Skip to code content (skip section selection)
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted according to the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
ACCESSORY STRUCTURE (APPURTENANT STRUCTURE): A structure on the same lot or parcel as a principal structure, the use of which is incidental and subordinate to the principal structure.
ADDITION (To An Existing Building): An extension or increase in the floor area or height of a building or structure.
APPEAL: A request for review of the Floodplain Administrator's interpretation of provisions of this chapter or request for a variance.
AREA OF SHALLOW FLOODING: A designated AO, AH, AR/AO, or AR/AH Zone on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) with a one percent (1%) or greater annual chance of flooding to an average depth of one foot (1') to three feet (3') 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: See definition of special flood hazard area (SFHA).
BASE FLOOD: The flood having a one percent (1%) chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
BASE FLOOD ELEVATION (BFE): A determination by the Federal Insurance Administrator of the water surface elevations of the base flood, that is, the flood level that has a one percent (1%) or greater chance of occurrence in any given year. When the BFE has not been provided in a special flood hazard area, it may be obtained from engineering studies available from a Federal, State, or other source using FEMA-approved engineering methodologies. This elevation, when combined with the freeboard, establishes the flood protection elevation.
BASEMENT: Any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
BUILDING: See definition of structure.
CRITICAL FACILITIES: Facilities that are vital to flood response activities or critical to the health and safety of the public before, during, and after a flood, such as a hospital, emergency operations center, electric substation, Police Station, Fire Station, nursing home, school, vehicle and equipment storage facility, or shelter; and facilities that, if flooded, would make the flood problem and its impacts much worse, such as a hazardous materials facility, power generation facility, water utility, or wastewater treatment plant.
DATUM: The vertical datum is a base measurement point (or set of points) from which all elevations are determined. Historically, that common set of points was the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD29). The vertical datum currently adopted by the Federal government as a basis for measuring heights is the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88).
DEVELOPMENT: Any man-made 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.
DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY: Any activity defined as development which will necessitate a floodplain development permit; such as: the construction of buildings, structures, or accessory structures; additions or substantial improvements to existing structures; bulkheads, retaining walls, piers, and pools; the placement of mobile homes; or the deposition or extraction of materials; the construction or elevation of dikes, berms and levees.
DIGITAL FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (DFIRM): The digital official map of a community, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on which both the special flood hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community are delineated.
ELEVATED BUILDING: For insurance purposes, a non-basement building which has its lowest elevated floor raised above ground level by foundation walls, shear walls, posts, piers, pilings, or columns.
ELEVATION CERTIFICATE: The Elevation Certificate is an important administrative tool of the NFIP. It is used to determine the proper flood insurance premium rate; it is used to document elevation information necessary to ensure compliance with community floodplain management regulations; and it may be used to support a request for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Letter of Map Revision Based On Fill (LOMR-F).
ENCLOSURE: An area enclosed by solid walls below the BFE/FPE or an area formed when any space below the BFE/FPE is enclosed on all sides by walls or partitions. Insect screening or open wood lattice used to surround space below the BFE/FPE is not considered an enclosure.
ENCROACHMENT: The advance or infringement of uses, fill, excavation, buildings, structures, or development into a floodplain, which may impede or alter the flow capacity of a floodplain.
EXISTING CONSTRUCTION: For the purposes of determining rates, structures for which the "start of construction" commenced before the effective date of the FIRM or before January 1, 1975, for FIRMs effective before that date. "Existing construction" may also be referred to as "existing structures".
EXISTING MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR MANUFACTURED HOME SUBDIVISION: A manufactured home park or subdivision where the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed before the effective date of the original floodplain management regulations adopted by the community, February 19, 1987.
EXISTING STRUCTURES: See definition of existing construction.
EXPANSION TO AN EXISTING MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION: The preparation of additional sites by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads).
FLOOD ELEVATION DETERMINATION: See definition of base flood elevation (BFE).
FLOOD ELEVATION STUDY: See definition of Flood Insurance Study (FIS).
FLOOD HAZARD BOUNDARY MAP (FHBM): An official map of a community, issued by the Federal Insurance Administrator, where the boundaries of the flood, mudslide (i.e., mudflow) related erosion areas having special hazards have been designated as Zones A, M, and/or E.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM): An official map of a community, on which the Federal Insurance Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community. A FIRM that has been made available digitally is called a Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM).
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY (FIS): 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 OR FLOODING:
A. 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 or runoff of surface waters from any source.
3. Mudslides (i.e., mudflows) which are proximately caused by flooding as defined in subsection A2 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.
B. The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels or suddenly caused by an unusually high water level in a natural body of water, accompanied by a severe storm, or by an unanticipated force of nature, such as flash flood or an abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly unusual and unforeseeable event which results in flooding as defined in subsection A1 of this definition.
FLOOD PROTECTION ELEVATION (FPE): The base flood elevation plus the freeboard.
A. In "special flood hazard areas" where base flood elevations (BFEs) have been determined, this elevation shall be the BFE plus two feet (2') of freeboard; and
B. In "special flood hazard areas" where no BFE has been established, this elevation shall be at least two feet (2') above the highest adjacent grade.
FLOOD PROTECTION SYSTEM: Those physical structural works for which funds have been authorized, appropriated, and expended and which have been constructed specifically to modify flooding in order to reduce the extent of the area within a community subject to a "special flood hazard" and the extent of the depths of associated flooding. Such a system typically includes dams, reservoirs, levees, or dikes. These specialized flood modifying works are those constructed in conformance with sound engineering standards.
FLOOD ZONE: A geographical area shown on a Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) or Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that reflects the severity or type of flooding in the area.
FLOODPLAIN ADMINISTRATOR: The individual appointed to administer and enforce the floodplain management regulations.
FLOODPLAIN DEVELOPMENT PERMIT: Any type of permit that is required in conformance with the provisions of this chapter, prior to the commencement of any development activity.
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT: 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: Zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, Building Codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as a floodplain ordinance, grading ordinance, and erosion control ordinance), and other applications of police power. The term describes such State or local regulations, in any combination thereof, which provide standards for the purpose of flood damage prevention and reduction.
FLOODPLAIN OR FLOOD-PRONE AREA: Any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source (see definition of "flooding").
FLOODPROOFING: Any combination of structural and non-structural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
FLOODWAY: 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.
FREEBOARD: A factor of safety usually expressed in feet above a flood level for the purposes of floodplain management. Freeboard tends to compensate for the many unknown factors that could contribute to flood heights greater than the height calculated for a selected size flood and floodway conditions, such as wave action, obstructed bridge openings, debris and ice jams, and the hydrologic effects of urbanization in a watershed. The base flood elevation (BFE) plus the freeboard establishes the flood protection elevation (FPE). Freeboard shall be two feet (2').
FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT USE: A facility that cannot be used for its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water, such as a docking or port facility necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, shipbuilding, or ship repair facilities. The term does not include long-term storage, manufacture, sales, or service facilities.
HIGHEST ADJACENT GRADE (HAG): The highest natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction, adjacent to the proposed walls of a structure. Refer to the FEMA Elevation Certificate for HAG related to building elevation information.
HISTORIC STRUCTURE: A structure that is:
A. Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the U.S. Department of Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register;
B. Certified or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered Historic District or to a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered Historic District;
C. Individually listed on a State Inventory of Historic Places and determined as eligible by states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
D. Individually listed on a Local Inventory of Historic Places and determined as eligible by communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either:
1. By an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, or
2. Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.
LETTER OF MAP CHANGE (LOMC): A general term used to refer to the several types of revisions and amendments to FEMA maps that can be accomplished by letter. They include Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA), Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), and Letter of Map Revision Based On Fill (LOMR-F).
Conditional Letter Of Map Revision (CLOMR): A formal review and comment as to whether a proposed flood protection project or other project complies with the minimum NFIP requirements for such projects with respect to delineation of special flood hazard areas. A CLOMR does not revise the effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Insurance Study (FIS). Upon submission and approval of certified as-built documentation, a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) may be issued by FEMA to revise the effective FIRM. Building permits and/or flood development permits cannot be issued based on a CLOMR, because a CLOMR does not change the NFIP map.
Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA): An official amendment, by letter, to an effective National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) map. A LOMA establishes a property's location in relation to the special flood hazard area (SFHA). LOMAs are usually issued because a property has been inadvertently mapped as being in the floodplain but is actually on natural high ground above the base flood elevation.
Letter Of Map Revision (LOMR): FEMA's modification to an effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or a Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM) or both. LOMRs are generally based on the implementation of physical measures that affect the hydrologic or hydraulic characteristics of a flooding source and thus result in the modification of the existing regulatory floodway, the effective base flood elevations (BFEs), or the special flood hazard area (SFHA). The LOMR officially revises the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM), and sometimes the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report, and when appropriate, includes a description of the modifications. The LOMR is generally accompanied by an annotated copy of the affected portions of the FIRM, FBFM, or FIS report.
Letter Of Map Revision Based On Fill (LOMR-F): FEMA's modification of the special flood hazard area (SFHA) shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) based on the placement of fill outside the existing regulatory floodway. The LOMR-F does not change the FIRM, FBFM, or FIS report.
LEVEE: A man-made structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed according to sound engineering practices, to contain, control, or divert the flow of water so as to provide protection from temporary flooding.
LEVEE SYSTEM: A flood protection system that consists of a levee, or levees, and associated structures, such as closure and drainage devices, which are constructed and operated in accordance with sound engineering practices.
LOWEST ADJACENT GRADE (LAG): The lowest point of the ground level next to the structure. Refer to the FEMA Elevation Certificate for LAG related to building elevation information.
LOWEST FLOOR: 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 non-elevation design requirements of 44 CFR section 60.3 and this chapter.
MANUFACTURED HOME: A structure, transportable in one or more sections, built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. The term "manufactured home" does not include a "recreational vehicle".
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION: A parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two (2) or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
MARKET VALUE: The building value, not including the land value and that of any accessory structures or other improvements on the lot. Market value may be established by independent certified appraisal; replacement cost depreciated for age of building and quality of construction (actual cash value); or adjusted tax assessed values.
MEAN SEA LEVEL: For purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929 or other datum (such as North America Vertical Datum of 1988-NAVD88) to which base flood elevations (BFEs) shown on a community's FIRM are referenced.
MUDSLIDE (i.e., MUDFLOW): Describes a condition where there is a river, flow, or inundation of liquid mud down a hillside usually as a result of a dual condition of loss of brush cover and the subsequent accumulation of water on the ground preceded by a period of unusually heavy or sustained rain. A mudslide (i.e., mudflow) may occur as a distinct phenomenon while a landslide is in progress, and will be recognized as such by the Administrator only if the mudflow, and not the landslide, is the proximate cause of damage that occurs.
MUDSLIDE (i.e., MUDFLOW) AREA MANAGEMENT: The operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing mudslide (i.e., mudflow) damage, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, mudslide control works, and floodplain management regulations.
MUDSLIDE (i.e., MUDFLOW) PRONE AREA: An area with land surfaces and slopes of unconsolidated material where the history, geology, and climate indicate a potential for mudflow.
NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP): The NFIP is a Federal program created by Congress to mitigate future flood losses nationwide through sound, community-enforced building and zoning ordinances and to provide access to affordable, Federally backed flood insurance protection for property owners.
NEW CONSTRUCTION: For floodplain management purposes, a structure 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.
Any construction started after February 19, 1987 and before the effective start date of this chapter is subject to the ordinance in effect at the time the permit was issued, provided the start of construction was within one hundred eighty (180) days of permit issuance.
NEW MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION: A place where the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including at a minimum the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed on or after the effective date of floodplain management regulations adopted by a community June 16, 2009.
POST-FIRM: Construction or other development for which the "start of construction" occurred on or after the effective date of the initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
PRE-FIRM: Construction or other development for which the "start of construction" occurred before February 19, 1987, the effective date of the initial Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE: A vehicle that is:
A. Built on a single chassis, and
B. Four hundred (400) square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection, and
C. Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towed by a light duty truck, and
D. Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
REGULATORY FLOODWAY: See definition of floodway.
REMEDY A VIOLATION: To bring the structure or other development into compliance with State or local floodplain management regulations, or, if this is not possible, to reduce the impacts of its non-compliance. Ways that impacts may be reduced include protecting the structure or other affected development from flood damages, implementing the enforcement provisions of this chapter or otherwise deterring future similar violations, or reducing Federal financial exposure with regard to the structure or other development.
REPETITIVE LOSS STRUCTURE: An NFIP-insured structure that has had at least two (2) paid flood losses of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) each in any 10-year period since 1978.
RIVERINE: Relating to, formed by, or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream, brook, etc.
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA (SFHA): The land in the floodplain within a community subject to a one percent (1%) or greater chance of flooding in any given year. For purposes of these regulations, the term "special flood hazard area" is synonymous in meaning with the phrase "area of special flood hazard".
START OF CONSTRUCTION: Includes substantial improvement, and means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition placement, or other improvement was within one hundred eighty (180) days of the permit date. The actual start means either the first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the pouring of slab or footings, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work beyond the stage of excavation; or the placement of a manufactured home on a foundation.
Permanent construction does not include land preparation, such as clearing, grading, and filling; nor does it include the installation of streets and/or walkways; nor does it include excavation for a basement, footings, piers, or foundations or the erection of temporary forms; nor does it include the installation on the property of accessory buildings, such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main structure. For a substantial improvement, the actual start of construction means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of a building, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.
STRUCTURE: 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: 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 (50%) of its market value before the damage occurred. See definition of "substantial improvement". Substantial damage also means flood-related damage sustained by a structure on two (2) separate occasions during a 10-year period for which the cost of repairs at the time of each such flood event, on the average, equals or exceeds twenty five percent (25%) of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT: Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty percent (50%) 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:
A. 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
B. Any alteration of a "historic structure", provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a "historic structure" and the alteration is approved by variance issued pursuant to this chapter.
TECHNICAL BULLETINS AND TECHNICAL FACT SHEETS: FEMA publications that provide guidance concerning the building performance standards of the NFIP, which are contained in title 44 of the US Code of Federal Regulations section 60.3. The bulletins and fact sheets are intended for use primarily by State and local officials responsible for interpreting and enforcing NFIP regulations and by members of the development community, such as design professionals and builders. New bulletins, as well as updates of existing bulletins, are issued periodically as needed. The bulletins do not create regulations. Rather they provide specific guidance for complying with the minimum requirements of existing NFIP regulations.
It should be noted that Technical Bulletins and Technical Fact Sheets provide guidance on the minimum requirements of the NFIP regulations. State or community requirements that exceed those of the NFIP take precedence. Design professionals should contact the community officials to determine whether more restrictive State or local regulations apply to the building or site in question. All applicable standards of the State or local Building Code must also be met for any building in a flood hazard area.
TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED: Having the temperature regulated by a heating and/or cooling system, built-in or appliance.
VARIANCE: A grant of relief by the Governing Body from a requirement of this chapter.
VIOLATION: 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 Finished Construction Elevation Certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in 44 CFR section 60.3(b)(5), (c)(4), (c)(10), (d)(3), (e)(2), (e)(4), or (e)(5) is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided.
WATER SURFACE ELEVATION: The height, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929 or the North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988 (or other specified datum), of floods of various magnitudes and frequencies in the floodplains of coastal or riverine areas.
WATERCOURSE: A lake, river, creek, stream, wash, channel, or other topographic feature on or over which waters flow at least periodically. Watercourse includes specifically designated areas in which substantial flood damage may occur. (Ord. 82, 11-5-2018)