Article III. Administration
§ 9A-3.1 Designation of the Floodplain Administrator
The Easton Town Planner is hereby appointed to administer and implement these regulations and is referred to herein as the Floodplain Administrator. The Floodplain Administrator may:
(A) Delegate duties and responsibilities set forth in these regulations to qualified technical personnel, plan examiners, inspectors, and other employees.
(B) Enter into a written agreement or written contract with another Maryland community or private sector entity to administer specific provisions of these regulations. Administration of any part of these regulations by another entity shall not relieve the community of its responsibilities pursuant to the participation requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program as set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 44 C.F.R. Section 59.22. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.2 Duties and Responsibilities of the Floodplain Administrator
The duties and responsibilities of the Floodplain Administrator shall include but are not limited to:
(A) Review applications for permits to determine whether proposed activities will be located in flood hazard areas.
(B) Interpret floodplain boundaries and provide available base flood elevation and flood hazard information.
(C) Review applications to determine whether proposed activities will be reasonably safe from flooding and require new construction and substantial improvements to meet the requirements of these regulations.
(D) Review applications to determine whether all necessary permits have been obtained from the Federal, State or local agencies from which prior or concurrent approval is required; in particular, permits from MDE for any construction, reconstruction, repair, or alteration of a dam, reservoir, or waterway obstruction (including bridges, culverts, structures), any alteration of a watercourse, or any change of the course, current, or cross section of a stream or body of water, including any change to the 100-year frequency floodplain of free-flowing nontidal waters of the State.
(E) Verify that applicants proposing an alteration of a watercourse have notified adjacent communities and MDE (NFIP State Coordinator), and have submitted copies of such notifications to FEMA.
(F) Approve applications and issue permits to develop in flood hazard areas if the provisions of these regulations have been met, or disapprove applications if the provisions of these regulations have not been met.
(G) Inspect or cause to be inspected, buildings, structures, and other development for which permits have been issued to determine compliance with these regulations or to determine if non-compliance has occurred or violations have been committed.
(H) Review Elevation Certificates and require incomplete or deficient certificates to be corrected.
(I) Submit to FEMA, or require applicants to submit to FEMA, data and information necessary to maintain FIRMs, including hydrologic and hydraulic engineering analyses prepared by or for the Town of Easton, within six months after such data and information becomes available if the analyses indicate changes in base flood elevations.
(J) Maintain and permanently keep records that are necessary for the administration of these regulations, including:
(1) Flood Insurance Studies, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (including historic studies and maps and current effective studies and maps) and Letters of Map Change; and
(2) Documentation supporting issuance and denial of permits, Elevation Certificates, documentation of the elevation (in relation to the datum on the FIRM) to which structures have been floodproofed, other required design certifications, variances, and records of enforcement actions taken to correct violations of these regulations.
(K) Enforce the provisions of these regulations, investigate violations, issue notices of violations or stop work orders, and require permit holders to take corrective action.
(L) Advise the Easton Board of Zoning Appeals regarding the intent of these regulations and, for each application for a variance, prepare a staff report and recommendation.
(M) Administer the requirements related to proposed work on existing buildings:
(1) Make determinations as to whether buildings and structures that are located in flood hazard areas and that are damaged by any cause have been substantially damaged.
(2) Make reasonable efforts to notify owners of substantially damaged structures of the need to obtain a permit to repair, rehabilitate, or reconstruct, and prohibit the noncompliant repair of substantially damaged buildings except for temporary emergency protective measures necessary to secure a property or stabilize a building or structure to prevent additional damage.
(N) Undertake, as determined appropriate by the Floodplain Administrator due to the circumstances, other actions which may include but are not limited to: issuing press releases, public service announcements, and other public information materials related to permit requests and repair of damaged structures; coordinating with other Federal, State, and local agencies to assist with substantial damage determinations; providing owners of damaged structures information related to the proper repair of damaged structures in special flood hazard areas; and assisting property owners with documentation necessary to file claims for Increased Cost of Compliance coverage under NFIP flood insurance policies.
(O) Notify the Federal Emergency Management Agency when the corporate boundaries of the Town of Easton have been modified and:
(1) Provide a map that clearly delineates the new corporate boundaries or the new area for which the authority to regulate pursuant to these regulations has either been assumed or relinquished through annexation; and
(2) If the FIRM for any annexed area includes special flood hazard areas that have flood zones that have regulatory requirements that are not set forth in these regulations, prepare amendments to these regulations to adopt the FIRM and appropriate requirements, and submit the amendments to the governing body for adoption; such adoption shall take place within six months of the date of annexation and a copy of the amended regulations shall be provided to MDE (NFIP State Coordinator) and FEMA.
(P) Upon the request of FEMA, complete and submit a report concerning participation in the NFIP which may request information regarding the number of buildings in the SFHA, number of permits issued for development in the SFHA, and number of variances issued for development in the SFHA. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.3 Use and Interpretation of FIRMs
The Floodplain Administrator shall make interpretations, where needed, as to the exact location of special flood hazard areas, floodplain boundaries, and floodway boundaries. The following shall apply to the use and interpretation of FIRMs and data:
(A) Where field surveyed topography indicates that ground elevations:
(1) Are below the base flood elevation, even in areas not delineated as a special flood hazard area on a FIRM, the area shall be considered as special flood hazard area and subject to the requirements of these regulations;
(2) Are above the base flood elevation, the area shall be regulated as special flood hazard area unless the applicant obtains a Letter of Map Change that removes the area from the special flood hazard area.
(B) In FEMA-identified special flood hazard areas where base flood elevation and floodway data have not been identified and in areas where FEMA has not identified special flood hazard areas, any other flood hazard data available from a Federal, State, or other source shall be reviewed and reasonably used.
(C) Base flood elevations and designated floodway boundaries on FIRMs and in FISs shall take precedence over base flood elevations and floodway boundaries by any other sources if such sources show reduced floodway widths and/or lower base flood elevations.
(D) Other sources of data shall be reasonably used if such sources show increased base flood elevations and/or larger floodway areas than are shown on FIRMs and in FISs.
(E) If a Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map and/or a Preliminary Flood Insurance Study has been provided by FEMA:
(1) Upon the issuance of a Letter of Final Determination by FEMA, the preliminary flood hazard data shall be used and shall replace the flood hazard data previously provided from FEMA for the purposes of administering these regulations.
(2) Prior to the issuance of a Letter of Final Determination by FEMA, the use of preliminary flood hazard data shall be deemed the best available data pursuant to Section 1.5(C) and used where no base flood elevations and/or floodway areas are provided on the effective FIRM.
(3) Prior to issuance of a Letter of Final Determination by FEMA, the use of preliminary flood hazard data is permitted where the preliminary base flood elevations or floodway areas exceed the base flood elevations and/or designated floodway widths in existing flood hazard data provided by FEMA. Such preliminary data may be subject to change and/or appeal to FEMA. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.4 Permits Required and Expiration
(A) It shall be unlawful for any person to begin any development or construction which is wholly within, partially within, or in contact with any flood hazard area established in Section 1.5, including but not limited to: filling; grading; construction of new structures; the substantial improvement of buildings or structures, including repair of substantial damage; placement or replacement of manufactured homes, including substantial improvement or repair of substantial damage of manufactured homes; erecting or installing a temporary structure, or alteration of a watercourse, until a permit is obtained from the Town of Easton. No such permit shall be issued until the requirements of these regulations have been met.
(B) In addition to the permits required in paragraph (A), applicants for permits in nontidal waters of the State are advised to contact MDE. Unless waived by MDE, pursuant to Code of Maryland Regulations 26.17.04, Construction on Nontidal Waters and Floodplains, MDE regulates the “100-year frequency floodplain of free-flowing waters,” also referred to as nontidal waters of the State. To determine the 100-year frequency floodplain, hydrologic calculations are based on the ultimate development of the watershed, assuming existing zoning. The resulting flood hazard areas delineated using the results of such calculations may be different than the special flood hazard areas established in Section 1.5 of these regulations.
(C) A permit is valid provided the actual start of work is within 180 days of the date of permit issuance. Requests for extensions shall be submitted in writing and justifiable cause demonstrated. The Floodplain Administrator may grant, in writing, one or more extensions of time, for additional periods not exceeding 90 days each and provided there has been no amendment or revision to the basis for establishing special flood hazard areas and BFEs set forth in Section 1.5. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.5 Application Required
Application for a permit shall be made by the owner of the property or the owner’s authorized agent (herein referred to as the applicant) prior to the start of any work. The application shall be on a form furnished for that purpose.
(A) Application Contents At a minimum, applications shall include:
(1) Site plans drawn to scale showing the nature, location, dimensions, and existing and proposed topography of the area in question, and the location of existing and proposed structures, excavation, filling, storage of materials, drainage facilities, and other proposed activities.
(2) Elevation of the existing natural ground where buildings or structures are proposed, referenced to the datum on the FIRM.
(3) Delineation of flood hazard areas, designated floodway boundaries, flood zones, base flood elevations, and flood protection setbacks. Base flood elevations shall be used to delineate the boundary of flood hazard areas and such delineations shall prevail over the boundary of SFHAs shown on FIRMs.
(4) Where floodways are not delineated or base flood elevations are not shown on the FIRMs, the Floodplain Administrator has the authority to require the applicant to use information provided by the Floodplain Administrator, information that is available from Federal, State, or other sources, or to determine such information using accepted engineering practices or methods approved by the Floodplain Administrator. [Note: See “Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas: A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base (100-Year) Flood Elevations” (FEMA 265).]
(5) Determination of the base flood elevations, for development proposals and subdivision proposals, each with at least 5 lots or at least 5 acres, whichever is the lesser, in special flood hazard areas where base flood elevations are not shown on the FIRM; if hydrologic and hydraulic engineering analyses are submitted, such analyses shall be performed in accordance with the requirements and specifications of MDE and FEMA.
(6) Hydrologic and hydraulic engineering analyses for proposals in special flood hazard areas where FEMA has provided base flood elevations but has not delineated a floodway; such analyses shall demonstrate that the cumulative effect of proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated development will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood by more than one foot or a lower increase if required by MDE.
(7) For encroachments in floodways, an evaluation of alternatives to such encroachments, including different uses of the site or portion of the site within the floodway, and minimization of such encroachment.
(8) If fill is proposed to be placed for a purpose other than to elevate structures, the applicant shall indicate the intended purpose for the fill.
(9) For proposed buildings and structures, including substantial improvement and repair of substantial damage, and placement and replacement of manufactured homes, including substantial improvement and repair of substantial damage:
(a) The proposed elevation of the lowest floor, including basement, referenced to the datum on the FIRM and a signed Agreement to Submit an Elevation Certificate.
(b) The signed Declaration of Land Restriction (Nonconversion Agreement) that shall be recorded on the property deed prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, if the application includes an enclosure below the lowest floor or a crawl/underfloor space that is more than four (4) feet in height.
(c) A written evaluation of alternative methods considered to elevate structures and manufactured homes, if the location is in nontidal waters of the State and fill is proposed to achieve the elevation required in Section 5.4(A) or Section 5.5(A).
(10) For accessory structures that are 300 square feet or larger in area (footprint) that are below the base flood elevation, a Declaration of Land Restriction (Nonconversion Agreement) shall be recorded on the property deed prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy.
(11) For temporary structures and temporary storage, specification of the duration of the temporary use.
(12) For proposed work on existing buildings, structure, and manufactured homes, including any improvement, addition, repairs, alterations, rehabilitation, or reconstruction, sufficient information to determine if the work constitutes substantial improvement or repair of substantial damage, including but not limited to:
(a) If the existing building or structure was constructed after September 28, 1984, evidence that the work will not alter any aspect of the building or structure that was required for compliance with the floodplain management requirements in effect at the time the building or structure was permitted.
(b) If the proposed work is a horizontal addition, a description of the addition and whether it will be independently supported or structurally connected to the base building and the nature of all other modifications to the base building, if any.
(c) Documentation of the market value of the building or structure before the improvement or, if the work is repair of damage, before the damage occurred.
(d) Documentation of the actual cash value of all proposed work, including the actual cash value of all work necessary to repair and restore damage to the before-damaged condition, regardless of the amount of work that will be performed. The value of work performed by the owner or volunteers shall be valued at market labor rates; the value of donated or discounted materials shall be valued at market rates.
(13) Certifications and/or technical analyses prepared or conducted by a licensed professional engineer or licensed architect, as appropriate, including:
(a) The determination of the base flood elevations or hydrologic and hydraulic engineering analyses prepared by a licensed professional engineer that are required by the Floodplain Administrator or are required by these regulations in: Section 4.2 for certain subdivisions and development; Section 5.3(A) for development in designated floodways; Section 5.3(C) for development in flood hazard areas with base flood elevations but no designated floodways; and Section 5.3(E) for deliberate alteration or relocation of watercourses.
(b) The Floodproofing Certificate for nonresidential structures that are floodproofed as required in Section 5.5(B).
(c) Certification that engineered flood openings are designed to meet the minimum requirements of Section 5.4(C)(3) to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces.
(14) For nonresidential structures that are proposed with floodproofing, an operations and maintenance plan as specified in Section 5.5(B)(3).
(15) Such other material and information as may be requested by the Floodplain Administrator and necessary to determine conformance with these regulations.
(B) New Technical Data
(1) The applicant may seek a Letter of Map Change by submitting new technical data to FEMA, such as base maps, topography, and engineering analyses to support revision of floodplain and floodway boundaries and/or base flood elevations. Such submissions shall be prepared in a format acceptable to FEMA and any fees shall be the sole responsibility of the applicant. A copy of the submittal shall be attached to the application for a permit.
(2) If the applicant submits new technical data to support any change in floodplain and designated floodway boundaries and/or base flood elevations but has not sought a Letter of Map Change from FEMA, the applicant shall submit such data to FEMA as soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the date such information becomes available. Such submissions shall be prepared in a format acceptable to FEMA and any fees shall be the sole responsibility of the applicant. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.6 Review of Application
The Floodplain Administrator shall:
(A) Review applications for development in special flood hazard areas to determine the completeness of information submitted. The applicant shall be notified of incompleteness or additional information that is required to support the application.
(B) Notify applicants that permits from MDE and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other State and Federal authorities may be required.
(C) Review all permit applications to assure that all necessary permits have been received from the Federal, State or local governmental agencies from which prior approval is required. The applicant shall be responsible for obtaining such permits, including permits issued by:
(1) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act;
(2) MDE pursuant to COMAR 26.23 (Nontidal Wetlands) and Section 401 of the Clean Water Act;
(3) MDE for construction on nontidal waters of the State pursuant to COMAR 26.17.04; and
(4) MDE pursuant to COMAR 26.24 (Tidal Wetlands).
(D) Review applications for compliance with these regulations after all information required in Section 3.5 of these regulations or identified and required by the Floodplain Administrator has been received. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.7 Inspections
The Floodplain Administrator shall make periodic inspections of development permitted in special flood hazard areas, at appropriate times throughout the period of construction in order to monitor compliance. Such inspections may include:
(A) Stake-out inspection, to determine location on the site relative to the flood hazard area and designated floodway.
(B) Foundation inspection, upon placement of the lowest floor and prior to further vertical construction, to collect information or certification of the elevation of the lowest floor.
(C) Inspection of enclosures below the lowest floor, including crawl/underfloor spaces, to determine compliance with applicable provisions.
(D) Utility inspection, upon installation of specified equipment and appliances, to determine appropriate location with respect to the base flood elevation.
(E) Final inspection prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)
§ 9A-3.8 Submissions Required Prior to Final Inspection
Pursuant to the Agreement to Submit an Elevation Certificate submitted with the application as required in Section 3.5(A)(9), the permittee shall have an Elevation Certificate prepared and submitted prior to final inspection and issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for elevated structures and manufactured homes, including new structures and manufactured homes, substantially-improved structures and manufactured homes, and additions to structures and manufactured homes. (Ordinance 626 effective 7/22/2013)