Town of Pawleys Island
South Carolina Code of Ordinances (including Building and Zoning Requirements)
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Top Frequently Asked Zoning Questions
Note: Zoning Ordinances in the UDO code are binding. Please check the UDO for exact language. These questions are for information only. Consult the Unified Development Ordinance for decision-making information.
UDO References are in
1. When is a sand dune a sand dune?
A sand dune is defined as any accumulation of sand in ridges or mounds in VE Zones landward of the beach, whether formed by natural or manmade forces. See Article II, Interpretations & Definitions [2-74]; Article VI, Sand Dune Protection Regulations; and Article V, Flood Damage Prevention Regulations.
2. What is the relationship of the OCRM Setback to the Town’s Shore Protection Line?
The Town’s Shore Protection Line is a locally imposed setback requirement typically more restrictive than the OCRM Setback Line. See Article II, Interpretations & Definitions [2 – 78], and [Figure 2-B] found on Page 2-13.
The OCRM Setback is 20 feet landward of the OCRM Baseline, usually found to be the crest of the primary frontal dune. There are instances, particularly at the South End, where the Town’s Shore Protection Line coincides with the OCRM Setback Line.
For exact determination, all of these Lines must be field surveyed and platted by a licensed Land Surveyor.
The real intent of the Town’s Shore Protection Line is to prevent placement of habitable structures farther seaward than this Line which is drawn generally at the most eastward point of existing construction and across all other undeveloped property. See Article VI, Sand Dune Protection Regulations.
Additional References: Full-size OCRM Aerial Photomaps of Pawleys Island are located in the Town Hall; a letter and computer disk containing digitized coordinates have been provided to local licensed Land Surveyors.
3. How can I know which FEMA Flood Zone my existing house is situated in or which my proposed new dwelling will be located in?
An Elevation Certificate from a licensed Professional Engineer or a licensed Land Surveyor will show the FEMA Flood Zone and the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Obtaining a current survey, including Flood Zones and spot elevations, will greatly benefit an Architect or Engineer in siting a new construction or remodeling on the lot. See Article II, Interpretations & Definitions [2-9] and [2-37], and [Figure 5-A] found on Page 5-2, as well as Article V, Flood Damage Prevention Regulations.
Additional References: FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are available in Town Hall; FEMA regulations are available in Town Hall and from FEMA.
4. What is the meaning of Design Flood Elevation (DFE) versus FEMA Base Flood Elevation (BFE)?
In all Flood Zones, the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) establishes the Design Flood Elevation (DFE) to be 3 feet above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) as established by FEMA. For new construction, this requirement applies equally to AE Flood Zones and VE Flood Zones. See Article II, Interpretations & Definitions [2-25] and [2-56].
5. Are air ducts required to be elevated above the BFE or the DFE?
Only for new construction are air ducts required to be above the DFE. When required for ‘Substantial Improvement’ of existing homes, air ducts below the BFE must be sealed to prevent floodwater from entering the ducts or the ducts must be raised above the DFE. See Article V, Flood Damage Prevention Regulations, specifically [5-4.1].
6. What is the allowable height limit on my new house?
The allowable building height is 30 feet above the Design Flood Elevation (DFE), which is 3 feet above the FEMA Base Flood Elevation (BFE). See Page 3-6 of Article III, Zoning Regulations.
7. What is the maximum allowable heated floor area?
The maximum allowable heated floor area is between 2,000 sq. ft. and 4,000 sq. ft. and shall not exceed 40% of the lot size. See Article III, Zoning Regulations [3-5.8 (B)] FAR Limits. See Tutorial.
8. What is the allowable impervious surface area?
The maximum allowable impervious surface area is between 1,000 sq. ft. and 4,000 sq. ft. and shall not exceed 40% of the lot size. Impervious surfaces include the building footprint plus all surfaces that prevent rainwater from entering the ground. See Article III, Zoning Regulations [3-5.8 (A)] Lot Area Coverage. See Tutorial.