The Planning Commission recommended passing a new floodplain zoning ordinance Wednesday evening that increases standards for new construction.
"It raises the bar for new construction so that if and when there was that one hundred year flood the impact would be mitigated. The whole objective is to make flood prone areas safer," said Robin Bledsoe, chairwoman of the Planning Commission.
Only 224 parcels, four of which are residential , are affected by the rezoning, which would require new construction and repairs in excess of 50 percent of the existing structure to be elevated.
County staff believe that the higher standards will help lower flood insurance rates county wide. James City County participates in a community rating system and would receive positive credit by implementing the change.
"It raises the insurance criteria we need as a county that allows insurance companies to offer lower rates," Bledsoe said. Commissioner Rich Krapf said he was encouraged as "existing structures would be grandfathered in unless they are substantially damaged.