There will be no new interpretations of a New York State building code related to flood-prone areas.
New York Secretary of State Cesar Perales confirmed that no new interpretations of the NYS Residential Code (RCNYS or the Code) will be issued, according to a statement from (D-Mamaroneck.)
Oppenheimer voiced concerns over the issue to Perales. He officially responded in a letter dated March 9.
In the letter, Perales "noted an ambiguity in the RCNYS concerning the replacement of equipment, fixtures and appliances damaged during or replaced as part of a home repair in a flood zone area," Oppenheimer said.
In the letter, Perales said it is up to municipalities to determine whether the work is a "repair" or "alteration" under the RCNYS. Only the alteration work, under the code, needs to follow new construction standards, including the installation of equipment and appliances above flood elevation.
A change in the code’s interpretation could have proven costly for homeowners.
Village officials in Mamaroneck and other Westchester communities were afraid "the RCNYS could be interpreted to require the relocation of all such equipment above the base or design flood elevation (BFE or DFE) in any restoration work performed in a flood prone area," she stated. "The replacement fixtures and appliances would include toilets, sinks, boilers, water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers, and similar equipment."
The senator said she is thankful for the secretary's response, especially after the August floods.
His letter cleared up any confusion around the code.
"He clarified that the replacement of such equipment, for any reason, in flood prone areas would not automatically trigger the flood resistant design requirements of our state codes and that no new interpretation will be implemented,” she said.
The mayor of Mamaroneck, who first brought the issue before Oppenheimer, also expressed thanks.
“On behalf of the Village of Mamaroneck, I want to thank the coordinated efforts of all elected and governmental officials for providing clear clarification on this issue," Mayor Norman Rosenbloom said.