City of Scranton, PA
Lackawanna County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted as Ord. No. 68-1985]
In order to prevent excessive damage to buildings and structures due to flooding conditions, the following provisions shall apply to all proposed construction or development occurring in any of the floodplain districts designated in the Chapter 445, Zoning, as amended.
The following are special definitions which shall be used in making reasonable interpretations of the provisions contained in this Part 2:
COMPLETELY DRY SPACE
A space which will remain totally dry during flooding; the structure 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, structure including the placement of mobile homes.
DESIGNATED FLOODPLAIN DISTRICTS
Those floodplain districts specifically designated in Chapter 445, Zoning, as being inundated primarily by the one-hundred-year flood. Included would be areas identified as Floodway District (FW), Flood-Fringe District (FF) and General Floodplain District (FA).
DESIGNATED FLOODWAY DISTRICT OR AREA
The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas required to carry and discharge a flood of the one-hundred-year magnitude as specifically defined in Chapter 445, Zoning.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, the placement of mobile homes, streets and other paving, utilities, mining, dredging, filling, grading, excavation or drilling operations and the subdivision of land.
ESSENTIALLY DRY SPACE
A space which will remain dry during flooding, except for the passage of some water vapor or minor seepage; the structure is substantially impermeable to the passage of water.
FLOODPROOFING
Means any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
MOBILE HOME
Means 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 does not include recreational vehicles or travel trailers.
MOBILE HOME PARK
A parcel of land under single ownership which has been planned and improved for the placement of two or more mobile homes for nontransient use.
OBSTRUCTIONS
Any wall, dam, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile abutment, projection, excavation, channel, rectification, culvert, building, fence, stockpile, refuse, fill, structure or matter in, along, across or projecting into any channel, watercourse or designated floodplain district, which may impede, retard or change the direction of the flow of water either in itself or by catching or collecting debris carried by such water or is placed where the flow of the water might carry the same downstream to damage life and property.
ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR-FLOOD
A flood that, on the average, is likely to occur once every 100 years (i.e., that has a 1% chance of occurring each year, although the flood may occur in any year. This is more precisely defined/delineated in Chapter 445, Zoning.
REGULATORY FLOOD ELEVATION
The one-hundred-year-flood elevation plus a freeboard safety factor of one and one-half (11/2) feet.
A. 
Residential structures. Within any designated Floodway (FW), Flood-Fringe (FF) or General Floodplain (FA) District, the lowest floor (including basement) of any new or improved residential structure shall be at least one and one-half (11/2) feet above the one-hundred-year-flood elevation.
B. 
Nonresidential structures.
(1) 
Within any designated Floodway (FW), Flood-Fringe (FF) or General Floodplain (FA) District, the lowest floor (including basement) of any new or improved nonresidential structure shall be at least one and one-half (11/2) 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) 
Any structure, or part thereof, which will not be completely or adequately elevated, shall be designed and constructed to be completely or essentially dry in accordance with the standards contained in the publication entitled "Floodproofing Regulations" (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, June 1972), or some other equivalent standard for that type of construction.
A. 
Drainage facilities. Storm drainage facilities shall be designed to convey the flow of stormwater runoff in a safe and efficient manner. 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.
B. 
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 infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the systems into the floodwaters. In addition, they should be located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage and impairment.
C. 
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.
D. 
Streets. The finished elevation of proposed new streets shall be no more than one foot below the regulatory flood elevation.
E. 
Utilities. All utilities such as gaslines, electrical and telephone systems being placed in flood-prone areas should be located, elevated (where possible) and constructed to minimize the chance of impairment during a flood.
F. 
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 building official.
(5) 
Be used to the extent to which it does not adversely affect adjacent properties.
G. 
Placement of buildings and structures. All buildings and structures shall be constructed and placed on the lot so as to offer the minimum obstruction to the flow of water. In so doing, consideration shall be given to their effect upon the flow and height of floodwaters.
H. 
Anchoring.
(1) 
All buildings and structures shall be firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse or other movement, thus reducing the threat to life and property and decreasing the possibility of the blockage of bridge openings and other restricted sections of the watercourse.
(2) 
All air ducts, large pipes and storage tanks located at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation.
I. 
Floor, 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 any exterior- or marine-grade and of a water-resistant or waterproof variety.
(3) 
Walls and ceilings in nonresidential structures shall have sufficient wet strength and be so installed as to survive inundation.
(4) 
Window frames, door frames, door jambs and other components shall be made of metal or other water-resistant material.
J. 
Electrical systems.
(1) 
All electric water heaters, electric furnaces, electric air conditioning and ventilating systems and other electrical equipment or apparatus shall be permitted only at elevations above the regulatory flood elevation.
(2) 
No electrical distribution panels shall be allowed at an elevation less than 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.
K. 
Plumbing.
(1) 
Water heaters, furnaces and other mechanical equipment or apparatus shall be permitted only at elevations above the regulatory flood.
(2) 
No part of any on-site sewage disposal system shall be constructed within any designated floodplain districts.
(3) 
Water supply systems and sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to preclude infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the system into floodwaters.
(4) 
All gas and oil supply systems shall be designed to preclude the infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the systems into floodwaters. Additional provisions shall be made for the drainage of these systems in the event that floodwater infiltration occurs.
L. 
Paints and adhesives. Where located at or below the regulatory flood elevation:
(1) 
Adhesives shall have a bonding strength that is unaffected by inundation (i.e., marine- or water-resistant quality).
(2) 
All wooden components (doors, trim, cabinets, etc.) shall be sealed with a marine- or water-resistant quality paint or similar product.
(3) 
Paints or other finishes shall be capable of surviving inundation (i.e., marine or water-resistant quality).
M. 
Storage. No materials that are buoyant, flammable, explosive or in time of flooding could be injurious to human, animal or plant life shall be stored below the regulatory flood elevation.
A. 
All mobile homes and any additions thereto shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement by providing over-the-top and frame ties to ground anchors in accordance with the American National Standards Institute and National Fire Protection Association Standards as specified in the Standard for the Installation of Mobile Homes, Including Mobile Home Park Requirements [NFPA No. 501A-1974 (ANSI A119.3-1975)], as amended, for mobile homes in hurricane zones or other appropriate standards such as the following:
(1) 
Over-the-top ties shall be provided at each of the four corners of the mobile home, with two additional ties per side at intermediate locations for units 50 feet or more in length and one additional tie per side for units less than 50 feet in length.
(2) 
Frame ties shall be provided at each corner of the mobile home, with five additional ties per side at intermediate locations for units 50 feet or more in length and four additional ties per side for units fewer than 50 feet in length.
(3) 
All components of the anchoring system shall be capable of carrying a force of 4,800 pounds per square inch.
B. 
All mobile homes and any additions thereto shall also be elevated in accordance with the following requirements:
(1) 
The stands or lots shall be elevated on compacted fill, or on pilings so that the lowest floor of the mobile home will be at or above the elevation of the regulatory flood.
(2) 
Adequate surface drainage is provided.
(3) 
Adequate access for a hauler is provided.
(4) 
Where pilings are used for elevation, the lots shall be large enough to permit steps; piling foundations shall be placed in stable soil no more than 10 feet apart; reinforcement shall be provided for pilings that will extend for six feet or more above the ground level.
C. 
An evacuation plan indicating alternate vehicular, access and escape routes shall be filed with the appropriate city officials for mobile home parks and mobile home subdivisions where appropriate.
D. 
No mobile home shall be placed in any designated floodway district or area.
Structures existing in any designated floodplain districts prior to the enactment of this Article, but which are not in compliance with these provisions, may continue to remain subject to the following:
A. 
Existing structures located in a designated floodway district or area shall not be expanded or enlarged, unless the effect of the proposed expansion or enlargement on flood heights is fully offset by accompanying improvements.
B. 
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.
C. 
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 Article.
A. 
If compliance with the elevation or floodproofing requirements stated above would result in an exceptional hardship for a prospective builder, developer or landowner, the city may, upon request, grant relief from the strict application of the requirements.
B. 
Requests for variances to the strict application of the provisions of this Article, may be granted by the city in accordance with the following procedures and criteria:
(1) 
No variances shall be granted for any construction, development, use or activity within any designated Floodway District (FW) that would cause any increase in the one-hundred-year elevation.
(2) 
If granted, a variance shall involve only the least modification necessary to provide relief.
(3) 
In granting any variance, the city may 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 Article.
(4) 
Whenever a variance is granted, the city 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.
(5) 
In reviewing any request for a variance, the city shall consider, but not be limited to the following that:
(a) 
There is good and sufficient cause.
(b) 
Failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
(c) 
The granting of the variance will not result in any unacceptable or prohibited increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public or conflict with any other applicable local or state ordinances and regulations.
(6) 
A complete record of all variance requests and related actions shall be maintained by the city. In addition, a report of all variances granted during the year shall be included in the annual report to the Federal Insurance Administration.
C. 
Notwithstanding any of the above, however, all structures shall be designed and constructed so as to have the capability of resisting the hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and pressures and effects of buoyancy of the one-hundred-year flood.
In addition to the permit application requirements normally required under the City Building Code, as amended,[1] the City Building Official shall require the following specific information to be included as part of the application for a building permit:
A. 
A plan which details the:
(1) 
Existing and proposed contours and/or elevation (in relation to mean sea level, i.e., the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929) of the ground and the lowest floor of proposed construction.
(2) 
One-hundred-year-flood elevations.
(3) 
Other associated factors such as pressures and impact forces, etc.
(4) 
Storage elevations.
(5) 
Size of the structures.
(6) 
Location and elevations of streets, water supply and sanitary facilities.
(7) 
Soil types.
(8) 
Floodproofing measures including specific reference to the level of the floodproofing in relation to the one-hundred-year flood.
B. 
A document, certified by a registered professional engineer or architect, which states that the proposed construction has been adequately designed to withstand the flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact, the uplift forces and other hydrostatic, hydrodynamic and buoyancy factors associated with the one-hundred-year flood. Such statement shall include a description of the type and extent of floodproofing measures which have been incorporated into the design of the structure.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Article I, Construction Standards.
A copy of all applications and plans for construction or development in any designated floodplain district to be considered for approval shall be submitted by the City Building Official to the County Conservation District for review and comment prior to the issuance of a building permit. The recommendations of the Conservation District shall be considered by the City Building Official for possible incorporation into the proposed plan.
Prior to the issuance of any building permit, the City Building Official shall review the application for permit to determine if all other necessary governmental permits such as those required by state and federal laws have been obtained including those required by Act 537, the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act,[1] the Pennsylvania Water Obstructions Act of 1913,[2] and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act amendments of 1972, Section 404, 33 U.S.C. 1334. No permit shall be issued until this determination has been made.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq.
[2]
Editor's Note: Said Act was repealed 10-13-1979 by P.L. 204, No. 70. See now 32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq.
For purposes of implementation this Article II, construction shall be considered to have started with the first placement of permanent construction of the site, such as the pouring of slabs or footings or any work beyond the stage of excavation. For a structure without a basement or poured footings, the start of construction includes the first permanent framing or assembly of the structure or any part thereof on its pilings or foundation or the affixing of any prefabricated structures or mobile home to its permanent site. Permanent construction does not include land preparation, land clearing, grading, filling, excavation for basement, footings, piers or foundations, erection of temporary forms, the installation of pilings under the proposed subsurface footings or the installation of sewer, gas and water pipes or electric or other service lines from the street.
A. 
The provisions of this section shall be applicable, in addition to any other applicable provisions of this Article, or any other ordinance, code or regulation.
B. 
In accordance with the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act,[1] and the regulation adopted by the Department of Community and Economic Development, as required by the Act, any new or substantially improved structure which: will be used for the production or storage of any of the following dangerous materials or substances; or will be used for any activity requiring the maintenance of a supply of more than 550 gallons, or other comparable volume, of any of the following dangerous materials or substances on the premises; or will involve the production, storage or use of any amount of radioactive substances; shall be subject to the provisions of this section, in addition to all other applicable provisions. The following list of materials and substances are considered dangerous to human life:
(1) 
Acetone.
(2) 
Ammonia.
(3) 
Benzene.
(4) 
Calcium carbide.
(5) 
Carbon disulfide.
(6) 
Celluloid.
(7) 
Chlorine.
(8) 
Hydrochloric acid.
(9) 
Hydrocyanic acid.
(10) 
Magnesium.
(11) 
Nitric acid and oxides of nitrogen.
(12) 
Petroleum products (gasoline, fuel oil, etc.).
(13) 
Phosphorus.
(14) 
Potassium.
(15) 
Sodium.
(16) 
Sulfur and sulfur products.
(17) 
Pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides).
(18) 
Radioactive substances, insofar as such substances are not otherwise regulated.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 32 P.S. § 679.101 et seq.
C. 
Within any Floodway District (FW), any structure of the kind described in Subsection B above shall be prohibited.
D. 
Structures.
(1) 
Where permitted within any Flood-Fringe District (FF) or General Floodplain District (FA), any structure of the kind described in Subsection B above, shall be:
(a) 
Elevated or designed and constructed to remain completely dry up to at least one and one-half (11/2) feet above the one-hundred-year flood.
(b) 
Designed to prevent pollution from the structure or activity during the course of a one-hundred-year flood.
(2) 
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" (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, June 1972), or with some other equivalent watertight standard.
E. 
Within any General Floodplain District (FA) general floodplain area, any structure of the kind described in Subsection B above, shall be prohibited within the area measured 50 feet landward from the top-of-bank of any watercourse.
F. 
Except for a possible modification of the freeboard requirements involved, no variance shall be granted for any of the other requirements of this section.
A. 
The provisions of this section shall be applicable, in addition to any other applicable provisions of this Article or any other ordinance, code or regulation.
B. 
Identification of activities requiring a special permit. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act (Act 1978-166)[1] and regulations adopted by the Department of Community and Economic Development, as required by the Act, the following obstructions and activities are permitted only by special permit, if located partially or entirely within any identified floodplain district.
(1) 
The commencement of any of the following activities; or the construction, enlargement or expansion of any structure used, or intended to be used, for any of the following activates:
(a) 
Hospitals.
(b) 
Nursing homes.
(c) 
Jails or prisons.
(2) 
The commencement of, or any construction of, a new mobile home park or mobile subdivision, or substantial improvement to an existing mobile home park or mobile home subdivision.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 423, Subdivision and Land Development.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 32 P.S. § 679.101 et seq.
C. 
Application requirements. Applicants for special permits shall provide five copies of the following items:
(1) 
A written request including a completed building permit application form.
(2) 
A small scale, map showing the vicinity in which the proposed site is located.
(3) 
A plan of the entire site, clearly and legibly drawn at a scale of one inch being equal to 100 feet or less, showing the following:
(a) 
North arrow, scale and date.
(b) 
Topography used upon the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, showing existing and proposed contours at intervals of two feet.
(c) 
All property and lot lines including dimensions and the size of the site expressed in acres or square feet.
(d) 
The location of all existing streets, drives, other accessways and parking areas, with information concerning widths, pavement types and construction and elevations.
(e) 
The location of any existing bodies of water or watercourses, buildings, structures and other public or private facilities, including railroad tracks and facilities and any other natural and man-made features affecting, or affected by, the proposed activity or development.
(f) 
The location of the floodplain boundary line, information and spot elevations concerning the one-hundred-year-flood elevations and information concerning the flow of water including direction and velocities.
(g) 
The location of all proposed buildings, structures, utilities and any other improvements.
(h) 
Any other information which the municipality considers necessary for adequate review of the application.
(4) 
Plans of all proposed buildings, structures and other improvements, clearly and legibly drawn at suitable scale showing the following:
(a) 
Sufficiently detailed architectural or engineering drawings including floor plan, sections and exterior building elevations, as appropriate.
(b) 
For any proposed building, the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) and, as required, the elevation of any other floor.
(c) 
Complete information concerning flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces and other factors associated with the one-hundred-year flood.
(d) 
Detailed information concerning any proposed floodproofing measures.
(e) 
Cross-section drawings for all proposed streets, drives, other accessways and parking areas, showing all rights-of-way and pavement widths.
(f) 
Profile drawings for all proposed streets, drives, and vehicular accessways including existing and proposed grades.
(g) 
Plans and profiles of all proposed sanitary and storm sewer systems, water supply systems and any other utilities and facilities.
(5) 
The following data and documentation:
(a) 
Certification from the applicant that the site upon which the activity or development is proposed is an existing separate and single parcel, owned by the applicant or the client he represents.
(b) 
Certification from a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect that the proposed construction has been adequately designed to protect against damage from the one-hundred-year flood.
(c) 
A statement, certified by a registered professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or other qualified person which contains a complete and accurate description of the nature and extent of pollution that might possibly occur from the development during the course of a one-hundred-year flood, including a statement concerning the effects such pollution may have on human life.
(d) 
A statement certified by a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect, which contains a complete and accurate description of the effects the proposed development will have on one-hundred-year-flood elevations and flows.
(e) 
A statement, certified by a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect, which contains a complete and accurate description of the kinds and amounts of any loose buoyant materials or debris that may possibly exist or be located on the site below the one-hundred-year-flood elevation and the effects such materials and debris may have on one-hundred-year-flood elevations and flows.
(f) 
The appropriate component of the Department of Environmental Protections' Planning Module for Land Development.
(g) 
Where any excavation or grading is proposed, a plan meeting the requirement of the Department of Environmental Protection to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control.
(h) 
Any other applicable permits such as, but not limited to a permit for any activity regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection under Section 302 of Act 1978-166.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: See 32 P.S. § 679.302.
(i) 
An evacuation plan which fully explains the manner in which the site will be safely evacuated before or during the course of a one-hundred-year flood.
D. 
Application review procedures. Upon receipt of an application for a special permit by the City of Scranton, the following procedures shall apply in addition to all other applicable permit procedures which are already established:
(1) 
Within three working days following receipt of the application, a complete copy of the of the application and all accompanying documentation shall be forwarded to the County Planning Commission by registered or certified mail for its review and recommendations. Copies of the application shall also be forwarded to the City of Scranton's Planning Commission and engineer for review and comment.
(2) 
If an application is received that is incomplete, the City of Scranton shall notify the applicant, in writing, stating in what respects the application is deficient.
(3) 
If the City of Scranton decides to disapprove an application it shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the disapproval.
(4) 
If the City of Scranton approves an application, it shall file written notification, together with the application and all pertinent information, with the Department of Community and economic Development, by registered mail, within five working days after the date of approval.
(5) 
Before issuing the special permit, the City of Scranton shall allow the Department of Community and Economic Development 30 days after receipt of the notification by the Department to review the application and the decision made by the City of Scranton.
(6) 
If the City of Scranton does not receive any communication from the Department of Community and Economic Development during the thirty-day review period, it may issue a special permit to the applicant.
(7) 
If the Department of Community and Economic Development should decide to disapprove an application, it shall notify the City of Scranton and the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the disapproval and the City of Scranton shall not issue the special permit.
E. 
Technical requirements for development requiring a special permit. In addition to any other applicable requirements, the following provisions shall also apply to the activities requiring a special permit. If there is any conflict between any of the following requirements and any otherwise applicable provision, the more restrictive provision shall apply.
(1) 
No application for a special permit shall be approved unless it can be determined that the structure or activity will be located, constructed and maintained in an manner which will:
(a) 
Fully protect the health and safety of the general public and any occupants of the structure. At a minimum, all new structures shall be designed, located and constructed so that:
[1] 
The structure will survive inundation by waters of the one-hundred-year flood without any lateral movement or damage to either the structure itself, or to any of its equipment or contents below the one-hundred-year-flood elevation.
[2] 
The lowest floor elevation (including basement) will be at least one and one-half (11/2) feet above the one-hundred-year-flood elevation.
[3] 
The occupants of the structures can remain inside for an indefinite period of time and be safely evacuated at any time during the one-hundred-year flood.
(b) 
Prevent any significant possibility of pollution, increased flood levels of flows or debris endangering life and property.
(2) 
All 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 by the City of Scranton and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
F. 
Within any floodplain district, any structure of the kind described in Subsection B above, shall be prohibited within the area measured 50 feet landward from the top-of-bank of any watercourse.
G. 
Except for a possible modification of the freeboard requirement involved, no variance shall be granted for any of the other requirements of this section.