Township of Radnor, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
In the Floodplain Conservation District, the regulations contained in this article shall apply.
Pursuant to the powers and authority granted by the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act No. 247, effective January 1, 1969,[1] and in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, the regulations of the Floodplain Conservation District are intended to protect areas of the Township which are located in a floodplain subject to periodic flooding waters. In advancing this principal and the general purposes of this chapter and the Comprehensive Plan, the specific intent of this article is:
A. 
To regulate or prevent the erection of buildings and other structures in areas unfit for development by reason of periodic flooding.
B. 
To protect public health, by preventing pollution of surface and subsurface water supplies and providing surface area to absorb and retain runoff for maintenance of the subsurface water supply.
C. 
To protect public safety, by preserving natural floodplains and valley flats which are subject to periodic flooding in order to:
(1) 
Prevent the increase in flood volume and rate of flow which results from covering the floodplains with impervious surfaces and from constricting natural drainage channels.
(2) 
Provide areas for the deposition of sediment.
D. 
To prevent added downstream damage from increased flood volume and rate of flow and to permit uses of the floodplain compatible with the preservation of natural conditions and the maintenance of the stream flow throughout the year.
E. 
To minimize the financial burden imposed on the community, governmental bodies and individuals by floods.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
[Amended 9-26-1977 by Ord. No. 77-24]
A. 
The Floodplain Conservation District, as defined in § 280-4B, shall be those areas of Radnor Township that are subject to the one-hundred-year flood, as identified on the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) dated November 18, 2009, and shown on the FEMA floodplain maps, or the most recent revision thereof as issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In addition, "floodplain conservation district" shall be defined to include all areas, not shown on the map, which, by hydrological profile analysis, are calculated to be inundated during a one-hundred-year frequency flood. The Floodplain Conservation District shall comprise three subdistricts, as follows:
[Amended 11-27-1995 by Ord. No. 95-29; 1-2-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-05; 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
(1) 
FW (Floodway Area): the area identified as floodway in the AE Zone in the Flood Insurance Study prepared by 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.
(2) 
FF (Flood-Fringe Area): the remaining portions of the one-hundred-year floodplain in those areas identified as an AE Zone 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 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, including those areas shown as alluvial soils in the Chester and Delaware Counties Soil Survey, 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 FIRM which is nearest the construction site in question. In lieu of the above delineation method, the Township 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 approved by the Township who shall certify that the technical methods used correctly reflect currently accepted technical concepts. Studies, analyses and computations shall be submitted in sufficient detail to allow a thorough technical review by the Township.
(4) 
Special requirements for FW and FA areas: Within an FW (Floodway Area) or FA (General Floodplain Area), the following provisions apply:
(a) 
Any new construction, development, use, activity, or encroachment that would cause any increase in flood heights shall be prohibited.
(b) 
No new construction or development shall be allowed, unless a permit is obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection Regional Office.
B. 
In the case of any dispute concerning the boundaries of a Floodplain Conservation District, an initial determination shall be made by the Township Engineer. Such determination shall be based upon the criteria established in this article. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to supply all the necessary plans and maps in sufficient detail to allow the Township Engineer to make the determination.
[Amended 4-23-1984 by Ord. No. 84-13]
C. 
Any party aggrieved by a decision of the Township Engineer as to the boundaries of the Floodplain Conservation District, as defined in Subsections A and B above, which may include the grounds that the data referred to therein is or has become incorrect because of changes due to natural or other causes or because of changes indicated by future hydrologic and hydraulic studies, may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board. The Zoning Hearing Board, in making such determination, shall use criteria established in this article. The burden of proof in such an appeal shall be on the appellant.
D. 
The Floodplain Conservation District shall be deemed an overlay of any zoning district now or hereafter applicable to any lot. Should the Floodplain Conservation District be declared inapplicable to any tract for any reason, the zoning applicable to such tract shall be deemed to be the district in which it is located without consideration of this article.
E. 
The identified Floodplain Conservation District may be revised or modified by the Board of Commissioners where studies or information provided by a qualified agency or person document the need for such revision. Prior to the change, however, approval must be obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
[Amended 11-27-1995 by Ord. No. 95-29; 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
F. 
Any application submitted to the Township that would cause the elevation of the one-hundred-year floodplain to change shall require the Township to notify the immediate neighbors within 500 feet of the property under review (upstream and downsteam).
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
[Amended 9-26-1977 by Ord. No. 77-24; 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
Within any designated Floodplain Conservation District, no construction, development, use, activity or encroachment of any kind shall be allowed except where the effect of such proposed activity on flood heights is fully offset by accompanying stream improvements.
A. 
Subject to such limitation, the following uses and no other are permitted in the Floodplain Conservation District, provided that the use is permitted by the applicable zoning of the property:
(1) 
Customary agricultural operations, excluding structures.
(2) 
Pastures, grazing land, outdoor plant nursery and orchard, excluding structures.
(3) 
Wildlife sanctuary, woodland preserve and arboretum, excluding structures.
(4) 
Recreation use such as park, day camp, picnic grove, golf course, hunting, fishing and boating club, excluding structures.
(5) 
Water and sanitary sewer facilities and systems.
(a) 
All new or replacement water and sanitary sewer facilities and systems shall be located, designed and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damages and the infiltration of floodwaters.
(b) 
Sanitary sewer facilities and systems shall be designed to prevent the discharge of untreated sewage into floodwaters.
(c) 
No part of any on-site sewage system shall be located within any Floodplain Conservation District except in strict compliance with all state and local regulations for such systems. If any such system is permitted, it shall be located so as to avoid impairment to it, or contamination from it, during a flood.
(6) 
Other utilities.
(a) 
All other utilities, such as gas lines, electrical and telephone systems, shall be located, elevated (where possible) and constructed to minimize the chance of impairment during a flood.
(7) 
Placement of buildings and structures.
(a) 
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 floodwater.
(8) 
Anchoring.
(a) 
All buildings and structures shall be firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement.
(b) 
All air ducts, large pipes, storage tanks, and other similar objects or components located below the regulatory flood elevation shall be securely anchored or affixed to prevent flotation.
(c) 
The design and construction requirements of the UCC pertaining to this subsection, as referred to in 34 Pa. Code (Chapters 401 through 405, as amended) and contained in the 2003 IBC (Sections 1605.2.2, 1605.3.1.2, 1612.4 and Appendix G501.3), the IRC (Sections R301.1 and R323.1.1) and ASCE 24-98 (Section 5.6), shall be utilized.
(9) 
Floors, walls and ceilings.
(a) 
Wood flooring used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be installed to accommodate a lateral expansion of the flooring, perpendicular to the flooring grain without causing structural damage to the building.
(b) 
Plywood used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be of a "marine" or water-resistant variety.
(c) 
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.
(d) 
Windows, doors, and other components at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be made of metal or other water-resistant material.
(e) 
The provisions of the UCC pertaining to this subsection and referenced in 34 Pa. Code (Chapters 401 through 405, as amended) and contained in the 2003 IBC (Sections 801.1.3, 1403.2, 1403.4, 1403.6 and 1404.2), the 2003 IRC (Sections R323.1.7 and R501.3) and ASCE 24-98 (Chapter 6).
(10) 
Paints and adhesives.
(a) 
Paints and other finishes used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be of "marine" or water-resistant quality.
(b) 
Adhesives used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be of a "marine" or water-resistant variety.
(c) 
All wooden components (doors, trim, cabinets, etc.) shall be finished with a "marine" or water-resistant paint or other finishing material.
(d) 
The standards and specifications contained in 34 Pa. Code (Chapters 401 through 405, as amended), the 2003 IBC (Sections 801.1.3, 1403.7 and Appendix G) and the 2003 IRC (Sections R323.1.7).
(11) 
Electrical components.
(a) 
Electrical distribution panels shall be at least three feet above the one-hundred-year flood elevation.
(b) 
Separate electrical circuits shall serve lower levels and shall be dropped from above.
(c) 
The provisions pertaining to the above provisions and referenced in the UCC and 34 Pa. Code (Chapters 401 through 405, as amended) and contained in the 2003 IBC (Section 1612.4), the IRC (Section R323.1.5), the 2000 IFGC (Sections R301.5 and R1601.3.8) and ASCE 24 (Chapter 8) shall be utilized.
(12) 
Equipment.
(a) 
Water heaters, furnaces, air conditioning and ventilating units, and other electrical, mechanical or utility equipment or apparatus shall not be located below the regulatory flood elevation.
(b) 
The provisions pertaining to the above provision and referenced in the UCC and 34 Pa. Code (Chapters 401 through 405, as amended) and contained in the 2003 IBC (Section 1612.4), the 2003 IRC (Sections R323.1.5), the 2000 IFGC (Sections R301.5 and R1601.3.8) and ASCE 24 (Chapter 8) shall be utilized.
(13) 
Boundary fences, subject to the approval of the Township Engineer.
(14) 
Dams, culverts and bridges approved by the commonwealth.
(15) 
Storm sewers, subject to the approval of the Township Engineer.
B. 
(Reserved)
C. 
Where parking lots and/or driveways are required by the regulations for the district applicable to the lot previously, parking lots and driveways shall be required.
[Added 6-23-1986 by Ord. No. 86-24; amended 7-20-1992 by Ord. No. 92-13]
Under no circumstances will the following activities and/or development be located, enlarged or expanded within the Floodplain Conservation District, since they present a special hazard to the health and safety of the public.
A. 
Hospitals (public or private).
B. 
Nursing homes (public or private).
C. 
Jails or prisons.
D. 
Individual manufactured homes, new manufactured home parks, manufactured home subdivisions and substantial improvements thereto, as well as individual manufactured homes.
[Amended 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
E. 
The production, storage or maintenance of a supply of hazardous materials and substances as defined under the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act (Act 166 of 1978), Section 207 (32 P.S. § 679.207).
F. 
No expansion or enlargement of an existing structure shall be allowed within any regulatory flood elevation area that would, together with all other existing and anticipated development, increase the one-hundred-year flood elevation more than one foot at any point.
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
A. 
A change in grade by either cut or fill, or a combination of both, may be permitted only upon the following conditions:
(1) 
The effect is not to alter the cross-sectional area of the profile of the floodplain; and
(2) 
The effect is not to increase the elevation of the one-hundred-year-frequency flood.
B. 
No storage of any material that may be hazardous to the health and welfare of the surrounding population or which is in violation of the Clean Streams Law[2] or regulations of the Department of Environmental Protection shall be permitted within the Floodplain Conservation District as herein defined.
[Amended 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
[2]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq.
C. 
Fill. If fill is used, it shall:
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
(1) 
Extend laterally at least 15 feet beyond the building line from all points, unless approved otherwise by the Township Engineer;
(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 feet unless substantiated data justifying steeper slopes are submitted to, and approved by, the Township Engineer; and provisions contained in the 2003 IBC (Sections 1801.1 and 1803.4) shall be utilized.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 175, Grading, Excavations and Fills.
The grant of a zoning approval or approval of a subdivision plan in the Floodplain Conservation District shall not constitute a representation, guaranty or warranty of any kind by the Township or by an official or employee thereof of the practicability or safety of the proposed uses and shall create no liability upon the Township, its officials or employees; nor shall such grant or approval imply in any way a waiver of the requirements of this article or compliance with any federal or state law governing streams and other bodies of water.
In the event of any conflict with other Township ordinances, rules, building codes or regulations, the provisions of this Floodplain Conservation District Article shall prevail.
[Amended 9-26-1977 by Ord. No. 77-24]
A. 
Standards and criteria. In any instance where the Zoning Hearing Board is required to consider a request for variance from the provisions of this article, the Board shall determine that the standards and criteria enumerated in § 280-145 of this chapter and Section 912 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code are met before granting the request. A variance shall be required for any construction, development, use, or activity within any regulatory flood elevation area that would, together with all other existing and anticipated development, increase the one-hundred-year flood elevation more than one foot at any point.
[Amended 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
(1) 
In addition to the standards and criteria enumerated in said § 280-145 and Section 912, the Board shall meet the following standards:
(a) 
An affirmative decision shall not be issued by the Zoning Hearing Board within the designated floodway if any increase in the flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
(b) 
Affirmative decisions shall only be issued by the Zoning Hearing Board upon:
[1] 
A showing of good and sufficient cause.
[2] 
A determination that failure to grant the appeal would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
[3] 
A determination that the granting of an appeal will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety and extraordinary public expense; create nuisances; cause fraud on or victimization of the public; or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
(c) 
Affirmative decisions shall be issued only upon determination that it is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
(2) 
The Board shall also consider the following factors:
(a) 
The proposed water supply and sanitation systems and the ability of these systems to avoid causing disease, contamination and unsanitary conditions.
(b) 
The relationship of the proposed use to the Comprehensive Plan and floodplain or stormwater management program for the area.
(c) 
The safety of access to the property in times of flood by ordinary and emergency vehicles.
(d) 
The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of the floodwaters expected at the site.
(e) 
Such other factors which are relevant to the purposes of this article, including compliance with any state and federal laws and regulations relating to Floodplain Conservation District.
B. 
Procedure; streams and other bodies of water. Upon receiving an application for a variance, the Zoning Hearing Board shall, prior to hearing, require the applicant to furnish such of the following material as the Township Engineer shall deem necessary for a complete consideration of the matter by the Board:
(1) 
Plans, in triplicate, drawn to scale, showing the nature, location, dimensions and elevation of the lot and existing and proposed uses; photographs showing existing uses and vegetation; soil types; and other pertinent information.
(2) 
A series of cross sections at twenty-five-foot intervals along the lot shoreline, showing the stream channel or the lake or pond bottom and the elevation of adjoining land areas to be occupied by the proposed uses, and high-water information.
(3) 
Profile showing the slope of the bottom of the channel, lake or pond.
(4) 
Specifications for building materials and construction, floodproofing, filling, dredging, grading, storage, water supply and sanitary facilities.
C. 
Conditions.
(1) 
Any structure permitted by variance shall include floodproofing measures according to the following criteria:
(a) 
All structures shall be:
[1] 
Firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement.
[2] 
Constructed so as to prevent the entrance of floodwaters into the water supply and waste treatment systems as well as other utility and facility systems. In addition, waste treatment systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate discharges from the systems into the floodwaters.
(b) 
All new construction shall have the lowest floor, including the basement, elevated to one foot above the one-hundred-year-flood elevation.
(c) 
Space below the lowest floor.
[Added 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04[1]]
[1] 
Fully enclosed space below the lowest floor (including basement) is prohibited.
[2] 
Partially enclosed space below the lowest floor (including basement) which will be used solely for the parking of a vehicle, building access, or incidental storage in an area other than a basement shall be designed and constructed to allow for the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters for the purpose of equalizing hydrostatic forces on exterior walls. The term "partially enclosed space" also includes crawl spaces.
[3] 
Designs for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect, or meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:
[a] 
A minimum of two openings having a net total area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed space.
[b] 
The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade.
[c] 
Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, etc., or other coverings or devices provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former Subsection C(1)(c) as Subsection C(1)(d).
(d) 
All improvements to existing structures shall be constructed so that:
[1] 
Improvements to residential structures shall be elevated to the greatest extent possible. Any portion of the structure not elevated to one foot above the one-hundred-year-flood elevation shall meet the requirements of Subsection C(1)(c)[2] below.
[2] 
Improvements to nonresidential structures shall be floodproofed according to the classification W1-W4 of the Floodproofing Regulations, United States Army Corps of Engineers, pamphlet EP 1165 2 314.
(2) 
In addition, upon consideration of the purposes of this article, the Board may attach such conditions to the granting of a variance as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this article. Among such conditions, without limitation because of specific enumeration, may be included:
(a) 
Modification of waste disposal and water supply facilities.
(b) 
Limitations on periods of use and operation.
(c) 
Imposition of operational controls, sureties and deed restrictions.
(d) 
Floodproofing measures such as the following, without limitation because of specific enumeration:
[1] 
Anchorage to resist flotation and lateral movement.
[2] 
Installation of watertight doors, bulkheads and shutters.
[3] 
Reinforcement of walls to resist water pressures.
[4] 
Use of paints, membranes or mortars to reduce seepage of water through walls.
[5] 
Addition of mass or weight to structures to resist flotation.
[6] 
Installation of pumps to lower water levels in structures.
[7] 
Pumping facilities for subsurface external foundation wall and basement floor pressures.
[8] 
Construction to resist rupture or collapse caused by water pressure or floating debris.
[9] 
Cutoff valves on sewer lines.
D. 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall notify the applicant, in writing, that:
(1) 
The issuance of a decision to allow construction of a structure below the base flood elevation will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance.
(2) 
Such construction below the base flood elevation increases risks to life and property. Such notification shall be maintained with a record of all decisions, as required in Subsection E of this section.
E. 
The Zoning Hearing Board shall:
(1) 
Maintain a record of all decisions, including justification for their issuance.
(2) 
Report such decisions issued in its annual report submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
[Amended 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-04]
In any case where the Zoning Hearing Board shall grant a variance to permit the erection of a structure in the floodplain or a variance to permit a change in nonconforming use of a structure already existing in the floodplain, the Board shall, for the protection of prospective purchasers and lessees, impose the following conditions:
A. 
Require the applicant to advise prospective purchasers and/or lessees that the lot is located either entirely or partially, as the case may be, in the floodplain.
B. 
Require that, before settlement or change in use, as the case may be, the purchaser or lessee shall signify, in writing, that he has been advised that the premises lies partially or entirely in the floodplain, and a signed copy of such signification shall be delivered to the Township by the applicant.
C. 
A deed restriction shall be created and placed on record to run as a covenant with the land, which restriction shall contain the following provision: "This lot is entirely (partially) within the floodplain as defined by Article XVII of Chapter 280, Zoning, of the Code of Radnor Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, as amended."