Floodplain Management Ordinance

Floodplain Management Ordinance


Unless specifically defined below, words and phrases used in this Ordinance shall have the same meaning as they have at common law and to give this Ordinance its most reasonable application. Words used in the present tense include the future, the singular number includes the plural, and the plural number includes the singular. The word “may” is permissive; “shall” is mandatory and not discretionary.

  • Accessory Structure – means a small detached structure that is incidental and subordinate to the principal structure.
  • Adjacent Grade – means the natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction next to the proposed walls of a structure.
  • Area of Special Flood Hazard – means the land in the floodplain having a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year, as specifically identified in the Flood Insurance Rate Map cited in Article I of this Ordinance.
  • Base Flood – means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year, commonly called the 100-year flood.
  • Basement – means any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
  • Building – see Structure.
  • Certificate of Compliance – A document signed by the Code Enforcement Officer stating that a structure is in compliance with all of the provisions of this Ordinance.
  • Code Enforcement Officer – A person certified under Title 30-A MRSA, Section 4451 (including exceptions in subsection 4451, paragraph 1) and employed by a municipality to enforce all applicable comprehensive planning and land use laws and ordinances.
  • Development – means any man made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.
  • Elevated Building – means a non-basement building
    • a. built, in the case of a building in Zone A, to have the top of the elevated floor, elevated above the ground level by means of pilings, columns, post, piers, or “stilts;” and
    • b. adequately anchored so as not to impair the structural integrity of the building during a flood of up to one foot above the magnitude of the base flood.

In the case of Zone A, Elevated Building also includes a building elevated by means of fill or solid foundation perimeter walls with hydraulic openings sufficient to facilitate the unimpeded movement of flood waters, as required in Article VI.K.. Elevation Certificate – An official form (FEMA Form 81-31, 02/06, as amended) that:

    • a. is used to verify compliance with the floodplain management regulations of the National Flood Insurance Program; and,
    • b. is required for purchasing flood insurance.
  • Flood or Flooding – means:
    • a. A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
      1. The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
      2. The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
    • 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 an abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly unusual and unforeseeable event which results in flooding as defined in paragraph a.1. of this definition.
  • Flood Elevation Study – means an examination, evaluation and determination of flood hazards and, if appropriate, corresponding water surface elevations.
  • Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) – means an official map of a community, on which the Federal Insurance Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
  • Floodplain or Flood-prone Area – means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source (see flooding).
  • Floodplain Management – means the operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations.
  • Floodplain Management Regulations – means zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, building codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as a floodplain ordinance, grading ordinance, and erosion control ordinance) and other applications of police power. The term describes such state or local regulations, in any combination thereof, which provide standards for the purpose of flood damage prevention and reduction.
  • Floodproofing – 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 contents.
  • Floodway – see Regulatory Floodway.
  • Freeboard – means a factor of safety usually expressed in feet above a flood level for purposes of floodplain management. Freeboard tends to compensate for the many unknown factors, such as wave action, bridge openings, and the hydrological effect of urbanization of the watershed, that could contribute to flood heights greater than the height calculated for a selected size flood and floodway conditions.
  • Functionally Dependent Use – means a use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water. The term 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.
  • Historic Structure – means any structure that is:
    • a. Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of 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 of the Interior 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:
      1. By an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, or
      2. Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.
  • Locally Established Datum – means, for purposes of this ordinance, an elevation established for a specific site to which all other elevations at the site are referenced. This elevation is generally not referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) or any other established datum and is used in areas where Mean Sea Level data is too far from a specific site to be practically used.
  • Lowest Floor – means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). 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 described in Article VI.K. of this ordinance.
  • Manufactured 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 connected to the required utilities. For floodplain management purposes the term manufactured home also includes park trailers, travel trailers, and other similar vehicles placed on a site for greater than 180 consecutive days.
  • Manufactured Home Park or Subdivision – means a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
  • Mean Sea Level – means, for purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program, the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929, or other datum, to which base flood elevations shown on a community’s Flood Insurance Rate Map are referenced.
  • Minor Development – means all development that is not new construction or a substantial improvement, such as repairs, maintenance, renovations, or additions, whose value is less than 50% of the market value of the structure. It also includes, but is not limited to: accessory structures as provided for in Article VI.I., mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling operations, storage of equipment or materials, deposition or extraction of materials, public or private sewage disposal systems or water supply facilities that do not involve structures; and non-structural projects such as bridges, dams, towers, fencing, pipelines, wharves and piers.
  • National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) – means the national vertical datum, whose standard was established in 1929, which is used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NGVD was based upon mean sea level in 1929 and also has been called “1929 Mean Sea Level (MSL)”.
  • New Construction – means structures for which the “start of construction” commenced on or after the effective date of the initial floodplain management regulations adopted by a community and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.
  • 100-year flood – see Base Flood.
  • 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, not including slideouts;
    • c. designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a motor vehicle; and
    • d. designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
  • Regulatory Floodway
    • a. means the channel of a river or other water course 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, and
    • b. in Zone A riverine areas, the floodway is considered to be the channel of a river or other water course and the adjacent land areas to a distance of one-half the width of the floodplain, as measured from the normal high water mark to the upland limit of the floodplain.
  • Riverine – means relating to, formed by, or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream, brook, etc.
  • Special Flood Hazard Area – see Area of Special Flood Hazard.
  • Start of Construction – means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, substantial improvement 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 basement, footings, 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, or modification of any construction element, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.
  • Structure – means, for floodplain management purposes, a walled and roofed building. A gas or liquid storage tank that is principally above ground is also a structure.
  • Substantial Damage – means, damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before damage condition 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, the cost of which 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 specifications 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, and a variance is obtained from the community’s Board of Appeals.
  • Variance – means a grant of relief by a community from the terms of a floodplain management regulation.
  • Violation – means the failure of a structure or development to comply with a community’s floodplain management regulations.