[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Wharton as indicated in article histories (Ch. XIX of the Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Flood Hazard Areas
Article II Flood-Fringe Areas
[Sec. 19-1 of the Revised General Ordinances]
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 Borough of Wharton, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, does ordain as follows, which ordinance shall be established as Chapter 142 of the Borough of Wharton Code.
The flood hazard areas of the Borough of Wharton, County of Morris, are subject to periodic inundation which results 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 article 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, streets and bridges, located in areas of special flood hazard.
Help maintain a stable tax base by providing for second 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 article includes methods or provisions for:
Restricting or prohibiting uses which are dangerous to health, safety and property due to water or erosion hazards or which result in damaging increases in erosion or in flood heights.
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 helps 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 article shall be interpreted so as to give them the meanings they have in common usage and to give this article its most reasonable application.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- 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 give year.
- BASE FLOOD
- The flood having a one-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
- 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.
- EXISTING MOBILE HOME PARK OR MOBILE HOME SUBDIVISION
- A parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more mobile home lots for rent or sale of which the construction of facilities for servicing the lot on which the mobile home is to be affixed (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads, and the construction of streets) is completed before the effective date of this article.
- EXPANSION TO AN EXISTING MOBILE HOME PARK OR MOBILE HOME SUBDIVISION
- The preparation of additional sites by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the mobile homes are to be affixed (including the installation of utilities, either final site grading or pouring of concrete or the construction of streets).
- 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 zone 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.
- 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.
- MANUFACTURED HOME
- A structure that is transportable in one or more sections, building on a permanent chassis and designed to be used with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. It does not include recreational vehicles or travel trailers.
- NEW CONSTRUCTION
- Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of this article.
- NEW MOBILE HOME PARK OR MOBILE HOME SUBDIVISION
- A parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more mobile home lots for rent or sale for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lot (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads, and the construction of streets) is completed on or after the effective date of this article.
- START OF CONSTRUCTION
- The first placement of permanent construction of a structure (other than a mobile home) on a site, such as the pouring of slabs or footings or any work beyond the stage of excavation. "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 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 as part of the main structure. For a structure (other than a mobile home) 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 piling or foundation. For mobile homes not within mobile home park or mobile home subdivision, "start of construction" means the affixing of the mobile home to its permanent site. For mobile homes within mobile home parks or mobile home subdivision, "start of construction" is the date on which the construction of facilities for servicing the site on which the mobile 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) is completed.
- A walled and roofed building, a mobile home, or a gas or liquid storage tank that is principally above ground.
- 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 article which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this article.
This article shall apply to all areas of special flood hazard within the jurisdiction of the Borough of Wharton.
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 Borough of Wharton, Morris County," dated August 19, 1986, and subsequent revisions, with accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Boundary-Floodway Maps, are hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this article. The flood insurance study is on file with the Clerk of the Borough of Wharton.
No structure or land shall hereafter be constructed, located, extended, converted or altered without full compliance with the terms of this article and other applicable regulations. Violation of the provisions of this article 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 article or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article I, General Penalty. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Borough of Wharton, Morris County, from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation. Each day of a violation shall be considered a new violation.
This article is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions. However, where this article and other ordinances, easement, covenant or deed restrictions conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.
In the interpretation and application of this article, all provisions shall be considered as minimum requirements, liberally construed in favor of the governing body, and deemed neither to limit nor repeal any other powers granted under state statutes.
The degree of flood protection required by this article is 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 article does not imply that land outside the areas of special flood hazard or uses permitted within such area will be free from flooding or flood damages. This article shall not create liability on the part of the Borough of Wharton, Morris County, any officer or employee thereof or the Federal Insurance Administration for any flood damages that result from reliance on this article 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 § 142-7.
Application for a development permit shall be made on forms furnished by the Construction Code Official and may include but shall 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.
The Construction Code Official is hereby appointed to administer and implement this article by granting or denying development permit applications in accordance with its provisions.
Duties of the Construction Code Official shall include but shall not be limited to:
Development permit review.
Review all development permits to determine that the permit requirements of this article 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 data has not been provided in accordance with § 142-7, Basis for establishing areas of special flood hazard, the Construction Code Official shall obtain, review and reasonable utilize any base flood elevation data available from a federal, state or other source in order to administer § 142-17A, Residential construction, and § 142-17B, Nonresidential construction.
Information to be obtained and maintained.
Obtain and record the actual elevation in relation to mean sea level of the lowest 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 article.
Alteration of watercourses.
Notify adjacent communities and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection 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 § 142-15.
The Board of Adjustment as established by the Borough of Wharton shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this article.
The Board of Adjustment shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged that there is an error in any requirements, decision or determination made by the Construction Code Official in the enforcement or administration of this article.
Those aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Adjustment or any taxpayer may appeal such decision to a court having competent jurisdiction.
In passing upon such applications, the Board of Adjustment shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this article and:
The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others.
The danger to 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 service provided by the proposed facility.
The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, 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 § 142-15A(4) and the purposes of this article, the Board of Adjustment may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this article.
The Construction Code Official shall maintain the records of all appeal actions, including technical information, and report any variances to the Federal Insurance Administration upon request.
Conditions for variances.
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 § 142-15A(4) 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 section.
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; and
A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public as identified in § 142-15A(4), 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.
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 mobile homes shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement by providing over-the-top and frame ties to ground anchors. Special requirements shall be that:
Over-the-top ties be provided at each of the four corners of the mobile home, with two additional ties per side at intermediate locations, with mobile homes less than 50 feet long requiring one additional tie per side.
Frame ties be provided at each corner of the home, with five additional ties per side at intermediate points, with mobile homes less than 50 feet long requiring four additional ties per side.
All components of the anchoring system be capable of carrying a force of 4,800 pounds.
Any additions to the mobile home be similarly anchored.
Construction materials and methods.
All new 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 into the systems and discharge from the systems into floodwaters.
On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
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 proposal and other proposed development which contain at least 50 lots or five acres, whichever is less.
In all areas of special flood hazard where base flood elevation data has been provided as set forth in § 142-7, Basis for establishing areas of special flood hazard, or in § 142-14B, 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.
For new mobile home parks and mobile home subdivisions; for expansions to existing mobile home parks and mobile home subdivisions; for existing mobile home parks and mobile home subdivisions where the repair, reconstruction or improvement of the streets, utilities and pads equals or exceeds 50% of the value of the streets, utilities and pads before the repair, reconstruction or improvement has commenced; and for mobile homes not placed in a mobile home park or mobile home subdivision, it shall be required that:
Stands or lots are elevated on compacted fill or on pilings so that the lowest floor of the mobile home will be at or above the base flood level.
Adequate surface drainage and access for a hauler are provided.
In the instance of elevation on pilings, that lots are large enough to permit steps; piling foundations are placed in stable soil, no more than 10 feet apart; and reinforcement is provided for pilings more than six feet above the ground level.
No mobile home shall be placed in a floodway, except in an existing mobile home park or an existing mobile home subdivision.
Located within areas of special flood hazard established in § 142-7 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:
Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements and other development, shall be 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.
The placement of any mobile homes shall be prohibited 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.
[Secs. 19-2, 19-2.1 and 19-3 of the Revised General Ordinances]
This article shall be known and may be cited as "the Flood-Fringe Ordinance of the Borough of Wharton."
It is hereby determined that the flood-fringe areas of delineated streams within the Borough of Wharton are subjected to flooding and that such flooding is a danger to the lives and properties of the public; that such flooding is also a danger to the natural resources of the Borough of Wharton, County of Morris, State of New Jersey; that unregulated development, the placement of fill or construction within these flood-fringe areas results in increased flood damages, erosion damages and adverse impacts on the ecological resources within and downstream of the Borough of Wharton. It is therefore determined that it is in the public's interest to regulate the development of real property within the flood-fringe areas of delineated streams pursuant to the Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq., and related rules, and N.J.A.C. 7:13 and to establish standards to regulate construction and the placement of fill within these areas. The Borough of Wharton hereby accepts the responsibility empowered to it by the Flood Hazard Area Control Act to regulate stream encroachments within the flood-fringe areas of delineated streams.
Words and terms used in this article shall have the meanings given to them in the State Flood Hazard Area Regulations, N.J.A.C. 7:13-1.2.
The following words and terms, when used in this article, shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- The Flood Hazard Area Control Act, N.J.A.C. 58:16A-50 et seq.
- Changes in banks, bed and vicinity of a stream which may affect its flood-carrying capacity or environment.
- The owner of the property on which the permit is applied for or his legal agent.
- The Board's application form.
- That entity that has been given the authority to enforce this article by the municipal governing body.