Borough of Old Forge, PA
Lackawanna County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Old Forge 8-15-1979 as Arts. I and III through VII of Ord. No. 7-1979 (Ch. 55, Art. I, of the 1994 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Sewers — See Ch. 269.
Subdivision and land development — See Ch. 305.
Zoning — See Ch. 350.

§ 175-1 Intent.

The intent of this chapter is to:
A. 
Promote the general health, welfare and safety of the community.
B. 
Encourage the utilization of appropriate construction practices to minimize flood damage in the future.
C. 
Minimize danger to public health by protecting water supply and natural drainage.
D. 
Reduce financial burdens imposed on the community, its governmental units and its residents by preventing excessive development in areas subject to flooding.

§ 175-2 Definitions; word usage.

A. 
Unless specifically defined below, words and phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
B. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ACCESSORY USE OR STRUCTURE
A use or structure on the same lot with and of a nature customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use or structure.
BUILDING
A combination of materials to form a permanent structure having walls and a roof; included shall be all manufactured homes and trailers to be used for human habitation.
COMPLETELY DRY SPACE
A space which will remain totally dry during flooding; a structure that is designed and constructed to prevent the passage of water and water vapor.
CONSTRUCTION
The construction, reconstruction, renovation, repair, extension, expansion, alteration or relocation of a building or structure, including the placement of manufactured homes.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, the placement of manufactured homes, streets and other paving, utilities, filling, grading, excavation, mining, dredging or drilling operations and the subdivision of land, when the subdivision involves land wholly or partially within the identified floodplain area of the Borough.
ESSENTIALLY DRY SPACE
A space which will remain dry during flooding, except for the passage of some water vapor or minor seepage; a structure that is substantially impermeable to the passage of water.
FLOOD
A temporary inundation of normally dry land areas.
FLOODPLAIN AREA
A relatively flat or low land area which is subject to partial or complete inundation from an adjoining or nearby stream, river or watercourse and/or any area subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source.
FLOODPROOFING
Any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate, to improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
FLOODWAY
The designated area of a floodplain required to carry and discharge floodwaters of a given magnitude. For the purposes of this chapter, the floodway shall be capable of accommodating a flood of the one-hundred-year magnitude.
IDENTIFIED FLOODPLAIN AREA
The floodplain area specifically identified in this chapter as being inundated by the one-hundred-year flood.
(1) 
The improvement of one lot or two or more contiguous lots, tracts or parcels of land for any purpose involving:
(a) 
A group of two or more buildings; or
(b) 
The division or allocation of land or space between or among two or more existing or prospective occupants by means of or for the purpose of streets, common areas, leaseholds, condominiums, building groups or other features.
(2) 
A subdivision of land.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A transportable, single-family dwelling intended for permanent occupancy, office or place of assembly, contained in one or more sections, built on a permanent chassis, which arrives at a site complete and ready for occupancy except for minor and incidental unpacking and assembly operations, and constructed so that it may be used with or without a permanent foundation. The term includes park trailers, travel trailers and other similar vehicles which are placed on a site for more than 180 consecutive days.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK
A parcel of land under single ownership which has been planned and improved for the placement of two or more manufactured homes for nontransient use.
MINOR REPAIR
The replacement of existing work with equivalent materials for the purpose of its routine maintenance and upkeep, but not including the cutting away of any wall, partition or portion thereof, the removal or cutting of any structural beam or bearing support or the removal or change of any required means of egress or rearrangement of parts of a structure affecting the exitway requirements; nor shall "minor repairs" include addition to, alteration of or replacement or relocation of any standpipe, water supply, sewer, drainage, drain leader, gas, soil, waste, vent or similar piping, electric wiring or mechanical or other work affecting public health or general safety.
ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR FLOOD
A flood that, on the average, is likely to occur once every 100 years (i.e., that has a one-percent chance of occurring each year, although the flood may occur in any year).
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, public or private association or corporation, firm, trust, estate, municipality, governmental unit, public utility or any other legal entity whatsoever which is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties.
REGULATORY FLOOD ELEVATION
The one-hundred-year-flood elevation, plus a freeboard safety factor of 1 1/2 feet.
SPECIAL PERMIT
A special approval which is required for hospitals, nursing homes, jails and new manufactured home parks and subdivisions and substantial improvements to such existing parks, when such development is located entirely or partially within any identified floodplain area.
STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form anything constructed or erected on the ground or attached to the ground, including but not limited to buildings, factories, sheds, cabins, manufactured homes, carports, porches, driveways, swimming pools and other similar items.
SUBDIVISION
The division or redivision of a lot, tract or parcel of land by any means into two or more lots, tracts or other divisions of land, including changes in existing lot lines.
C. 
For the purposes of floodplain management, the words "mobile home" or "mobile home park" shall be replaced with the words "manufactured home" and "manufactured home park" within any delineated floodplain area.

§ 175-3 Permit required; exception.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, partnership, business or corporation to undertake or cause to be undertaken any construction or development anywhere within the Borough of Old Forge unless an approved building permit has been obtained from the Code Enforcement Officer.
B. 
A building permit shall not be required for minor repairs to existing buildings or structures, provided that no structural changes or modifications are involved.

§ 175-4 Abrogation; greater restrictions.

This chapter supersedes any provisions currently in effect in floodplain areas. However, any underlying ordinance shall remain in full force and effect to the extent that those provisions are more restrictive.

§ 175-5 Warning; disclaimer of liability.

A. 
The degree of flood protection sought by the provisions of this chapter is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes in the identified flood-prone area(s). Larger floods may occur on rare occasions. Flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes, such as ice jams and bridge openings restricted by debris. This chapter does not imply that areas outside any identified flood-prone area or that land uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages.
B. 
This chapter shall not create liability on the part of the Borough of Old Forge or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.

§ 175-6 Identification of floodplain areas.

The identified floodplain areas shall be those areas of Old Forge Borough which are subject to the one-hundred-year flood, as identified in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) prepared for the Borough by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), dated April 1979, or the most recent revision thereof.

§ 175-7 Description of floodplain areas.

A. 
The identified floodplain area shall consist of the following specific areas:
(1) 
FW (Floodway Area):
(a) 
The areas identified as "floodway" in the Flood Insurance Study prepared by the FEMA. The term shall also include floodway areas which have been identified in other available studies or sources of information for those floodplain areas where no floodway has been identified in the Flood Insurance Study.
(b) 
For the purposes of this chapter, the floodway is based upon the criteria that a certain area within the floodplain would be capable of carrying the waters of the one-hundred-year flood without increasing the water surface elevation of that flood more than one foot at any point.
(2) 
FF (Flood-Fringe Area): the remaining portions of the one-hundred-year floodplain in those areas identified in the Flood Insurance Study where a floodway has been delineated. The basis for the outermost boundary of this area shall be the one-hundred-year-flood elevations as shown in the flood profiles contained in the Flood Insurance Study.
(3) 
FA (General Floodplain Area): the areas identified as Zone A in the FIS for which no one-hundred-year-flood elevations have been provided. When available, information from other federal, state and other acceptable sources shall be used to determine the one-hundred-year elevation, as well as a Floodway Area, if possible. When no other information is available, the one-hundred-year elevation shall be determined by using a point on the boundary of the identified floodplain area which is nearest the construction site in question.
(4) 
FO (Special Floodplain Area). "Area of shallow flooding" means a designated AO 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.
B. 
In lieu of the above, the municipality may require the applicant to determine the elevation with hydrologic and hydraulic engineering techniques. Hydrologic and hydraulic analyses shall be undertaken only by professional engineers or others of demonstrated qualifications, who shall certify that the technical methods used correctly reflect currently accepted technical concepts. Studies, analyses, computations, etc., shall be submitted in sufficient detail to allow a thorough technical review.

§ 175-8 Changes in identification of floodplain areas.

The delineation of any of the identified floodplain area(s) may be revised by the Old Forge Borough Council where natural or man-made changes have occurred and/or more detailed studies conducted or undertaken by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, River Basin Commission or other qualified agency or individual documents the notification for such changes. However, prior to any such change, approval must be obtained from the Federal Insurance Administration.

§ 175-9 Boundary disputes.

Should a dispute concerning any district boundary arise, an initial determination shall be made by the Borough of Old Forge Planning Commission, and any party aggrieved by this decision may appeal to the Old Forge Borough Council. The burden of proof shall be on the appellant.

§ 175-10 Elevation and floodproofing requirements.

A. 
Residential structures.
(1) 
Within any designated Floodway (FW) or Flood-Fringe (FF) District, the lowest floor (including basement) of any new or substantially improved residential structure shall be at least 1 1/2 feet above the one-hundred-year-flood elevation.
(2) 
Within any designated Special Floodplain District (FP), the lowest floor (including basement) of any new or substantially improved residential structure shall be at least 1 1/2 feet, plus an additional number of feet equal to the depth number specified in the Flood Insurance Study, above the nearest adjacent grade.
B. 
Nonresidential structures.
(1) 
Within any designated Floodway (FW) or Flood-Fringe (FF) District, the lowest floor (including basement) of any new or improved nonresidential structure shall be at least 1 1/2 feet above the one-hundred-year-flood elevation or be designed and constructed so that the space enclosed by such structure shall remain either completely or essentially dry during any flood up to that height.
(2) 
Within any designated Special Floodplain (FO) District, the lowest floor (including basement) of any new or substantially improved nonresidential structure shall be elevated above the nearest grade at least as high as the depth number specified on the Borough's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), plus a freeboard depth of 1 1/2 feet, or, together with attendant utilities and sanitary facilities, be floodproofed to remain completely or essentially dry during a one-hundred-year flood.
(3) 
All nonresidential floodproofing shall be in accordance with the W1 or W2 space classification standards contained in the publication entitled "Flood-Proofing Regulations," published by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (June 1972), or with some other equivalent standard. All plans and specifications for such floodproofing shall be accompanied by a statement certified by a registered professional engineer or architect which states that the proposed design and methods of construction are in conformance with the above-referenced standards.
C. 
Where permitted within any floodplain area, any new or substantially improved structure of the kind described in Subsection B above shall be elevated or designed and constructed to remain completely dry up to at least 1 1/2 feet above the one-hundred-year flood and designed to prevent pollution from the structure or activity during the course of a one-hundred-year flood. Any such structure or part thereof that will be built below the regulatory flood elevation shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the standards for completely dry floodproofing contained in the publication "Flood-Proofing Regulations" (United States Army Corps of Engineers, June 1972) or with some other equivalent watertight standard.
D. 
Within any FO (Special Floodplain Area) or FA (General Floodplain Area), any new or substantially improved structure of the kind described in Subsection A above shall be prohibited within the area measured 50 feet landward from the top of bank of any watercourse.

§ 175-11 Design and construction standards.

The following minimum standards shall apply for all construction proposed to be undertaken within any identified floodplain area:
A. 
Fill. If fill is used, it shall:
(1) 
Extend laterally at least 15 feet beyond the building line from all points.
(2) 
Consist of soil or small rock materials only. Sanitary landfills shall not be permitted.
(3) 
Be compacted to provide the necessary permeability and resistance to erosion, scouring or settling.
(4) 
Be no steeper than one vertical to two horizontal, unless substantiated data justifying steeper slopes are submitted to and approved by the Borough of Old Forge Code Enforcement Officer.
(5) 
Be used to the extent to which it does not adversely affect adjacent properties.
B. 
Placement of buildings and structures. All buildings and structures shall be designed, located and constructed so as to offer the minimum obstruction to the flow of water and shall be designed to have a minimum effect upon the flow and height of floodwaters.
C. 
Anchoring.
(1) 
All buildings and structures shall be firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement.
(2) 
All air ducts, large pipes and storage tanks and other similar objects or components located at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be firmly anchored or affixed to prevent flotation.
D. 
Floors, walls and ceilings. Where located at or below the regulatory flood elevation:
(1) 
Wood flooring shall be installed to accommodate a lateral expansion of the flooring, perpendicular to the flooring grain, without incurring structural damage to the building.
(2) 
Plywood shall be of a marine or water-resistant variety.
(3) 
Walls and ceilings at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be designed and constructed of materials that are water-resistant and will withstand inundation.
(4) 
Windows, doors and other components at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be made of metal or other water-resistant material.
E. 
Electrical systems and components.
(1) 
Electric water heaters, furnaces, air-conditioning and ventilating systems and other electrical equipment or apparatus shall not be located below the regulatory flood elevation, and other electrical equipment or apparatus shall be permitted only at elevations above the regulatory flood elevation.
(2) 
Electrical distribution panels shall be at least three feet above the level of the one-hundred-year-flood elevation.
(3) 
Separate electrical circuits shall serve lower levels and shall be dropped from above.
F. 
Plumbing.
(1) 
Water heaters, furnaces and other mechanical equipment or apparatus shall not be located below the regulatory flood elevation.
(2) 
No part of any on-site sewage disposal systems shall be located within any identified flood-prone area(s).
(3) 
Water supply systems and sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to prevent the infiltration of floodwaters into the system and discharges from the system into floodwaters.
(4) 
All gas and oil supply systems shall be designed to prevent the infiltration of floodwaters into the system and discharges from the system into floodwaters. Additional provisions shall be made for the drainage of these systems in the event that floodwater infiltration occurs.
G. 
Paints and adhesives. When used at or below the regulatory flood elevation:
(1) 
Paints or other finishes shall be of a marine or water-resistant quality.
(2) 
Adhesives shall be of a marine or water-resistant quality.
(3) 
All wooden components (doors, trim, cabinets, etc.) shall be finished with a marine or water-resistant paint or other finishing material.
H. 
Storage. No materials that are buoyant, flammable, explosive or which in times of flooding could be injurious to human, animal or plant life shall be stored below the regulatory flood elevation.
I. 
Drainage facilities. Storm drainage facilities shall be designed to convey the flow of surface waters without damage to persons or property. The system shall ensure drainage at all points along streets and provide positive drainage away from buildings. The system shall also be designed to prevent the discharge of excess runoff onto adjacent properties.
J. 
Sanitary sewer facilities. All new or replacement sanitary sewer facilities and private package sewage treatment plants (including all pumping stations and collector systems) shall be designed to minimize or eliminate flood damage and impairment.
K. 
Water facilities. All new or replacement water facilities shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the system and be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damages.
L. 
Streets. The finished elevation of all new streets shall be no more than one foot below the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.
[Amended 5-31-1994]
M. 
Utilities. All utilities, such as gaslines and electrical and telephone systems, being placed in floodplain areas should be located, elevated (where possible) and constructed to minimize the change or impairment during a flood.

§ 175-12 Special requirements for manufactured homes.

[Amended 5-31-1994]
A. 
Where permitted within any identified floodplain area, all manufactured homes and additions thereto shall be:
(1) 
Placed on a permanent foundation.
(2) 
Elevated so that the lowest floor of the manufactured home is 1 1/2 feet or more above the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.
(3) 
Anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement.
B. 
Within any identified floodway area, all manufactured homes and any addition thereto shall be prohibited.

§ 175-13 Existing structures.

Structures existing in any identified floodplain area prior to the enactment of this chapter, but which are not in compliance with these provisions, may continue to remain, subject to the following:
A. 
Any modification, alteration, reconstruction or improvement of any kind to an existing structure to an extent or amount of less than 50% of its market value shall be elevated and/or floodproofed to the greatest extent possible.
B. 
Any modification, alteration, reconstruction or improvement of any kind to an existing structure to an extent or amount of 50% or more of its market value shall be undertaken only in full compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
No expansion or enlargement of an existing structure shall be allowed within any floodway area that would cause any increase in the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.
[Added 5-31-1994]

§ 175-14 Variances.

A. 
If compliance with the elevation or floodproofing requirements of this chapter would result in an exceptional hardship for a prospective builder, developer or landowner, the Borough of Old Forge may, upon request, grant relief from the strict application of the requirement.
B. 
Request for variances shall be considered by the Borough of Old Forge in accordance with the following procedures:[1]
(1) 
If granted, a variance shall involve only the least modification necessary to provide relief.
(2) 
In granting any variance, the Borough of Old Forge shall attach whatever reasonable conditions and safeguards it considers necessary in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare and to achieve the objectives of this chapter.
(3) 
Whenever a variance is granted, the Borough of Old Forge shall notify the applicant, in writing, that:
(a) 
The granting of the variance may result in increased premium rates for flood insurance.
(b) 
Such variances may increase the risks to life and property.
(4) 
In reviewing any request for a variance, the Borough of Old Forge shall consider but not be limited to the following:
(a) 
That there is good and sufficient cause.
(b) 
That failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
(c) 
That the granting of the variance will not result in an unacceptable or prohibited increase in flood heights, additional threats to public safety or extraordinary public expense or create nuisances or cause fraud on or victimization of the public or conflict with any other applicable local or state ordinances and regulations.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
A complete record of all variance requests and related actions shall be maintained by the Borough of Old Forge. In addition, a report of all variances granted during the year shall be included in the annual report to the Federal Insurance Administration.
D. 
Notwithstanding any of the above, however, all structures shall be designed and constructed so as to have the capability of resisting the one-hundred-year flood.

§ 175-15 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, for each such offense, be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, by imprisonment for not more than 30 days.
[1]
Editor's Note: Added at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).