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Township of Lower Saucon, PA
Northampton County
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If compliance with any of the requirements of this chapter would result in an exceptional hardship to a prospective builder, developer or landowner, the Zoning Hearing Board of Lower Saucon Township may, upon request, grant relief from the strict application of the requirements.
General. If compliance with any of the requirements of this chapter would result in an exceptional hardship for a prospective builder, developer, or landowner, the Zoning Hearing Board may, upon request, grant relief from the strict application of the requirements. Requests for variances shall be considered by the Lower Saucon Township Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with this chapter and the procedures contained in § 90-18 and the following:
No variance shall be granted within any identified floodplain area that would cause any increase in BFE. In A Area/District, BFEs are determined using the methodology in § 90-20C.
No variance shall be granted for any of the prohibited uses or activities in § 90-26 to locate in the Flood Hazard District.
If granted, a variance shall involve only the least modification necessary to provide relief.
In granting any variance, the Lower Saucon Township Zoning Hearing Board shall 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 chapter.
Whenever a variance is granted, the Lower Saucon Township Zoning Hearing Board shall notify the applicant in writing that:
The granting of the variance may result in increased premium rates for flood insurance.
Such variances may increase the risks to life and property.
In reviewing any request for a variance, the Lower Saucon Township Zoning Hearing Board shall consider, at a minimum, the following:
That there is good and sufficient cause.
That failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
That the granting of the variance will:
Neither result in an unacceptable or prohibited increase in flood heights, additional threats to public safety, or extraordinary public expense;
Nor create nuisances, cause fraud on, or victimize the public, or conflict with any other applicable state or local ordinances and regulations.
A complete record of all variance requests and related actions shall be maintained by the Lower Saucon Township Zoning Hearing Board. In addition, a report of all variances granted during the year shall be included in the annual report to the FEMA.
Review factors. In reviewing applications for a variance, the Boards shall consider all relevant factors and procedures specified in other articles of this chapter and:
The danger to life and property due to increased flood heights or velocities caused by encroachments.
The danger that materials may be swept on to other lands or downstream to the injury of others.
The proposed water supply and sanitation systems and the ability of these systems to prevent disease, contamination and unsanitary conditions.
The susceptibility of the proposed use and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owners.
The importance of the services provided by the proposed use to the community.
The requirements of the use for a waterfront location.
The availability of alternative locations not subject to flooding for the proposed use.
The compatibility of the proposed use with existing development and development anticipated in the foreseeable future.
The relationship of the proposed use to the Lower Saucon Township Comprehensive Plan and the Lower Saucon Township stormwater management objectives and regulations.[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 137, Stormwater Management.
The safety of access to the property in times of flood of ordinary and emergency vehicles.
The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of the floodwaters expected at the site.
The requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program Regulations, Part 59: General Provisions, and Part 60: Criteria for Land Management and Use.
Such other factors which are relevant to the purposes of this chapter.
Supplemental technical review. The Boards may refer any application and accompanying documentation pertaining to any request for a variance to the Township Engineer or other qualified person or agency for:
Technical assistance in evaluating the proposed project in relation to flood heights and velocities, and the adequacy of the plans for protection and other related matters.
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 Lower Saucon Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
Notwithstanding any of the above, however, all structures shall be designed and constructed so as to have the capability of withstanding the one-percent-annual-chance flood.