8. Floodplain Regulations
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11-8-2: FINDINGS OF FACT
11-8-3: STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
11-8-4: METHODS OF REDUCING FLOOD LOSSES
11-8-6: BASIS FOR ESTABLISHING FLOODPLAINS AND FLOODWAYS
11-8-7: BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE EXACT LOCATIONS OF THE 100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN
11-8-8: OFFICIAL FLOOD STUDIES
11-8-10: ABROGATION AND GREATER RESTRICTIONS
11-8-12: WARNING AND DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY
11-8-13: FLOODPLAIN REGULATIONS
11-8-14: FLOODWAY REGULATIONS
11-8-15: PROCEDURES FOR MODIFYING THE OFFICIAL FLOOD STUDIES
11-8-16: NON-CONFORMING STRUCTURES
11-8-17: FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE ADMINISTRATOR
11-8-20: ANNEXATION NOTIFICATION OF FEDERAL INSURANCE
11-8-21: BIENNIAL REPORT TO FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
11-8-1: AUTHORIZATION: (2534) Pursuant to Article XX of the Constitution of the State of Colorado and section 31-23-301, Colorado Revised Statutes, the City of Westminster has the authority to adopt flood control regulations designed to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry.
11-8-2: FINDINGS OF FACT: (2534)
(A) The flood hazard areas of the City of Westminster are subject to periodic inundation which may result 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 would adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.
(B) These flood losses are caused by the cumulative effect of obstructions in flood hazard areas which increase flood heights and velocities, and when inadequately floodproofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage also contribute to the flood loss.
11-8-3: STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: (2534) It is the purpose of this ordinance to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions to 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;
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(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, streets and bridges located in flood hazard areas;
(F) To help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of flood hazard areas so as to minimize future flood blight areas;
(G) To ensure that potential buyers are notified that property is in a flood hazard area;
(H) To ensure that those who occupy the flood hazards areas assume responsibility for their actions; and,
(I) Encourage and facilitate urban water resources management techniques for the reduction of pollution and the enhancement of the urban environment.
11-8-4: METHODS OF REDUCING FLOOD LOSSES: (2534) In order to accomplish its purposes, this ordinance 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 flood waters;
(D) Controlling filling, grading, dredging and other development which may increase flood damage; and,
(E) Preventing or regulating the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert flood waters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas.
11-8-5: APPLICABILITY: (2534) This ordinance shall apply to all lands within the City, that are located within the 100-year floodplain, as indicated in the Official Flood Studies.
11-8-6: BASIS FOR ESTABLISHING FLOODPLAINS AND FLOODWAYS: (2534) Westminster hereby establishes floodplains and floodways whose boundaries are those of the designated 100-year floodplain, special flood hazard areas and the designated floodways as are shown or tabulated in the Official Flood Studies.
11-8-7: BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE EXACT LOCATIONS OF THE 100-YEAR FLOODPLAIN AND FLOODWAY: (2534)
(A) The boundaries of the 100-year floodplain and the floodway shall be determined from information presented in the Official Flood Studies. In the absence of other information (i.e., site specific studies as provided by the property owner), boundaries shall be determined by scaling distances on the maps provided in the Official Flood Studies. Where interpretation is needed as to the exact location of the boundaries, the Director of Community Development shall make the necessary interpretation. In all cases, the 100-year flood elevation as provided in the Official Flood Studies shall be the governing factor in locating the boundary on any property.
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(B) If the Official Flood Studies do not provide 100-year flood elevations, then the Director of Community Development shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any 100-year flood elevation and floodway data available from any federal, state, local or other source as criteria for requiring that new construction, substantial improvements or other developments in floodplain areas are administered in accordance with section 11-8-14, Floodplain Regulations, of this ordinance.
11-8-8: OFFICIAL FLOOD STUDIES: (2534) Site specific drainage and floodplain studies are not Official Flood Studies unless specifically adopted as such by Council. All Official Flood Studies shall, at a minimum, meet all of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's rules and regulations for the National Flood Insurance Program. All flood studies previously adopted by City Council by resolution prior to the effective date of this ordinance shall be deemed Official Flood Studies of the City until such time as City Council may determine to repeal any such resolution.
11-8-9: COMPLIANCE: (2534) No structure or land shall hereafter be constructed, located, extended, converted or altered without full compliance with the terms of this ordinance and other applicable regulations.
11-8-10: ABROGATION AND GREATER RESTRICTIONS: (2534) This ordinance is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions. However, where this ordinance and another ordinance, easement, covenant, or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.
11-8-11: INTERPRETATION: (2534) In the interpretation and application of this ordinance, 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.
11-8-12: WARNING AND DISCLAIMER OF LIABILITY: (2534) The degree of flood protection required by this ordinance 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 man-made or natural causes. This ordinance does not imply that land outside the areas of the 100-year floodplains or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This ordinance shall not create liability on the part of the City of Westminster, any officer or employee thereof or Federal Emergency Management Agency for any flood damages that result from reliance on this ordinance or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
11-8-13: FLOODPLAIN REGULATIONS: (2534) The following regulations shall apply to all lands located within the 100-year floodplain:
(A) General Standards.
1. All proposed developments within the 100-year floodplain shall be designed and constructed in accordance with this ordinance and shall not adversely affect any upstream, downstream or adjacent properties.
2. No development, use, fill, construction or alteration on or over any portion of a designated floodplain shall be permitted which would cause or result in any of the following:
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(a) The storage or processing of materials that in times of flooding are buoyant, flammable, explosive or otherwise potentially injurious to human, animal or plant life.
(b) The disposal of garbage or other solid waste materials.
(c) Substantial solid debris being carried downstream by flood waters.
(d) Any obstruction which would impair the flow capacity of a designated floodplain so as to cause foreseeable damage to others, wherever located.
3. All new construction and substantial improvements (including the placement of prefabricated buildings and manufactured homes) shall be:
(a) Designed or modified and adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure,
(b) Constructed with materials and utility equipment resistant to flood damage, and
(c) Constructed by methods and practices that minimize flood damage,
(d) Constructed in conformance with all sections of this ordinance.
(B) Residential Structures.
1. In floodplain areas in which the 100-year flood elevations are not known, all new construction and substantial improvements of residential structures shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated two feet (2') above the gutter flowline of the nearest street.
2. In floodplain areas in which the 100-year Flood Elevations are know or in areas where depth numbers for areas of shallow flooding are available, all new construction and substantial improvements of residential construction shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated one foot (1') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study.
(C) Non-Residential Structures.
1. In floodplain areas in which the 100-year flood elevations are not known, all new construction and substantial improvements of non-residential structures shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated two feet (2') above the gutter flow line of the nearest street.
2. In floodplain areas in which the 100-year Flood Elevations are known or in areas where depth numbers for areas of shallow flooding are available, all new construction and substantial improvements of non-residential construction shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated one foot (1') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study.
3. Require within any AO Zone that all new construction and substantial improvements of non-residential structures have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated two feet above the highest adjacent grade, if no depth number is specified, or at least one foot higher than the depth number specified (in feet) on the Official Flood Study or, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities be completely floodproofed to that level to meet the floodproofing standards specified below.
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4. As an alternative for non-residential structures only, the structure, including utility and sanitary facilities, can be completely floodproofed to the levels mentioned above. The walls and basement floor shall be completely waterproofed and they shall be built to withstand lateral and uplift water pressure, and
(a) be floodproofed so that below the base flood elevation 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 design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the provisions of this paragraph. Such certification shall be provided to the official as set forth in section 11-8-19.
4. When floodproofing is used for non-residential structures, a registered professional engineer or licensed architect shall certify that the floodproofing methods are adequate to withstand the flood pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces, and other factors caused by the 100-year flood. A record of this certification shall be maintained on file with the building permit by the Building Official. The elevation to which the structure is floodproofed (based on mean sea level) shall be attached to certification.
(D) Manufactured Homes.
1. All new individual manufactured homes or other new manufactured structures, new manufactured home parks, expansions of manufactured home parks and manufactured home parks where the repair, reconstruction or improvements of the streets, utilities and pads equal or exceed 50 percent of their value before the repair, reconstruction or improvements was started, shall have stands or lots that are elevated on compacted fill or on pilings so that the lowest floor of the manufactured home will be two feet (2') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study and adequate surface drainage and access for a hauler are provided. When manufactured homes are put on pilings, the pilings shall be designed and certified by a Registered Professional Engineer and shall be installed in conformance with that design.
2. All new manufactured homes and substantially improved manufactured homes located in the 100-year floodplain shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure and capable of resisting the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads. The anchoring shall be designed and certified by a registered professional engineer. Methods of anchoring may include, but are not limited to, use of over-the-top or frame ties to ground anchors. This requirement is in addition to applicable state and local anchoring requirements for resisting wind forces. Specific requirements may be:
(a) Over-the-top ties provided at each of the four corners with one mid-point tie on each side of the manufactured home shorter than fifty feet (50'). Manufactured homes longer than fifty feet (50') shall have two ties at intermediate points on each side.
(b) Frame ties provided at each corner with four (4) additional ties on each side of manufactured homes shorter than fifty feet (50'). Longer manufactured homes shall have five (5) ties on each side.
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(c) All components of the anchoring system shall have a minimum strength of 4,800 pounds.
(d) Any additions to manufactured homes shall be anchored in the same way.
(E) Recreational Vehicles. It is a requirement that all recreational vehicles either:
1. Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days;
2. Be fully licensed and ready for highway use;
3. Meet the permit requirements and elevation and anchoring requirements for resisting wind forces.
(F) New Development Proposals. All new development proposals, including subdivision proposals, shall be designed to minimize flooding potential. If all, or part of a proposed development is located within a 100-year floodplain, then the corresponding proposal shall conform to the following guidelines:
1. All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage;
2. All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage;
3. All subdivision proposals shall have adequate drainage facilities provided to reduce exposure to flood damage.
4. Base Flood Elevation data shall be provided for all subdivision proposals and any other proposed developments.
(G) Construction Materials and Methods.
1. All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed with materials and utility equipment resistant to flood damage.
2. All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed using methods and practices that minimize flood damage.
3. All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed 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.
1. All new replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the system;
2. New and replacement sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems and discharge from the systems into flood waters; and
3. On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
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(I) Establishment of Floodplain Development Permit. A Floodplain Development Permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any 100-year floodplain area as established in the appropriate Official Flood Study. Application for a Floodplain Development Permit shall be made on forms furnished by the City of Westminster and may include, but are not 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. Elevation in relation to mean sea level of the lowest floor (including basement) of all structures;
2. Elevation in relation to mean sea level to which any structure has been floodproofed;
3. Certification by a registered professional engineer or certified architect that the floodproofing methods for any non-residential structure meet the floodproofing criteria in section 11-8-13(C);
4. Description and analysis prepared by a registered professional engineer of the extent to which any watercourse, floodplain or floodway will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development.
(J) Review of Floodplain Development Permits. The City of Westminster will:
1. Review all Floodplain Development Permit applications to determine that the permit requirements of this ordinance have been satisfied.
2. Review all Floodplain Development Permit applications to determine that all necessary permits (e.g., 404 permit, storm sewer outfall permit, FEMA permits, etc.) have been obtained by the applicant from Federal, State or local governmental agencies from which approval is required prior to the City of Westminster's approval of the Floodplain Development Permit.
3. Review all Floodplain Development Permit applications to determine if the proposed development is located in the floodway. If located in the floodway, assure that the provisions as set forth in section 11-8-14 have been met.
4. Review all building permit applications to determine whether proposed building sites will be reasonably safe from flooding.
5. Require every applicant to submit certification from a registered land surveyor identifying the elevation of the lowest floor including basement.
11-8-14: FLOODWAY REGULATIONS: (2534) There shall be no encroachment of fill, new construction, substantial improvements or any other development within or above a floodway unless certification by a professional engineer is provided demonstrating that encroachments shall not result in any increase in the 100-year Flood Elevations or any negative impacts on upstream, downstream or adjacent properties. If the above requirement is satisfied, then all new construction and substantial improvements shall comply with the following permitted uses in the floodway:
(A) General farming, pasture, outdoor plant nurseries, horticulture, forestry, wildlife sanctuary, game farm and other similar agricultural, wildlife and related uses.
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(B) Lawns, gardens, play areas, bikeways, pedestrian pathways and other similar uses.
(C) Portions of golf courses, driving ranges, archery ranges, pier grounds, parks, hiking or horseback riding trails, open space and other similar private and public recreational uses not involving structures.
11-8-15: PROCEDURES FOR MODIFYING THE OFFICIAL FLOOD STUDIES: (2534)
(A) 100-year floodplain elevations may increase or decrease resulting from physical changes, hydrologic changes, or criteria changes that directly affect flooding conditions. Within six months of the date that such information becomes available to the City, the City shall notify the Federal Emergency Management Agency of changes by submitting technical or scientific data that the Official Flood Studies do not accurately reflect flood risks as they currently exist. When these changes are the result of new developments, the developer shall be responsible for submitting all required technical and scientific data necessary to identify and delineate the new floodplain elevation and floodway boundaries.
(B) The City shall notify adjacent communities, when affected, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse on which the 100-year flood elevations have been provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This notice will verify that the flood carrying capacity within the altered or relocated portion of the watercourse has been maintained.
(C) Any submissions that result in changes or corrections to the existing 100-year Flood Elevations as shown in the Official Flood Studies will not be officially approved by the City until after the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved such changes or corrections.
11-8-16: NON-CONFORMING STRUCTURES: (2534) A structure which was lawful before becoming subject to this article but which is not in conformity with the provisions of this article may be continued subject to the following conditions:
(A) Such structure shall not be expanded, changed, enlarged or altered in a way which increases its non-conformity.
(B) If any non-conforming structure is destroyed by any means, including floods, to the extent that the cost of restoration would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure before the structure was damaged; the following regulations shall apply:
1. If the non-conforming structure is in the Floodway, the structure may be rebuilt; however, it shall not be expanded, changed, enlarged or altered in any way which would create an obstruction to water flow greater than that which existed before damage to the structure occurred. Upon reconstruction, nonresidential and residential structures shall be elevated two feet (2') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study. As an alternative nonresidential facilities can be completely floodproofed two feet (2') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study. The walls and basement floor shall be completely floodproofed and they shall be built to withstand lateral and uplift water pressure.
2. If the structure is located in the flood storage area, it may be reconstructed provided nonresidential and residential structures are elevated two feet (2') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study.
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3. As an alternative for nonresidential structures only, the structure, including utility and sanitary facilities, can be completely floodproofed two feet (2') above the 100-year Flood Elevation as indicated in the appropriate Official Flood Study. The walls and basement floor shall completely floodproofed and they shall be built to withstand lateral and uplift water pressure.
4. If any manufactured home or home park is destroyed by any means such that the cost of restoration would exceed 50 percent of the market value of the structure prior to damage; then such manufactured home or manufactured home park shall not be rebuilt if it is located in the Floodway, and if it is located in the Flood Storage Area, it shall be rebuilt in conformance with this ordinance.
11-8-17: FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE ADMINISTRATOR: (2534) This ordinance shall be administered and enforced by the Director of Community Development or his designee.
11-8-18: VARIANCES: (2534)
(A) Appeal Board.
1. The Director of Community Development, shall hear and decide requests for variances from the requirements of this ordinance.
2. The City Council shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision or determination made by the Director of Community Development in the enforcement or administration of this ordinance.
3. Those aggrieved by the decision of the City Council or any taxpayer, may appeal such decisions to a court of competent jurisdiction.
4. In passing upon such applications, the Director of Community Development and the City Council shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this ordinance, 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 owners;
(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 the existing and anticipated development;
(h) the relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain management program for that area;
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(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 flood waters 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, streets and bridges.
5. Upon consideration of the factors of section 11-8-18(A)4. and the purposes of this ordinance, the Director of Community Development or the City Council may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this ordinance.
6. The City of Westminster shall maintain the records of all appeals actions, including technical information and report any variances to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
(B) Conditions for Variances.
1. 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 level, providing items (a)-(k) in section 11-8-18(A)4. have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond the one-half acre, the technical justifications required for issuing the variance increases.
2. 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 the remainder of this section.
3. Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in the 100-year Flood Elevation would result.
4. Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
5. Variances shall only be issued upon:
(a) a showing of good and sufficient cause;
(b) a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and
(c) a determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, increased velocities, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public as identified in section 11-8-18(A)4. or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
6. Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk from the granting of the variance.
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11-8-19: RECORDS: (2534) The City of Westminster shall obtain, maintain, and have available for public inspection:
(A) All of the Official Flood Studies.
(B) Certificates of floodproofing and a statement whether a structure has been floodproofed and to what elevation (with Building Permits as applicable).
(C) For structures in the Floodplain:
1. Information on the elevation of the lowest floor, including basement, for all new or substantially improved structures.
2. A statement whether a new or substantially improved structure contains a basement.
11-8-20: ANNEXATION NOTIFICATION OF FEDERAL INSURANCE: (2534) The City will annually notify the Federal Emergency Management Agency whenever the boundaries of Westminster have been added to by annexation or decreased by disconnection. With the notification, the City will include a copy of the map of the community suitable for reproduction, clearly delineating the new corporate limits.
11-8-21: BIENNIAL REPORT TO FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: (2534) The City shall submit a biennial report to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator, utilizing a biennial report form designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.