40.420.030    Administration

A.    The Public Works Director or his/her designee is the responsible official for purposes of administering this chapter.

(Added: Ord. 2012-07-15)

B.    Shoreline Master Program.

    For developments on parcels within both shoreline jurisdiction and a special flood hazard area, a flood hazard permit pursuant to Section 40.420.030(D) is required, whether the development is exempt from a shoreline permit or not.

(Added: Ord. 2012-07-15)

C.    Flood Hazard Inquiry.

1.    For development proposed on parcels outside of shoreline jurisdiction, the applicant may submit an inquiry on a form furnished by the responsible official requesting the department to determine if the proposed development is in a special flood hazard area.

2.    The responsible official shall review the application and other pertinent information, and make a determination as to whether the proposed development is in a special flood hazard area and a flood hazard permit is required. The responsible official shall inform the applicant in writing whether or not a permit is required.

(Added: Ord. 2012-07-15)

D.    Flood Hazard Permit.

1.    A flood hazard permit must be obtained before construction or development begins within any special flood hazard area. The review shall be for all structures and development as defined in Section 40.100.070 and this chapter.

2.    For land divisions, a flood hazard permit will be issued as part of the land division review process. The following information is required:

a.    Floodplain and floodway limits;

b.    Finished grading;

c.    Building envelopes; and

d.    Hydrologic and hydraulic calculations used to determine the impact of the proposed development on base flood elevation. Where base flood elevation data is not available from the Flood Insurance Study, FIRMs, or from another authoritative source, it shall be provided by the applicant for subdivisions and other proposed development which contain at least fifty (50) lots or five (5) acres, whichever is less. This documentation shall be prepared by a licensed professional engineer registered in the state of Washington.

3.    For building permits, a flood hazard review will be done as part of the building permit review process. The following information is required:

a.    Floodplain and floodway limits;

b.    Finished grading; and

c.    Hydrologic and hydraulic calculations used to determine the impact of the proposed development on base flood elevation. Where base flood elevation data is not available from the Flood Insurance Study, FIRMs, or from another authoritative source, the applicant shall assure that proposed construction will be reasonably safe from flooding. The test of reasonableness shall be a judgment of the responsible official who shall consider historical data, high water marks, and photographs of past flooding, where available. This documentation shall be prepared by a licensed professional engineer registered in the state of Washington. Failure to elevate the lowest floor at least two (2) feet above the highest adjacent grade in these zones may result in higher insurance rates.

4.    Application for a flood hazard permit shall be made to the responsible official on a form furnished by the responsible official.

5.    The application shall include, but not be limited to, plans in duplicate drawn to scale showing the nature, location, dimensions and elevations of the area in question, and existing and proposed structures, fill, excavation, storage of materials, and drainage facilities. Specifically, the following information is required:

a.    Elevation, in relation to mean sea level as determined by the North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988, of the lowest floor (including the basement) of all structures;

b.    Elevation, in relation to the NAVD of 1988, to which any structure has been floodproofed;

c.    Certification by a licensed professional engineer registered in the state of Washington that the floodproofing methods for any nonresidential structure meet the floodproofing criteria in Section 40.420.020(E)(2);

d.    Description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development; and

e.    Hydrologic and hydraulic calculations used to determine the impact of the proposed development on base flood elevation. If hydraulic modeling software is utilized for these calculations, all electronic files shall be submitted prior to flood hazard permit or shoreline substantial development permit approval.

6.    The responsible official will:

a.    Review all proposed developments with respect to the Flood Insurance Study and accompanying maps and zoning district boundaries;

b.    Make interpretations, where needed, as to the exact location of special flood hazard area boundaries;

c.    When base flood elevation data has not been provided in accordance with Section 40.420.010(D), obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from an agency of federal or state government, or other sources, in order to enforce the provisions of this chapter;

d.    Review all proposals to determine that the requirements of this chapter have been satisfied;

e.    Review all proposals to determine that all necessary permits have been obtained from those federal, state or local governmental agencies from which prior approval is required; and

f.    Issue a flood hazard permit with any conditions necessary to insure that the development meets the requirements of this chapter.

7.    Elevation Certificates Required. Elevation certificates are required to verify elevations of structures and above-ground equipment, and shall be submitted prior to receiving an inspection for footing, framing and certificate of occupancy. Elevation certificates shall be prepared by a licensed professional surveyor registered in the state of Washington.

(Amended: Ord. 2005-04-15; Ord. 2012-07-15)

E.    Variances.

1.    Variances as interpreted in the National Flood Insurance Program are based on the general zoning law principle that they pertain to a physical piece of property; they are not personal in nature and do not pertain to the structure, its inhabitants, economic or financial circumstances. They primarily address small lots in densely populated residential neighborhoods. As such, variances from flood elevations should be quite rare.

2.    A Type I administrative variance may be granted pursuant to Section 40.510.010, the National Flood Insurance Program and applicable state law, and shall only be issued if all of the following are met:

a.    The proposal has been designed to minimize the impact on the floodplain and its functions;

b.    No increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result;

c.    The variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief;

d.    Failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant;

e.    The hardship is not created by the property owner or his or her immediate predecessor in the title; and

f.    The granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, or extraordinary public expense; create nuisances; cause fraud on or victimization of the public as identified in Section 40.420.030(F); nor conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.

3.    Variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements on lots of one-half (1/2) acre or less in size and abutting and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level; provided, that the items in Section 40.420.030(E)(2) have been fully considered.

4.    Variances may be issued for commercial, industrial, and accessory buildings to allow a lesser degree of floodproofing than watertight or dry-floodproofing, where it can be determined that such action will have low damage potential, complies with all other variance criteria, and otherwise complies with Section 40.420.020(E).

5.    Variances may be issued for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or restoration of structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Inventory of Historic Places, without regard to the procedures set forth in this section upon a determination that the proposed repair or rehabilitation will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a historic structure and the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the structure.

6.    Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice that the structure will be permitted to be built with a lowest floor elevation below the base flood elevation, and that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the significantly increased risk resulting from the reduced lowest floor elevation.

(Amended: Ord. 2005-04-15; Ord. 2012-07-15)

F.    Appeals.

1.    Administrative decisions rendered by the responsible official are subject to appeal pursuant to Section 40.510.020(H).

2.    In acting on appeals, the Hearing Examiner shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, and standards specified in other sections of this chapter; and:

a.    The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others;

b.    The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage;

c.    The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage, and the effect of such damage on the individual owner;

d.    The importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the community;

e.    The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable;

f.    The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use, which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage;

g.    The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development;

h.    The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain management program for that area;

i.    The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles;

j.    The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise, and sediment transport of the floodwaters, and the effects of wave action, if applicable, expected at the site; and

k.    The 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 systems, and streets and bridges.

3.    Upon consideration of the factors of Section 40.420.030(E)(2) and the purposes of this chapter, the Hearing Examiner may attach such conditions to actions on appeals as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.

(Amended: Ord. 2005-04-15; Ord. 2012-07-15)

G.    The responsible official shall obtain and/or maintain the following:

1.    Where base flood elevation data is provided through the Flood Insurance Study, FIRMs, or as required as in Section 40.420.030(D)(6)(c), obtain and record the actual elevation (in relation to mean sea level based on the NAVD 1988) of the lowest floor (including the basement) of all new or substantially improved structures, and whether or not the structure contains a basement.

2.    For all new or substantially improved floodproofed nonresidential structures, verify and record the actual elevation (in relation to mean sea level based on the NAVD 1988) to which the structure was floodproofed, and maintain the floodproofing certifications required in Section 40.420.030(D)(5)(c).

3.    All records for public inspection pertaining to the provisions of this chapter.

(Amended: Ord. 2005-04-15; Ord. 2012-07-15)

H.    For alteration of any watercourses, the responsible official will:

1.    Notify adjacent communities and the Washington Department of Ecology prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse, and submit evidence of such notification to FEMA; and

2.    Require that maintenance is provided within the altered or relocated portion of said watercourse so that the flood-carrying capacity is not diminished.

(Amended: Ord. 2005-04-15; Ord. 2012-07-15)