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Small Cabin Forum / Properties / Building on conservation floodplains
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# Posted: 17 Mar 2021 14:30

Hi Everyone, Greetings from Nappanee in Ontario, Canada. I was wondering if anyone out there has come across this situation and may be able to offer opinion.
I bought a waterfront lot with a 18' x 28' one story cabin that sits in the floodplain of our local conservation authority. This building is considered a non-conforming building but is grandfathered due to the time it has sat there. i.e. They can’t make me remove it.
I will be applying for a permit with the town and conservation authority to raise and add height to the building. A couple of locals have told me that I will not be able to do much with the building due to its location.
I was wondering if anyone has ever dealt with local town and conservation authorities when working on your grandfathered building located on floodplains or within conservation lands? Is it possible to add height to add a loft? Change the roof pitch? Any information would be appreciated.

# Posted: 17 Mar 2021 14:42

Approach and ask first. Depending on the individuals you may get permission or may be denied. I've seen an authority shoot down a permit simply because no one asked first.

# Posted: 17 Mar 2021 16:33 - Edited by: gcrank1

By 'adding height' I think they mean above the water table not the height of the structure.
Several around here in the Wisconsin River floodplain have had to 'raise' their structures to keep them from being periodically flooded. I imagine any continued insurance was part of it as well as new regulations by our DNR (Dept of Natural Resources).

# Posted: 17 Mar 2021 18:09

Generally speaking, big changes to an existing building, changes that involve altering the structure require making what is considered new construction, conform with all existing building codes and zoning. Sometimes there are methods or sequences of changes that can skirt around the intent of the regulations. Most of the time, not.

I seriously doubt that the conservation authority will approve structural changes like raising or re-pitching a roof to make space for a more usable attic/loft.

But the only way you will know for certain is to pursue the request.

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