Chapter 18.10
FLOOD DAMAGE PREVENTION

Sections:

18.10.010    Statutory authorization.

18.10.020    Findings of fact.

18.10.030    Statement of purpose.

18.10.040    Methods of reducing flood losses.

18.10.050    Definitions.

18.10.060    Lands to which this chapter applies.

18.10.070    Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.

18.10.080    Compliance.

18.10.090    Abrogation and greater restrictions.

18.10.100    Interpretation.

18.10.110    Warning and disclaimer of liability.

18.10.115    Severability.

18.10.120    Establishment of development permit.

18.10.130    Designation of the floodplain administrator.

18.10.140    Duties and responsibilities of the responsible official.

18.10.150    Permit review.

18.10.160    Use of other base flood data.

18.10.170    Information to be obtained and maintained.

18.10.180    Notification to other entities.

18.10.190    Interpretation of FIRM boundaries.

18.10.200    Variance procedure.

18.10.210    Appeal board.

18.10.220    Conditions for variances.

18.10.230    General standards.

18.10.240    Anchoring.

18.10.250    Construction materials and methods.

18.10.260    Utilities.

18.10.270    Development proposals.

18.10.280    Review of building permits.

18.10.290    Specific standards.

18.10.300    Residential construction.

18.10.310    Nonresidential construction.

18.10.320    Critical facility.

18.10.330    Manufactured homes.

18.10.331    Recreational vehicles.

18.10.340    Floodways.

18.10.350    Wetlands management.

18.10.360    Compliance with Endangered Species Act.

18.10.370    Exemptions from demonstration of compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

18.10.010 Statutory authorization.

The legislature of the state of Washington has in RCW 86.16.020 delegated the responsibility to local governmental units to adopt floodplain management regulations designed to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry. Therefore, the city council of the city of Shelton, Washington, does ordain as set forth in Sections 18.10.020 through 18.10.350. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.020 Findings of fact.

A.    The flood hazard areas of the city 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, cause damage in other areas. Uses and structures that are inadequately floodproofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage also contribute to flood loss. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.030 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:

A.    To protect human life and health;

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

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

D.    To minimize prolonged business interruptions;

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

F.    To 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 flood blight areas;

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

H.    To ensure that those who occupy the areas of special flood hazard assume responsibility for their actions; and

I.    To participate in and maintain eligibility for flood insurance and disaster relief. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.040 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 in 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 increase any flood hazards in other areas. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.050 Definitions.

The following definitions are in addition to those established in Chapter 18.02. Unless specifically defined in this section, words and phrases used in this chapter will be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.

“Appeal” means a request for a review of the responsible official’s interpretation of any provision of this chapter or a request for a variance.

“Area of shallow flooding” means a designated AO, AH, AR/AO or AR/AH (or VO) zone on a community’s flood insurance rate map (FIRM) with a one percent or greater annual chance of flooding to an average depth of one to three feet where a clearly defined channel does not exist, where the path of flooding is unpredictable, and where velocity flow may be evident. Such flooding is characterized by ponding or sheet flow.

“Area of special flood hazard” means the land in the floodplain within a community subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. It is shown on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM) as zone A, AO, AH, A1-30, AE, A99, or AR (V, VO, V1-30, VE). “Special flood hazard area” is synonymous in meaning with the phrase “area of special flood hazard.”

“Base flood” means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Also referred to as the “one-hundred-year-flood.”

“Base flood elevation (BFE)” means the elevation to which floodwater is anticipated to rise during the base flood.

“Basement” means any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.

Building. See “Structure.”

“Critical facility” means a facility for which even a slight chance of flooding might be too great. Critical facilities include, but are not limited to, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, police, fire and emergency response installations, and installations which produce, use, or store hazardous materials or hazardous waste.

“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 located within the area of special flood hazard.

“Endangered Species Act” or “ESA” means 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. as amended.

“Flood” or “flooding” means a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:

1.    The overflow of inland or tidal waters;

2.    The unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface waters from any source; and/or

3.    Mudslides (i.e., mudflows) which are proximately caused by flooding as defined in subsection (2) of this definition and are akin to a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas, as when earth is carried by a current of water and deposited along the path of the current.

“Flood elevation study” means an examination, evaluation, and determination of flood hazards and, if appropriate, corresponding water surface elevations, or an examination, evaluation, and determination of mudslide (i.e., mudflow) and/or flood-related erosion hazards.

“Flood insurance rate map (FIRM)” means the official map on which the Federal Insurance Administrator has delineated both the areas of special flood hazards and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

Flood Insurance Study. See “Flood elevation study.”

“Floodplain administrator” means the community official designated by title 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, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations.

“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 application of police power. The term describes such state or local regulations, in any combination thereof, which provide standards for the purpose of flood damage prevention and reduction.

“Floodproofing” means any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate risk of 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 a designated height. Also referred to as “regulatory floodway.”

“Functionally dependent use” means a use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in the close proximity of 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, and does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing facilities.

“Habitat assessment report” means a report prepared by a qualified biologist that assesses the proposed development and identifies potential impacts, required mitigation, and whether or not the development adversely affects water quality, water quantity, flood volumes, flood velocities, spawning substrate, and/or floodplain refugia for listed salmonids under the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

“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 the 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 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 the Interior; or

4.    Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either:

a.    By an approved state program determined by the Secretary of the Interior; or

b.    Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.

“Likely to adversely affect” or “LAA” means the effects of the development will result in short- or long-term adverse effects on listed species or designated habitat areas.

“Lowest floor” means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure, 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, that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable nonelevation design requirements of this chapter found in Section 18.10.300(B).

“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” also includes park trailers, travel trailers and other similar vehicles placed on a site for greater than one hundred eighty consecutive days. For insurance purposes, the term “manufactured home” does not include park trailers, travel trailers and other similar vehicles.

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

“May affect, not likely to adversely affect” or “NLAA” means the effects to the listed species or designated critical habitat are insignificant and/or discountable.

“New construction” means structures for which the “start of construction” commenced on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. For the purposes of determining insurance rates, structures for which the “start of construction” commenced on or after the effective date of an initial flood insurance rate map or after December 31, 1974, whichever is later, and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures. For floodplain management purposes, “new construction” means structures for which the “start of construction” commenced on or after the effective date of a floodplain management regulation adopted by a community and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.

“No effect” or “NE” means the development has no effect whatsoever to the listed species or designated critical habitat.

One-Hundred-Year Flood or 100-Year Flood. See “Base flood.”

“Recreational vehicle” means a vehicle:

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. See “Floodway.”

“Start of construction” includes substantial improvement, and means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, 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 foundation 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 above ground as well as a manufactured home.

“Substantial damage” means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed fifty percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

“Substantial improvement” means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other 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. The term does not, however, include either:

1.    Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or

2.    Any alteration of a “historic structure”; provided, that the alteration will not preclude the structure’s continued designation as a “historic structure.”

“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 document is provided.

“Water surface elevation” means the height, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929, or other datum, of floods of various magnitudes and frequencies in the floodplains of coastal or riverine areas. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1839-1213 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.060 Lands to which this chapter applies.

This chapter shall apply to all areas of special flood hazards within the jurisdiction of the city of Shelton. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.070 Basis for establishing the areas of special flood hazard.

The special flood hazard areas identified by the Federal Insurance Administrator in a scientific and engineering report titled “The Flood Insurance Study for Mason County, Washington and Incorporated Areas,” dated June 20, 2019, with accompanying flood insurance maps and any revisions thereto is adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter. The flood insurance study is on file at the City of Shelton, Civic Center, 525 West Cota, Shelton, Washington. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.080 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. Violation 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 civil infraction unless otherwise subject to criminal penalties as prescribed in Section 17.08.010. Nothing contained in this title shall prevent the city from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1724-0108 § 5, 2008: Ord. 1694-0307 § 5, 2007: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.090 Abrogation and greater restrictions.

This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions. However, where this chapter and another ordinance, easement, covenant or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.100 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. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.110 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 the city, any officer or employee thereof, or the Federal Insurance Administration for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.115 Severability.

This chapter and the various parts thereof are hereby 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 this chapter as a whole, or any portion thereof other than the section so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019)

18.10.120 Establishment of development permit.

A.    Development Permit Required. A development permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any area of special flood hazard established in Section 18.10.070. The permit shall be for all structures including manufactured homes, as set forth in Section 18.10.050, and for all development including fill and other activities, also as set forth in Section 18.10.050. Development permit review may be performed in connection with the underlying permit (i.e., building permit, fill and grade approval, etc.) and conditions may be attached to said permit to fulfill the requirements of this chapter.

B.    Application for Development Permit. Application for a development permit shall be made on forms furnished by the building official or his designee and may include, but not be limited to, plans in duplicate drawn to scale showing the nature, location, dimensions and elevations 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:

1.    Height of the base flood elevation (BFE) at the site as determined by a licensed surveyor as it relates to existing grade/conditions at the site;

2.    Elevation in relation to mean sea level of the lowest floor (including basement) of all structures;

3.    Elevation in relation to mean sea level to which any nonresidential structure has been floodproofed;

4.    Certification by a registered professional engineer or architect that the floodproofing methods for any nonresidential structure meet the floodproofing criteria in Section 18.10.310;

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

6.    Submission of a fully completed ESA Listed Salmonids and Floodplains Checklist or other information pursuant to Section 18.10.360 unless exempt pursuant to Section 18.10.370. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1839-1213 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.130 Designation of the floodplain administrator.

The chief building official is hereby appointed to administer, implement, and enforce this chapter by granting or denying development permits in accordance with its provisions. The floodplain administrator may delegate authority to implement these provisions as appropriate to other departments (i.e., ESA compliance would be reviewed by the department of community development). (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.140 Duties and responsibilities of the responsible official.

Duties of the chief building official or his designee shall include, but not be limited to, those provisions set forth in Sections 18.10.150 through 18.10.190. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.150 Permit review.

Provisions for reviewing development permits shall include the following:

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

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

C.    Review all development permits to determine if the proposed development is located in the floodway. If located in the floodway, assure that the encroachment provisions of Section 18.10.340(A) are met. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.160 Use of other base flood data.

When base flood elevation data has not been provided in accordance with Section 18.10.070, the floodplain administrator shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from a federal, state or other source, in order to administer Sections 18.10.290 through 18.10.340. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.170 Information to be obtained and maintained.

A.    Where base flood elevation data is provided through the flood insurance study or required as in Section 18.10.160, obtain and record the actual as-built elevation (in relation to mean sea level) of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new or substantially improved structures, and whether or not the structure contains a basement.

B.    For all new or substantially improved floodproofed structures:

1.    Verify and record the actual elevation (in relation to mean sea level) to which the structure was floodproofed; and

2.    Maintain the floodproofing certifications required in Section 18.10.120(B).

C.    Maintain for public inspection all records pertaining to the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.180 Notification to other entities.

A.    Whenever a watercourse is to be altered or relocated it may only be done in compliance with the provisions of Title 21, Environmental Protection, and when adjacent communities and the State Coordinating Office are notified prior to such alteration or relocation of said watercourse and evidence of such notification is submitted to the Federal Insurance Administrator through appropriate notification means, and assurance is provided that the flood carrying capacity of the altered or relocated portion of said watercourse is maintained.

B.    Base flood elevation may increase or decrease resulting from physical changes affecting flooding conditions. As soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the date such information becomes available, the floodplain administrator shall notify the Federal Insurance Administrator of the changes by submitting technical or scientific data in accordance with Volume 44 Code of Federal Regulations Section 65.3. Such a submission is necessary so that, upon confirmation of those physical changes affecting flooding conditions, risk premium rates and floodplain management requirements will be based upon current data.

C.    Notify the Federal Insurance Administrator in writing of acquisition by means of annexation, incorporation, or otherwise of additional areas of jurisdiction. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1839-1213 § 1 (part), 2013: Ord. 1689-1206 § 10, 2007: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.190 Interpretation of FIRM boundaries.

Make interpretations, where needed, as to exact location of the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazards (for example, where there appears to be a conflict between a mapped boundary and actual field conditions). The person contesting the location of the boundary shall be given a reasonable opportunity to appeal the interpretation as provided in Sections 18.10.200 through 18.10.220. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.200 Variance procedure.

The variance procedure for the city shall be as set out in Sections 18.10.210 and 18.10.220. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.210 Appeal board.

A.    The hearings examiner of the city of Shelton shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variance from the requirements of this chapter pursuant to Chapter 2.36.

B.    The hearings examiner of the city of Shelton shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision or determination made by the responsible official in the enforcement or administration of this chapter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.    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

11.    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.

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

E.    The responsible official shall maintain the records of all appeal actions and report any variances to the Federal Insurance Administration upon request. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1921-0518 (part), 2018; Ord. 1904-0717 § 5, 2017: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.220 Conditions for variances.

A.    General. 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 shared by adjacent parcels. This unique characteristic must pertain to the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants, or the property owners. It is the duty of the city of Shelton to help protect its citizens from flooding. This need is so compelling and the implications of the cost of insuring a structure built below the base flood elevation are so serious that variances from the flood elevation or from other requirements in this chapter should be 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.

B.    Variances shall only be issued:

1.    Upon a determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public or conflict with existing zoning laws or ordinances;

2.    For the repair, rehabilitation, or restoration of historic structures 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;

3.    Upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief;

4.    Upon a showing of good and sufficient cause;

5.    Upon a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant;

6.    Upon a showing that the use cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water. This includes only facilities that fall under the definition of “functionally dependent use.”

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

D.    Generally, variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements 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 elevation, provided all pertinent procedures and considerations required by this chapter have been followed. As the lot size increases beyond one-half acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.

E.    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 the flood elevations should be quite rare.

F.    Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice that a structure built with a lowest floor elevation below the base flood elevation will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance and such construction below the base flood elevation increases risks to life and property.

G.    The floodplain administrator shall maintain a record for all variance actions including justification for their issuance. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.230 General standards.

In all areas of special flood hazards, the standards set out in Sections 18.10.230 through 18.10.280 are required. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.240 Anchoring.

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

B.    All manufactured homes must likewise be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement, and shall be installed using methods and practices that minimize flood damage. Anchoring methods may include, but are not limited to, use of over-the-top or frame ties to ground anchors (reference FEMA’s “Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas” guidebook for additional techniques). (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.250 Construction materials and methods.

A.    All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed with materials and utility equipment resistant to flood damage.

B.    All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed using methods and practices that minimize flood damage.

C.    All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed with electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing and air-conditioning equipment and other service facilities shall be designed and/or otherwise elevated or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding. Locating such equipment below the base flood elevation may cause annual flood insurance premiums to be increased.

D.    In zones AO and AH, all new construction shall provide drainage paths around structures on slopes. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004)

18.10.260 Utilities.

A.    All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the system;

B.    New and replacement sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharge from the systems into floodwaters; and

C.    On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.270 Development proposals.

A.    All new development proposals, including subdivisions and mobile home parks, shall assure that each lot has sufficient building area outside the area of special flood hazard and/or that the resultant lot/site has sufficient area to provide access to structures that are elevated above the base flood elevation as required by this chapter;

B.    All new development proposals, including subdivisions and mobile home parks, shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage;

C.    All new development proposals, including subdivisions and mobile home parks, shall have public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage;

D.    All new development proposals, including subdivisions and mobile home parks, shall have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood damage; and

E.    Include base flood elevation data for all development proposals, including subdivision proposals and other proposed developments which contain at least fifty lots or five acres (whichever is less). (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1689-1206 § 11, 2007: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.280 Review of building permits.

Where elevation data is not available either through the flood insurance study or from another authoritative source (Section 18.10.160), applications for building permits shall be reviewed to ensure that proposed construction will be reasonably safe from flooding. The test of reasonableness is a local judgment and includes use of historical data, high water marks, photographs of past flooding, etc., where available. Failure to elevate at least two feet above grade in these zones may result in higher insurance rates. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.290 Specific standards.

In all areas of special flood hazards where base flood elevation data has been provided as set forth in Section 18.10.070 or 18.10.160, the provisions set out in Sections 18.10.300 through 18.10.330 are required. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.300 Residential construction.

A.    New construction and substantial improvement of any residential structure shall have the lowest floor, including basement and related electrical and mechanical equipment, elevated one foot or more above base flood elevation.

B.    Fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor that are usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access, or storage and which are subject to flooding are prohibited, or shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters. Designs for meeting these requirements must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect or must meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:

1.    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 shall be provided;

2.    The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade;

3.    Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers or other coverings or devices; provided, that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.310 Nonresidential construction.

New construction and substantial improvement of any commercial, industrial or other nonresidential structure shall either have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated one foot or more above the level of the base flood elevation; or, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities, shall:

A.    Be floodproofed so that, below one foot above the base flood level, 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;

C.    Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting provisions of this subsection based on their development and/or review of the structural design, specifications and plans. Such certifications shall be provided to the official as set forth in Section 18.10.170(B).

D.    Nonresidential structures that are elevated, not floodproofed, must meet the same standards for space below the lowest floor as described in Section 18.10.300(B).

E.    Applicants floodproofing nonresidential buildings shall be notified that flood insurance premiums will be based on rates that are one foot below the floodproofed level (e.g., a building floodproofed to one foot above the base flood level will be rated as at the base flood level). (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.320 Critical facility.

Construction of new critical facilities shall be, to the extent possible, located outside the limits of the base floodplain. Construction of new critical facilities shall be permissible within the base floodplain if no feasible alternative site is available. Critical facilities constructed within the base floodplain shall have the lowest floor elevated to a minimum of one foot and, preferably, three feet or more, where feasible, above the level of the base flood elevation at the site. Floodproofing and sealing measures must be taken to ensure that toxic substances will not be displaced by or released into floodwaters. Access routes elevated to or above the level of the base floodplain shall be provided to all critical facilities to the extent possible. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1689-1206 § 12, 2007: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.330 Manufactured homes.

All manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved within zones A1-30, AH, and AE on the community’s FIRM shall be elevated on a permanent foundation such that the lowest floor of the manufactured home, and all related electrical and mechanical equipment, is one foot or more above the base flood elevation, and be securely anchored to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.331 Recreational vehicles.

Recreational vehicles placed on sites are required to be in compliance with applicable zoning regulations and either:

A.    Be on the site for fewer than one hundred eighty consecutive days;

B.    Be fully licensed and ready for highway use, on its wheels or jacking system, and attached to the site only by quick disconnect type utilities and security devices, and have no permanently attached additions; or

C.    Meet the requirements of Section 18.10.330 and the elevation and anchoring requirements for manufactured homes. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004)

18.10.340 Floodways.

Located within areas of special flood hazard established in Section 18.10.070 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 flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.

B.    Construction or reconstruction of residential structures is prohibited within designated floodways, except for:

1.    Repairs, reconstruction, or improvements to a structure which do not increase the ground floor area; and

2.    Repairs, reconstruction or improvements to a structure, the cost of which does not exceed fifty percent of the market value of the structure either:

a.    Before the repair, reconstruction, or improvements are started; or

b.    If the structure has been damaged, and is being restored, before the damage occurred. Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations of state or local health, sanitary, or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions, or to structures identified as historic places, may be excluded in the fifty percent.

C.    If subsection A of this section is satisfied, all new construction and substantial improvements shall comply with all applicable flood hazard reduction provisions of Sections 18.10.230 through 18.10.330.

D.    If no regulatory floodway has been designated for a waterway, no new construction, substantial improvements, or other development (including fill) shall be permitted within zones A1 through A30 and AE on the community’s FIRM, unless it is demonstrated 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 within the community. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1839-1213 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.350 Wetlands management.

To the maximum extent possible, avoid the short- and long-term adverse impacts associated with the destruction or modification of wetlands, especially those activities which limit or disrupt the ability of the wetlands to alleviate flooding impacts. The following process should be implemented:

A.    Review proposals for development within base floodplains for their possible impacts on wetlands located within the floodplains and compliance with Chapter 21.64 (Critical Area Protection) and the city of Shelton shoreline master program, as applicable;

B.    Ensure that development activities in or around wetlands do not negatively affect public safety, health, and welfare by disrupting the wetlands’ ability to reduce flood and storm drainage;

C.    Request technical assistance from the Department of Ecology in identifying wetland areas. Existing wetland map information from the National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) can be used in conjunction with the community’s FIRM to prepare an overlay zone indicating critical wetland areas deserving special attention. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1629-0904 § 1 (part), 2004: Ord. 1352-892 (part), 1992)

18.10.360 Compliance with Endangered Species Act.

A.    All proposals for development subject to this chapter shall complete the ESA Listed Salmonids and Floodplains Checklist to aid city staff in determination as to whether a full habitat assessment is required to be provided pursuant to the biological opinion (BiOp) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service on September 22, 2008, unless exempted under Section 18.10.370.

B.    No floodplain development permits may be issued by the city of Shelton on any parcel unless the planning director or designee, after review of the ESA Listed Salmonids and Floodplains Checklist or a habitat assessment report provided by the applicant, has determined the development meets the standards of NE or NLAA, or the applicant submits a letter from the National Marine Fisheries Service or the Federal Emergency Management Agency stating that the development complies with the requirements of the biological opinion and the Endangered Species Act. Further, if the planning director or designee determines that the development is LAA and cannot be conditioned or redesigned to be redesignated NE or NLAA, the city may not issue the development permit unless the applicant submits a letter from the National Marine Fisheries Service or the Federal Emergency Management Agency demonstrating concurrence through a consultation pursuant to the Endangered Species Act or the applicant is issued an incidental take permit under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act. The ESA Listed Salmonids Floodplain Checklist, habitat assessment report, and/or concurrence letter from the National Marine Fisheries Service or the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall be retained in the permit file for the development. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1839-1213 § 1 (part), 2013)

18.10.370 Exemptions from demonstration of compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

The following development is exempt from the requirement for completion of an ESA Listed Salmonids and Floodplains Checklist, habitat assessment, and/or concurrence letter as set forth in Section 18.10.360:

A.    Repair or remodel of an existing building within its existing footprint, including buildings damaged by fire or acts of nature.

B.    Expansion of an existing structure that is no greater than ten percent beyond its existing footprint; provided, that the expansion is not a substantial improvement or part of a repair of substantial damage. This measurement is counted cumulatively from September 11, 2011. If the structure is in the floodway there shall be no change in the dimensions perpendicular to flow.

C.    Removal of noxious weeds, invasive weeds, and other nonnative species and replacement with native vegetation.

D.    Normal maintenance of structures such as re-roofing, painting, replacement of doors and windows, replacement of roof-mounted HVAC systems, replacement/installation of wall signs, and replacement of siding.

E.    Normal street, road, and parking lot maintenance, including filling potholes, repaving, installation of signs and traffic signals but not including expansion of paved areas.

F.    Normal maintenance of above ground utilities and facilities, such as replacement of power lines and utility poles.

G.    Maintenance of lawns, gardens, and existing yard/open space areas.

H.    Development of open space and recreational facilities such as parks and trails that do not include structures, fill, impervious surfaces, or removal of more than five percent of the native vegetation on that portion of the property in the regulatory floodplain. (Ord. 1937-0519 § 1 (part), 2019: Ord. 1839-1213 § 1 (part), 2013)