Chapter 14.15


14.15.010    Lands to which this title applies.

14.15.020    Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.

14.15.030    Compliance.

14.15.040    Abrogation and greater restrictions.

14.15.050    Interpretation.

14.15.060    Disclaimer of liability.

14.15.070    Statutory exceptions.

14.15.080    Unlawful acts.

14.15.090    Declaration of public nuisance.

14.15.100    Abatement of violations.

14.15.110    Severability.

14.15.010 Lands to which this title applies.

This title shall apply to the following lands within the corporate limits of the town:

A. All special flood hazard areas as defined by FEMA.

B. FEMA Zone X-500, also known as Zone X (shaded), as it pertains to alluvial fan or sheet flooding.

C. Local floodplains associated with washes and/or sheet flow having a base flood discharge of 100 cfs or more.

D. Areas within the erosion hazard setback of a regulatory floodplain.

E. All floodplains/flood-prone areas and erosion hazard setbacks identified on previously and subsequently recorded subdivision plats.

F. All floodplains/flood-prone areas and erosion hazard setbacks identified on previous and subsequent drainage studies commissioned by the town engineer. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.020 Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.

The regulated areas of this title as outlined in this chapter are derived from a variety of sources, whose hydrologic and hydraulic data and maps of delineation are kept on file by the town at the Sahuarita Public Works Department, Sahuarita Municipal Complex, 375 West Sahuarita Center Way, Sahuarita, Arizona 85629. This information includes or will include:

A. The area of special flood hazard identified by FEMA in a scientific and engineering report entitled “The flood insurance study (FIS) for Pima County Arizona and incorporated areas, revised February 8, 1999,” with accompanying FIRMs dated February 8, 1999, and all subsequent amendments and/or revisions, are hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this title. The FIS, FIRMs, FBFM and amendments and corrections to the maps are all kept on file.

B. The FIS and FIRMs may be supplemented by studies for other areas that allow implementation of this title. The floodplain board, within the limits of the town, shall require developers to delineate, within areas where development is ongoing or imminent, floodplains consistent with the criteria developed by FEMA, the Director of Water Resources and the town.

C. Due to the episodic nature of natural flood events and the resulting changes to hydrologic and hydraulic conditions along watercourses within the town, base flood peak discharges, flow volumes, and associated regulatory floodplain and erosion hazard areas are subject to continuous revision. At a minimum, base flood values and base flood elevations shall meet or exceed the current values established by FEMA and reflect historic flood information and general, current watershed conditions. Current regulatory floodplain and erosion hazard area maps will be maintained by the floodplain administrator for the town and all watersheds which generate regulatory flood peak discharges exceeding 5,000 cfs for the base flood as determined.

D. The floodplain administrator may accept hydrologic and hydraulic studies prepared by an Arizona registered professional civil engineer as a delineation of regulatory floodplain and erosion hazard setback areas.

E. In all cases the most recently accepted information shall be used for floodplain management. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.030 Compliance.

All development of land, construction of residential, commercial or industrial structures, or future development on lands to which this title applies is subject to the terms of this title and other applicable regulations. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.040 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, the more stringent restrictions shall prevail. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.050 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. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.060 Disclaimer of liability.

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 rare occasions. Flood heights may be increased by manmade or natural causes. This title does not imply that land outside the special flood hazard areas or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This title shall not create liability on the part of the town, its officers or employees, the state of Arizona, NFIA or FEMA, for any flood damages that result from reliance on this title or any administrative decision lawfully made under this title. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.070 Statutory exceptions.

A. In accordance with ARS 48-3609(I), unless expressly provided otherwise, this and any regulation adopted pursuant to this title do not affect:

1. Existing legal uses of property or the right to continuation of such legal use. However, if a nonconforming use of land or a building or structure is discontinued for 12 months, or destroyed to the extent of 50 percent of its value as determined by a competent appraiser, any further use shall comply with this title and regulations of the town;

2. Reasonable repair or alteration of property for the purposes for which the property was legally used on August 3, 1984, or any regulations affecting such property takes effect, except that any alteration, addition or repair to a nonconforming building or structure which would result in increasing its flood damage potential by 50 percent or more shall be either floodproofed or elevated to or above the regulatory flood elevation;

3. Reasonable repair of structures constructed with the written authorization required by ARS 48-3613; and

4. Facilities constructed or installed pursuant to a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility issued pursuant to ARS Title 40, Chapter 2, Article 6.2.

5. In accordance with ARS 48-3613(D), in addition to other penalties or remedies otherwise provided by law, this state, a political subdivision or a person who may be damaged or has been damaged as a result of the unauthorized diversion, retardation or obstruction of a watercourse has the right to commence, maintain and prosecute any appropriate action or pursue any remedy to enjoin, abate or otherwise prevent any person from violating or continuing to violate this section or regulations adopted pursuant to ARS Title 48, Chapter 21, Article 1. If a person is found to be in violation of this section, the court shall require the violator to either comply with this section if authorized by the floodplain board or remove the obstruction and restore the watercourse to its original state. The court may also award such monetary damages as are appropriate to the injured parties resulting from the violation including reasonable costs and attorney fees.

B. Before any authorized construction begins for the exceptions listed below, the responsible person shall submit plans for the construction to the floodplain board for review and comment. In accordance with ARS 48-3613, written authorization shall not be required, nor shall the floodplain board prohibit:

1. The construction of bridges, culverts, dikes and other structures necessary to the construction of public highways, roads and streets intersecting or crossing a watercourse;

2. The construction of storage dams for watering livestock or wildlife, structures on banks of a watercourse to prevent erosion of or damage to adjoining land if the structure will not divert, retard or obstruct the natural channel of the watercourse or dams for the conservation of floodwaters as permitted by ARS Title 45, Chapter 6;

3. Construction of tailing dams and waste disposal areas for use in connection with mining and metallurgical operations. This subsection does not exempt those sand and gravel operations that will divert, retard or obstruct the flow of waters in any watercourse from complying with and acquiring authorization from the floodplain board pursuant to regulations adopted by the floodplain board under this title;

4. Other construction upon determination by the floodplain board that written authorization is unnecessary;

5. Any flood control district, county, city, town or other political subdivision from exercising powers granted to it under ARS Title 48, Chapter 21, Article 1;

6. The construction of streams, waterways, lakes and other auxiliary facilities in conjunction with development of public parks and recreation facilities by a public agency or political subdivision; and

7. The construction and erection of poles, towers, foundations, support structures, guy wires and other facilities related to power transmission as constructed by any utility whether a public service corporation or a political subdivision. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.080 Unlawful acts.

A. It is unlawful for a person to engage in any development or to divert, retard or obstruct the flow of waters in the regulatory floodplain if it creates a hazard to life or property without securing the written authorization required by ARS 48-3613. Where the watercourse is a delineated regulatory floodplain, it is unlawful to engage in any development affecting the flow of waters without securing written authorization required by ARS 48-3613.

B. Any person violating the provisions of this title shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. Each day that a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.090 Declaration of public nuisance.

All development located or maintained within any special flood hazard area after August 8, 1973, in violation of this title is a public nuisance per se and may be abated, prevented or restrained by action of the town. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.100 Abatement of violations.

Within 30 days of discovery of a violation of this title, the floodplain administrator shall submit a report to the floodplain board which shall include all information available to the floodplain administrator which is pertinent to the violation. Within 30 days of receipt of this report, the floodplain board shall either:

A. Take any necessary action to effect the abatement of such violation; or

B. Issue a floodplain variance to this title in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 14.30 STC; or

C. Order the owner of the property upon which the violation exists to provide whatever additional information may be required for their determination. Such information must be provided to the floodplain administrator within 30 days of such order and the floodplain administrator shall submit an amended report to the floodplain board within 20 days. At the next regularly scheduled public meeting, the floodplain board shall either order the abatement of said violation or they shall grant a floodplain variance in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 14.30 STC; or

D. For FEMA regulated special flood hazard areas, submit to the administrator of FIA a declaration for denial of insurance, stating that the property is in violation of a cited state or local law, regulation or ordinance, pursuant to Section 1316 of the FIA of 1968 as amended.

E. The town may withhold the issuance of permits, including building permits and grading permits, for the development or improvement on the parcel or any contiguous parcel of land under the same ownership. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]

14.15.110 Severability.

This title and its various parts are hereby declared to be severable. Should any chapter or section of this title be declared by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the title as a whole, or any portion thereof other than the chapter or section so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid. [Ord. 2020-147 § 4; Ord. 2011-059 § 4.]