Chapter 15.16
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS1

Sections:

ARTICLE I. AUTHORIZATION AND PURPOSE

15.16.010    Statutory authorization.

15.16.020    Findings of fact.

15.16.030    Statement of purpose.

15.16.040    Methods of reducing flood losses.

ARTICLE II. DEFINITIONS

15.16.050    Definitions.

ARTICLE III. GENERAL PROVISIONS

15.16.060    Lands to which this chapter applies.

15.16.070    Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.

15.16.080    Compliance.

15.16.090    Abrogation and greater restrictions.

15.16.100    Interpretation.

15.16.110    Warning and disclaimer of liability.

15.16.120    Severability.

ARTICLE IV. ADMINISTRATION

15.16.130    Establishment of development permit.

15.16.140    Designation of the floodplain administrator.

15.16.150    Duties and responsibilities of the floodplain administrator.

15.16.155    Appeals.

ARTICLE V. PROVISIONS FOR FLOOD HAZARD REDUCTION

15.16.160    Standards of construction.

15.16.170    Standards for utilities.

15.16.180    Standards for subdivisions.

15.16.190    Standards for manufactured homes.

15.16.195    Standards for recreational vehicles.

15.16.200    Floodways.

15.16.210    Mudslide (i.e., mudflow) prone areas.

15.16.220    Flood-related erosion-prone areas.

ARTICLE VI. VARIANCE PROCEDURE

15.16.225    Nature of variances.

15.16.230    Appeal board.

15.16.240    Conditions for variances.

ARTICLE I. AUTHORIZATION AND PURPOSE

15.16.010 Statutory authorization.

The legislature of the state of California has in Government Code Sections 65302, 65560 and 65800 conferred upon local government units authority to adopt regulations designed to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry.  Therefore, the board of supervisors of Amador County does adopt the following floodplain management regulations.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.020 Findings of fact.

A.    The flood hazard areas of Amador 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 uses that are inadequately floodproofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage.  The cumulative effect of obstructions in areas of special flood hazards which increase flood heights and velocities also contribute to the flood loss.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.030 Statement of purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions in specific areas by provisions designed to:

A.    Protect human life and health;

B.    Minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood-control projects;

C.    Minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public;

D.    Minimize prolonged business interruptions;

E.    Minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone and sewer lines, streets and bridges located in areas of special flood hazard;

F.    Help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of areas of special flood hazard so as to minimize future blighted areas caused by flood damage;

G.    Insure that potential buyers are notified that property is in an area of special flood hazard; and

H.    Insure that those who occupy the areas of special flood hazard assume responsibility for their actions.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.040 Methods of reducing flood losses.

In order to accomplish its purposes, this chapter 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 flood heights or velocities;

B.    Requiring that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, 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 floodwaters;

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 floodwaters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

ARTICLE II. DEFINITIONS

15.16.050 Definitions.

Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.

"Accessory use" means a use which is incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the parcel of land on which it is located.

"Alluvial fan" means a geomorphologic feature characterized by a cone or fan-shaped deposit of boulders, gravel, and fine sediments that have been eroded from mountain slopes, transported by flood flows, and then deposited on the valley floors, and which is subject to flash flooding, high velocity flows, debris flows, erosion, sediment movement and deposition, and channel migration.

"Apex" means the point of highest elevation on an alluvial fan, which on undisturbed fans is generally the point where the major stream that formed the fan emerges from the mountain front.

"Appeal" means a request for a review of the floodplain administrator’s interpretation of any provision of this chapter or a request for a variance.

"Area of shallow flooding" means a designated A0, or AH zone on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM). The base flood depths range from one to three feet; a clearly defined channel does not exist; the path of flooding is unpredictable and indeterminate; and velocity flow may be evident.  Such flooding is characterized by ponding or sheet flow.

"Area of special flood hazard."  See "Special flood hazard area."

"Area of special flood-related erosion hazard" is the area subject to severe flood-related erosion losses.  The area is designated as zone E on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM).

"Area of special mudslide (i.e., mudflow) hazard" means the area subject to severe mudslides (i.e., mudflows). The area is designated as zone M on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM).

"Base flood" means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (also called the "100-year flood"). Base flood is the term used throughout this chapter.

"Basement" means any area of the building having its floor subgrade (i.e., below ground level) on all sides.

"Breakaway walls" means any type of walls, whether solid or lattice, and whether constructed of concrete, masonry, wood, metal, plastic or any other suitable building material which is not part of the structural support of the building and which is designed to break away under abnormally high tides or wave action without causing any damage to the structural integrity of the building on which they are used or any buildings to which they might be carried by flood waters.  A breakaway wall shall have a safe design loading resistance of not less than ten and no more than twenty pounds per square foot.  Use of breakaway walls must be certified by a registered engineer or architect and shall meet the following conditions:

1.    Breakaway wall collapse shall result from a water load less than that which would occur during the base flood; and

2.    The elevated portion of the building shall not incur any structural damage due to the effects of wind and water loads acting simultaneously in the event of the base flood.

"Building."  See "Structure."

"Development" means any manmade 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.

"Encroachment" means the advance or infringement of uses, plant growth, fill, excavation, buildings, permanent structures or development into a floodplain which may impede or alter the flow capacity of a floodplain.

"Existing manufactured home park or subdivision" means a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed before the effective date of the floodplain management regulations adopted by a community.

"Expansion to an existing manufactured home park or subdivision" means the preparation of additional sites by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads).

"Flood, flooding, or flood water" means:

1.    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/or mudslides (i.e., mudflows); and

2.    The condition resulting from flood-related erosion.

"Flood boundary and floodway map (FBFM)" means the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazards and the floodway.

"Flood hazard boundary map" means the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated the areas of flood hazards.

"Flood insurance rate map (FIRM)" means the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazards and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

"Flood insurance study" means the official report provided by the Federal Insurance Administration that includes flood profiles, the FIRM, the flood boundary and floodway map and the water surface elevation of the base flood.

"Flood-related erosion" means the collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of undermining caused by waves or cur rents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical level 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 a flash flood or an abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly unusual and unforeseeable event which results in flooding.

"Flood-related erosion area" or "flood-related erosion prone area" means a land area adjoining the shore of a lake or other body of water, which due to the composition of the shoreline or bank and high water levels or wind-driven currents, is likely to suffer flood-related erosion damage.

"Flood-related erosion area management" means the operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood-related erosion damage, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood-related erosion control works, and floodplain management regulations.

"Floodplain or flood-prone area" means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source (see "Flooding").

"Floodplain administrator" is the individual appointed to administer and enforce the floodplain management regulations.

"Floodplain management" means the operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage and preserving and enhancing, where possible, natural resources in the floodplain, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, floodplain management regulations, and open space plans.

"Floodplain management regulations" means zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, building codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as 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 preventing and reducing flood loss and damage.

"Floodproofing" means any combination of structural and nonstructural 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.  Also referred to as "regulatory floodway."

"Floodway fringe" is that area of the floodplain on either side of the "regulatory floodway" where encroachment may be permitted.

"Fraud and victimization" as related to Article VI, Variances, of this chapter, means that the variance granted must not cause fraud on or victimization of the public.  In examining this requirement, the Amador County board of supervisors will consider the fact that every newly constructed building adds to government responsibilities and remains a part of the community for fifty to one hundred years.  Buildings that are permitted to be constructed below the base flood elevation are subject during all those years to increased risk of damage from floods, while future owners of the property and the community as a whole are subject to all the costs, inconvenience, danger, and suffering that those increased flood damages bring.  In addition, future owners may purchase the property, unaware that it is subject to potential flood damage, and can be insured only at very high flood insurance rates.

"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.

"Governing body" means the local governing unit, i.e., county or municipality, that is empowered to adopt and implement regulations to provide for the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry.

"Hardship" as related to Article VI, Variances, of this chapter means the exceptional hardship that would result from a failure to grant the requested variance.  The Amador County board of supervisors requires that the variance be exceptional, unusual, and peculiar to the property involved.  Mere economic or financial hardship alone is not exceptional.  Inconvenience, aesthetic considerations, physical handicaps, personal preferences, or the disapproval of one’s neighbors likewise cannot, as a rule, qualify as an exceptional hardship.  All of these problems can be resolved through other means without granting a variance, even if the alternative is more expensive, or requires the property owner to build elsewhere or put the parcel to a different use than originally intended.

"Highest adjacent grade" means the highest natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction next to the proposed walls of a structure.

"Historic structure" means any structure that is:

1.    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;

2.    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;

3.    Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of Interior; or

4.    Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either by an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior or directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.

"Levee" means a manmade structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control or divert the flow of water so as to provide protection from temporary flooding.

"Levee system" means a flood protection system which consists of a levee, or levees, and associated structures, such as closure and drainage devices, which are constructed and operated in accord with sound engineering practices.

"Lowest floor" means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including basement (see "Basement" definition).

1.    An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure below the lowest floor that is 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 it conforms to applicable nonelevation design requirements, including but not limited to:

a.    The wet floodproofing standard in Section 15.16.160(C)(3);

b.    The anchoring standards in Section 15.16.160A;

c.    The construction materials and methods standards in Section 15.16.160B.

d.    The standards for utilities in Section 15.16.170.

2.    For residential structures, all subgrade enclosed areas are prohibited as they are considered to be basements (see "Basement" definition). This prohibition includes below-grade garages and storage areas.

"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" does not include "recreational vehicles."

"Manufactured home park or subdivision" means a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for sale or rent.

"Market value" shall be determined by estimating the cost to replace the structure in new condition and adjusting that cost figure by the amount of depreciation which has accrued since the structure was constructed.  The cost of replacement of the structure shall be based on a square foot cost factor determined by reference to a building cost estimating guide recognized by the building construction industry.  The amount of depreciation shall be determined by taking into account the age and physical deterioration of the structure and functional obsolescence as approved by the floodplain administrator, but shall not include economic or other forms of external obsolescence.  Use of replacement costs or accrued depreciation factors different from those contained in recognized building cost estimating guides may be considered only if such factors are included in a report prepared by an independent professional appraiser and supported by a written explanation of the differences.

"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.

"Mudslide" describes a condition where there is a river, flow or inundation of liquid mud down a hillside, usually as a result of a dual condition of loss of brush cover and the subsequent accumulation of water on the ground, preceded by a period of unusually heavy or sustained rain.

"Mudslide (i.e., mudflow) prone area" means an area with land surfaces and slopes of unconsolidated material where the history, geology, and climate indicate a potential for mudflow.

"New construction" means, for floodplain management purposes, structures for which the "start of construction" commenced on or after the effective date of floodplain management regulations adopted by this community and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.

"New manufactured home park or subdivision" means a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed on or after the effective date of floodplain management regulations adopted by this community.

"Obstruction" means and includes, but is not limited to, any dam, wall, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, protection, excavation, channelization, bridge, conduit, culvert, building, wire, fence, rock, gravel, refuse, fill, structure, vegetation or other material in, along, across or projection into any watercourse which may alter, impede, retard or change the direction and/or velocity of the flow of water, or due to its location, its propensity to snare or collect debris carried by the flow of water, or its likelihood of being carried downstream.

"One-hundred-year flood" or "100-year flood."  See "Base flood."

"Public safety and nuisance" as related to Article VI, Variances, of this chapter means that the granting of a variance must not result in anything which is injurious to safety or health of an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin.

"Recreational vehicle" means a vehicle which is:

1.    Built on a single chassis;

2.    Four hundred square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;

3.    Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light-duty truck; and

4.    Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

"Regulatory 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.

"Remedy a violation" means to bring the structure or other development into compliance with state or local floodplain management regulations, or if this is not possible, to reduce the impacts of its noncompliance.  Ways that impacts may be reduced include protecting the structure or other affected development from flood damages, implementing the enforcement provisions of this code or otherwise deterring future similar violations or reducing federal financial exposure with regard to the structure or other development.

"Riverine" means relating to, formed by or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream, brook, etc.

"Sheet flow area."  See "Area of shallow flooding."

"Special flood hazard area (SFHA)" means an area in the floodplain subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.  It is shown on an FHBM or FIRM as zone A, AO, A1-30, AE, A99, or AH.

"Start of construction" means and includes substantial improvement and other proposed new development, 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 one hundred eighty 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, 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.

"Structure" means a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally aboveground, as well as a manufactured home.

"Substantial improvement" means any repair, reconstruction or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty 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.  This term does not, however, include either:

1.    Any project for improvement of a structure to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications which are solely necessary to assure safe living conditions; or

2.    Any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a State Inventory of Historic Places.

"Variance" means a grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.

"Violation" means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with the community’s floodplain management regulations.  A structure or other development without the elevation certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in this chapter is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided.

"Water surface elevation" means the height, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NVGD) of 1929, (or other datum, where specified) of floods of various magnitudes and frequencies in the floodplains of coastal or riverine areas.

"Watercourse" means a lake, river, creek, stream, wash, arroyo, channel or other topographic feature on or over which waters flow at least periodically.  Watercourse includes specifically designated areas in which substantial flood damage may occur.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

ARTICLE III. GENERAL PROVISIONS

15.16.060 Lands to which this chapter applies.

This chapter applies to all areas of special flood hazards within the jurisdiction of Amador County.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.070 Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.

The areas of special flood hazard identified by the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the flood insurance study (FIS) dated June 6, 2000 and accompanying flood insurance rate maps (FIRMs) and flood boundary and floodway maps (FBFMs), dated June 6, 2000, and all subsequent amendments and/or revisions, are adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter.  This FIS and attendant mapping is the minimum area of applicability of this chapter and may be supplemented by studies for other areas which allow implementation of this chapter and which are recommended to the Amador County board of supervisors by the floodplain administrator.  The study, FIRMs and FBFMs are on file at the Amador County planning department located in the John C. Begovich Building at 500 Argonaut Lane, Jackson, California.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.080 Compliance.

No structure or land shall hereafter be constructed, located, extended, converted or altered without full compliance with the terms of this chapter and other applicable regulations.  Violations of the provisions of this chapter by failure to comply with any of its requirements (including violations of conditions and safeguards established in connection with conditions) shall constitute a misdemeanor.  Nothing herein shall prevent the Amador County board of supervisors from taking such lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.090 Abrogation and greater restrictions.

This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate, or impair any existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions.  However, where the ordinance codified in this chapter and another ordinance, easement, covenant or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.100 Interpretation.

In the interpretation and application of this chapter, 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. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.110 Warning and disclaimer of liability.

The degree of flood protection required by this chapter 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 chapter does not imply that land outside the areas of special flood hazards or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages.  This chapter shall not create liability on the part of Amador County, any officer or employee thereof, the state of California, or the Federal Insurance Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency, for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.120 Severability.

This chapter and the various parts thereof are declared to be severable.  Should any section of this chapter be declared by the courts to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the chapter as a whole, or any portion thereof other than the section so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

ARTICLE IV. ADMINISTRATION

15.16.130 Establishment of development permit.

A development permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any area of special flood hazards established in Section 15.16.070.  Application for a development permit shall be made on forms furnished by the floodplain administrator and may include, but not be limited to: plans in duplicate drawn to scale showing the nature, location, dimensions and elevation of the area in question; existing or proposed structures, fill, storage of materials, drainage facilities; and the location of the foregoing.  Specifically, the following information is required:

A.    Site plan, including but not limited to:

1.    For all proposed structures, spot ground elevations at building corners and twenty-foot or smaller intervals along the foundation footprint, or one-foot contour elevations throughout the building site; and locations of water supply, sanitary sewer, and utilities; and

2.    Proposed locations of water supply, sanitary sewer, and utilities; and

3.    If available, the base flood elevation from the flood insurance study and/or flood insurance rate map; and

4.    If applicable, the location of the regulatory floodway; and

B.    Foundation design detail, including but not limited to:

1.    Proposed elevation in relation to mean sea level, of the lowest floor (including basement) of all structures; and

2.    For a crawl-space foundation, location and total net area of foundation openings as required in Section 15.16.160(0)(3) of this chapter and FEMA Technical Bulletins 1-93 and 7-93; and

3.    For foundations placed on fill, the location and height of fill, and compaction requirements (compacted to ninety-five percent using the Standard Proctor Test method); and

C.    Proposed elevation in relation to mean sea level to which any nonresidential structure will be floodproofed, as required in Section 15.16.160(0)(2) of this chapter and FEMA Technical Bulletin TB 3-93; and

D.    All appropriate certifications listed in Section 15.16.150D of this chapter; and

E.    Description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.140 Designation of the flood-plain administrator.

The Amador County planning director is appointed to administer, implement and enforce this chapter by granting or denying development permits in accordance with its provisions.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.150 Duties and responsibilities of the floodplain administrator.

The duties and responsibilities of the floodplain administrator shall include but not be limited to:

A.    Permit Review.

1.    Review all development permits to determine that the permit requirements of this chapter have been satisfied;

2.    All other required state and federal permits have been obtained;

3.    The site is reasonably safe from flooding;

4.    The proposed development does not adversely affect the carrying capacity of areas where base flood elevations have been determined but a floodway has not been designated.  For purposes of this chapter, "adversely affects" means that the cumulative effect of the proposed development when combined with all other existing and anticipated development will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot at any point.

B.    Review, Use and Development of Other Base Flood

Data.

1.    When base flood elevation data has not been provided in accordance with Section 15.16.070, the floodplain administrator shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from a federal or state agency, or other source, in order to administer Article V of this chapter.  Any such information shall be submitted to the floodplain administrator for adoption; or

2.    If no base flood elevation data is available from a federal or state agency or other source, then a base flood elevation shall be obtained using one of two methods from the FEMA publication "Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas-A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base (100-year) Flood Elevations" dated July 1995 in order to administer Article V of this chapter:

a.    Simplified Method.

i.    One hundred year or base flood discharge shall be obtained using the appropriate regression equation found in a U.S. Geological Survey publication, or the discharge-drainage area method; and

ii. base flood elevation shall be obtained using the Quik-2 computer program developed by FEMA; or

b.    Detailed Method.

i.    One hundred year or base flood discharge shall be obtained using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ HEC-HMS computer program; and

ii.    Base flood elevation shall be obtained using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ HEC-HMS computer program.

C.    Notification of Other Agencies.  In alteration or relocation of a watercourse:

1.    Notify adjacent communities and the California Department of Water Resources prior to such alteration or relocation of a watercourse;

2.    Submit evidence of such notification to the Federal Insurance Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency; and

3.    Assure that the flood-carrying capacity of the altered or relocated portion of said watercourse is maintained.

D.    Documentation of Floodplain Development.  Obtain and maintain for public inspection and make available as needed:

1.    The certification required in Sections 15.16.160(0)(1) and 15.16.190 (lowest floor elevations);

2.    The certification required in Section 15.16.160(C)(2)(c) (elevation or floodproofing of nonresidential structures);

3.    The certification required in Section 15.16.160(0)(3) (wet floodproofing standard);

4.    The certified elevation required in Section 15.16.180B (subdivision standards);

5.    The certification required in Section 15.16.200A (floodway encroachments); and

6.    The reports required in Section 15.16.210C (mudflow standards).

E.    Map Determinations.  Make interpretations where needed, as to the exact location of the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazard.  Where there appears to be a conflict between a mapped boundary and actual field conditions, grade and base flood elevations shall be used to determine the boundaries of the special flood hazard area.  The person contesting the location of the boundary shall be given a reasonable opportunity to appeal the interpretation as provided in Article VI of this chapter.

F.    Remedial Action.  Take action to remedy violations of this chapter as specified in Section 15.16.080 of this chapter.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.155 Appeals.

The board of supervisors of Amador County shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision, or determination made by the floodplain administrator in the enforcement or administration of this chapter.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

ARTICLE V. PROVISIONS FOR FLOOD HAZARD REDUCTION

15.16.160 Standards of construction.

In all areas of special flood hazards the following standards are required:

A.    Anchoring.

1.    All new construction and substantial improvements shall be adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure resulting from hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including the effects of buoyancy;

2.    All manufactured homes shall meet the anchoring standards of Section 15.16.190.

B.    Construction Materials and Methods.  All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed:

1.    With flood resistant materials as specified in FEMA Technical Bulletin TB 2-93, and utility equipment resistant to flood damage;

2.    Using methods and practices that minimize flood damage;

3.    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; and if

4.    Within zones AH or AO, so that there are adequate drainage paths around structures on slopes to guide flood waters around and away from proposed structures.

C.    Elevation and Floodproofing. (See Section 15.16.050 definitions for "Basement," "Lowest floor," "New construction," "Substantial damage" and "Substantial improvement".)

1.    Residential construction, new or substantial improvement of any structure shall have the lowest floor including basement:

a.    In an AO zone, elevated above the highest adjacent grade to a height equal to or exceeding the depth number specified in feet on the FIRM, or elevated at least two feet above the highest adjacent grade if no depth number is specified;

b.    In an A zone, elevated to or above the base flood elevation; said base flood elevation shall be determined by one of the methods in Section 15.16.150B of this chapter;

c.    In all other zones, elevated to or above the base flood elevation.  Nonresidential structures may meet the standards in subsection (C)(2) of this section.  Upon the completion of the structure the elevation of the lowest floor including basement shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or surveyor, and verified by the community building inspector to be properly elevated.  Such certification and verification shall be provided to the floodplain administrator.

2.    Nonresidential construction, new construction and substantial improvement of any structure shall either be elevated in conformance with subsection (C)(1) of this section, or together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities:

a.    Be floodproofed below the elevation recommended under Section 15.16.160(C)(1) so that the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water;

b.    Have structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy; and

c.    Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the standards of this subsection are satisfied.  Such certifications shall be provided to the floodplain administrator.

3.    All new construction and substantial improvements, with fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor (excluding basements) that are usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage, and which are subject to flooding, shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters.  Designs for meeting this requirement shall follow the guidelines in FEMA Technical Bulletins TB 1-93 and TB 7-93, and must exceed the following minimum criteria:

a.    Have a minimum of two openings having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding.  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; or

b.    Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect.

4.    Manufactured homes shall also meet the standards in Section 15.16.190.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.170 Standards for utilities.

A.    All new and replacement water supply and sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate:

1.    Infiltration of floodwaters into the system; and

2.    Discharge from systems into floodwaters.

B.    On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them, or contamination from them during flooding.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.180 Standards for subdivisions.

A.    All preliminary subdivision proposals shall identify the special flood hazard area and the elevation of the base flood.

B.    All final subdivision plans will provide the elevation of proposed structure(s) and pads.  If the site is filled above the base flood elevation, the lowest floor and pad elevations shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or surveyor and provided to the floodplain administrator.

C.    All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.

D.    All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage.

E.    All subdivisions shall provide adequate drainage to reduce exposure to flood hazards.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.190 Standards for manufactured homes.

A.    All manufactured homes that are placed or substantially improved, within zones A1-30, AH, and AE on the community’s flood insurance rate map, on sites located:

1.    Outside of a manufactured home park or subdivision;

2.    In a new manufactured home park or subdivision;

3.    In an expansion to an existing manufactured home park or subdivision; or

4.    In an existing manufactured home park or subdivision on a site upon which a manufactured home has incurred "substantial damage" as the result of a flood, shall be elevated on a permanent foundation such that the lowest floor of the manufactured home is elevated to or above the base flood elevation and be securely fastened to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement.

B.    All manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved on sites in an existing manufactured home park or subdivision within zones A1-30, AH, and AE on the community’s flood insurance rate map that are not subject to the provisions of Section 15.16.190A will be securely fastened to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist flotation, collapse, and lateral movement, and be elevated so that either the:

1.    Lowest floor is at or above the base flood elevation; or

2.    Manufactured home chassis is supported by reinforced piers or other foundation elements of at least equivalent strength that are no less than thirty-six inches in height above grade.

Upon the completion of the structure, the elevation of the lowest floor including basement shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or surveyor, and verified by the community building inspector to be properly elevated.  Such certification and verification shall be provided to the floodplain administrator.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.195 Standards for recreational vehicles.

All recreational vehicles placed on sites within zones A1-30, AH, and AE on the community’s flood insurance rate map will either:

1.    Be on the site for fewer than one hundred eighty consecutive days, and be fully licensed and ready for highway use -- a recreational vehicle is ready for highway use if it is on its wheels or jacking system, is attached to the site only by quick disconnect type utilities and security devices, and has no permanently attached additions; or

2.    Meet the permit requirements of Article IV of this chapter and the elevation and anchoring requirements for manufactured homes in Section 15.16.190A.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.200 Floodways.

Located within areas of special flood hazard established in Section 15.16.070 are areas designated as floodways.  Since the floodway is an extremely hazardous area due to the velocity of floodwaters which carry debris, potential projectiles and erosion potential, the following provisions apply:

A.    Prohibit encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements and other development unless certification by a registered professional engineer or architect is provided demonstrating that encroachments shall not result in any increase in the base flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood discharge;

B.    If subsection A of this section is satisfied, all new construction and substantial improvements, and other proposed new development shall comply with all other applicable flood hazard reduction provisions of Article V.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.210 Mudslide (i.e., mudflow) prone areas.

A.    The floodplain administrator shall review permits for proposed construction or other development to determine if it is proposed within a mudslide area.

B.    Permits shall be reviewed to determine that the proposed site and improvement is reasonably safe from mudslide hazards.  Factors to be considered in making this determination include but are not limited to the:

1.    Type and quality of soils;

2.    Evidence of groundwater or surface water problems;

3.    Depth and quality of any fill;

4.    Overall slope of the site; and

5.    Weight that any proposed development will impose on the slope.

C.    Within areas which have mudslide hazards, the floodplain administrator shall require that:

1.    A site investigation and further review shall be made by persons qualified in geology and soils engineering;

2.    The proposed grading, excavation, new construction and substantial improvements shall be adequately designed and protected against mudslide damages;

3.    The proposed grading, excavations, new construction and substantial improvements do not aggravate the existing hazard by creating either onsite or offsite disturbances; and

4.    Drainage, planting, watering and maintenance shall not endanger slope stability.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.220 Flood-related erosion-prone areas.

A.    The floodplain administrator shall require permits for proposed construction and other development within all flood-related erosion-prone areas as known to the community.

B.    Such permits shall be reviewed to determine whether the proposed site alterations and improvements will be reasonably safe from flood-related erosion and will not cause flood-related erosion hazards or otherwise aggravate the existing hazard.

C.    If a proposed improvement is found to be in the path of flood-related erosion or would increase the erosion hazard, such improvement shall be relocated or adequate protective measures shall be taken to avoid aggravating the existing erosion hazard.

D.    Within zone E on the flood insurance rate map, a setback is required for all new development from the lake, bay, riverfront or other body of water to create a safety buffer consisting of a natural vegetative or contour strip.  This buffer shall be designated according to the flood-related erosion hazard and erosion rate, in relation to the anticipated "useful life" of structures, and depending upon the geologic, hydrologic, topographic and climatic characteristics of the land.  The buffer may be used for suitable open space purposes, such as for agricultural, forestry, outdoor recreation and wildlife habitat areas, and for other activities using temporary and portable structures only.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

ARTICLE VI. VARIANCE PROCEDURE

15.16.225 Nature of variances.

A.    The variance criteria set forth in this article of this chapter are based on the general principle of zoning law that variances pertain to a piece of property and are not personal in nature.  A variance may be granted for a parcel of property with physical characteristics so unusual that complying with the requirements of this chapter would create an exceptional hardship to the applicant or the surrounding property owners.  The characteristics must be unique to the property and not be shared by adjacent parcels.  The unique characteristic must pertain to the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants, or the property owners.

B.    It is the duty of the board of supervisors to help protect its citizens from flooding.  This need is so compelling and the implications of the cost of insuring a structure built below flood level are so serious that variances from the flood elevation or from other requirements in this chapter are quite rare.  The long-term goal of preventing and reducing flood loss and damage can only be met if variances are strictly limited.  Therefore, the variance guidelines provided in this chapter are more detailed and contain multiple provisions that must be met before a variance can be properly granted.  The criteria are designed to screen out those situations in which alternatives other than a variance are more appropriate.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.230 Appeal board.

A.    The board of supervisors of Amador County shall hear requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter.

B.    In passing upon such applications, the board of supervisors shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this chapter, and the:

1.    Danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others;

2.    Danger of life and property due to flooding or erosion damage;

3.    Susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner and future owners of the property;

4.    Importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the community;

5.    Necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable;

6.    Availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage;

7.    Compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development;

8.    Relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain management program for that area;

9.    Safety of access to the property in time of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles;

10.    Expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of the floodwaters expected at the site; and

11.    Costs of providing governmental services during and after flood conditions, including maintenance and repair of public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water system, and streets and bridges.

C.    Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice over the signature of a community official that:

1.    The issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as twenty-five dollars for one hundred dollars of insurance coverage; and

2.    Such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property.  A copy of the notice shall be recorded by the floodplain administrator in the office of the Amador County recorder and shall be recorded in a manner so that it appears in the chain of title of the affected parcel of land.

D.    Upon consideration of the factors of subsection B of this section and the purposes of this chapter, the board of supervisors may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.

E.    The floodplain administrator shall maintain the records of all variance actions, including justification for their issuance, and report such variances issued in its biennial report submitted to the Federal Insurance Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).

15.16.240 Conditions for variances.

A.    Generally, variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvements, and other proposed new development to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, providing subdivisions (B)(1) through (11) of Section 15.16.230 have been fully considered.  As the lot size increases beyond one-half acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.

B.    Variances may be issued for the repair, or rehabilitation of "historic structures" as defined in Section 15.16.050 of this chapter upon a determination that the proposed repair or rehabilitation will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as an historic structure and the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the structure.

C.    Variances shall not be issued within any mapped regulatory floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.

D.    Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief. "Minimum necessary" means to afford relief with a minimum of deviation from the requirements of this chapter.  For example, in the case of variances to an elevation requirement, this means the board of supervisors need not grant permission for the applicant to build at grade, or even to whatever elevation the applicant proposed, but only to that elevation which the board of supervisors believes will both provide relief and preserve the integrity of the local ordinance.

E.    Variances shall only be issued upon a:

1.    Showing of good and sufficient cause;

2.    Determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and

3.    Determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances (as defined in Section 15.16.050, see "Public safety or nuisance"), cause fraud on or victimization of the public (as defined in Section 15.16.050), or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.

F.    Variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvements, and other proposed new development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that the provisions of subsections B through E of this section are satisfied and that the structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood damages during the base flood and does not result in additional threats to public safety and does not create a public nuisance.  (Ord. 1503(part), 2000).


1

    Prior ordinance history:  Ords. 1141 and 1502.