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Sajgo discusses changes to Matlacha’s historic district

December 24, 2014
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

Tuesday evening about 75 people gathered in the Pine Island Art Association building to hear Gloria Sajgo, principal planner for the Lee County Historic Preservation Board, address numerous visible changes in the Matlacha Historic District and how the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act will affect Matlacha business and homeowners.

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2012 that extends the National Flood Insurance Program for five years, while requiring significant program reform. This document provides a timeline of significant changes to the program as well as who is affected by them, what will happen and why it is changing. In the end insurance rates will increase from 15 percent to 25 percent.

Due to the low elevation of Matlacha, the entire island is in the flood zone, as is Pine Island.

Article Photos

Gloria Sajgo

"Because of Biggert-Waters, building elevations will increase," Sajgo said. "Historic buildings will not be affected but non-historic buildings will probably be affected.

"Insurance rates are going up, everybody knows that," Sajgo said. "Probably as much as 25 percent or to the point where it becomes self-sustaining. But we don't know how much rates will go up. They are now analyzing the statistical information much farther. My opinion is it will be much more scientific and we'll see what happens. It's probably best to talk with your insurance agent. They will be better informed about those things.

"New buildings will have to meet the new regulations and some older buildings (non-historic) will have to meet the new regulations or they won't qualify for flood insurance," Sajgo said.

The new flood act can have drastic impacts on the island's historic downtown area as well as on most Matlacha homes. Even if a home was raised or built to meet previous federal flood rules, when new maps are created that stilt home may not meet the new requirements.

Sajgo recommends visiting the Lee County website: www.leegov.com. Click on the link for "Find my flood zone" and click on Matlacha.

Sajgo announced an upcoming meeting at Matlacha Community Center on Feb.3 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held to update citizens about the "Bat-house" park. The architect for the project will be present. The design phase has been funded and in October, she said, "we can start thinking about construction."

 
 

 

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