Marlinton Mayor’s Corner

Know before you buy – Know before you build

Marlinton wants to accommodate all new building and improvements, so far as we can. The task of complying with State and Federal Regulations continues to make that harder and harder to do. If you want to build a new home – or refurbish an existing home – in a floodplain, you must take special precautions. 

Don’t start building your home until you have answered a few basic questions.

The first question: Is there anything you can do to be removed from the floodplain? If so, that process can take weeks to accomplish. If not, prepare to jump through additional hoops. If you require financing for your project, you will be required to purchase flood insurance. All federally-backed banks and lenders will require the borrower to have flood insurance. 

FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The National Flood Insurance Program is the underwriter for all the basic flood insurance policies and operates according to FEMA flood mapping. Prudent property owners and builders should be sure the floor level of the new structure is higher than the base flood elevation (BFE) to minimize flooding risk. Any communities in a floodplain will require this. Not just Marlinton. 

STEP #1. The first thing is to have the building site surveyed to determine if the existing ground is above or below the BFE. Obtain a Flood Elevation Certificate for the particular property. Bring a site-plan to the Town Enforcement Officer to apply for a Building Permit. 

As of Monday, April 19, the average flood insurance policy in West Virginia costs $1,273 per year. That makes West Virginia #6 and 73.4% higher than average. Worse yet, it is increasing every year. 

A mistake in handling this situation early on can easily cost the owner thousands of dollars during the time they own the home and thousands more when they want to sell the home and there is nothing the Town of Marlinton can do about that. 

The Town is forced to play by FEMA rules.

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