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The Saint-Martin Collective presents its new short-term urban planning rules taking into account the state's expertise on marine submersion

The state presented this updated day map of the cyclonic state, drawing lessons from the marine submersions caused by hurricane IRMA. The Saint Martin Community has formulated new rules for short-term urban planning based on this map. The whole was presented at a joint press conference.
Saint-Martin, the 17 January 2017- Four months after the passage of the hurricane IRMA, the prefect delegate of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin, Mrs. Anne LAUBIES, the interministerial delegate for the reconstruction, Mr. Philippe GUSTIN, and the President of the Collectivité, Mr. Daniel GIBBS, held a press conference at the Hôtel de la Collectivité to present the results of the latest state expertise concerning the risks of marine submersion in Saint-Martin, as well as the new rules and procedures of the Community in the field of urbanism.
"We acted with method and anticipation, proposing as early as October a modification of the Town Planning Code to simplify the procedures and allow Saint-Martinois settled in the unexposed areas to rebuild identically. Today, as we learned about the new PPRN Hazard Map, we established the community's new planning rules. Therefore, these new rules fully take into account the lessons of IRMA and the elements brought to our attention by the State, "said Daniel GIBBS during his speech.
"The state does not have the competence of town planning in Saint-Martin but that of the environment and risks. He has drawn up a new map of the cyclonic hazard by marine submersion from the floods caused by IRMA. The Community has shown responsibility by adapting its rules of urbanism to this card that we finalized in November, "added Philippe GUSTIN.
With effect until October 2018, the rules and procedures presented today by the Collective are intended to allow individuals and businesses to begin reconstruction before the adoption of definitive planning measures.
In the protocol signed 21 November with the Collectivité, the State undertook to quickly draw up an updated map of the cyclonic hazard and a precise diagnosis of the territory, equipment and buildings. For its part, the Community was committed to submit as soon as possible a short-term reconstruction action plan and adopt a real urban planning by-law taking into account the lessons of IRMA.
"In this construction, the skills are shared. It is imperative that the Collectivité and the State work hand in hand, each in his area of ​​competence, if we want to succeed ", said the delegated delegate, Anne LAUBIES.

A new cyclonic hazard map to draw lessons from IRMA

Overseas community since 2007, Saint-Martin is now autonomous in urban planning. However, the state has retained environmental responsibility and can, as such, define rules for the prevention of natural risks for the benefit of people and property. A Natural Risk Prevention Plan (PPRN) has thus been adopted by the State in 2011, in which risk zones are defined where construction is prohibited or, as the case may be, subject to compliance with specific rules of an individual nature or collective.
The PPRN Saint-Martin is based on several hazard maps, including a cyclonic hazard map that draws the areas where there is a risk of flooding by submergence in the event of a hurricane.
Since IRMA had been unprecedented violence (category 5, winds over 370 km / h), the flooding by marine submersion caused by the hurricane exceeded in some places that which was foreseen by the 2011 PPRN map.
The State therefore wished to update this map as soon as possible in order to inform in the short term the decisions of the Collectivité with regard to reconstruction and to prepare the elaboration of a new PPRN.
"The state mandated an expert mission the day after the hurricane," said the prefect delegate Anne LAUBIES, recalling that a mission ofCerema had been projected by the ministry in charge of sustainable development of 8 September. A second Cerema mission was sent at the beginning of October, to carry out all the submersion limits and water depths during the IRMA crossing, allowing the development of a new map of the marine submersion cyclonic hazard.
Among the main lessons learned, it can be seen that on the coastal strip of Nettle Bay, Orléans District, Orient Bay and Cul-de-Sac, IRMA has caused flooding by sea submersion that is sometimes much greater than that recorded during recent hurricanes.
Cyclones of the intensity of IRMA being likely to reproduce, the State brought the new map to the knowledge of the Collectivité of Saint-Martin November 30, asking him to fully integrate these data, both in terms planning than permission to build or rebuild.
Pending a revision of the PPRN of Saint-Martin, and in application of the provisions of article 11-5 of the urban planning code of the Collectivité of Saint-Martin which states that "the project can be refused or n 'to be accepted only subject to the observance of special requirements if it is likely to undermine (...) public security because of its location, its characteristics, its importance or its location in the vicinity of other installations', any construction project involved in the blue zones of the updated cyclonic hazard map will have to be carefully analyzed in order to determine the conditions of its acceptability and feasibility with regard to the height of the cyclone. observed during IRMA.

New short-term rules for reconstruction

In light of the hazard map, the Saint-Martin Community has defined the regulatory framework for reconstruction with a twofold objective: the adaptation of the rules and procedures to the new reality of the territory and a responsible reconstruction taking into account the risks for the exposed inhabitants.
"The substantive work carried out by the Collectivité, since early December, in partnership with the State services, allows today to propose a clear procedure. Our goal is to find adapted solutions for our citizens, to assist them in the reconstruction, while protecting them from the risks of marine submersion, "said President GIBBS.
An architect will be provided by the Collectivité to accompany the petitioners in a quality approach.
For housing, the Community wanted to distinguish authorizations for repair work (eg roofing, door and window replacement) and those concerning identical reconstruction. Of course, the procedures for any new construction remain unchanged.
In the case of repair work in a neighborhood outside the risk zones, the work is authorized without the filing of a prior declaration.
On the other hand, in districts affected by cyclone risks, repairs are authorized subject to the filing of a prior declaration "IRMA". For the safety of the inhabitants, it was important for the Community to authorize this repair work, subject however to the respect of the rules in force.
The Collectivité will authorize the reconstruction in the same way, or modified (for the taking into account of the cyclonic effects), on grounds not exposed to the cyclonic hazards if the construction was the subject of a building permit and provided that the project respects the initial building permit.
A simple "IRMA" declaration will have to be filed by the petitioner. On the other hand, if the building to be rebuilt has not been the subject of a building permit, regularization is mandatory.
In risk-prone areas, a stay of proceedings will be opposed to reconstruction requests. This means that the Community will give itself a maximum of 2 years to study the solutions to bring to the concerned inhabitants. Therefore, only urgent repairs will be allowed, including those concerning the removal of water and air from buildings.

For economic activities located outside areas exposed to cyclonic risks, a planning permission, building permit or prior declaration depending on the nature of the work, is mandatory.

Economic activities located in risk areas should take into account the cyclonic effects in their reconstruction in order to mitigate the vulnerability of their building (recoil, materials, elevation) and the safety of their customers (construction of a "safe room" upstairs for hotels built along the coast ...). Their reconstruction can be accepted after a control of the safety and accessibility commission, and subject to the respect of the rules of town planning.

This adapted procedure will be applicable until 1er October 2018, in accordance with the deliberation of the Territorial Council of 9 November 2017.

Press Contact

Interministerial Delegation for Reconstruction
Christophe Gauer
06 76 61 82 04

Community of Saint-Martin
Nathalie Longato-Rey
+0690 65 89 52


Map of the hazards
The hazard map represents the characterization of natural phenomena to which a territory is exposed. It makes it possible to locate and to rank different zones of hazards according to their level of intensity and their probability of occurrence. It is annexed to the plan for the prevention of natural risks (PPRN).
There are several types of hazard maps: cyclonic, seismic, etc.

Natural Hazard Prevention Plan (PPRN)
The Natural Risk Prevention Plan (PPRN) is an instrument of state action to reduce the vulnerability of people and property. It defines and makes mandatory general measures of prevention, protection and safeguarding.
The compatibility of a community's planning by-law with the provisions of the PPRN is necessary.

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