Passed in October, the new rules are designed to allow residents of Hurricane Sandy-scarred territories to comply with FEMA flood regulations. One change involves how building heights are measured. While before building height was measured from the ground up, no matter the habitable level, now building height is measured from the base flood elevation plus two feet.
Because elevated buildings can interfere with a street’s human scale, the zoning laws also allow mitigating building features, including porches and stair-direction changes, Graham T. Beck writes. To ease the transition to the new regulations, the Department of City Planning has promised to go neighborhood by neighborhood to help communities plan for the future.