Chapter 17.04


17.04.010    Findings of fact.

17.04.020    Statement of purpose and liability disclaimer.

17.04.030    Methods of reducing flood losses.

17.04.040    Application of title.

17.04.050    Basis for establishing areas of special flood hazard.

17.04.060    Abrogation and greater restrictions.

17.04.070    Interpretation.

17.04.080    Compliance required.

17.04.090    Penalty for noncompliance.

17.04.010 Findings of fact.

The findings of fact are the following:

A. The flood hazard areas of Whatcom County are subject to periodic inundation which results in loss of life and property, health and safety hazards, disruption of commerce and governmental services, extraordinary public expenditures for flood protection and relief, and impairment of the tax base, all of which adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.

B. These flood losses are caused by the cumulative effect of obstructions in areas of special flood hazards which increase flood heights and velocities, and when inadequately anchored, damage uses in other areas. Uses that are inadequately floodproofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage also contribute to the flood loss. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.020 Statement of purpose and liability disclaimer.

This title is enacted as an exercise of the police power of the county for the benefit of the public at large. It is not intended to create a special relationship with any individual, or individuals, nor to identify and protect any particular class of persons. The purpose of this title is to promote the public health, safety and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions in specific areas. The degree of flood protection required by this title is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based on scientific and engineering considerations. Larger floods can and will occur on occasion. Flood heights may be increased by manmade or natural causes. This title does not imply that land outside of the areas of special flood hazards or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This title shall not create liability on the part of Whatcom County, any officer or employee thereof, or the Federal Insurance Administration, for any flood damages that result from reliance on this title or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder. Nor shall the county or any officer, agent, or employee thereof incur or be held as assuming any liability by reason or in consequence of any permission, certificate of inspection, inspection or approval authorized herein, or issued or given as herein provided, or by reasons or consequence of any things done or acts performed pursuant to the provisions of this title. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.030 Methods of reducing flood losses.

In order to accomplish its purposes, this title includes methods and provisions for:

A. Restricting or prohibiting uses which are dangerous to health, safety, and property due to water or erosion hazards, or which result in damaging increases in erosion or in flood heights or velocities;

B. Requiring that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, shall be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction;

C. Controlling the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels, and natural protective barriers, which help accommodate or channel flood waters;

D. Controlling filling, grading, dredging, and other development which may increase flood damage; and

E. Preventing or regulating the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert flood waters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.040 Application of title.

This title shall apply to all areas of special flood hazards within the jurisdiction of Whatcom County. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.050 Basis for establishing areas of special flood hazard.

The areas of special flood hazard identified by the Federal Insurance Administration are contained in a scientific and engineering report entitled “The Flood Insurance Study for the County of Whatcom, Washington” (effective date September 30, 1977). The accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps, dated September 30, 1977, and September 28, 1990, including accompanying reports and any subsequent amendments made by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this title. The flood insurance study is on file at the department of public works. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 90-94; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.060 Abrogation and greater restrictions.

This title is not intended to repeal, abrogate, or impair any existing easements, covenants, or deed restrictions. However, where this title and another ordinance, easement, covenant, or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.070 Interpretation.

In the interpretation and application of this title, all provisions shall be:

A. Considered as minimum requirements;

B. Liberally construed in favor of the governing body; and

C. Deemed neither to limit nor repeal any other powers granted under state statutes. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.080 Compliance required.

No structure or land shall hereafter be constructed, located, extended, converted, or altered without full compliance with the terms of this title and other applicable regulations. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).

17.04.090 Penalty for noncompliance.

Any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this title shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and each day during which such violation is continued or committed shall constitute a separate offense, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Nothing contained herein shall prevent Whatcom County from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation. (Ord. 96-050 Exh A; Ord. 87-25 (part)).