENT TOOL (orange box at upper right).
    • Public Information Meeting Aug 24th, 2010 at the Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse 
  • Bill 24 is working it's way through the City Council
    • The ordinance will, among other things, increase the number of homes you can have on residential property by-right, from 2 to 8. 
    • Current deadline for Council action:     September 20, 2010
What this means for our Client who owns a Property in Ewa:
    1. Client owns 2 adjacent R-5 zoned properties, approx 12,000 sq ft each. Each property contains 2 detached homes each or a total of 4 single-family homes. Under current LUO standards, he would need to get a Cluster Permit and Joint Develop the properties to add any more dwellings. 
      • Due to Cluster Permit application costs (ie. Topographic Survey, Landscape Plan, Fence Master Plan, Creation of Park Dedication Area and a Homeowner's Association) and subjective requirements (ie. appearance, configuration and even colors of homes subject to City input) imposed as conditions to approval, Client decided NOT to develop property further.
    2. Current FEMA Map (blue and red pic) shows that approx 40% is within the blue AE flood zone and approx 60% is in the red VE or Coastal High Hazard flood zone. This means higher flood insurance premiums for a new home built in the VE zone. Also, he must build above the Base Flood Elevation, which means his living area would be on the 2nd floor (ie. walk-up) and the 1st floor would be entirely for parking, stairway or limited storage. The current FEMA map adds thousands in added construction costs.
    3. Revised FEMA Map (green-hatched pic) shows he will be downgraded to the green-hatched XS (low hazard) flood zone. This means if he obtains financing, his Lender would not require flood insurance (ie. optional), his flood insurance for the other homes on his property may also decrease, and he can now build on-grade -- thus savings thousands on construction costs.
    4. Existing FEMA Maps
      Prelim FEMA Maps, eff Jan 2011
    5. Additional Dwellings possible: When Bill 24 is approved, our Client will be able to construct 2 more dwellings by-right, on his property. A Cluster Permit would not be required, thus simplifying the permit approval process.