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Gulf Breeze building elevations may changed in flood prone areas

The City of Gulf Breeze could be changing the requirements for building elevations in flood prone areas that fall outside of traditional flood zones. The City is looking to align their new code with the one already established in Santa Rosa County.

In Santa Rosa County flood prone areas must have a floor 18 inches above the highwater mark which is established by the County Engineer.  People who live on one street in Gulf Breeze will be seeing a lot of new construction in the coming months because of damage done in the April flood.

This home has been demolished, this one over here is in the process of being demolished and there are three others here on Gilmore Street that will also be torn down. "Down here at the end of our driveway we had 4 feet" says Kris Ostrom who has lived on Gilmore Street for 8 years. Kris Ostrom and her family are still trying to repair their home from the April flood.

"It feels like a very big uphill battle from here" says Ostrom. And the battle continues for so many on Ostrom's street. heavy machinery is being use to tear down the four homes right next to hers.

Billy Lay now owns the  four homes that are being demolished on this street. He purchased the houses after the flood. "It's not new thing everyone keep saying this was a flood of 100 years, that's true we had higher water but it has flooded here for the last 20 to 30 years" says Lay.

Lay is hoping his business decision to buy homes damaged by the flood is a good one. But knows all too well that something different has to be done when he rebuilds. "You reach a point where the code is out of date and the elevation is out of date" says Lay. That's why the City of Gulf Breeze is looking to alter its Land Development Code. Buzz Eddy is the City Manager in Gulf Breeze.

He says the potential new code would require anyone who builds a home in the city to construct it at least 18 inches above whatever the flood line was during the April storm.

"The peace of mind will come from building the house and the way that is less vulnerable to flooding" says Buzz Eddy, the City Manager of Gulf Breeze. City Council will further discuss this issue during  their Wednesday night meeting.