Recovery Assistance & Mitigation Planning

Recovery Planner Jennifer Gerbasi


​​​​​​​I got a Notice of Substantial Damage  – What Now?

Tuesday April 19, 2022 01:35 pm

Terrebonne Parish

Department of Planning and Zoning

Recovery Assistance and Mitigation Planning

FloodSafe Minute

I got a Notice of Substantial Damage  – What Now?

Stop, Think, Ask - Recover.

Homeowners are receiving notices that their structures have been determined to be “substantially damaged.”  What this means is that a structure is:

  1. in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA);
  2. damaged so that the total cost of repairs is 50 percent or more of the structure’s market value before the disaster occurred, regardless of the cause of damage;
  3. The structure is not compliant with the current base flood elevation – flood height set by the Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps adopted in 2006. 

The Floodplain Administrator has reviewed the substantial damage estimations from the inspectors and is informing those structure owners that have a substantially damaged structure and of their responsibilities and options through these letters. This information is intended to inform property owners to help them decide whether to, or how to, repair or replace a damaged dwelling. A second page of each letter has contacts for grants for elevation, reconstruction or demolition. 


A substantially damaged structure cannot be repaired until the structure is brought into compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance substantial damage provisions. These are required for the Parish to have flood policies through the National Flood Insurance Program. 

What do I need to do?

If a building in the regulatory floodplain is determined by the local official to be substantially damaged, it must be brought into compliance with local floodplain management regulations prior to or at the same time as it is repaired.

Owners may decide to:

  • Elevate their structures, or demolish and rebuild with the first floor or lowest horizontal cross member at the right height;
  • Relocate or demolish the structure; or
  • Flood proof a non-residential structure.

Substantial damage applies to a structure in the regulatory floodplain (determined by FEMA) for which the total cost of repairs is 50 percent or more of the structure’s market value before the disaster occurred, regardless of the cause of damage.  Terrebonne Parish has a cumulative substantial damage standard, so this is added to all damages repaired or improvements to the structure in the past 10 years

For example, if a structure’s market value before the damage was $200,000 and repairs are estimated to cost $120,000, that structure is substantially damaged. Land value is not included.


Anyone receiving the letters should pause any recovery efforts to consider whether they would be better off elevating, demolishing, relocating or rebuilding from the ground up.   The Parish and state and federal agencies are developing and launching programs to assist with funding for as many people as can be funded with the available programs.  Anyone who needs help should reach out!  Reach out for knowledge, and reach out for help.  The programs are not necessarily quick, but we will be stronger and safer for making the right decisions and building back better.  Be sure that what you are doing is the best choice personally or professionally and meets the law. 


All property owners should check with the permits department at 873-6567 to determine which permits for repairs are required before beginning any repair work. A substantially damaged structure can’t be permitted for repairs unless there are provisions for compliance with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance. This means that the structure must be or be brought to or above the FEMA base flood elevation.  Again, this is damage from wind, fire, or any cause and not only flood.

Can I submit an appeal?

Any structure owner can appeal the decision by providing documentation that proves one or more of the criteria have not been met.  For example:

  1. Provide an insurance or contractor estimates showing that the repairs are not as high as estimated.
  2. Provide an elevation certificate (surveyor documentation) that shows that the structure is already at the right height for the base flood elevation. 
  3. Provide an appraisal or insurance valuation that shows that the value of the structure is greater than twice your damages. 


Implement the plan for your recovery timely providing all the information necessary for programs.  Put your funding aside to save for any required homeowner matches for grant programs.  As soon as funding is in place, move forward without delay to avoid future damage and get a new normal.

Open Funding Programs:

Demolition – Public Assistance – 888-727-0228

Elevation or Reconstruction through the Parish FEMA funded program– (consultants) Rostan Solutions 985-235-0067

If the storm damage from Hurricane Ida was from flood, property owners who have a flood insurance policy through the NFIP and a substantially damaged building (from flooding) in a SFHA may be able to use additional funds – known as Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) – from their flood insurance policy (up to $30,000) to help defray the costs of elevating, relocating, demolishing a structure, or flood proofing a non-residential structure.

For more information on ICC, contact your insurance agent.

You can email to request information in a language other than English.

Information also is available at and

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