City of Firebaugh, CA
Fresno County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
a. 
Statutory Authorization. The Legislature of the State has, in Government Code sections 65302, 65560 and 65800, conferred upon local government units authority to adopt regulations designed to promote the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry. Therefore, the city council of the City of Firebaugh adopts the following flood plain management regulations.
b. 
Findings of Fact.
1. 
The flood hazard areas of the city 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.
2. 
These flood losses are caused by uses that are inadequately elevated, floodproofed or protected from flood damage. The cumulative effect of obstructions in areas of special flood hazards which increase flood heights and velocities also contribute to the flood loss.
c. 
Statement of Purpose. 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:
1. 
Protect human life and health;
2. 
Minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects;
3. 
Minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public;
4. 
Minimize prolonged business interruptions;
5. 
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;
6. 
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 blighted areas caused by flood damage;
7. 
Ensure that potential buyers are notified that property is in an area of special flood hazard; and
8. 
Ensure that those who occupy the areas of special flood hazard assume responsibility for their actions.
d. 
Methods of Reducing Flood Losses. In order to accomplish its purposes, this chapter includes methods and provisions to:
1. 
Restrict or prohibit uses which are dangerous to health, safety and property due to water or erosion hazards, or which result in damaging increases in erosion or flood heights or velocities;
2. 
Require that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction;
3. 
Control the alteration of natural flood plains, stream channels and natural protective barriers which help accommodate or channel flood waters;
4. 
Control filling, grading, dredging and other development which may increase flood damage; and
5. 
Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert flood waters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas.
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.
a. 
ACCESSORY USE – shall mean a use which is incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the parcel of land on which it is located.
b. 
ALLUVIAL FAN – shall mean a geomorphologic feature characterized by a cone or fan-shaped deposit of boulders, gravel or fine sediments that have been eroded from mountain slopes, transported by flood flows, and then deposited on the valley floors, and which is subject to flash flooding, high velocity flows, debris flows, erosion, sediment movement and deposition, and channel migration.
c. 
APEX – shall mean the point of highest elevation on an alluvial fan, which on an undisturbed alluvial fan is generally the point where the major stream that formed the fan emerges from the mountain front.
d. 
APPEAL – shall mean a request for a review of the flood plain administrator's interpretation of any provision of this chapter pursuant to subsection 8.7-4d.
e. 
AREA OF SHALLOW FLOODING – shall mean a designated AO or AH 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. Such flooding is characterized by ponding or sheet flow.
f. 
AREA OF SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD – See "Special flood hazard area," below.
g. 
BASE FLOOD – shall mean a flood which has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (also called the "100-year flood"). Base flood is the term used throughout this chapter.
h. 
BASEMENT – shall mean any area of the building having its floor subgrade (i.e., below ground level) on all sides.
i. 
BUILDING – see "Structure" below.
j. 
DEVELOPMENT – shall mean any manmade 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 or storage of equipment or materials.
k. 
ENCROACHMENT – shall mean the advance or infringement of uses, plant growth, fill, excavation, buildings, permanent structures or development into a flood plain which may impede or alter the flow capacity of a flood plain.
l. 
EXISTING MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION – shall mean a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed before the effective date of this chapter.
m. 
EXPANSION TO AN EXISTING MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION – shall mean the preparation of additional sites in an existing manufactured home park or subdivision by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads).
n. 
FLOOD, FLOODING, OR FLOOD WATER – shall mean:
1. 
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland or tidal waters; the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; and/or mudslides (i.e., mudflows); and
2. 
The condition resulting from flood-related erosion.
o. 
FLOOD BOUNDARY AND FLOODWAY MAP (FBFM) – shall mean the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazards and the floodway.
p. 
FLOOD HAZARD BOUNDARY MAP – shall mean the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated the areas of flood hazards.
q. 
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM) – shall mean the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazards and the risk premium zones applicable to the city.
r. 
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY – shall mean the official report provided by the Federal Insurance Administration that includes flood profiles, the Flood Insurance Rate Map, the Flood Boundary and Floodway Map and the water surface elevation of the base flood.
s. 
FLOOD PLAIN OR FLOOD-PRONE AREA – shall mean any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source. See also "Flooding," above.
t. 
FLOOD PLAIN ADMINISTRATOR – shall mean the city manager or his designee, who shall be the individual authorized to administer and enforce the city's flood plain management regulations.
u. 
FLOOD PLAIN MANAGEMENT – shall mean the operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage and preserving and enhancing, where possible, natural resources in the flood plain, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, flood plain management regulations and open space plans.
v. 
FLOOD PLAIN MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS – shall mean this chapter, other zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, building codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as grading and erosion control) and other police power regulations and standards which control development in flood-prone areas. This term describes Federal, State or local regulations or any combination thereof which provide standards for preventing and reducing flood loss and damage.
w. 
FLOODPROOFING – shall mean 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 or structures and their contents. (Refer to FEMA Technical Bulletins TB 1-93, TB 3-93 and TB 7-93 for guidelines on dry and wet floodproofing.)
x. 
FLOODWAY OR "REGULATORY FLOODWAY – shall mean 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 one foot.
y. 
FLOODWAY FRINGE – shall mean that area of the flood plain on either side of the regulatory floodway where encroachment may be permitted.
z. 
FRAUD AND VICTIMIZATION, as related to subsection 8.7-6, "Variances," of this chapter, – shall mean that the variance granted must not cause fraud on or victimization of the public. In examining this requirement, the city council will consider the fact that every newly constructed building adds to government responsibilities and will remain a part of the community for 50 to 100 years. Buildings that are permitted to be constructed below the base flood elevation are subject during all those years to increased risk of damage from floods, while future owners of the property and the community as a whole are subject to all the costs, inconvenience, danger and suffering that those increased flood damages bring. In addition, future owners may purchase the property unaware that it is subject to potential flood damage and can be insured only at very high flood insurance rates.
aa. 
GOVERNING BODY – shall mean the city council, the governing body of the city that is empowered to adopt and implement regulations to provide for the public health, safety and general welfare of its citizenry.
bb. 
HARDSHIP, as related to subsection 8.7-6, "Variances," of this chapter, – shall mean the exceptional hardship that would result from a failure to grant the requested variance. The grant of a variance must be supported by findings, based on substantial evidence in the record, that the hardship requiring a variance is caused by circumstances that are exceptional, unusual and peculiar to the property involved. Mere economic or financial hardship alone will not qualify as exceptional. Inconvenience, aesthetic considerations, physical handicaps, personal preferences or the disapproval of one's neighbors also will not qualify as exceptional hardship. All of these problems can be resolved through other means without granting a variance.
cc. 
HIGHEST ADJACENT GRADE – shall mean the highest natural elevation of the ground surface next to the proposed walls of a structure prior to construction.
dd. 
HISTORIC STRUCTURE – shall mean any structure that is:
1. 
Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the United States Department of Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register;
2. 
Certified or preliminarily determined by the United States Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district;
3. 
Individually listed on a State inventory of historic places in the State under a State preservation program which has been approved by the United States Secretary of the Interior; or
4. 
Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in the city under a State preservation program that has been certified either by an approved State program as determined by the United States Secretary of the Interior, or directly by the United States Secretary of the Interior if the State does not have an approved program.
ee. 
LEVEE – shall mean a manmade structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control or divert the flow of water so as to provide protection from temporary flooding.
ff. 
LEVEE SYSTEM – shall mean a flood protection system which consists of a levee, or levees, and associated structures such as closure and drainage devices, which are constructed and operated in accordance with sound engineering practices.
gg. 
LOWEST FLOOR – shall mean the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including a basement, if any. See also "Basement," above. For purposes of this chapter, an unfinished or flood resistant enclosure below the lowest floor that is usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other than a basement area is not considered a building's lowest floor provided it conforms to applicable non-elevation design requirements, including but not limited to:
1. 
The wet floodproofing standard in subsection 8.7-5a3(c);
2. 
The anchoring standards in subsection 8.7-5a1;
3. 
The construction materials and methods standards in subsection 8.7-5a2; and
4. 
The standards for utilities in subsection 8.7-5b.
For residential structures, all subgrade enclosed areas shall be prohibited, as they are considered to be basements (see "Basement," above). This prohibition shall include below-grade garages and storage areas.
hh. 
MANUFACTURED HOME – shall mean 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 attached to the required facilities. The term "manufactured home" does not include a recreational vehicle. See "Recreational vehicle," below.
ii. 
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION – shall mean a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
jj. 
MARKET VALUE – shall mean the estimated cost to replace the structure in new condition, adjusted by the amount of depreciation which has accrued since the structure was constructed. The cost of replacement of the structure shall be based on a square foot cost factor determined by reference to a building cost estimating guide recognized by the building construction industry. The amount of depreciation shall be determined by taking into account the age and physical deterioration of the structure and functional obsolescence as approved by the flood plain administrator, but shall not include economic or other forms of external obsolescence. Use of replacement costs or accrued depreciation factors different from those contained in recognized building cost estimating guides may be considered only if such factors are included in a report prepared by an independent professional appraiser and supported by a written explanation of the differences.
kk. 
MEAN SEA LEVEL – shall mean, for purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program, the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929 or other datum to which base flood elevations shown on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map are referenced.
ll. 
NEW CONSTRUCTION, for flood plain management purposes, – shall mean structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of this chapter, and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.
mm. 
NEW MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION – shall mean a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed on or after the effective date of this chapter.
nn. 
OBSTRUCTION – shall mean, but is not limited to, any dam, wall, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, protection, excavation, channelization, bridge, conduit, culvert, building, wire, fence, rock, gravel, refuse, fill, structure, vegetation or other material in, along, across or projecting into any watercourse which may alter, impede, retard or change the direction and/or velocity of the flow of water or, due to its location, its propensity to snare or collect debris carried by the flow of water, or its likelihood of being carried downstream.
oo. 
100-YEAR FLOOD – see "Base flood," above.
pp. 
PUBLIC SAFETY AND NUISANCE, as related to subsection 8.7-6, "Variances," of this chapter, – shall mean that the granting of a variance must not result in anything which is injurious to the safety or health of an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, or which unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin.
qq. 
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE – shall mean a vehicle which is:
1. 
Built on a single chassis;
2. 
Four hundred square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;
3. 
Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light-duty truck; and
4. 
Not designed primarily for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
rr. 
REGULATORY FLOODWAY – shall mean 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 one foot.
ss. 
REMEDY A VIOLATION – shall mean to bring the structure or other development into compliance with State or local flood plain management regulations, or, if this is not possible, to reduce the impacts of its noncompliance. Methods to reduce impacts shall include protecting the structure or other affected development from flood damages, implementing the enforcement provisions of the ordinance or otherwise deterring future similar violations, or reducing local, State or Federal financial exposure with regard to the structure or other development.
tt. 
RIVERINE – shall mean relating to, formed by or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream, brook, etc.
uu. 
SHEET FLOW AREA – see "Area of shallow flooding," above.
vv. 
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA (SFHA) – shall mean an area in the flood plain subject to a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. A special flood hazard area is shown on an FHBM or FIRM as Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99 or AH.
ww. 
START OF CONSTRUCTION, as related to new construction or other proposed substantial improvement to property, – shall mean the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement or other improvement is within 180 days after the date the permit was issued. The actual start means either the first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the pouring of 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 shall not include (i) land preparation, such as clearing, grading and filling, (ii) the installation of streets and/or walkways, (iii) excavation for a basement, footings, piers or foundations, or the erection of temporary forms, or (iv) 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. For a substantial improvement, the actual start of construction means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of a building, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.
xx. 
STRUCTURE – shall mean a walled and roofed building that is principally above ground; this includes a gas or liquid storage tank or a manufactured home.
yy. 
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE – shall mean damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its condition before the damage would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
zz. 
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT – shall mean any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other proposed development work on an existing structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include either:
1. 
Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations or State or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications which have been identified by the local code enforcement official and which are the minimum necessary to assure safe living conditions; or
2. 
Any alteration of State structure, provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as State structure.
aaa. 
VARIANCE – shall mean a grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter pursuant to subsection 8.7-6, which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.
bbb. 
VIOLATION – shall mean the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with this chapter. A structure or other development without the elevation certificate, other certifications or other evidence of compliance required in this chapter shall be presumed to be in violation until such time as the required documentation is provided.
ccc. 
WATER SURFACE ELEVATION – shall mean the height, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929 (or other datum, where specified) of floods of various magnitudes and frequencies in the flood plains of coastal or riverine areas.
ddd. 
WATERCOURSE – shall mean a lake, river, creek, stream, wash, arroyo, channel or other topographic feature on or over which waters flow at least periodically. Watercourse includes areas specifically designated by the flood plain administrator as areas in which substantial flood damage may occur.
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
a. 
Lands to Which This Chapter Applies. This chapter shall apply to all special flood hazard areas within the jurisdiction of the city.
b. 
Basis for Establishing the Special Flood Hazard Areas. The special flood hazard areas identified by the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) dated November 20, 1999, and accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) and Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps (FBFMs), dated April 20, 1999, and all subsequent amendments and/or revisions, are hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter. The FIS and attendant mapping is the minimum area of applicability of this chapter and may be supplemented by studies for other areas which allow implementation of this chapter and which are recommended to the city council by the flood plain administrator. The FIS, FIRMs and FBFMs are on file at the office of the city clerk, Firebaugh City Hall, 1575 Eleventh Street, Firebaugh, California 93622.
c. 
Compliance. 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 requirements of this chapter (including violation of conditions imposed hereunder and safeguards established in connection with such conditions) shall constitute a misdemeanor. Nothing herein shall prevent the city council from taking such lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation.
d. 
Abrogation and Greater Restrictions. This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate or impair any other chapter, code, development regulations, or existing easements, covenants or deed restrictions. This chapter shall be in addition to and without limitation on any other applicable chapter, code or development regulation. However, where this chapter and another chapter, code, regulation, easement, covenant or deed restriction conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.
e. 
Interpretation. In the interpretation and application of this chapter, all provisions shall be:
1. 
Considered as minimum requirements;
2. 
Liberally construed in favor of the city; and
3. 
Deemed neither to limit nor repeal any other powers granted under State statutes.
f. 
Warning and Disclaimer of Liability. The degree of flood protection required by this chapter 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 manmade or natural causes. This chapter shall not be deemed to imply that land outside the special flood hazard areas 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 city, the city council, any officer or employee of the city, the flood plain administrator, the State, the Federal Insurance Administration or the Federal Emergency Management Agency for any flood damages that result notwithstanding compliance with or reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made hereunder.
g. 
Severability. This chapter and the various parts thereof are hereby declared to be severable. Should any section of this chapter be declared by a court having jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, such decision shall not affect the validity of the chapter as a whole or any portion thereof other than the section so declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
a. 
Establishment of Development Permit. A development permit shall be obtained before any construction or other development begins within any special flood hazard area established in subsection 8.7-3b. Application for a development permit shall be made on forms furnished by the flood plain administrator and shall include, but not be limited to: plans in duplicate drawn to scale showing the nature, location, dimensions, and elevation of the area in question; and a description of all existing or proposed structures, fill, storage of materials and drainage facilities, and the location of the foregoing. Specifically, all the following information shall be provided, at a minimum:
1. 
Site plan, including but not limited to:
(a) 
For all proposed structures, spot ground elevations at building corners and twenty-foot or smaller intervals along the foundation footprint, or one-foot contour elevations throughout the building site; and
(b) 
Proposed locations of water supply, sanitary sewer and utilities; and
(c) 
If available, the base flood elevation from the Flood Insurance Study and/or Flood Insurance Rate Map; and
(d) 
If applicable, the location of the regulatory floodway.
2. 
Foundation design detail, including but not limited to:
(a) 
Proposed elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all structures in relation to the City of Firebaugh Datum, which requires that 2.38 feet be added to the base flood elevation or other elevation specified by FEMA on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or otherwise established under subsection 8.7-5c2; and
(b) 
For a crawl-space foundation, location and total net area of foundation openings as required in subsection 8.7-5a3(c) of this chapter and FEMA Technical Bulletins 1-93 and 7-93; and
(c) 
For foundations placed on fill, the location and height of fill, and compaction requirements (compacted to 95% using the Standard Proctor Test method).
3. 
Proposed elevation, in relation to the City of Firebaugh Datum (which requires that 2.38 feet be added to the base flood elevation or other elevation specified by FEMA on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) or otherwise established under subsection 8.7-5c2), to which any nonresidential structure will be floodproofed, as required in subsection 8.7-5a3(b) of this chapter and FEMA Technical Bulletin TB 3-93.
4. 
All appropriate certifications listed in subsection 8.7-4c4 of this chapter.
5. 
Description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development. A development permit described in this subsection shall be in addition to any other permit required in connection with the development under applicable law, including without limitation the zoning ordinance, the city's subdivision ordinance, the city's building code or any other applicable Federal, State or local law, ordinance or regulation. Issuance of a development permit under this subsection shall not waive the requirement to obtain such other permits required for the development. Any development granted under this chapter shall contain a statement to such effect.
b. 
Designation of the Flood Plain Administrator. The city manager is hereby appointed as the flood plain administrator to administer, implement and enforce this chapter by granting or denying development permits in accord with its provisions; provided that the city manager may from time to time designate another officer or employee of the city, as he deems appropriate, to serve as flood plain administrator.
c. 
Duties and Responsibilities of the Flood Plain Administrator. The duties and responsibilities of the flood plain administrator shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
1. 
Permit review. The flood plain administrator shall review all development permits to determine that:
(a) 
Permit requirements of this chapter have been satisfied,
(b) 
All other required State and Federal permits have been obtained,
(c) 
The site is reasonably safe from flooding, and
(d) 
The proposed development will not adversely affect the carrying capacity of areas where base flood elevations have been determined but a floodway has not been designated. For purposes of this chapter, "adversely affect" means that the cumulative effect of the proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated development, will increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot at any point.
2. 
Review, use and development of other base flood data.
(a) 
When base flood elevation data has not been provided in accordance with subsection 8.7-3b, the flood plain administrator shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from a Federal or State agency, or other source, in order to administer subsection 8.7-5. If the flood plain administrator deems appropriate, he shall submit any such information to the city council for consideration for adoption.
(b) 
If no base flood elevation data is available from a Federal or State agency or other source as described in paragraph (a), then a base flood elevation shall be obtained using one of the following methods from the FEMA publication, "Managing Floodplain Development in Approximate Zone A Areas - A Guide for Obtaining and Developing Base (100-year) Flood Elevations," dated July 1995, in order to administer Section 8.7-5:
(1) 
Simplified method.
(i) 
100-year or base flood discharge shall be obtained using the appropriate regression equation found in a U.S. geological survey publication, or the discharge-drainage area method; and
(ii) 
Base flood elevation shall be obtained using the Quick-2 computer program developed by FEMA.
(2) 
Detailed method.
(i) 
100-year or base flood discharge shall be obtained using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' HEC-HMS computer program; and
(ii) 
Base flood elevation shall be obtained using the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' HEC-RAS computer program.
3. 
Notification of other agencies. If the city proposes to alter or relocate a watercourse, the flood plain administrator shall:
(a) 
Notify adjacent communities and the California Department of Water Resources prior to alteration or relocation;
(b) 
Submit evidence of such notification to the Federal Insurance Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency; and
(c) 
Implement actions designed to assure that the flood carrying capacity within the altered or relocated portion of the watercourse is maintained.
4. 
Documentation of flood plain development. The flood plain administrator shall obtain and maintain for public inspection and make available, as needed, the following:
(a) 
Certification required by subsection 8.7-5a3(a) and subsection 8.7-5d (lowest floor elevations),
(b) 
Certification required by subsection 8.7-5a3(b) (elevation or floodproofing of nonresidential structures),
(c) 
Certification required by subsection 8.7-5a3(c) (wet floodproofing standard),
(d) 
Certification of elevation required by subsection 8.7-5c (subdivision standards), and
(e) 
Certification required by subsection 8.7-5f1 (floodway encroachments).
5. 
Map determinations. The flood plain administrator shall make interpretations, where needed, as to the exact location of the boundaries of the special flood hazard areas. Where there appears to be a conflict between a mapped boundary and actual field conditions, grade and base flood elevations shall be used to determine the boundaries of the special flood hazard area. Any person contesting the location of the boundary shall be given a reasonable opportunity to appeal the interpretation as provided in subsection 8.7-4d.
6. 
Remedial action. Take action to remedy violations of this chapter as specified in subsection 8.7-3c.
d. 
Appeals.
The city council shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision or determination made by the flood plain administrator in the enforcement or administration of this chapter. Appeals shall be conducted according to the procedure for appeals to the city council with respect to site plans, as set forth in subsection 25-4.6e of the zoning ordinance.
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
a. 
Standards of Construction.
In all special flood hazard areas, the following standards shall be required:
1. 
Anchoring.
(a) 
All new construction and substantial improvements shall be adequately anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure resulting from hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including the effects of buoyancy.
(b) 
All manufactured homes shall meet the anchoring standards of subsection 8.7-5d.
2. 
Construction materials and methods. All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed:
(a) 
With flood resistant materials as specified in FEMA Technical Bulletin TB 2-93 and utility equipment resistant to flood damage;
(b) 
Using methods and practices that minimize flood damage;
(c) 
With electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing and air conditioning equipment and other service facilities that are designed and/or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding; and
(d) 
If within an AH or AO Zone, so that there are adequate drainage paths around structures on slopes to guide flood waters around and away from proposed structures.
3. 
Elevation and floodproofing. Refer to section 8.7-2 definitions of "basement," "lowest floor," "new construction," "substantial damage" and "substantial improvement."
(a) 
Residential construction (new construction or substantial improvement) shall have the lowest floor, including basement,
(1) 
In an AO Zone, elevated above the highest adjacent grade to a height at least 2.38 feet above the depth number specified in feet on the FIRM, or elevated at least 2.38 feet above the highest adjacent grade if no depth number is specified; provided that in an AO Zone without velocity, the flood plain administrator may require that the lowest floor be elevated above the highest adjacent grade to a height exceeding the depth number specified in feet on the FIRM by at least 2.38 feet, or elevated at least four feet above the highest adjacent grade if no depth number is specified;
(2) 
In an A Zone, elevated at least 2.38 feet above the base flood elevation; the base flood elevation shall be determined by one of the methods in subsections 8.7-3b or 8.7-4c, as applicable, of this chapter;
(3) 
In all other zones, elevated at least 2.38 feet above the base flood elevation.
Upon the completion of the structure, the elevation of the lowest floor, including basement, shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or surveyor and verified by the city building inspector to be properly elevated. Such certification and verification shall be provided to the flood plain administrator.
(b) 
Nonresidential construction (new construction or substantial improvement) shall either be elevated to conform with paragraph 3(a) of this subsection or, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities,
(1) 
Be floodproofed below the elevation recommended under paragraph 3(a) of this subsection so that the structure is watertight, with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water;
(2) 
Have structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy; and
(3) 
Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the standards of paragraph 3(b) of this subsection are satisfied. Such certification shall be provided to the flood plain administrator.
(c) 
All new construction and substantial improvements with fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor (excluding basements) that are usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage, and which are subject to flooding, shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwater. Designs for meeting this requirement shall follow the guidelines in FEMA Technical Bulletins TB 1-93 and TB 7-93, and shall exceed the following criteria:
(1) 
Have 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. The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade. Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves or other coverings or devices, provided that such coverings or devices permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwater; or
(2) 
Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect.
(d) 
In addition to the applicable standards specified in paragraph 3 of this subsection, manufactured homes shall meet the standards in subsection 8.7-5d.
b. 
Standards for Utilities.
1. 
All new and replacement water supply and sanitary sewage systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate:
(a) 
Infiltration of flood waters into the systems, and
(b) 
Discharge from the systems into flood waters.
2. 
On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them, or contamination from them, during flooding.
c. 
Standards for Subdivisions.
1. 
All preliminary subdivision proposals shall identify the special flood hazard area and the base flood elevation.
2. 
All subdivision plans shall provide the elevation of proposed structure(s) and pad(s). If the site is filled above the base flood elevation, the lowest floor and pad elevations shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or surveyor, which certification shall be provided to the flood plain administrator.
3. 
All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
4. 
All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage.
5. 
All subdivisions shall provide adequate drainage to reduce exposure to flood hazards.
d. 
Standards for Manufactured Homes.
1. 
All manufactured homes that are placed or substantially improved within the A1-30, AH and AE Zones on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map on sites located:
(a) 
Outside of a manufactured home park or subdivision,
(b) 
In a new manufactured home park or subdivision,
(c) 
In an expansion to an existing manufactured home park or subdivision, or
(d) 
In an existing manufactured home park or subdivision on a site upon which a manufactured home has incurred substantial damage as the result of a flood, shall be elevated on a permanent foundation such that the lowest floor of the manufactured home is elevated at least 2.38 feet above the base flood elevation and be securely fastened to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement.
2. 
All manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved on sites in an existing manufactured home park or subdivision within Zones A1-30, AH or AE on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map that are not subject to the provisions of subsection 8.7-5d1 shall be securely fastened to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist flotation, collapse and lateral movement, and be elevated so that either:
(a) 
The lowest floor of the manufactured home is at least 2.38 feet above the base flood elevation, or
(b) 
The manufactured home chassis is supported by rein-forced piers or other foundation elements of at least equivalent strength that are no less than 36 inches in height above grade.
Upon completion of the structure, the elevation of the lowest floor, including basement, shall be certified by a registered professional engineer or surveyor and verified by the city's building inspector to be properly elevated. Such certification and verification shall be provided to the flood plain administrator.
e. 
Standards for Recreational Vehicles.
All recreational vehicles placed on sites within Zones A1-30, AH and AE on the city's Flood Insurance Rate Map shall either:
1. 
Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days, be fully licensed and ready for highway use. A recreational vehicle shall be ready for highway use if it is on its wheels or jacking system, is attached to the site only by quick disconnect type utilities and security devices, and has no permanently attached additions; or
2. 
Meet the permit requirements of subsection 8.7-4a of this chapter and the elevation and anchoring requirements for manufactured homes in subsection 8.7-5d2.
f. 
Floodways.
Located within special flood hazard areas established under subsection 8.7-3b, are areas designated as floodways. Since a floodway is an extremely hazardous area due to the velocity of floodwaters, which carry debris, potential projectiles and erosion potential, the following provisions shall apply:
1. 
There shall be no encroachment on a floodway, including fill, new construction, substantial improvement or other new development, unless certification by a registered professional engineer is provided demonstrating that the encroachment will not result in any increase in the base flood elevation during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
2. 
If paragraph 1 of this subsection is satisfied, all new construction, substantial improvement and other proposed new development shall comply with all other applicable flood hazard reduction provisions of this subsection 8.7-5.
[Ord. #00-02, S1]
a. 
Nature of Variances.
1. 
The variance criteria set forth in this Section 8.7-6 are based on the general principle of zoning law that a variance pertains to a piece of property and is not personal in nature. A variance may be granted for a parcel of property with physical characteristics so unusual that complying with the requirements of this chapter would create an exceptional hardship to the applicant or the surrounding property owners. The characteristics must be unique to the property and not be shared by adjacent parcels. The unique characteristics must pertain to the land itself, not to the structure, its inhabitants or the property owners.
2. 
The need for the city to help protect its citizens from flooding is so compelling, and the implications of the cost of insuring a structure built below flood level are so serious, that variances from the flood elevation or from other requirements in this chapter will be strictly limited and granted only rarely.
b. 
Variance Procedures. Application for a variance shall be filed with, heard and decided by the city's planning and zoning commission according to the procedures set forth in subsections 25-4.4b, c and e of the zoning ordinance. Decisions of the commission shall be subject to appeal to the city council according to the procedures set forth in subsection 25-4.4f.
c. 
Consideration of Variance Applications.
1. 
In passing upon applications for variances, the commission and, on appeal, the city council shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this chapter, and all of the following:
(a) 
The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others;
(b) 
The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage;
(c) 
The susceptibility of the proposed structure or other improvement and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the existing owner and future owners of the property;
(d) 
The importance of the services provided by the proposed structure or other improvement to the community;
(e) 
The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage;
(f) 
Compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development on the property and surrounding properties;
(g) 
Relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and flood plain management program for that area;
(h) 
Safety of access to the property in time of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles;
(i) 
Expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of the flood waters expected at the site; and
(j) 
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, streets and bridges.
2. 
Any applicant to whom a variance is granted shall be given written notice, signed by the flood plain administrator, that
(a) 
The issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as $25 for $100 of insurance coverage, and
(b) 
Such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property.
The flood plain administrator is authorized to cause a copy of the notice to be recorded in the office of the Fresno County Recorder so that it appears in the chain of title of the affected parcel of land.
3. 
The flood plain administrator shall maintain a record of all variances issued, including justification for their issuance, and shall report such variances issued in the city's biennial report submitted to the Federal Insurance Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
d. 
Conditions for Variances.
1. 
Generally, variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvement and other proposed new development to be erected on a lot or parcel of 1/2 acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots or parcels with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, subject to compliance with all applicable procedures and requirements (except as modified by the approved variance) of this section and subsections 8.7-4 and 8.7-5 of this chapter. Because the threat to public safety from flooding increases as the lot or parcel size increases, the technical requirements and evidence required to justify issuing a variance shall increase as the lot or parcel size increases beyond 1/2 acre.
2. 
A variance may be issued for the repair or rehabilitation of an historic structure (as defined in subsection 8.7-2 of this chapter) upon a determination that the proposed repair or rehabilitation will not preclude the structure's continued designation as an historic structure and the variance is the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the structure.
3. 
Variances shall not be issued within any mapped regulatory floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
4. 
Variances shall be issued only upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief. "Minimum necessary" means to afford relief with a minimum of deviation from the requirements of this chapter. For example, in the case of variances to an elevation requirement, this means the commission or, upon appeal, the city council need not grant permission for the applicant to build at grade, or even to whatever elevation the applicant proposes, but only to that elevation which the commission or city council believes will both provide relief and be as consistent as feasible with this chapter.
5. 
Variances shall only be issued upon the following, which shall be based on written findings supported by substantial evidence in the record:
(a) 
A showing of good and sufficient cause;
(b) 
A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship (as defined in subsection 8.7-2 of this chapter) to the applicant; and
(c) 
A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create a nuisance (as defined in subsection 8.7-2; see "Public Safety or Nuisance"), cause fraud or victimization (as defined in section 8.7-2) of the public, or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
6. 
Upon consideration of the factors listed in subsection 8.7-6c1 and the purposes of this chapter, the commission or, on appeal, the city council may attach such conditions to the granting of a variance as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.