Planning Commission Summary
PLANNING COMMISSION SUMMARY OF PROPOSED FLOOD REGULATIONS
The Planning Commission has prepared the following document to help residents of Halifax understand why it endorsed the Proposed Flood Regulations, and what the Regulations do.
There are three things the Planning Commission wishes to highlight:
– If the Town rejects the Flood Regulations, roughly $100-150,000 in additional tax revenue will need to be collected from taxpayers;
– If the Town approves the Flood Regulations, all residents will be eligible for flood insurance and for most people, the cost will likely cost just a few hundred dollars. - Article 3, section 304, #5 of our existing zoning regulations already prohibit the construction of “structures and septic systems” within 75 feet of the high water mark of all waterways, hence the Flood Regulations do not, in the Commission’s view, radically change the status quo.
I. WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS AT ALL?
A. Why has the Planning Commission endorsed the Proposed Flood Regulations?
There are financial, civic, safety and environmental reasons why any town might consider adopting flood regulations. The principal reason why the Planning Commission has endorsed the Proposed Flood Regulations now, however, is because of some immediate public financial benefits of doing so as well as some long-term private financial benefits of doing so.
B. What is the relationship between these zoning regulations and public and private finances?
The relationship between these things is direct, but it takes a few steps to explain.
1. Regulating development in and around waterways reduces the potential for loss of public and private property, and minimizes safety and environmental risks.
2. The government has an interest in ensuring that these risks are minimized because: (a) the state has the authority and, in some instances, the obligation, to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public; (b) state and federal governments provide aid and assistance to individuals and municipalities when flooding occurs; and (c) the federal government underwrites all flood insurance policies that are written by private insurers through something called the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) – a program that towns like Halifax can join.
3. With respect to public finances, the state and federal governments only provide certain kinds of government assistance (in the form of flood and disaster relief and grants) to municipalities enrolled in the NFIP. With respect to private finances, the federal government only provides certain kinds of federally backed assistance to individuals (in the form of flood insurance and, in some cases, mortgages) to individuals who live in municipalities that have enrolled in NFIP.
4. Only municipalities that adopt and enforce a minimum set of flood regulations, like those the Planning Commission has proposed, are eligible to enroll in NFIP.
Therefore, failure to adopt and enforce the Proposed Flood Regulations will prevent Halifax from obtaining certain kinds of state and federal assistance; it will make it impossible for Halifax residents to obtain flood insurance and it may impair some residents’ ability to obtain federally-backed mortgages.
C. What’s the rush? Why are these Regulations being proposed now?
The Halifax budget and every Halifax taxpayer’s tax bill will be affected in the immediate future based on the Town’s decision to adopt or reject the Proposed Regulations at this year’s Town Meeting.
We don’t yet know the final tally of Irene-related expenditures, but conservative estimates suggest that Halifax suffered upwards of $4-6 million in damages to public roadways and bridges. While our residents were, in large measure, spared the kinds of losses to personal property that many of our neighbors suffered, these losses give Halifax the dubious distinction of being the Town that suffered the greatest, most costly losses to its public infrastructure.
The State has committed to make additional disaster relief funds available to Towns that are enrolled in the NFIP. As noted above, only those Towns that have adopted and enforce flood regulations are eligible for enrollment in NFIP.
Halifax currently does not have flood regulations and hence is neither enrolled in NFIP nor eligible to enroll in it, and therefore Halifax is not eligible for the additional matching funds from the State.
If the final tally of Halifax’s losses attributable to the storm remain in the $4-6 million range, then $100,000-$150,000 is on the line. If the Town approves the regulations, then we will just squeak under the deadline for enrollment in NFIP in time to benefit from the matching funds. If the Town rejects the Proposed Flood Regulations, then that $100,000-$150,000 will have to be collected through our municipal taxes.
II. WHAT DO THE REGULATIONS DO?
Regulations are not fun reading, but they need to be read in full to be fully understood. This summary is therefore simply intended to highlight what the Commission considers to be the most significant consequences of the proposed regulations and to put those consequences in some context. This document cannot and should not be relied upon for purposes of determining the rights and responsibilities of the Town of Halifax or individual property owners.
A. The Proposed Regulations Only Affect Properties Located in “Special Flood Hazard Areas.”
The Proposed Regulations only impose new requirements and restrictions on development (i) inside actual watercourses (“Floodways”) and (ii) on land within areas that FEMA has identified as “Special Flood Hazard Areas.”
The most current FEMA map of Halifax identifies only a sliver of land as being a “Special Flood Hazard Area,” which is defined as any area that is at a 1% or higher risk of flood every year.
B. The Proposed Regulations Permit Many Uses and Development of Property located in Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Section 805 identifies the kind of development that is (a) exempt from any review (and therefore automatically permitted); that is permitted subject to modest review and that is permitted subject to a more rigorous review:
EXEMPT FROM ANY REVIEW
1. The removal of a building or other structure in whole or in part;
2. Maintenance of existing roads and storm water drainage;
3. Silvicultural (forestry) activities conducted in accordance with the Vermont Department of Forests and Parks Acceptable Management Practices; and,
4. Agricultural activities conducted in accordance with the Vermont Department of Agriculture’s Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAP).
PERMITTED WITH MODEST REVIEW
1. Non-substantial improvements;
2. Accessory structures;
3. Development related to on-site septic or water supply systems;
4. Building utilities;
5. At-grade parking for existing buildings; and,
6. Recreational vehicles.
PERMITTED WITH CONDITIONAL USE REVIEW
1. Substantial improvement, elevation, relocation, or flood proofing of existing structures; 1. New or replacement storage tanks for existing structures;
2. Improvements to existing structures in the floodway;
3. Grading, excavation; or the creation of a pond;
4. Improvements to existing roads;
5. Bridges, culverts, channel management activities, or public projects which are functionally dependent on stream access or stream crossing;
6. Public utilities.
C. The Proposed Regulations Prohibit The Following Kinds of Development.
Section 805 also identifies the limited categories of development that would be prohibited. Those include:
1. New residential or non-residential structures (including the placement of manufactured homes);
2. Storage or junk yards;
3. New fill except as necessary to elevate structures above the base flood elevation;
4. Accessory structures in the floodway;
5. Critical facilities are prohibited in all areas affected by mapped flood hazards; and,
6. All development not exempted, permitted, or conditionally permitted.
D. Challenges and Changes to FEMA Maps.
The Proposed Regulations give property owners whose land is identified by FEMA as within a “Special Flood Hazard Area” the right to challenge that designation, although doing so would require an investment of time and money. In addition, although it is unlikely to happen anytime soon (because it is a prohibitively expensive undertaking), FEMA will likely update its maps at some point in the future. It is impossible to know in advance whether a redrawn map will reduce the land identified as a “Special Flood Hazard Area” or whether it will increase the land so designated. This means that in the future, the Proposed Flood Regulations might not apply to any land at all in Halifax (other than inside the actual watercourse) or that they could regulate more land than they would now.
However, the existing Halifax Zoning Regulations already prohibit all structures and septic systems within 75 feet of all waterways and that prohibition will remain on the books regardless of whether the Town adopts the Proposed Flood Regulations at this year’s Town Meeting.
 FEMA has published an information sheet with Myths and Facts about the NFIP that some may find helpful: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=58749
Please Note: The Summary Table referenced in Section 804 of the proposed amendments and an illustration in Section 810 have been deleted from this website version. Neither item changes the intent of the proposed amendments.
Proposed Flood Hazard Area Regulations
– Proposed Zoning Amendments
Article 8 Flood Hazard Area Regulations
Section 800. Statutory Authorization and Effect In accordance with 10 VSA Chapter 32, and 24 VSA Chapter 117 §4411, §4414 and §4424, there is hereby established a bylaw for areas at risk of flood damage in the Town of Halifax, Vermont. Except as additionally described below, all administrative procedures follow municipal procedures under 24 VSA Chapter 117.
Section 801. Statement of Purpose It is the purpose of this bylaw to:
A. Implement the goals, policies, and recommendations in the current municipal plan;
B. Avoid and minimize the loss of life and property, the disruption of commerce, the impairment of the tax base, and the extraordinary public expenditures and demands on public services that result from flooding;
C. Ensure that the selection, design, creation, and use of development is reasonably safe and accomplished in a manner that is consistent with public wellbeing, does not impair flood plain services or the stream corridor;
D. Manage the flood hazard area designated pursuant to 10 VSA Chapter 32 §753, the municipal hazard mitigation plan; and make the Town of Halifax, its citizens, and businesses eligible for federal flood insurance, federal disaster recovery funds, and hazard mitigation funds as may be available.
Section 802. Other Provisions
A. Precedence of Bylaw
The provisions of these flood hazard bylaws shall not in any way impair or remove the necessity of compliance with any other local, state, or federal laws or regulations. Where this flood hazard regulation imposes a greater restriction the provisions here shall take precedence.
B. Validity and Severability
If any portion of this bylaw is held unconstitutional or invalid by a competent court, the remainder of this bylaw shall not be affected.
C. Warning of Disclaimer of Liability
This bylaw does not imply that land outside of the areas covered by this bylaw will be free from flood damages. This regulation shall not create liability on the part of the Town of Halifax, or any municipal official or employee thereof, for any flood damages that result from reliance on this regulation, or any administrative decision lawfully made hereunder.
Section 803. Lands to Which these Regulations Apply
A. Regulated Flood Hazard Areas
These regulations shall apply to the Special Flood Hazard Area in and on the most current flood insurance studies and maps published by the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Flood Insurance Program, as provided by the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources pursuant to 10 VSA Chapter 32 §753, which are hereby adopted by reference and declared to be part of these regulations. The location of the boundary shall be determined by the Zoning Administrator (ZA). If the applicant disagrees with the determination made by the ZA, a Letter of Map Amendment from FEMA shall constitute proof.
B. Base Flood Elevations and Floodway Limits in Special Flood Hazard Areas
Where available, base flood elevations and floodway limits provided by the National Flood Insurance Program and in the Flood Insurance Study and accompanying maps shall be used to administer and enforce these regulations. In Special Flood Hazard Areas where base flood elevations and/or floodway limits have not been provided by the National Flood Insurance Program in the Flood Insurance Study and accompanying maps, it is the applicant’s responsibility to develop the necessary data. Where available, the applicant shall use data provided by FEMA, or State, or Federal agencies.
Section 804. Summary Table: Development Review in Hazard Areas The hazard areas are not appropriate sites for new structures nor for development that increases the elevation of the base flood.
Section 805. Development Review in Hazard Areas
A permit is required from the Zoning Administrator for all development in all areas defined in §803 of this bylaw. Development that requires conditional use approval, non-conforming use approval, or a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) under these flood hazard regulations, must have such approvals prior to the issuance of a permit by the ZA. Any development subject to municipal jurisdiction in the designated hazard areas shall meet the criteria in §805 and §806 of this bylaw. Any permit issued will require that all other necessary permits from State or Federal Agencies have been received before work may begin.
B. Permitted Development
For the purposes of review under these regulations, the following development activities in the Special Flood Hazard Area where outside of the Floodway, and meeting the Development Standards in Section 806, require only an administrative permit from the ZA:
1. Non-substantial improvements;
2. Accessory structures;
3. Development related to on-site septic or water supply systems;
4. Building utilities;
5. At-grade parking for existing buildings; and,
6. Recreational vehicles.
C. Prohibited Development in Special Flood Hazard Area
New residential or non-residential structures (including the placement of manufactured homes);
Storage or junk yards;
New fill except as necessary to elevate structures above the base flood elevation;
Accessory structures in the floodway;
Critical facilities are prohibited in all areas affected by mapped flood hazards; and,
All development not exempted, permitted, or conditionally permitted.
D. Conditional Use Review
Conditional use review and approval by the ZBA, is required prior to the issuance of a permit by the ZA for the following proposed development:
1. Substantial improvement, elevation, relocation, or flood proofing of existing structures;
2. New or replacement storage tanks for existing structures;
3. Improvements to existing structures in the floodway;
4. Grading, excavation; or the creation of a pond;
5. Improvements to existing roads;
6. Bridges, culverts, channel management activities, or public projects which are functionally dependent on stream access or stream crossing;
7. Public utilities;
E. Exempted Activities The following are exempt from regulation under this bylaw:
The removal of a building or other structure in whole or in part;
Maintenance of existing roads and storm water drainage;
Silvicultural (forestry) activities conducted in accordance with the Vermont Department of Forests and Parks Acceptable Management Practices; and,
Agricultural activities conducted in accordance with the Vermont Department of Agriculture’s Accepted Agricultural Practices (AAP). Prior to the construction of farm structures the farmer must notify the ZA in writing of the proposed activity. The notice must contain a sketch of the proposed structure including setbacks.
Variances may be granted in writing by the ZBA only in accordance with all the criteria in 24 VSA Chapter 117 §4469 and §4424 (E), and 44 CFR §60.6, after a public hearing noticed as described in §807 of this bylaw.
Any variance issued in the Special Flood Hazard Area will not increase flood heights, and will inform the applicant in writing over the signature of a community official that the issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood elevation increases risk to life and property and will result in increased flood insurance premiums up to amounts as high as $25 for $100 of coverage. Such notification shall be maintained with a record of all variance actions.
G. Nonconforming Structures and Uses The ZBA may, after public notice and hearing, approve the repair, relocation, replacement, or enlargement of a nonconforming structure within a flood hazard area provided that:
1. The proposed development is in compliance with all the Development Standards in §806 of this bylaw;
2. A nonconforming structure that is substantially damaged or destroyed may be reconstructed only in circumstances when the structure cannot be relocated to a less hazardous location on the parcel. The lowest floor of the reconstructed structure must be rebuilt to one foot or more above the base flood elevation, and the structure must otherwise comply with all requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program;
3. Nonconforming structures or uses shall be considered abandoned where such structures or uses are discontinued for more than 12 months; and
4. An individual manufactured home lot in an existing manufactured home park that is vacated shall not be considered a discontinuance or abandonment of nonconformity. Replacement manufactured homes must be placed so as to meet the development standards in this bylaw. Section 806. Development Standards – The criteria below are the minimum standards for development in the flood hazard areas. Where more than one zone or area is involved, the most restrictive standard shall take precedence.
A. Special Flood Hazard Area
1. All development shall be:
a. Reasonably safe from flooding;
b. Designed, operated, maintained, modified, and adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, release, or lateral movement of the structure;
c. Constructed with materials resistant to flood damage;
d. Constructed by methods and practices that minimize flood damage;
e. Constructed with electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing and air conditioning equipment and other service facilities that are designed and/or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding;
f. Adequately drained to reduce exposure to flood hazards;
g. Located so as to minimize conflict with changes in channel location over time and the need to intervene with such changes; and,
h. Required to locate any fuel storage tanks (as needed to serve an existing building in the Special Flood Hazard Zone) a minimum of one foot above the base flood elevation and be securely anchored to prevent flotation; or storage tanks may be placed underground, if securely anchored as certified by a qualified professional.
2. In Zones AE, AH, and A1 – A30 where base flood elevations and/or floodway limits have not been determined, development shall not be permitted unless it is demonstrated that the cumulative effect of the proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated encroachment, will not increase the base flood elevation more than 1.00 foot at any point within the community. The demonstration must be supported by technical data that conforms to standard hydraulic engineering principles and certified by a registered professional engineer.
3. Structures to be substantially improved in Zones A, A1-30, AE, and AH shall belocated such that the lowest floor is at least one foot above base flood elevation, this must be documented, in as-built condition, with a FEMA Elevation Certificate;
4. Non-residential structures to be substantially improved shall:
Meet the standards in §806 A 3; or,
Have the lowest floor, including basement, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities be designed so that two feet above the base flood elevation the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and with structural components having the capability of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy; A permit for flood proofing shall not be issued until a registered professional engineer or architect has reviewed the structural design, specifications and plans, and has certified that the design and proposed methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the provisions of this subsection.
5. Fully enclosed areas below grade on all sides (including below grade crawlspaces and basements) are prohibited.
6. Fully enclosed areas that are above grade, below the lowest floor, below BFE and subject to flooding, shall
a. Be solely used for parking of vehicles, storage, or building access, and such a condition shall clearly be stated on any permits; and,
b. Be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters. Such designs must be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect, or meet or exceed the following minimum criteria: A minimum of two openings on two walls having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding shall be provided. The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade. Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves, or other coverings or devices provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
7. Recreational vehicles must be fully licensed and ready for highway use;
8. A small accessory structure of 500 square feet or less that represents a minimal investment need not be elevated to the base flood elevation in this area, provided the structure is placed on the building site so as to offer the minimum resistance to the flow of floodwaters and shall meet the criteria in §806 A 6 (above).
9.. Water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems.
10. Sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems and discharges from the systems into flood waters.
11. On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
12. The flood carrying and sediment transport capacity within the altered or relocated portion of any watercourse shall be maintained, and any alteration or relocation shall not result in any decrease of stream stability;
13. Bridges and culverts, which by their nature must be placed in or over the stream, must have a stream alteration permit from the Agency of Natural Resources where applicable.
14 Subdivisions and Planned Unit Developments must be accessible by dry land access outside the special flood hazard area.
15. Existing buildings, including manufactured homes, to be substantially improved in Zone AO shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated above the highest adjacent grade, at least as high as the depth number specified on the community’s FIRM, or at least two feet if no depth number is specified. B.
1. Encroachments or development above grade and less than one foot above the base flood elevation, are prohibited unless hydrologic and hydraulic analyses are performed in accordance with standard engineering practice, by a registered professional engineer, certifying that the proposed development will:
a) Not result in any increase in flood levels (0.00 feet) during the occurrence of the base flood;
b) Not increase any risk to surrounding properties, facilities, or structures from erosion or flooding.
2. Public utilities may be placed underground, and the analyses may be waived, where a registered professional engineer certifies that there will be no change in grade and the utilities will be adequately protected from scour.
Section 807. Administration
A. Application Submission Requirements
1. Applications for development shall include:
a. Where applicable, a site plan that depicts the proposed development, all water bodies, Special Flood Hazard Areas, floodways, any existing and proposed drainage, any proposed fill, and pre and post development grades, and the elevation of the proposed lowest floor, as referenced to the same vertical datum as the elevation on the current Flood Insurance Rate Maps;
b. A Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Project Review Sheet for the proposal. The Project Review Sheet shall identify all State and Federal agencies from which permit approval is required for the proposal, and shall be filed as a required attachment to the municipal permit application. The identified permits, or letters indicating that such permits are not required, shall be submitted to the ZA and attached to the permit before work can begin;
1. Upon receipt of a complete application for a substantial improvement or new construction the ZA shall submit a copy of the application and supporting information to the State National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, in accordance with 24 VSA Chapter 117 §4424. A permit may be issued only following receipt of comments from the Agency, or the expiration of 30 days from the date the application was mailed to the Agency, whichever is sooner.
2. If the applicant is seeking a permit for the alteration or relocation of a watercourse, copies of the application shall also be submitted to the adjacent communities, the Stream Alteration Engineer at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Copies of such notice shall be provided to the State National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation. A permit may be issued only following receipt of comments from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, or the expiration of 30 days from the date the application was mailed to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, whichever is sooner. The Board should consider comments from the NFIP Coordinator at ANR.
The Zoning Administrator shall properly file and maintain a record of:
1. All permits issued in areas covered by this bylaw;
2. Elevation Certificates with the as-built elevation (consistent with the datum of the elevation on the current Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the community) of the lowest floor, including basement, of all new or substantially improved buildings (not including accessory buildings) in the Special Flood Hazard Area
3. All flood proofing and other certifications required under this regulation; and,
4. All decisions of the Board (including variances and violations) and all supporting findings of fact, conclusions and conditions.
Section 808. Certificate of Occupancy
In accordance with 24 VSA Chapter 117 §4449, it shall be unlawful to use or occupy, or permit the use or occupancy of any land or structure, or part thereof, created, erected, changed, converted, or wholly or partly altered or enlarged in its use or structure within Special Flood Hazard Area until a certificate of occupancy is issued therefore by the Zoning Administrator, stating that the proposed use of the structure or land conforms to the requirements of these bylaws. A certificate of occupancy is not required for structures that were built in compliance with the bylaws at the time of construction and have not been improved since the adoption of this bylaw. Within 14 days of the receipt of the application for a certificate of occupancy, the ZA shall inspect the premises to ensure that all permits identified on the Project Review Sheet have been acquired and that all work has been completed in conformance with the zoning permit and associated approvals. If the ZA fails to grant or deny the certificate of occupancy within 14 days of the submission of the application, the certificate shall be deemed issued on the 15th day. If a Certificate of Occupancy can not be issued, notice will be sent to the owner and copied to the lender.
Section 809. Enforcement and Penalties
A. This bylaw shall be enforced under the municipal zoning bylaw in accordance with 24 VSA Chapter 59 §1974a, and Chapter 117 §4451, and §4452. A copy of the notice of violation will be mailed to the State NFIP Coordinator.
B. If any appeals have been resolved, but the violation remains, the ZA shall submit a declaration to the Administrator of the National Flood Insurance Program requesting a denial of flood insurance to the property pursuant to §1316 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended.
C. Violations of the Accepted Agricultural Practices shall be enforced under this Section as violations of this bylaw. Such violations shall also be immediately reported to the Secretary of Agriculture for enforcement under 6 VSA Chapter 215 §4812.
Section 810. Definitions
“Accessory Structure” means a structure which is: 1) detached from and clearly incidental and subordinate to the principal use of or structure on a lot, 2) located on the same lot as the principal structure or use, and 3) clearly and customarily related to the principal structure or use. For residential uses these include, but may not be limited to garages, garden and tool sheds, and playhouses.
“Area of Special Flood Hazard” is synonymous in meaning with the phrase “special flood hazard area” for the purposes of these regulations.
“Base Flood” means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (commonly referred to as the “100-year flood”).
“Base Flood Elevation” (BFE) is the elevation of the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1 percent chance of equaling or exceeding that level in any given year. On the Flood Insurance Rate Map the elevation is usually in feet, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988, or other datum referenced in the Flood Insurance Study report, or the average depth of the base flood, usually in feet, above the ground surface.
“BFE” see Base Flood Elevation
“Common plan of development” is where a structure will be refurbished over a period of time. Such work might be planned unit by unit.
“Critical facilities” – include police stations, fire and rescue facilities, hospitals, shelters, schools, nursing homes, water supply and waste treatment facilities, and other structures the community identifies as essential to the health and welfare of the population and that are especially important following a disaster. For example, the type and location of a business may raise its status to a Critical Facility, such as a grocery or gas station.
“Development” means any human-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations, or storage of equipment or materials.
“Fill” means any placed material that changes the natural grade, increases the elevation, or diminishes the flood storage capacity at the site.
“FIRM” see Flood Insurance Rate Map
“Flood” means (a) a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from: the overflow of inland or tidal waters; the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; and mudslides which are proximately caused by flooding and are akin to a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water and deposited along the path of the current. (b) The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels or suddenly caused by an unusually high water level in a natural body of water, accompanied by a severe storm, or by an unanticipated force of nature, such as flash flood or abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly unusual and unforeseeable event which results in flooding.
“Flood Insurance Rate Map” (FIRM) means an official map of a community, on which the Federal Insurance Administrator has delineated both the special flood hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. In some communities the hazard boundaries are available in paper, pdf, or Geographic Information System formats as a Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM).
“Flood Insurance Study” means an examination, evaluation and determination of flood hazards and, if appropriate, the corresponding water surface elevations or an examination, evaluation and determination of mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and /or flood related erosion hazards.
“Floodplain or flood-prone area” means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source (see definition of “flood”).
“Flood proofing” means any combination of structural and non-structural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
“Floodway” means the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than one foot at any point. Please note that Special Flood Hazard Areas and floodways may be shown on separate map panels.
“Floodway, Regulatory in Town of Halifax” means the channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than one foot at any point.
“Functionally dependent use” means a use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water.
“Historic structure” means any structure that is: (a) listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of the Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register; (b) certified or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district; (c) individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or (d) individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either: (i) by an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior or (ii) directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.
“Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA)” is a letter issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency officially removing a structure or lot from the flood hazard zone based on information provided by a certified engineer or surveyor. This is used where structures or lots are located above the base flood elevation and have been inadvertently included in the mapped special flood hazard area.
“Lowest floor” means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including basement, except an unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other than a basement area is not considered a building’s lowest floor provided that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable non-elevation design requirements of 44 CFR §60.3.
“Manufactured home (or Mobile home)” means a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when attached to the required utilities. The term “manufactured home” does not include a “recreational vehicle”.
“New construction” for regulation under this bylaw, means structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of the floodplain management regulation adopted by the community and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.
“Non-residential” includes, but is not limited to: small business concerns, churches, schools, nursing homes, farm buildings (including grain bins and silos), pool houses, clubhouses, recreational buildings, government buildings, mercantile structures, agricultural and industrial structures, and warehouses.
“Recreational vehicle” means a vehicle which is: (a) Built on a single chassis; (b) 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection; (c) Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and (d) Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
“Special Flood Hazard Area” is the floodplain within a community subject to a 1 percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. For purposes of these regulations, the term “area of special flood hazard” is synonymous in meaning with the phrase “special flood hazard area”. This area is usually labeled Zone A, AO, AH, AE, or A1-30 in the most current flood insurance studies and on the maps published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Maps of this area are available for viewing in the municipal office or online from the FEMA Map Service Center: msc.fema.gov. Base flood elevations have not been determined in Zone A where the flood risk has been mapped by approximate methods. Base flood elevations are shown at selected intervals on maps of Special Flood Hazard Areas that are determined by detailed methods. Please note, where floodways have been determined they may be shown on separate map panels from the Flood Insurance Rate Maps.
“Start of construction” for purposes of floodplain management, determines the effective map or bylaw that regulated development in the Special Flood Hazard Area. The “start of construction” includes substantial improvement, and means the date the building permit was issued provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition placement, or other improvement was within 180 days of the permit date. The actual start means either the first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the pouring of slab or footings, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work beyond the stage of excavation; or the placement of a manufactured home on a foundation. Permanent construction does not include land preparation, such as clearing, grading and filling; nor does it include the installation of streets and/or walkways; nor does it include excavation for a basement, footing, piers, or foundations or the erection of temporary forms; nor does it include the installation on the property of accessory buildings, such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main structure. For a substantial improvement, the actual start of construction means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of a building, regardless whether that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.
“Structure” means, for regulatory purposes under this bylaw, a walled and roofed building, as well as a manufactured home, and any related built systems, including gas or liquid storage tanks.
“Substantial damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged conditions would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
“Substantial improvement” means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure after the date of adoption of this bylaw, the cost of which, over three years, or over a the period of a common plan of development, cumulatively equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred “substantial damage”, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either: (a) Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specification which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions or (b) Any alteration of a “historic structure”, provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a “historic structure”.
“Violation” means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with this bylaw. A structure or other development without the elevation certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in 44 CFR §60.3 is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided.