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Climate Resilience Zoning

Public Works


On February 27, 2023, the Cambridge City Council adopted new zoning requirements to address the long-term impacts of increased flooding and heat from climate change. They are based on the City’s climate projections over the next 50 years and will be updated from time to time. Within this Zoning are Flood Resilience Standards that require that buildings address the potential for flooding that is the result of increased intensity rain events and storms.

For additional information on Zoning Requirements please visit the CDD website here.

Full text of the Zoning Language is available here.

Flood Resilience Standards Applicability:

Flood Resilience Zoning Standards are applicable to projects that fall under one of the 4 specific conditions as outlined in the Zoning AND have Long Term Flood Elevations (LTFE’s) associated with the projects parcel. First step is to determine if a development is subject to the Standards.

To be subject to Flood Resilience Standard, project must:

  • Fall under one of the following Conditions:
    • Project is subject to Green Building Requirements.
    • Project involves construction of a new building.
    • Project enlarges an existing buildings foot print by at least 50%.
    • Project is creating occupiable or habitable space in a basement that is exempt from Gross Floor Area (GFA) requirements.


Have Long Term Flood Elevations (LTFE’s) associated with the project parcel.

  • LTFE’s are defined and promulgated by the Department of Public Works through Regulations available here.
  • LTFE’s are available on the Citys Floodviewer map : City’s FloodViewer tool
  • LTFE’s are available in tabular form here. 


If both conditions above are met for a development and parcel, the Flood Resilience Standards are applicable.

Flood Resilience Standards:

As established by the Zoning, the Flood Resilience Standards for subject developments are:

  • New occupiable spaces shall be protected from flooding up the 10% LTFE.
  • New habitable spaces and critical infrastructure shall be protected up to the 1% LTFE.
  • All building areas will need to be recoverable from 10% LTFE

Application and Review Process

As required by Zoning, projects that are subject to the Flood Resilience Standards will require written confirmation of compliance with the standards in advance of filing for a Special Permit, Building Permit or Certificate of Compliance.
To obtain this written confirmation, project shall apply, online, for a Flood Resilience Compliance Confirmation.

  • Application for Confirmation can be Filed Here: https://cambridgema.viewpointcloud.com/
  • DPW has 45 days to review a complete Application, so Confirmation should be applied for in advance of other applicable other permit(s).

Guidance Document
For more information on Flood Resiliency Standards and Applying for A Flood Resilience Compliance Confirmation please view the Flood Resilience Compliance Guidance Document

With comments or questions on the Flooding Resilience Standards or procedures included in the Climate Resilience Zoning please email floodviewer@cambridgema.gov

Page was posted on 6/1/2023 5:57 PM
Page was last modified on 2/29/2024 11:48 AM
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