City of Burlington, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Burlington by Ord. No. 8-1997 (Ch. 15.16 of the 1996 Municipal Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 108.
Uniform Construction Codes — See Ch. 125.
Fee Schedule — See Ch. 146.
Housing standards — See Ch. 195.
Land development — See Ch. 207.
Nuisances — See Ch. 239.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 265.

§ 170-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter shall be to promote the public health, safety and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to the flood conditions in specific areas by provisions designed to:
A. 
Protect human life and health.
B. 
Minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects.
C. 
Minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public.
D. 
Minimize prolonged business interruptions.
E. 
Minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone and sewer lines, streets and bridges located in floodplains.
F. 
Help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of floodprone areas in such a manner as to minimize future flood blight areas.
G. 
Ensure that potential homebuyers are notified that property is in a flood area.

§ 170-2 Definitions.

Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
APPEAL
A request for a review of the Building Inspector's interpretation of any provisions of this chapter or a request for a variance.
BASE FLOOD
The flood having a one-percent chance of being equalled or exceeded in any given year.
BASEMENT
Any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
BREAKAWAY WALL
A wall that is not part of the structural support of the building and is intended, through its design and construction, to collapse under specific lateral loading forces without causing damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system.
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, drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials located within the area of special flood hazard.
A. 
A nonbasement building:
(1) 
Built, in the case of a building in an area of special flood hazard, to have the top of the elevated floor or, in the case of a building in a coastal high-hazard area, to have the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the elevated floor elevated above the ground level by means of piling, columns (posts and piers) or shear walls parallel to the flow of the water; and
(2) 
Adequately anchored so as not to impair the structural integrity of the building during a flood of up to the magnitude of the base flood.
B. 
In an area of special flood hazard, "elevated building" also includes a building elevated by means of fill or solid foundation perimeter walls with openings sufficient to facilitate the unimpeded movement of floodwaters.
C. 
In areas of coastal high hazard, "elevated building" also includes a building otherwise meeting the definition of "elevated building" even though the lower area is enclosed by means of breakaway walls.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM)
The official map on which the Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazard and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY
The official report in which the Federal Insurance Administration has provided flood profiles, as well as the Flood Hazard Boundary-Floodway Map and the water surface elevation of the base flood.
FLOOD or FLOODING
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
A. 
The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
B. 
The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
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.
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 more than one foot for the Delaware River and 0.2 foot in all other cases.
HISTORIC STRUCTURE
Any structure that is:
A. 
Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places, a listing maintained by the 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 preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district;
C. 
Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
D. 
Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in 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 program.
LOWEST FLOOR
The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including the basement. An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure, usable solely for the parking of vehicles, building access or storage, in an area other than a basement area, is not considered a building's lowest floor; provided that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable nonelevation design requirements.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A structure, transportable in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. The term "manufactured home" does not include a recreational vehicle.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK or MANUFACTURED HOME SUBDIVISION
A parcel, or contiguous parcels, of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Structures on which construction commenced on or after the effective date of this chapter.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
A vehicle which is:
A. 
Built on a single chassis.
B. 
Four hundred square feet or less when measured at the longest horizontal projections.
C. 
Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light-duty truck.
D. 
Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling, but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use.
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA
The land in the floodplain within a community subject to a one-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. Areas designated as special flood hazard areas are identified on the Flood Insurance Rate Map as Zones A, A1 through A30, AO and V.
A. 
For other than new construction or substantial improvements under the Costal Barrier Resource Act, P.L. 97-348, includes substantial improvements, and means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction or improvement was within 180 days of the permit date. The actual start of construction shall be the first placement of permanent construction of a structure, other than a manufactured home, on a site, such as the pouring of slabs or footings or any work beyond the stage of excavation. Permanent construction shall not include:
(1) 
Land preparation, such as clearing, grading and filling.
(2) 
The installation of streets and/or walkways.
(3) 
Excavation for a basement, footings, piers or foundations or the erection of temporary forms.
(4) 
The installation on the property of accessory buildings, such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not as part of the main structure.
B. 
For a structure, other than a manufactured home, without a basement or poured footings, the start of construction shall include the first permanent framing or assembly of the structure or any part thereof on its piling or foundation. For manufactured homes not within a manufactured home park or manufactured home subdivision, the start of construction shall mean the affixing of the manufactured home to its permanent site. For manufactured homes within manufactured home parks or manufactured home subdivisions, the start of construction shall be the date on which the construction of facilities for servicing the site on which the manufactured home is to be affixed, including, at a minimum, the construction of streets, either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads, and the installation of utilities, shall be completed.
STRUCTURE
A walled and roofed building 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 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT
Any repair, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which exceeds 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 officer and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
B. 
Any alteration of an historic structure; provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as an historic structure.
VARIANCE
A grant of relief to a person from the requirements of this chapter which shall permit construction in a manner otherwise prohibited by this chapter.

§ 170-3 Applicability; maps.

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all areas of flood hazard within the jurisdiction of the City. These areas of possible but undetermined flood hazard, of minimal and moderate flood hazard and of special flood hazard are identified by the Federal Insurance Administration through a scientific and engineering report entitled "The Flood Insurance Study for the City of Burlington," with accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Boundary-Floodway Maps. Such maps are adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter.

§ 170-4 Interpretation.

A. 
In the interpretation and application of this chapter, all provisions shall be:
(1) 
Considered as minimum requirements.
(2) 
Liberally construed in favor of the Common Council.
(3) 
Deemed neither to limit nor repeal any other powers granted under state statutes.
B. 
The degree of flood protection required by this chapter shall be 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 chapter does not imply that land outside the areas of special flood hazards or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages.

§ 170-5 Conflicting codes and ordinances.

When the Federal Insurance Administrator has designated an area within the floodplain as having special flood hazards, the code of the City concerning land use control designed to reduce flood loss shall take precedence over any conflicting ordinances or codes of the City.

§ 170-6 Development permit required.

A development permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any flood hazard area established in § 170-3. Application for a development permit shall be made to the Building Inspector on forms furnished by him/her and may include, but shall not be limited to, the following 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 shall be required:
A. 
The elevation, in relation to mean sea level, of the lowest floor, including basement, of all structures.
B. 
The elevation, in relation to mean sea level, to which any nonresidential structure has been floodproofed.
C. 
Plans showing how any nonresidential floodproofed structure will meet the floodproofing criteria of § 170-22E; after the structure is built, a certification by a registered professional engineer or architect that the structure as built meets the criteria of § 170-22E.
D. 
A description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of the proposed development.

§ 170-7 Special use permit required in certain zones.

No new development shall be permitted within the special flood hazard areas with zone designations A, A1 through A30, AO and V, as set forth on the City Flood Insurance Rate Map, except with a special use permit, granted by the Building Inspector with the approval of the City Engineer.

§ 170-8 Special use permit application procedure.

A. 
Any person desiring to erect, construct, enlarge, add to, alter, repair, improve, move, remove, substantially repair or demolish any building, structure or major addition to any building, install any prefabricated or manufactured home, subdivisions, utility system, water supply system or sewer system shall make written application to the Building Inspector and shall furnish all data, work plans, engineering specifications or other information reasonably required to enable the Inspector to evaluate the proposal. The Building Inspector, with the assistance of the City Engineer, shall, within 15 days thereafter, make a determination whether or not the proposal conforms to this chapter and whether or not a special permit shall be issued. If (s)he approves the proposal, (s)he shall issue a written special use permit to the applicant. The permit shall contain a description in general terms of the facility to be constructed and its general location.
B. 
If the Building Inspector disapproves the proposal, (s)he shall notify the applicant in writing of the rejection and shall generally state the reasons for rejection.

§ 170-9 Permit fee.

The Building Inspector shall receive from the applicant, along with the application for a permit hereunder, a fee as set forth in Chapter 146, Fee Schedule, for the review of the application and the determination thereof.

§ 170-10 Building Inspector permit duties.

A. 
The Building Inspector shall review all applications to determine:
(1) 
That all necessary permits have been obtained from those federal, state or local governmental agencies from which prior approval is required.
(2) 
If the proposed development adversely affects the flood-carrying capacity of the area of special flood hazard. For purposes of this chapter, "adversely affects" means that the cumulative effects of the proposed development when combined with all other existing and anticipated development will increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot at any point.
B. 
When base flood elevation and floodway data have not been provided, the Building Inspector, with the assistance of the City Engineer when necessary, shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from any federal, state or other source, in order to administer § 170-22E and G.

§ 170-11 Requirements for permit issuance.

No permit shall be issued unless the applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the proposal:
A. 
Is consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
B. 
Assures full compliance with all regulations set forth in this chapter.
C. 
Does not conflict with or endanger the effectiveness of floodplain management programs of neighboring communities.

§ 170-12 Appeals to Common Council.

The Common Council shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter and when there is an alleged error in any requirement, decision, or determination made by the Building Inspector in the enforcement of administration of this chapter.

§ 170-13 Time for filing appeals.

If a request for a special use permit is denied by the Building Inspector, the applicant may apply for such permit, variance or special exception directly to the Common Council within 45 days after such denial.

§ 170-14 Appeal considerations.

In passing upon such application appeals, the Common Council shall consider, in addition to all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this chapter and the following:
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 owner.
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, not subject to flooding or erosion damage, for the proposed use.
G. 
The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development.
H. 
The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain management program for that area.
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 floodwaters and the effects of wave action, if applicable, expected at the site.
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, and streets and bridges.

§ 170-15 Decisions on appeals.

The Common Council may grant or deny such request by appropriate resolution adopted within 45 days after the date of such application to the Council.

§ 170-16 Appeals from decision of Common Council.

Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Common Council may appeal such decision to the New Jersey Superior Court as provided by law.

§ 170-17 Variances.

The only variance from this chapter that can be considered is for elevation of the lowest floor. In the case of lowest floor elevation, the Burlington County Construction Board of Appeal shall be the appeal body, and its decision shall govern.

§ 170-18 Administration.

The Building Inspector shall administer and implement this chapter by granting or denying development permit applications in accordance with its provisions and shall determine that all permit requirements of this chapter have been satisfied.

§ 170-19 Building Inspector duties.

A. 
Alteration of watercourses. The Building Inspector shall:
(1) 
Notify adjacent communities and the Bureau of Floodplain Management prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse, and submit evidence of such notification to the Federal Insurance Administration.
(2) 
Require that maintenance is provided within the altered or relocated portion of the watercourses so that the flood-carrying capacity is not diminished.
B. 
Interpretation of FIRM boundaries. The Building Inspector shall make interpretations, where needed, as to the exact location of the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazards as, for example, where there appears to be a conflict between a mapped boundary and actual field conditions. The person contesting the location of the boundary shall be given a reasonable opportunity to appeal the interpretation as provided in this chapter.

§ 170-20 Inspections.

If a special use permit is issued, the Building Inspector, with the assistance of the City Engineer, shall make an on-site inspection, at least once during construction, to determine whether the construction conforms to the approved plans, materials and other specifications provided by the applicant. The Building Inspector shall:
A. 
Verify and record the actual elevation, in relation to mean sea level, of the lowest habitable floor, including basement, of all new or substantially improved structures.
B. 
For all new or substantially improved floodproofed structures:
(1) 
Verify and record the actual elevation, in relation to mean sea level; and
(2) 
Maintain the floodproofing certifications required in § 170-6C.

§ 170-21 Maintenance of records.

The Building Inspector shall maintain for public inspection all records pertaining to the provisions of this chapter.

§ 170-22 Design standards.

No structure or land shall hereafter be located, extended, converted or structurally altered without full compliance with the terms of this chapter and other applicable regulations. In all areas of special flood hazard, the following provisions shall be required:
A. 
Anchoring.
(1) 
Permitted structures shall be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement which may result in damage or restriction of the flow of floodwaters.
(2) 
All manufactured homes shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement. 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.
B. 
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 or substantial improvements shall be constructed by methods and practices that minimize flood damage.
C. 
Utilities.
(1) 
All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the system.
(2) 
New and replacement sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the systems into floodwaters.
(3) 
On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
(4) 
Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air-conditioning equipment and other service facilities shall be designed and/or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding.
D. 
Subdivision proposals.
(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 provided to reduce exposure to flood damage.
(4) 
Base flood elevation data shall be provided for subdivision proposals and other proposed development which is greater than the lesser of 50 lots or five acres.
(5) 
For all new construction and substantial improvements, fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor that are subject to flooding shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters. Designs for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect or must meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:
(a) 
A minimum of two openings having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding shall be provided.
(b) 
The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade.
(c) 
Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers or other coverings or devices; provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
E. 
Floor elevation requirements. In all areas of special flood hazards where base flood elevation data has been provided as set forth in the FIRM, the following provisions shall be required:
(1) 
Residential construction. New construction or substantial improvement of any residential structure shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated to or above base flood elevation.
(2) 
Nonresidential construction certification of conformance. New construction or substantial improvement of any commercial, industrial or other nonresidential structure shall either have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated to the level of the base flood elevation or, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities, be floodproofed so that below the base flood level the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and with structural components having the capability of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy. A registered professional engineer or architect shall certify that the design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the applicable provisions of this section. Such certification shall be provided to the official as set forth in § 170-6.
F. 
Manufactured homes. All manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved within an area of special flood hazard shall be elevated on a permanent foundation such that the top of the lowest floor is one foot above the base flood elevation.
G. 
Floodways. Located within areas of special flood hazard are areas designated as floodways. Since the floodway is an extremely hazardous area due to the velocity of floodwaters which carry debris, potential projectiles and erosion potential, the following provisions shall apply:
(1) 
Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements and other developments, are prohibited unless a technical evaluation demonstrates that encroachments shall not result in any increase in flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
(2) 
If Subsection G(1) of this section is satisfied, all new construction and substantial improvements shall comply with all applicable flood hazard reduction provisions.
(3) 
The placement of any manufactured home within the floodway is prohibited.

§ 170-23 Liability.

The grant of a special use permit or approval of a subdivision plan within the special flood hazard area shall not constitute a representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind by the City or by any official or employee thereof of the practicability or safety of the proposed use and shall create no liability on the part of the City or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.

§ 170-24 Violations and penalties. [1]

Failure to apply for a special use permit, to construct in accordance with data furnished the Building Inspector with the application, or any violation hereof, shall constitute a violation of this chapter. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be liable to a fine as set forth in Chapter 1, Article III, General Penalty.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).