MapLink™ | Procedures | Floodplain management

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Floodplain management
Permits required.
A permit shall be required before any construction or development is undertaken within any area of Lower Southampton Township.
Duties and responsibilities of the Floodplain Administrator (Zoning Officer)
1. The Floodplain Administrator shall issue a permit only after it has been determined that the proposed work to be undertaken will be in conformance with the requirements of this and all other applicable codes and ordinances.
2. Prior to the issuance of any permit, the Floodplain Administrator shall review the application for the permit to determine if all other necessary government permits required by state and federal laws have been obtained, such as those required by the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 1966-537, as amended); the Pennsylvania Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (Act 1978-325, as amended); the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act (Act 1937-394, as amended); and the United States Clean Water Act, Section 404, 33 U.S.C. § 1344. No permit shall be issued until this determination has been made.
3. During the construction period, the Floodplain Administrator or other authorized official shall inspect the premises to determine that the work is progressing in compliance with the information provided on the permit application and with all applicable municipal laws and ordinances. He/she shall make as many inspections during and upon completion of the work as are necessary.
4. In the discharge of his/her duties, the Floodplain Administrator shall have the authority to enter any building, structure, premises or development in the identified floodplain area, upon presentation of proper credentials, at any reasonable hour to enforce the provisions of this part.
5. In the event that the Floodplain Administrator discovers that the work does not comply with the permit application or any applicable laws and ordinances, or that there has been a false statement or misrepresentation by any applicant, the Floodplain Administrator shall revoke the permit and report such fact to the Board of Supervisors for whatever action it considers necessary.
6. The Floodplain Administrator shall maintain in perpetuity all records associated with the requirements of this part including, but not limited to, finished construction elevation data, permitting, inspection and enforcement.
7. The Floodplain Administrator is the official responsible for submitting a biennial report to FEMA concerning community participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
8. The responsibility, authority and means to implement the commitments of the Floodplain Administrator can be delegated from the person identified. However, the ultimate responsibility lies with the person identified in the floodplain ordinance as the floodplain administrator/manager.
9. The Floodplain Administrator shall consider the requirements of 34 Pa. Code and the 2009 IBC and the 2009 IRC or latest revisions thereof.
Application procedures and requirements.
1. Application for such a permit shall be made, in writing, to the Floodplain Administrator on forms supplied by the Lower Southampton Township. Such application shall contain the following:
A. Name and address of applicant.
B. Name and address of owner of land on which proposed construction is to occur.
C. Name and address of contractor.
D. Site location including address.
E. Listing of other permits required.
F. Brief description of proposed work and estimated cost, including a breakout of flood-related cost and the market value of the building before the flood damage occurred where appropriate.
G. A plan of the site showing the exact size and location of the proposed construction as well as any existing buildings or structures.
2. If any proposed construction or development is located entirely or partially within any identified floodplain area, applicants for permits shall provide all the necessary information in sufficient detail and clarity to enable the Floodplain Administrator to determine that:
A. All such proposals are consistent with the need to minimize flood damage and conform with the requirements of this and all other applicable codes and ordinances;
B. All utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage;
C. Adequate drainage is provided so as to reduce exposure to flood hazards;
D. Structures will be anchored to prevent floatation, collapse, or lateral movement;
E. Building materials are flood-resistant;
F. Appropriate practices that minimize flood damage have been used; and
G. Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning equipment, and other service facilities have been designed and located to prevent water entry or accumulation.
3. Applicants shall file the following minimum information plus any other pertinent information as may be required by the Floodplain Administrator to make the above determination:
A. A completed permit application form.
B. A plan of the entire site, clearly and legibly drawn at a scale of one inch being equal to 100 feet or less, showing the following:
(1) North arrow, scale, and date;
(2) Topographic contour lines, if available;
(3) The location of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, and other improvements, including the location of any existing or proposed subdivision and development;
(4) The location of all existing streets, drives, and other accessways; and
(5) The location of any existing bodies of water or watercourses, identified floodplain areas, and, if available, information pertaining to the floodway, and the flow of water including direction and velocities.
C. Plans of all proposed buildings, structures and other improvements, drawn at suitable scale showing the following:
(1) The proposed lowest floor elevation of any proposed building based upon North American Vertical Datum of 1988;
(2) The elevation of the base flood;
(3) Supplemental information as may be necessary under 34 Pa. Code, the 2009 IBC or the 2009 IRC.
D. The following data and documentation:
(1) Detailed information concerning any proposed floodproofing measures and corresponding elevations.
(2) If available, information concerning flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces and other factors associated with a base flood; and Floodway Area (See § 27-15181A) when combined with all other existing and anticipated development, will not increase the base flood elevation at any point.
(3) A document, certified by a registered professional engineer or architect, which states that the proposed construction or development has been adequately designed to withstand the pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces associated with the base flood. Such statement shall include a description of the type and extent of floodproofing measures which have been incorporated into the design of the structure and/or the development.
(4) Detailed information needed to determine compliance with § 27-15241F, Storage, and § 27-1525: Development which may endanger human life, including:
(a) The amount, location and purpose of any materials or substances referred to in § 27-15241F, and § 27-1525: Development which may endanger human life which are intended to be used, produced, stored or otherwise maintained on site.
(b) A description of the safeguards incorporated into the design of the proposed structure to prevent leaks or spills of the dangerous materials or substances listed in § 27-1525: Development which may endanger human life during a base flood.
(5) The appropriate component of the Department of Environmental Protection's "Planning Module for Land Development."
(6) Where any excavation or grading is proposed, a plan meeting the requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection, to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control.
4. Applications for permits shall be accompanied by a fee, payable to the municipality based upon the estimated cost of the proposed construction as determined by the Floodplain Administrator.
Review of application by others.
A copy of all plans and applications for any proposed construction or development in any identified floodplain area to be considered for approval may be submitted by the Floodplain Administrator to any other appropriate agencies and/or individuals (e.g., planning commission, municipal engineer, etc.) for review and comment.
After the issuance of a permit by the Floodplain Administrator, no changes of any kind shall be made to the application, permit or any of the plans, specifications or other documents submitted with the application without the written consent or approval of the Floodplain Administrator. Requests for any such change shall be in writing, and shall be submitted by the applicant to Floodplain Administrator for consideration.
In addition to the permit, the Floodplain Administrator shall issue a placard which shall be displayed on the premises during the time construction is in progress. This placard shall show the number of the permit, the date of its issuance, and be signed by the Floodplain Administrator.
Start of construction.
1. Work on the proposed construction or development shall begin within 180 days after the date of issuance of the development permit. Work shall also be completed within 12 months after the date of issuance of the permit or the permit shall expire unless a time extension is granted, in writing, by the Floodplain Administrator. The issuance of development permit does not refer to the zoning approval.
2. The "actual start of construction" 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, 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, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.
3. Time extensions shall be granted only if a written request is submitted by the applicant, who sets forth sufficient and reasonable cause for the Floodplain Administrator to approve such a request and the original permit is compliant with the ordinance and FIRM/FIS in effect at the time the extension is granted.
Enforcement; violations and penalties.
1. Notices. Whenever the Floodplain Administrator or other authorized municipal representative determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provisions of this part, or of any regulations adopted pursuant thereto, the Floodplain Administrator shall give notice of such alleged violation as hereinafter provided. Such notice shall:
A. Be in writing;
B. Include a statement of the reasons for its issuance;
C. Allow a reasonable time not to exceed a period of 30 days for the performance of any act it requires;
D. Be served upon the property owner or his agent as the case may require; provided, however, that such notice or order shall be deemed to have been properly served upon such owner or agent when a copy thereof has been served with such notice by any other method authorized or required by the laws of this state;
E. Contain an outline of remedial actions which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this part.
2. Penalties. Any person who fails to comply with any or all of the requirements or provisions of this part or who fails or refuses to comply with any notice, order of direction of the Floodplain Administrator or any other authorized employee of the municipality shall be guilty of a summary offense and upon conviction shall pay a fine to the Township of not less than $25 nor more than $600 plus costs of prosecution. In addition to the above penalties all other actions are hereby reserved including an action in equity for the proper enforcement of this part. The imposition of a fine or penalty for any violation of or noncompliance with this part shall not excuse the violation or noncompliance or permit it to continue. All such persons shall be required to correct or remedy such violations and noncompliance within a reasonable time. Any development initiated or any structure or building constructed, reconstructed, enlarged, altered, or relocated, in noncompliance with this part may be declared by the Township to be a public nuisance and abatable as such.
1. Any person aggrieved by any action or decision of the Floodplain Administrator concerning the administration of the provisions of this part, may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board. Such appeal must be filed, in writing, within 30 days after the decision, determination or action of the Floodplain Administrator.
2. Upon receipt of such appeal the Zoning Hearing Board shall consider the appeal in accordance with the Municipal Planning Code and any other local ordinance.
3. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Zoning Hearing Board may seek relief therefrom by appeal to court, as provided by the laws of this state including the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act.
See Permits and Forms for detailed information on permits and forms.
See Land Development Application for information on land development permit application forms.