Things To Consider When Choosing Your Dream Lot

In Northeast Florida’s Nassau County which includes Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island, there are several options for potential homesites. In deciding the right choice for you, there are a number of factors that impact building requirements which in turn affect your home building cost and timeline.

A substantial portion of Nassau County falls in some level of a Flood Zone. FEMA designates flooding potential, and these maps are followed in construction planning. The most desirable flood zone is “X” which is designated as moderate or low risk and has between .02% and a 1% chance of flooding annually. In this zone, “slab on grade” foundations can be built with just enough fill to create positive drainage away from the home.

Higher risk flood zones include zones AE-1-30. The number indicates feet above sea level where a 1% or greater annual risk of flooding exists and flooding is likely within a 30 year mortgage period. In this situation, the first finished floor is required to be minimum of 1-2 ft above the designated zone number. Meaning an AE-8 designation would require the finished floor to be built via stem wall block to a height of 9-10 ft depending on local jurisdiction codes. Due to typical land height in these areas this adds extra cost to the build and can require steps into the home.

The highest risk flood zones are V and VE where in addition to flood risk there is a risk of heavy wave action that can undermine foundations. These are largely on the ocean or nearby navigable water. Here, special foundations are required with deep piers to support the house in case of wave action and no living area is allowed on the ground level. Piers and support structures add considerable cost to a home build. Building along the coastline is managed by the State of Florida and within the coastal construction control line, a review by the state is required for approval regardless of the specific local governing body. This requires additional costs for creating and submitting plans as well as up to 6 months for completion.

AR Homes® Fernandina Beach (Plantation Housing Corp) can facilitate the understanding of a particular homesite both from a flood zone standpoint as well as for required setbacks and height restrictions. We are happy to do so as part of discussing desired plans and what is required to accomplish customer goals.

For more information or to schedule a site evaluation, please contact: Byron McCutchen: 904-557-3215 or Vic Buscaino: 904-753-9101