The coast, with its beach access and beautiful views, can be an attractive place to build a home or cottage—but it is important to be prepared for coastal storms and flooding. To protect public safety, coastal development, and natural resources, Massachusetts has enacted regulations that set minimum construction standards for coastal areas. These regulations cover various projects, including new buildings, repair of storm-damaged properties, additions, substantial improvement to existing or damaged buildings, septic systems, piers, and shoreline stabilization structures such as seawalls and revetments. In addition, building—or rebuilding after a storm—provides an excellent opportunity to maximize storm damage protection for coastal property. Through thoughtful planning and design, property owners can go beyond the minimum regulatory standards and use the best available techniques to minimize future property damage, significantly reduce flood insurance rates, and preserve the capacity of natural landforms to buffer storm waves and flooding to further protect your property.
To help property owners with the permitting process, the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) published StormSmart Coasts: Who to Contact and What to Do Before Building or Rebuilding file size 1MB in October 2014. This fact sheet provides information on who to contact about applicable regulations, an overview of the most common permits needed, and recommendations for StormSmart building techniques to protect your property. Please note that the information provided in this fact sheet is accurate as of the date of publication (October 2014). For updates, be sure to see the agency websites provided in the fact sheet.