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The Rock Hall Flood Plain Ordinance

(Random typographical errors may be found in this document due to the arbitrary nature of computer optical character recognition.)

 

ORDINANCE # 92-5

An Ordinance to amend Chapter 57 entitled "Floodplain Management" of the Town of Rock Hall.

 

The following provisions for establishing Floodplain Zones within the Town of Rock Hall and requiring a permit for all development within the designated Floodplain Zone; Providing certain minimum standards for construction within the Floodplain Zone, Setting forth standards and procedures for submission and approval of plans for development; and establishing penalties for failure to comply with the provisions of this ordinance are adopted as follows:

LIST OF CONTENTS

Article I Purpose and General Provisions

    Sect. 1.1 Purpose and Authority
    Sect. 1.2 Abrogation and Greater Restrictions
    Sect. 1.3 Applicability
    Sect. 1.4 Partial Invalidity and Severability
    Sect. 1.5 Disclaimer of Liability

Article II Definitions

Article III Permit Procedures

Sect. 3.1 General

    Sect. 3.2 Information for a Permit
    Sect. 3.3 Subdivision Proposals
    Sect. 3.4 Issuance of Permit
    Sect. 3.5 Conditioned Permits
    Sect. 3.6 Fees
    Sect. 3.7 Penalties

Article IV Establishment of Floodplain Zones

    Sect. 4.1 Identification of Zones
    Sect. 4.2 Floodplain Zones
    Sect. 4.3 Floodplain Boundaries

Article V Development Regulations in Floodplain Zones

    Part A. Nontidal and Tidal Floodplain Zones

        Sect. 5.1 General
        Sect. 5.2 Elevation Requirements
        Sect. 5.3 Fill
        Sect. 5.4 Flood Protection Setback Requirement
        Sect. 5.5 Subdivision Requirements

    Part B. Floodways

        Sect. 5.6 General
        Sect. 5.7 Alternative Analysis Requirement
        Sect. 5.8 Existing Structures
        Sect. 5.9 Maintenance of Natural Channels
        Sect. 5.10 Obstructions

    Part C. Coastal High Hazard Area (V-Zone)

        Sect. 5.11 General
        Sect. 5.12 New and Substantially Improved Structures
        Sect. 5.13 Manufactured Homes and Recreational Vehicles
        Sect. 5.14 Fill and Excavation
        Sect. 5.15 Location of Structures
        Sect. 5.16 Existing Structures

Article VI Specific Requirements

    Sect. 6.1 Placement of Buildings and Materials
    Sect. 6.2 Enclosures Below Lowest Floor
    Sect. 6.3 Manufactured Homes and Parks
    Sect. 6.4 Anchoring
    Sect. 6.5 Utilities
    Sect. 6.6 Accessory Structures and Garages
    Sect. 6.7 Recreational Vehicles
    Sect. 6.8 Fill

Article VII Variances

    Sect. 7.1 Reasons for Granting
    Sect. 7.2 Conditions
    Sect. 7.3 Functionally Dependent Uses

Article VIII Violations and Penalties

Article IX Miscellaneous Provisions


Article I Purpose and General Provisions

Sect. 1.1 Purpose and Authority

 

The purposes of this Ordinance are to protect human life and health, minimize property damage, encourage appropriate construction practices to minimize future damage, protect individuals from unwittingly buying land subject to flood hazards, and to protect water supply, sanitary sewage disposal,, and natural drainage. The prevention of unwise development in areas subject to flooding will reduce financial burdens to the community and the State, and will prevent future displacement and suffering of its residents. This protection is achieved through the review of all activities proposed within identified floodplains and by the issuance of permits for those activities that comply with the objectives of this Ordinance.

Floodplains are an important asset to the community. They perform vital natural functions such as temporary storage of floodwaters, moderation of peak flood flows, maintenance of water quality, groundwater recharge, prevention of erosion, habitat for diverse natural wildlife populations, recreational opportunities, and aesthetic quality, These functions are best served if floodplains are kept in their natural state. Wherever possible, the natural characteristics of floodplains and their associated wetlands and water bodies should be preserved and enhanced.

This Ordinance provides a unified, comprehensive approach to floodplain management which addresses these natural floodplain functions and the Federal and State programs concerned with floodplain management. These programs are: the National Flood Insurance Program (44 CRF 59-79); the State's Waterway Construction Permit Program for nontidal floodplains; the State's Tidal and Nontidal Wetlands Permit Programs; the U.S Army Corps of Engineers' Section 10 and 404 Permit Programs; and the State's Coastal Zone Management Program. Decisions to alter floodplains, especially floodways and stream channels, should be the result of careful planning processes which evaluate resource conditions and human needs.

Sect. 1.2 Abrogation and Greater Restrictions

 

This Ordinance supersedes any ordinance in effect in floodprone areas. However, any other ordinance shall remain in full force to the extent that its provisions are more restrictive.

Sect, 1.3 Applicability

 

Any person or entity proposing to do any development within the floodplain zone regulated by this Ordinance must first obtain a permit for that development from the local permitting agency, and must comply with all provisions of this Ordinance.

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Sect. 1,4 Partial Invalidity and Severability

 

If any part of this Ordinance is declared invalid, the remainder of the Ordinance shall not be affected and shall remain in force.

Sect. 1.5 Disclaimer of Liability

 

The degree of flood protection provided by this Ordinance is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based on engineering experience and scientific methods of study. Floods of greater magnitude may occur or flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes, This Ordinance does not imply that flooding will not occur outside of the delineated f loodplain zone,, nor that permitted development and land uses within the floodplain will be free of flooding and associated flood damage. This Ordinance does not create liability on the part of the Community., any officer,, or employee thereof for any damage which may result from reliance on this Ordinance.

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Article II Definitions

 

2.1 Accessory structure - a detached structure on the same parcel of property as the principal structure, the use of which is incidental to the principal structure, eg. a shed or detached garage.

2.2 Base Flood - the 100-year frequency flood event as indicated in the Flood Insurance Study, as amended, the elevation of which is used for regulatory purposes in this Ordinance.

2.3 Basement - an enclosed area which is below grade on all four sides.

2.4 Breakaway Wall - a wall that is not part of the structural support of a building and is intended to collapse under specific lateral loading forces without causing damage to the supporting foundation system of the building.

2.5 Certificate of Occupancy or Use - a permit to legally occupy or use a building for the intended purpose.

2.6 Development - any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including, but not limited to buildings and other structures, dredging, fill, grading, paving, clearing, excavation, dumping, extraction, or storage of equipment or materials, Development includes subdivision of land.

 

2.7 Elevation Certificate - form supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to certify as-built elevations of structures above mean sea level (NGVD),

2.8 Flood - general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from overflow of inland or tidal waters,, or rapid unusual accumulation of runoff from any source,

2.9 Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) - map which depicts the minimum special flood hazard area to be regulated by this Ordinance (unless a Floodway Map is available).

2.10 Floodplain - that land typically adjacent to a body of water with ground surface elevations that are inundated by the base flood.

2.11 Floodproofing - any combination of structural or nonstructural changes which reduce or eliminate flood damage to improved property.

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2. 12 Floodproofing Certificate - form supplied by FEMA to certify that a building has been designed and constructed to be structurally dry floodproofed to the Flood Protecion Elevation,

2.13 Flood Protection Elevation (FPE) - the elevation of the base flood plus one foot freeboard.

2.14 Floodway - the channel and adjacent land area required to discharge the waters of the 100-year flood of a watercourse without increasing the water surface elevations more than a specified height.

2.15 Floodway Map - map which depicts floodways and special flood hazard areas to be regulated by this ordinance.

2.16 Floodway Fringe - that portion of the floodplain outside the floodway.

2.17 Freeboard - an increment of elevation added to the base flood elevation to provide a factor of safety for uncertainties in calculations, wave actions, subsidence, or other unpredictable effects.

2.18 Historic Structure - a structure listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, a local inventory of historic places certified by the Maryland Historic Trust or the Secretary of the Interior, or preliminarily determined as meeting the requirements for such listing by the Maryland Historic Trust or the Secretary of the Interior, or determined as contributing to the historic significance of a historic district registered with Secretary of the Interior.

2.19 Lowest Floor - the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including basement. An unfinished enclosure constructed of flood resistant materials used solely for parking of vehicles, storage, or building access in an area other than a basement is not the lowest floor, as long as it is supplied with water equalizing vents,

2.20 Manufactured Home - a transportable structure which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities.

2.21 NGVD - National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 elevation reference points set by the National Geodetic Survey based on mean sea level.

2.22 New Construction - a structure for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of the adoption of a Floodplain Management ordinance, and includes any subsequent improvements.

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2.23 One Hundred (100) Year Frequency Flood - the Base Flood, having a one chance in a hundred (one percent chance) of being equalled or exceeded in any year.

2.24 Permanent Construction - any structure occupying a site for more than 180 days per year.

2.25 Recreational Vehicle - a vehicle built on a single chassis which is 400 square feet or less at the longest horizontal projection, self propelled or towable, and designed primarily for temporary living while traveling or camping.

2.26 Start of Construction - the date of issue of the building permit for any development, including new construction and substantial improvements, provided that the actual start of the construction or improvement was within 180 days of permit issuance. The actual start of construction is the placement of slab or footings, piles, columns, or actual placement of a manufactured home. For substantial improvement, the start of construction is the first alteration of any structural part of the building.

2.27 Structure - a walled and roofed building, including, but not limited to, manufactured homes, gas and liquid storage tanks, garages, barns, sheds, piers, pilings, bulkheads, and floating docks.

2,28 Substantial Damage - damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

2.29 Substantial Improvement - any repair, reconstruction, or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure (less land value) either: (a) before the improvement or repair is started; or (b) if the structure has incurred substantial damage and been restored, before the damage occurred. Substantial improvement occurs when the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of the building commences. The minimum repairs needed to correct previously identified violations of local health, safety, or sanitary codes, and alterations to historic structures which do not preclude their continued designation as historic structures are not considered substantial improvements.

2.30 Temporary Structure - any structure completely removed within 180 days from issuance of the permit.

2.31 Variance - the grant of relief from a term or terms of this ordinance where permitted. (This is not a zoning variance.)

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2.32 Wetland - any land which is: (1) considered privated wetland or State wetland pursuant to Title 9 Wetland and Riparian Rights, Natural Resources Article, Annotated Code of Maryland; or (2) defined as wetland under the procedures described in the "Federal Manual for Identifying and Delineating Jurisdictional Wetlands" by the Federal Interagency Committee for Wetland Delineation, 1989, as amended

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Article III Permit Procedures

 

Sect. 3,1 General

 

A permit is required for all development in any Floodplain Zone. It shall be granted only after all necessary approved permits have been received from Federal and State agencies. Receipt of Federal or State permits does not exempt development from the provisions of this Ordinance.

Sect. 3,2 Information for a Permit

 

Applications for a Building Permit shall contain, at a minimum, the following information:

all permit applications must have a site plan drawn to the Town Zoning Code scale which shows:

a. dimensions of site;

b. size and location of existing and proposed structures or alterations;

c. setbacks;

d. elevation contours in mean sea level (NGVD);

e. delineation of the 100-year flood elevation and boundary; and

f. proposed elevation of the lowest floor and method of elevation, if applicable.

    a. dimensions of site;

    b. size and location of existing and          proposed structures or alterations;

    c. setbacks;

    d. elevation contours in mean sea level          (NGVD);

    e. delineation of the 100-year flood          elevation and boundary; and

    f. proposed elevation of the lowest          floor and method of elevation, if          applicable.

The local permit official shall require plans for tree maintenance, stormwater management, revegetation, establishment of vegetated buffers, and final grading as required by the Town Critical Areas Program and amending ordinances as part of the permit application process.

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All applicants shall agree in writing to provide an Elevation Certificate completed by a registered professional engineer or surveyor to certify the as-built lowest floor of a structure which must be elevated to or above the Flood Protection Elevation.

An Elevation Certificate must be submitted before a Certificate of Occupancy or Use may be issued. Work undertaken prior to submission of the certification is at the applicant's risk. For enclosed areas below the Flood Protection Elevation, a Nonconversion Agreement may be required, which includes an agreement to install water equalizing vents as specified in Sect. 6.2 of this Ordinance.

If an improvement to an existing structure is proposed, adequate information on the cost of the improvement and the market value of the structure before the improvement must be supplied to the local permitting official to allow a determination of substantial improvement. The local permitting official may use tax assessment records to determine substantial improvement. In floodway and coastal high hazard areas, permits shall be tracked by property location to determine if the cumulative value of improvements constitutes substantial improvement of a structure.

Sect. 3.3 Subdivision Proposals

 

In addition to the information required in Sect. 3.2, an applicant for subdivision in the nontidal floodplain zone shall submit a plan to demonstrate that a building site for each lot is outside of the 100-year floodplain. The local permitting official shall assure that a plan for the perpetual protection of the floodplain areas in their natural state as required under Sect. 5.5 is included.

Subdivision plans for the tidal floodplain zone shall be reviewed to assure that the provisions of Sect. 5.5 are met, especially with regard to avoiding wetlands, low areas, and existing forest cover.

In all floodplain subdivisions, plans for maintenance of forest cover, flood protection setbacks, revegetation, accommodation of stormwater runoff, prevention of erosion, and other plans required by the local permitting official must be submitted with subdivision proposals. The plans shall be evaluated as a whole to achieve maximum preservation of the natural and beneficial floodplain functions, desirable resources, and characteristics of each site. The plan for utility ingress, stormwater drainage structures, road access,. and other rights of way shall be evaluated in light of the site characteristics.

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Sect. 3.4 Issuance of Permit

 

Considerations

Prior to issuance of a permit, the local permitting official shall determine the location of the project relative to floodways, floodplains, or V-zones and shall note on the permit the proper elevation to which the lowest floor of proposed structures must be elevated. In approximate floodplains where an elevation is not available, the applicant shall be required to obtain such elevation. The applicant must agree to secure all other required permits, an Elevation Certificate, Floodproof ing Certificate, engineering analysis, or other required verif ications deemed appropriate by the local permitting official.

Permits shall be granted by the local permitting official only after determining that the proposed development will be in complete conformance with the requirements of this Ordinance and all other applicable local codes and ordinances. All other necessary permits or approvals must be applied for or granted. Permits are valid only after all other necessary permits are granted.

After Issuance and During Construction

 

After issuance of a permit, no changes of any kind shall be made to the application, permit, or any of the plans, specif- ications, or other documents submitted with the application without the written approval of the local permitting official. A copy of the permit or other verification must be displayed at the construction site during construction activity.

Work on the permitted activity shall begin within 180 days of the issuance of the permit, or the permit shall expire, unless a written extension is granted by the local permitting official. Work shall be completed within one year of the date of the permit unless a greater time is specified in the permit or a written extension is granted. One six month extension may be granted upon presentation of sufficient written justification; otherwise, a new permit shall be required.

During construction, the local permitting official or an authorized representative shall inspect the site to determine that the work is in compliance with the permit. Any work found to be noncompliant must be corrected before any additional work is undertaken.

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Record of Permits

A record of all floodplain permits shall be maintained and be available upon request by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or its authorized agent (Water Resources Administration) during periodic assessments of this community's participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. All documents needed to support any permit action, such as Elevation Certificates, map amendments or revisions, variance actions, shall be available for review during these assessments.

Sect. 3.5 Conditioned Permits For Accessory Structures and Garages

 

A conditioned permit may be issued at the discretion of the local permitting official when the 300 square foot exemption is exceeded for accessory structures up to a total size of 600 square feet, In order to qualify, the structure's use must be incidental to the primary structure, and it can be used only for limited storage and parking of vehicles. The provisions of Sect. 6.6 must be met.

A conditioned permit is subject to the applicant's completion of a Nonconversion Agreement stating that the use of the accessory structure may not change from that permitted and that it must be equipped with the proper water equalizing vents, A statement of the greater flood risk and possibly higher flood insurance premiums must be included. In addition, a recordation on the deed or Memorandum of Land Restriction must be made as described in Sect. 7.2, stating that the permitted structure may not be used for human habitation without first complying with the construction requirements of this Ordinance,

Sect. 3.6 Fees

 

A fee established by the Mayor and Council shall be charged at the time of application,

Sect. 3.7 Penalties

 

A person who does not comply with a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this Ordinance is guilty of a municipal infraction, Alternatively or in addition, the violation may be considered a civil infraction and a fine imposed, but a fine does not excuse the violation. Each day a violation continues is a separate offense. The violation must be corrected prior to any further work progressing on the project.

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The Federal Insurance Administrator and the Water Resources Administration must be notified by the local permitting official within 30 days after issuance of the citation of any violation which requires a fine or court appearance. New or renewal federal flood insurance may be denied any structure remaining in violation of this Ordinance. The violation may also violate State law, may be subject to separate action, and may incur a separate penalty.

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Article IV Establishment of Floodplain Zones

Sect. 4.1 Identification of Flood Zones

 

The regulatory floodplain shall be those areas of the Town Of Rock Hall which are subject to the 100-year flood, delineated on the most recent revision of the community's Floodway Maps and Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) and described in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Floodway Maps and the FIS, if available for the community, must be used. Areas along nontidal streams that do not have FEMA delineations as described above are subject to regulation by this Ordinance and the State.

Sect. 4,2 Floodplain Zones

 

A community may have one or more of the following floodplain zones:

Nontidal Floodplains consist of the Floodway and the Floodway Fringe. Nontidal floodplains may have detailed engineering study data, profiles, and water surface elevations, or may have approximate delineations only.

Tidal Floodplains consist of areas subject to coastal or tidal flooding by the 100-year flood. These areas are flooded due to high tides, hurricanes, tropical storms, and steady on-shore winds.

Coastal High Hazard Areas consist of areas subject to coastal or tidal flooding with the addition of high velocity water and wind action, These areas are designated as V-Zones on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Sect. 4.3 Floodplain Boundaries

Floodplain Zone Determination

 

The local permitting official will determine the floodplain zone in which the development activity is proposed using the Floodway Maps and FIS if available, or, if not, by using the FIRM. Without prior approval from FEMA,, the community shall use no other data to enforce floodplain management regulations, Where map boundaries and elevations disagree, elevations prevail, with no approval from FEMA required.

Unmapped Streams

In cases in which development is proposed in the vicinity of unmapped streams, which have no delineated 100-year floodplain, the 50 foot flood protection setback from the banks of the stream described in Sect, 5.4 may be used, State permits may be required and applicants are advised to seek a determination from the State.

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Article V Development Regulations in Floodplain Zones

 

 

In order to prevent excessive flood damage and to allow for the protection of the natural and beneficial floodplain functions, the following provisions shall apply to all development., new construction, and substantial improvements to existing structures in all floodplain zones. If a structure is in more than one zone, the more stringent provisions shall apply to the entire structure. The specific requirements contained in Article VI also apply to development in this Article. Any approved development shall comply with all other zoning, environmental, water quality and sanitary regulations, as well as applicable State and federal requirements.

Watercourses

In all floodplain zones, any development which proposes to alter a watercourse must obtain a variance. All conditions for encroachment in the floodway must be met and adverse impacts to aquatic resources must be minimized. Adjacent communities and property owners, FEMA, and the Maryland Water Resources Administration must be notified by the applicant before any modification may occur to watercourses, Any activity falling within the 100-year nontidal floodplain may require a waterway construction permit from the Water Resources Administration.

Wetlands

Encroachment by development into wetlands is not allowed without State and federal permits. It is State and federal policy that disturbance of wetlands shall be avoided. The applicant must demonstrate that no alternatives exist and the encroachment is the minimum necessary. Mitigation may be required by the appropriate regulatory authorities.

Sediment and Stormwater Management

Any land disturbance permitted in the floodplain must have a stormwater management and sediment and erosion control plan as required by State and local regulations, The plan must include design of land contours that will not increase surf ace water runoff onto neighboring properties. Ground cover must be established immediately after disturbance, and a plan for permanent plantings, including trees, should provide for adequate vegetative cover within the flood protection setback from watercourses to prevent erosion. (See Article III, Section 3.2)

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Part A. Nontidal and Tidal Floodplain Zones

Sect. 5.1 General

 

Development may not occur in the floodplain where alternative locations exist due to the inherent hazards and risks involved. Before a permit is issued, the applicant shall demonstrate that new structures cannot be located out of the floodplain and that encroachments onto the floodplain are minimized.

Sect. 5.2 Elevation Requirements - New and Substantially Improved Structures

 

Residential Structures

All new or substantially improved residential structures, including manufactured homes, shall have the lowest floor elevated to or above the Flood Protection Elevation. Basements are not permitted.

In nontidal floodplains, horizontal expansions which increase the footprint and that are less than substantial shall also have the lowest floor elevated to or above the Flood Protection

Elevation, The elevation of the lowest floor shall be certified by a registered surveyor or professional engineer on the Elevation Certificate, after the lowest floor is in place. Enclosures below the Flood Protection Elevation must be constructed with water equalizing vents to meet the specifications of Sect. 6,2, Improvements in tidal floodplains, which are less than substantial shall be constructed to minimize damage during flooding or shall be elevated to the greatest extent possible.

Nonresidential Structures

All new or substantially improved nonresidential structures shall either be elevated as set forth above for residential structures or shall be floodproofed,

Horizontal expansions in the nontidal floodplain which increase the footprint and that are less than substantial shall also have the lowest floor elevated to or above the Flood Protection Elevation. State regulations do not allow basements or the floodproofing option for new nonresidential structures in nontidal floodplains.

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Floodproofing designs must insure that areas below the Flood Protection Elevation are watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and with structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy. If the floodproofing option is chosen, a Floodproofing Certificate must be completed by a registered professional engineer or architect who shall review the design and specifications and certify that the nonresidential structure will meet this standard,

Sect. 5.3 Fill

 

The placement of more than 600 cubic yards of fill per parcel/lot in the floodplain is prohibited except by variance. Elevating buildings by other methods must be considered unless 600 cubic yards or less of fill are required. An applicant shall demonstrate that fill is the only alternative to raising the building to at least the Flood Protection Elevation, and that the amount of fill used will not affect the flood storage capacity or increase flooding onto neighboring properties.

In the event buildings on adjacent properties are known or determined to be subject to flooding under current conditions, the local permitting official shall require submission of hydrologic and hydraulic analyses to adequately demonstrate the effects of the proposed fill. The conditions described in Sect. 6.8 must be met whenever fill is used.

Sect. 5.4 Flood Protection Setback Requirement

 

A minimum 100 foot flood protection setback shall be maintained from the edge of the banks of any watercourse delineated as having a floodplain on the Floodway Map or FIRM,, except where the setback may extend beyond the floodplain. To prevent erosion, natural vegetation shall be maintained in this area. Where natural vegetation does not exist along the water course, and conditions f or replanting are suitable, high priority shall be given to planting trees in the setback area to stabilize banks and to enhance aquatic resources.

A minimum 50 foot flood protection setback shall be maintained from the top of the bank of any stream which has no designated floodplain. Natural vegetation shall be maintained and, if needed, trees planted,

For parcels within the Critical Area that qualify for buffer set back exemptions, the Floodplain set back requirement is reduced accordingly. However, new construction is prohibited within reach of the mean high tide.

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The Mayor and the Council may consider a variance if the applicant demonstrates that it is impossible to allow any development without encroachment into the flood protection setback area. The variance shall be the minimum necessary and shall be made only after due consideration is given to varying other siting standards, such as side, front, and back lot line setbacks. Necessary public works and temporary construction may be exempted from this Section.

Sect. 5.5 Subdivision Requirements

 

NON-TIDAL FLOODPLAIN

To achieve long-term flood damage avoidance and protection of the natural and beneficial floodplain functions, creation of any new flood-prone building sites shall not be permitted in any new subdivisions regardless of size, number of lots, and location, except in tidal floodplains.

In new subdivisions in nontidal floodplains, each lot platted must have a suitable building site outside the floodplain. Consideration must be given to clustering development out of the floodplain. The flood protection setback requirement of Sect. 5.4 shall be met. An access road at or above the elevation of the 100-year flood shall be provided.

Tidal Floodplains

New subdivisions in tidal floodplains shall be designed to develop the highest natural land available before floodplain lots are platted, The flood protection setback requirement of Sect. 5.4 shall be met, High priority should be given to clustering development out of the floodplain while preserving the low lying land and forested areas in natural vegetation.

Within new subdivisions, the floodplain areas and their natural vegetation shall be preserved and dedicated to natural buffer areas, open space, recreation,, and similar compatible uses by deed restriction, restrictive covenants, or donation to a land trust. At a minimum, the area preserved shall include the flood protection setback area, and, to the greatest extent possible, other floodplain areas. Steep slopes and forested areas adjacent to watercourses shall also be given high priority for preservation. When floodplain is in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, Chesapeake Bay Critical Area forest and vegetation regulations apply. All other provisions of this Article and Article VI apply to subdivisions. The local permitting official may specify additional provisons in the plan review.

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Part B, Floodways

Sect. 5.6 General

 

Floodways shall be preserved to carry the discharge of the 100-year flood. Floodways present increased risks to human life and property because of their relatively faster and deeper flowing waters. Fill shall not be permitted. New structures shall not be permitted. New development shall not be permitted in the floodway where alternatives exist elsewhere or if any increase in water surface elevations will result from the 100-year flood.

Any development in the floodway which may result in any increase in water surface elevations or change to the floodway must be submitted to FEMA for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision. Hydrologic and hydraulic analyses based on existing floodway models and performed in accordance with standard engineering practices and certified by a registered professional engineer must be submitted. Failure to receive this Letter shall be grounds for denial of the permit.

An alternative analysis must be prepared for any development in the floodway before a permit may be issued. The provisions of Part A above, as well as Part B, apply to floodways.

Sect. 5,7 Alternative Analysis Requirement

 

 

Before a permit may be issued, an applicant shall submit an alternative analysis which demonstrates that:

 

a. no reasonable alternatives exist outside the floodway;

b. encroachment in the floodway is the minimum necessary;

c. the development will withstand the 100-year flood without significant damage; and

d. the development will not increase downstream or upstream flooding or erosion.

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Sect. 5.8 Existing Structures

 

Existing structures in the floodway shall be substantially improved only by variance and if they can be brought into conformance with this ordinance without increasing the footprint. Minor additions (less than substantial) must be elevated to the Flood Protection Elevation on pilings or columns. In the event of substantial damage or replacement, the applicant shall submit an alternative analysis to determine if the structure can be relocated to a less hazardous site. Where replacement structures cannot be relocated, they shall be limited to the footprint of the previous structure and must comply with the elevation requirements of Sect. 5.2 of this Ordinance. Permits for incremental improvements and additions shall be tracked by the local permitting official, and if cumulative improvements constitute substantial improvement, no further permits may be issued unless the structure conforms to the provisions of this Ordinance,

Sect. 5.9 Maintenance of Natural Channel

 

The natural watercourse shall be maintained for protection of aquatic resources. A variance is required for alteration of watercourses. Any variance issued must assure that the conditions for encroachment in the floodway are met, adverse impacts to aquatic resources are minimized, and the public good outweighs the adverse impacts. The provisions of Article V pertaining to altering a watercourse must be met.

Sect. 5,10 Obstructions

 

 

Structures or fill which may impede, retard, or change the direction of the flow of flood waters, or any materials that may be carried downstream to cause damage shall not be placed in the floodway. Fences, except two wire fences, shall not be placed in the floodway,

Part C. Coastal High Hazard Area (V-Zone)

Sect, 5.11 General

 

New development shall not be permitted in the coastal high hazard area where the action of wind and waves, in addition to tidal flooding, is a factor unless the applicant demonstrates that:

 

a. no reasonable alternative exists outside the coastal high hazard area;

b. the encroachment into the coastal high hazard area is the minimum necessary;

C. the development will withstand the 100-year wind and water loads without damage;

d. the development will not create an additional hazard to existing structures; and

e. any natural dune system will not be disturbed.

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Sect. 5.12 New and Substantially Improved Structures

 

All new or substantially improved structures shall be elevated on adequately anchored pilings or columns to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement due to the effects of the 100-year water loads and wind loads acting simultaneously on all building components. Water loading values shall be those associated with the base flood, and wind loading values shall be those required by local building standards. The bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member supporting the lowest floor shall be elevated to or above the Flood Protection Elevation. Building designs and elevations must be certified by a Maryland registered professional engineer or architect knowledgeable in such designs that the building has been designed to withstand the water and wind loads and be anchored properly. The use of slabs or other at grade foundation systems is prohibited.

The space below the Flood Protection Elevation shall be free of obstruction or may be enclosed with open wood lattice, insect screening, or breakaway walls. Glass walls are not to be considered breakaway walls. Breakaway walls or window unit shall be designed to collapse under a wind and water load less than would occur during the 100-year flood, and have a designed safe loading resistance of not less than 10 pounds and no more than 20 pounds per square foot, Enclosed areas below the Flood Protection Elevation shall be used solely for the parking of vehicles, limited storage, and building access. If such areas are enclosed, a Nonconversion Agreement, described in Sect. 3.5. must be signed by the applicant,

Sect. 5.13 Manufactured Homes and Recreational Vehicles

 

 

Manufactured homes are not permitted in the coastal high hazard area. Recreational vehicles must meet the requirements of Sect. 6.7.

Sect. 5.14 Fill and Excavation

 

The use of fill for the structural support of buildings is prohibited. Excavation under existing structures or excavation within any enclosed space is prohibited.

Earth or sand removed for the proper placement of pilings or columns shall be replaced. Excavation to create a basement is prohibited.

Sect. 5.15 Location of Structures

 

New construction within the reach of mean high tide is prohibited. New construction within the 100 foot flood protection setback as described in Sect. 5,4 is prohibited unless Critical Area buffer exemption is in place. Alteration of the dune system is prohibited.

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Sect. 5.16 Existing Structures

 

Existing structures located in the V-zone shall not be substantially improved or expanded vertically or horizontally unless the entire foundation system is certified by a professional engineer or architect as capable of supporting the existing building and the proposed improvement during the 100-year storm as specified in Sect. 5.12. Permits for incremental improvements shall be tracked, and when cumulative improvements constitute substantial improvement, the entire building must comply with Sect. 5.12.

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Article VI Specific Requirements

 

In addition to the requirements outlined in Article V, the following specific requirements must be applied.

Sect. 6.1 Placement of Buildings and Materials

 

In general, buildings and accessory structures should be located entirely out of the floodplain, out of the flood protection setback, or on land that is least susceptible to flooding. All structures permitted in the floodplain shall be oriented so as to offer the least resistance to the flow of flood waters. Materials which are buoyant, flammable, explosive, hazardous to health, or which at times of flooding may be injurious to human, animal, or plant life, shall not be stored below the Flood Protection Elevation.

Sect, 6.2 Enclosures Below Lowest Floor

 

Buildings which have been elevated and have fully enclosed areas below the Flood Protection Elevation, as well as garages and accessory structures which are not elevated (Sect, 6.6), shall be constructed with water equalizing vents which meet or exceed the following standards:

a. a minimum of two openings on different walls having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding;

b. the bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade; and

C. openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves, or other coverings or devices, provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters to equalize hydrostatic forces on the walls.

Fully enclosed areas below the Flood Protection Elevation shall be used solely for parking of vehicles, access to the building, or storage. If such areas are enclosed, a Nonconversion Agreement as described in Sect. 3.5 must be signed by the applicant.

In coastal high hazard areas, enclosures below the Flood Protection Elevation shall comply with the provisions of Sect. 5.12 of this Ordinance.

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Sect. 6.3 Manufactured Homes and Manufactured Home Parks

 

New manufactured homes and manufactured home parks are prohibited in the coastal high hazard area and in the floodway. In other floodplain zones, all new, replacement, or substantially improved manufactured homes, whether in a manufactured home park or not, shall comply with Sect. 5.2 of this Ordinance.

Methods of anchoring shall include use of over-the-top and frame ties to ground anchors. Pilings or columns shall be used to maintain storage capacity of the floodplain. Concrete block support pilings must be reinforced by placing reinforcing bars inside and extending them into the footing, filling the hollows with cement, and using mortar to cement the blocks together. FEMA Publication 85, "Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas", should be consulted for specific recommendations,

Manufactured homes repaired or replaced because of substantial damage due to flooding or other causes are considered to be new structures and must fully comply with Sect 5.2.

Owners of manufactured home parks or subdivisions that are partially or fully within the floodplain must file an evacuation plan with the local emergency management agency, In nontidal floodplains, a flood free access road shall be provided in all new manufactured home parks and subdivisions.

Sect, 6,4 Anchoring

 

All structures shall be firmly anchored in accordance with acceptable engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse,, and lateral movement during flooding, All air ducts, large pipes, and storage tanks located below the Flood Protection Elevation shall be firmly anchored to resist flotation.

Sect. 6,5 Utilities

 

Electric

All electric utilities to the structure side of the meter, both interior and exterior to the building, are regulated by this Ordinance. Distribution panel boxes must be at least 2 feet above the Flood Protection Elevation. All outlets and electrical installations, such as heat pumps, air conditioners, air compressors, --water heaters, furnaces, generators, distribution systems, must be installed at or above the Flood Protection Elevation.

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        Plumbing

 

Toilets, sinks, showers, water heaters, pressure tanks, furnaces, and other permanent plumbing installations must be installed at or above the Flood Protection Elevation.

Gas

Gas meters and gas appliances must be installed at or above the Flood Protection Elevation.

        Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities

 

Water supply distribution and sanitary disposal collection systems must be designed to minimize or eliminate the infiltration of flood waters into the systems or discharges from the systems into flood waters and shall be located and constructed so as to minimize or eliminate flood damage.

Sect. 6,6 Accessory Structures and Garages

 

Where feasible, accessory structures and garages should be located out of the floodplain or elevated to or above the Flood Protection Elevation, When these measures are not feasible the following apply:

 

a. the floor of the structure must be at or above grade;

b. the structure must be located, oriented, and constructed so as to minimize flood damage; and

C. the structure must be firmly anchored to prevent flotation.

Attached Garages

A garage attached to the main structure shall be elevated to the greatest extent possible, but may be permitted as an exemption to the strict elevation requirement if it is used solely for parking of vehicles, storage., or building access and is no more than 600 square feet in area. Attached garages must meet the venting requirements of Sect. 6.2, have all interior walls, ceilings, and floors below the Flood Protection Elevation unfinished, and have no machinery or electric devices or appliances located below the Flood Protection Elevation, A Nonconversion Agreement as described in Sect. 3.5 must be signed by the property owner stating that the garage may never be used for human habitation without first becoming fully compliant with this ordinance.

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        Detached Garages and Accessory Structures

 

An accessory structure or detached garage may be permitted as an exemption to the elevation requirement if it is less than 300 square feet, used solely for parking of vehicles and limited storage, meets the venting requirements of Sect. 6.2, has all interior wall, ceiling, and floor elements below the Flood Protection Elevation unfinished, and has no machinery, electric devices, or appliances located below the Flood Protection Elevation. A Nonconversion Agreement must be signed by the property owner.

An accessory structure or a detached garage between 300 square feet and 600 square feet may be permitted below the Flood Protection Elevation only by a conditioned permit described in Sect. 3.5.

An accessory structure or garage larger than 600 square feet in area must be elevated properly or be able to meet all applicable requirements under the variance procedure in Sect. 7.1 of this Ordinance.

Sect. 6,7 Recreational Vehicles and Semi-Trailers

 

Recreational vehicles and semi-trailers located within the floodplain may be exempted from the elevation and anchoring requirements provided they are:

 

a. located on the site less than 180 consecutive days per year;
b. fully licensed and ready for highway use; and
c. properly permitted

A recreational vehicle or semi-trailer is ready for highway use if it is on its wheels and jacking system, is attached to the site only by quick disconnect type utilities and securing devices, and has no permanently attached additions. If it cannot meet all of these criteria, the recreational vehicle must be considered a manufactured home and is subject to the elevation and construction standards of this Ordinance.

Sect. 6.8 Fill

 

Fill is discouraged because storage capacity is removed from floodplains. Other methods of elevating structures should be considered first, and fill used only if other methods are not feasible. Fill may not be placed in the floodway. Fill may not be used for structural support in coastal high hazard areas. Fill may not be placed in tidal or nontidal wetlands without the required State and Federal permits.

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Fill must consist of clean soil and rock materials only. Dredged material may be used as fill only upon certification of suitability by a registered professional geotechnical engineer. Landfills, rubble fills, dumps and sanitary fills are not permitted in the floodplain.

Fill used to support structures must be compacted to 95% of the maximum density obtainable by the Standard Proctor Test (ASTM Standard D-698), and its suitability to support structures certified by a registered professional engineer. Fill slopes shall be no greater than two horizontal to one vertical. Flatter slopes may be required where velocities may result in erosion.

The use of fill shall not increase flooding or cause drainage problems on neighboring properties.

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Article VII Variances

 

Sect. 7.1 Reasons for Granting

 

The Mayor and Council shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this Ordinance. Conditions may be attached to the variance action, and variance actions must be consistent with sound f loodplain management. Variances may not be issued except as specified below, nor shall variances be issued for any encroachment in floodways if any increase in the 100-year flood levels will result.

Variances shall only be issued upon:

 

a. a showing of good and sufficient cause;

b. a determination that failure to grant a variance would result in exceptional hardship (other than economic) to the applicant; and

C. a determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing local and State laws or ordinances.

 

The variance action shall be the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard., to afford relief. In considering a variance action, comments from the State Coordinating Office of the Water Resources Administration must be taken into account and maintained with the permit file.

Sect 7.2 Conditions

Variances may not be granted for the following

 

a. placement of fill or any development in the floodway if any increase in flood levels would result;

b. placement of fill in the coastal high hazard area for structural support; or

c. new buildings in the floodway.

d. placement of manufactured homes in the coastal high hazard area.

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For any variance issued, a letter shall be sent to the applicant indicating the terms and conditions of the variance. A statement of the greater flood risk and possibly higher flood insurance premiums must be included. The applicant shall be notified in writing of the requirement for recordation of these conditions on the deed or Memorandum of Land Restriction prior to obtaining a permit, and of the need to secure all necessary permits as conditions for granting a variance. The Memorandum is described in Article 3-102 and 3-103 of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The local permitting official shall maintain a record of all variance actions and the justification for their issuance, as well as all correspondence. This record must be submitted as a part of the Biennial Report to FEMA, and be available for periodic review. The number of variance actions should be kept to a minimum.

Sect. 7.3 Functionally Dependent Uses

 

Variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements for the conduct of a functionally dependent use. A functionally dependent use cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water. It includes only docking facilities, port facilities that are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers,, and ship building and ship repair facilities., but does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing facilities. The variance may be issued only upon sufficient proof of the functional dependence. The provisions of Sect. 7.1 and 7.2 must be met and the structure must be protected by methods that minimize flood damage up to the Flood Protection Elevation and must create no additional threats to public safety. This may require methods of "wet floodproofing" which allow the structure to flood without significant damage. Methods of floodproofing must not require human intervention.

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Article VIII Violations and Penalties

A. Penalty - Violations of this ordinance shall be punishable as a Muncipal Infraction. Violators shall be subject to a fine not to exceed one hundred ($100). Repeat offenders may be assessed a fine not to exceed two hundred dollars ($200) for each repeat offense.

B. Each day during which any violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense.

C. The imposition of a fine or penalty for any violation of or noncompliance with this chapter shall not excuse the violation or noncompliance or permit it to continue, and all such persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violation and noncompliance within a reasonable time.

D. Any structure constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, altered or relocated in noncompliance with this chapter shall be declared by the Mayor/Council to be a public nuisance and abatable as such.

E. The Federal Insurance Administration and the Maryland Water Resources Administration shall be notified immediately, in writing, of any structure or property in violation of this chapter.

F. New or Renewal National Flood Insurance shall be denied for any structure remaining in violation or situated on property in violation of this chapter.

Town of Rock Hall | P.O. Box 367 | Rock Hall MD 21661 | PH: 410-639-7611 | FAX: 410-639-7298 | townclerk@rockhallmd.com