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The Trumbull Residence – Waterfront property with new flood zone assessment

Living by the water was a lifelong dream for Jay and Tammy Trumbull. After many years of building their business, the Panama City branch of the Culligan Water Company, they started planning to build their dream home and found a waterfront lot in their preferred residential area of Panama City, The Cove. “We lived in Kings Point for twenty-two years. I grew up in the Cove and always wanted to move back here,” says Jay Trumbull.

The established neighborhood of Bunkers Cove with its old world charm offers an ideal location close to downtown Panama City. It is still a quiet neighborhood with a lot of history, tradition and the omnipresent proximity to the water. The Trumbulls set out to build their new home with help from local architect Michael Hunnicutt and Rick Koehnemann of Koehnemann Construction Company. “We worked with the architect for about a year. We had plans for a house. When we bought this lot, we adjusted the building plans to this piece of property,” says Jay Trumbull.

The large and beautiful lot slopes down to the water and positioning the house thirty feet from the water’s edge still ensured a more than sufficient elevation of sixteen feet, so they thought. But there was a bad surprise. When trying to obtain the building permit, a land survey revealed that the flood line that was assessed by FEMA was running straight through their house. “We only had two choices, either move the house back on the lot or have the flood line changed. The city would not give us a building permit until we dealt with the flood line. We were just a few steps away from getting the building permit and would have never thought that there would be a problem because the property has an elevation of fifteen to twenty feet. It was just unusual,” Jay Trumbull notes.

They consulted with the local engineering firm Buchanan & Harper and started an application process in which they hoped FEMA would approve the re-assessment of the flood line. “We got the right engineers to deal with the problem. People were telling us that we would never get the line changed. FEMA can’t go to every individual property so, in our case the flood line was just assessed wrong. FEMA was very fair with us in trying to solve the problem.”

It took about three months to complete the process and, to everyone’s relief, FEMA approved the new survey and amended the flood line for the property.

“FEMA was very fair with us. We submitted a case to them and the surveyors were experienced in this type of process. FEMA has its procedure and there is no guarantee that other people will get approved but it is ok to ask for changes” Jay Trumbull states and adds “I think even with the change in legislation we will be in the minimal risk zone for flooding. The elevation is around sixteen feet on our property. We have neighbors who have lived in our neighborhood for thirty to forty years. They lived through hurricanes and the water has never gotten up anywhere near our house.”

Interior Features

The Trumbulls’ beautiful 3800 square foot home was completed in 2012 after 2 years of planning and construction. Jay and Tammy Trumbull have three children and the family enjoys the outdoors around their home as much as possible. “We built around the outdoor living and there are two regular porches with outdoor kitchen and one screened-in porch complete with fireplace. We cook out a lot. We just had a fire the other night.” States Tammy.

And Jay adds: “We go out as a family, we fish a lot, we have fun on the water. We catch speckled trout and Redfish in the Bay and it will take a 10 minute boat ride to get to the pass and out to the Gulf. There are many perks to living in Panama City. Our area is the most beautiful to live in. The climate is great, the cost of living is good and there is so much more to living in Panama City than meets the eye.”

And with so much emphasize on the outdoors the Trumbulls did everything they could to retain the original charm of The Cove with its characteristic trees. We really had to work to position the house so that we did not have to take any of the Laurel and Water Oak trees out.”

What is not as apparent as the beautiful design and interior of their home is their use of energy efficient heating and cooling system. “We opted for the installation of a Geothermal heating and cooling pump and our power bills are very low. It is very efficient. We had to drill a well and since we are in the well drilling business with our water company, the installation was much easier for us.”

Other energy efficient features include the use of spray foam insulation. “The attic is just slightly warmer than the house in the summer.” States Jay Trumbull.


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