[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington 5-20-1985 by Ord. No. 16-85 (Sec. 15-4 of the Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Legislature of the State of New Jersey has in N.J.S.A. 40:48-1 et seq. delegated the responsibility to local governmental units to adopt regulations designed to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry. Therefore, the Township Committee of the Township of Washington, Morris County, New Jersey, does ordain as follows.
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 16-85 also repealed former Section 15-4, Floodplain Regulations, added 11-15-82 by Ord. No. 26-82.
The flood hazard areas of the Township of Washington are subject to periodic inundation which may result in loss of life and property, health and safety hazards, disruption of commerce and governmental services, extraordinary public expenditures for flood protection and relief and impairment of the tax base, all of which adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.
These flood losses are caused by the cumulative effect of obstructions in areas of special flood hazard which increase flood heights and velocities and, when inadequately anchored, damage uses in other areas. Uses that are inadequately floodproofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage also contribute to the flood loss.
It is the purpose of this chapter to promote the public health safety and general welfare and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions in specific areas by provisions designed to:
Protect human life and health.
Minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects.
Minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public.
Minimize prolonged business interruptions.
Minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone and sewer lines and streets and bridges located in areas of special flood hazard.
Help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of areas of special flood hazard so as to minimize future flood blight areas.
Ensure that potential buyers are notified that property is in an area of special flood hazard.
Ensure that those who occupy the areas of special flood hazard assume responsibility for their actions.
In order to accomplish its purposes, this chapter includes methods and provisions for:
Restricting or prohibiting uses which are dangerous to health, safety and property due to water or erosion in flood heights or velocities.
Requiring that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction.
Controlling the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels and natural protective barriers, which help accommodate or channel floodwaters.
Controlling filling, grading, dredging and other development which may increase flood damage.
Preventing or regulating the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert floodwaters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas.
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meanings they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A request for a review of the Planning Board's interpretation of any provision of this chapter or a request for a variance.
- AREA OF SHALLOW FLOODING
- A designated AO Zone on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The base flood depths range from one to three feet; a clearly defined channel does not exist; the path of flooding is unpredictable and indeterminate; and velocity flow may be evident.
- AREA OF SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD
- The land in the floodplain within a community subject to a one-percent-or-greater chance of flooding in any even year.
- BASE FLOOD
- The flood having a one-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
- Any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground
level) on all sides.[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- 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.[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- 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 located within the area of special flood hazard.
- ELEVATED BUILDING
- A nonbasement building which is 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 sheer
walls parallel to the flow of the water and which is 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. 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. 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.[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- 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 provided in which the Federal Insurance Administration has provided flood profiles, as well as the Flood 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 the overflow of inland or tidal waters and/or the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
- 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 0.2 foot.
- LOWEST FLOOR
- The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including 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 is not
considered a building's lowest floor, provided that such enclosure is not
built so as to render the structure in violation of other applicable nonelevation
design requirements.[Amended 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- 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. For floodplain management
purposes, the term "manufactured home" also includes park trailers, travel
trailers and other similar vehicles placed on a site for greater than 180
consecutive days. For insurance purposes, the term "manufactured home" does
not include park trailers, travel trailers and other similar vehicles[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- 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.[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- NEW CONSTRUCTION
- Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of this chapter. 
- START OF CONSTRUCTION
- For other than new construction or substantial improvements under
the Coastal Barrier Resources Act, P.L. 97-348, includes substantial improvement
and means the date the building permit was issued, provided that the actual
start of construction, repair, reconstruction, placement or other improvement
was within 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 a 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.[Amended 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
- A walled and roofed building, a mobile home or a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally aboveground.
- SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT
- Any repair, reconstruction or improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure either before the improvement or repair is started or, if the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred. For the purposes of this definition, substantial improvement is considered to occur when the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of the building commences, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the structure. The term does not, however, include either any project for improvement of a structure to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications which are solely necessary to assure safe living conditions, or any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a State Inventory of Historic Places.
- A grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.
Editor's Note: The former definitions of "existing mobile home park or mobile home subdivision" and "expansion to an existing mobile home park or mobile home subdivision," which immediately followed this definition, were repealed 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87.
Editor's Note: The former definition of "mobile home," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87.
Editor's Note: The former definition of "new mobile home park or mobile home subdivision," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87.
This chapter shall apply to all areas of special flood hazard within the jurisdiction of the Township of Washington, County of Morris, State of New Jersey.
The areas of special flood hazard identified by the Federal Insurance Administration in a scientific and engineering report entitled the Flood Insurance Study for the Township of Washington, dated September 15, 1983, with accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Boundary/Floodway Maps and any revisions thereto, is hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter. The Flood Insurance Study is on file at the Washington Township Clerk's office, Washington Township Municipal Building, 43 Schooley's Mountain Road, Long Valley, New Jersey.
[Amended 4-16-2007 by Ord. No. 9-07]
No structure or land shall hereafter be constructed, located, extended, converted or altered without full compliance with the terms of this chapter and other applicable regulations. Violation of the provisions of this chapter by failure to comply with any of its requirements (including violations of conditions and safeguards established in connection with conditions) shall constitute a misdemeanor. Any person who violates this chapter or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall be subject, upon conviction, to the penalties provided in § 1-3 of this Code. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Township Committee of the Township of Washington from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation.
This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions. However, where this chapter and any other ordinance, easement, covenant or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.
In the interpretation and application of this chapter, all provisions shall be:
The degree of flood protection required by this chapter is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based on scientific and engineering consideration 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 hazard or uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This chapter shall not create liability on the part of the Township of Washington, any officer or employee thereof or the Federal Insurance Administration for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
A development permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any area of special flood hazard established in § 92-7. Application for a development permit shall be made on forms furnished by the Planning Board and may include but not be limited to 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 and drainage facilities; and the location of the foregoing. Specifically, the following information is required:
Elevation in relation to mean sea level of the lowest floor (including basement) of all structures.
Elevation in relation to mean sea level to which any structure has been floodproofed.
Certification by a registered professional engineer or architect that the floodproofing methods for any nonresidential structure meet the floodproofing criteria in § 92-17B(2).
Description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development.
The Planning Board is hereby appointed to administer and implement this chapter by granting or denying development permit applications in accordance with its provisions.
Duties of the Planning Board shall include, but not be limited to:
Review all development permits to determine that the permit requirements of this chapter have been satisfied.
Review all development permits to determine that all necessary permits have been obtained from those federal, state or local governmental agencies from which prior approval is required.
Use of other base flood data. When base flood elevation and floodway data have not been provided in accordance with § 92-7, Basis for Establishing the Areas of Special Flood Hazard, the Planning Board shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from a federal, state or other source in order to administer § 92-17B(1), Residential Construction, and § 92-17B(2), Nonresidential Construction.
[Amended 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
Information to be obtained and maintained.
Obtain 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, and whether or not the structure contains a basement.
Maintain for public inspection all records pertaining to the provisions of this chapter.
Alteration of watercourses.
Notify adjacent communities and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water Resources, prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse and submit evidence of such notification to the Federal Insurance Administration.
Require that maintenance is provided within the altered or relocated portion of said watercourse so that the flood-carrying capacity is not diminished.
Interpretation of FIRM Boundaries. Make interpretations, where needed, as to the exact location of the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazard (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 §§ 92-15 and 92-16.
An Appeals Board, as established by the Township Committee, consisting of one member of the Planning Board, one member of the Environmental Commission, one member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment and two members of the Township Committee (no more than one member of the Township Committee shall be serving on the Planning Board), shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter.
The Appeals Board shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision or determination made by the Planning Board in the enforcement or administration of this chapter.
Those aggrieved by the decision of the Appeals Board, or any taxpayer, may appeal such decision to the Superior Court of New Jersey as provided by law.
In passing upon such applications, the Appeals Board shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other chapters of this chapter and:
The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others.
The danger of life and property due to flooding or erosion damage.
The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner.
The importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the community.
The necessity of a waterfront location to the facility, where applicable.
The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage.
The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development.
The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain management program of that area.
The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles.
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.
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.
Upon consideration of the factors of Subchapter D and the purposes of this chapter, the Township Committee may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.
The Township Administrator shall maintain the records of all appeal actions, including technical information, and report any variances to the Federal Insurance Administration upon request.
Generally, variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements to be erected on a lot of 1/2 acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, provided that the items in Subchapter D(1) through (11) have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond the 1/2 acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.
Variances may be issued for the reconstruction, rehabilitation or restoration of structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the State Inventory of Historic Places, without regard to the procedures set forth in the remainder of this chapter.
Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
Variances shall only be issued upon:
A showing of good and sufficient cause.
A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety or extraordinary public expense or create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public as identified in § 92-15D or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice that the structure will be permitted to be built with a lowest floor elevation below the base flood elevation and that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the reduced lowest floor elevation.
General standards. In all areas of special flood hazard, the following standards are required:
All new construction and substantial improvements shall be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure.
All manufactured homes shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement. Methods of anchoring may include, but are not to be limited to, the 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.
[Amended 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
Construction materials and methods.
All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the system.
New and replacement sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters.
On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing and 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.
[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems, located and constructed to minimize flood damage.
All subdivision proposals shall have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood damage.
Base flood elevation data shall be provided for subdivision proposals and other proposed development which contain at least 50 lots or five acres, whichever is less.
Enclosure openings. 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 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. The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade. Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers or other coverings or devices, provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
[Added 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
Specific standards. In all areas of special flood hazard where base flood elevation data have been provided as set forth in § 92-7, Basis for Establishing the Areas of Special Flood Hazard, or in § 92-14B, Use of Other Base Flood Data, the following standards are required:
Residential construction. New construction and substantial improvement of any residential structure shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated to or above base flood elevation.
Nonresidential construction. New construction and 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, shall:
Be floodproofed so that below the base flood level the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water.
Have structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy.
Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the applicable provisions of this subchapter. Such certification shall be provided to the official as set forth in § 92-14C(2).
[Amended 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
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 at or above the base flood elevation. 
[Amended 4-20-1987 by Ord. No. 8-87]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection c3, which immediately followed this subsection and dealt with mobile homes placed in a floodway, was repealed 4-20-87 by Ord. No. 8-87.
Located within the areas of special flood hazard established in § 92-7 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 apply:
Prohibition of encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements and other development, unless a technical evaluation demonstrates that encroachments shall not result in any increase in flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
If Subchapter A is satisfied, all new construction and substantial improvement shall comply with all applicable flood hazard reduction provisions of § 92-17, Provisions for Flood Hazard Reduction.
Prohibition of the placement of any mobile homes, except in an existing mobile home park or existing mobile home subdivision.
In all areas of special flood hazard in which base flood elevation data has been provided and no floodway has been designated, the cumulative effect of any proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated development, shall not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than 0.2 foot at any point.