Town of Hempstead Permitting Process:

Aug 08, 2018

This article about the Town of Hempstead Permitting Process for post Sandy houses should not be shared with the general public at this time.  The issues raised therein are complicated and we don’t have any answers from the Town of Hempstead on what their permit requirements might be.

This is for informational purposes only and we will keep you informed as we learn more.

Please be reminded, however, that if you have actual knowledge that a property is in a flood zone, the property needed flood insurance in the past, the property has experienced flooding, or the property is required to be raised you must disclose them to potential buyers and advise them that flood rates might increase.  Also, you should be familiar with the permit requirements of the Towns in which you do business.

We will keep you apprised of the Town of Hempstead Permit requirements for post Sandy housing as we learn them!

There has been confusion over post Sandy repairs and issues with the Town of Hempstead Building Department Permit process.

Our Government Affairs Team has spoken with Supervisor Laura Gillen and her staff about this situation which the Town has called a “nightmare!”  There is still confusion over post Sandy repairs, obtaining the proper permits, and guidance on what specifically is required of a homeowner.

LIBOR asked the Town to issue a formal statement on this issue.  The Town advised us that since this situation is fluid their requirements may change weekly.

We asked them to strongly consider issuing firm guidelines and allow for a short term process so obtaining titles and closings can be expedited.

Below is the official statement from the Town of Hempstead:

Town of Hempstead Official Statement:
As you know there remains lingering issues from Sandy damaged properties that persist throughout Long Island, and have a particular concentration in the Town of Hempstead because we were most significantly impacted among the Towns.

Determining if properties were substantially damaged has been part of the recovery process, and is important to determining if a home needs to take mitigation measures, such as elevation, in order to reduce their risk in the floodplain. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that subsidizes almost all residential flood insurance policies requires that homes that have flood damage undergo a substantial damage or substantial improvement determination.  Homes that experience a 50% or greater loss in value because of flooding are considered substantially damaged, and homes that improve their value by 50% or more are considered substantially improved.  The purpose of this measure is to create a threshold in which the cycle of flood, repair, flood, and repair again is halted. To establish a point in which an existing structure must reduce their flood risk by complying with current floodplain construction standards; generally speaking this means elevating the structure, or taking other mitigation steps to protect the value of the asset against loss.  Property owners coming in to make an application for a building permit begins the substantial damage determination process.

So what issues are occurring now?
We recognize the tremendous pressure to repair and rehome following Sandy, and that not everyone would have had the ability to find alternative housing, so sheltering in place and repair began for many without permits. Because permits were never filed for there are triggering events happening now that are causing substantial damage letters to be released; Homes are being bought and sold that were Sandy damaged and never obtained permits; so the new owner may be faced with the substantial damage letter when applying for permits to renovate/repair.

In addition, sellers may be faced with a home that cannot be sold because a substantial letter was issued when a permit was applied for requires outstanding mitigation requirements.

The issue for both parties (buyer / seller) is that there is currently no program for them to enter in to assist with the expense of mitigation work. 

What are we doing to assist?
The Supervisor’s Office is working on a plan to proactively notify property owners who would have been part of a Preliminary Damage Assessment, but never followed up with a building permit.

Our Office is working with State and Federal elected officials on identifying a pool of funds to assist homeowners with mitigation activities.

We are working with the Building Department to enhance the Substantial Damage Appeals Process; allowing property owners to submit additional information such as appraisals or engineering reports to see if they can evidence a different percentage of property value to damage, and reverse the determination.