City of Troy, NY
Rensselaer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Troy 3-6-1980; amended 2-5-1987; 9-3-1987(Ch. 12 1/2 of the 1973 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 141.
Zoning — See Ch. 285.
It is the intent of this chapter to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, and to minimize public and private losses due to flood conditions in areas of special flood hazard by provisions designed:
A. 
To protect human life and health;
B. 
To minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood control projects;
C. 
To minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public;
D. 
To minimize prolonged business interruptions;
E. 
To minimize damage to public facilities such as water and gas mains, electric, telephone and sewer lines, streets and bridges located in areas of special flood hazard;
F. 
To help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the second use and development of areas of special flood hazard so as to minimize future flood blight areas;
G. 
To ensure that potential buyers are notified that property is in an area of special flood hazard; and
H. 
To ensure that those who occupy the areas of special flood hazard assume responsibility for their actions.
A. 
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 City of Troy, New York," dated January 30, 1979, with accompanying flood insurance rate maps and flood boundary-floodway maps, is hereby adopted and declared to be a part of this chapter. The flood insurance study is on file in the office of the Department of Planning and Community Development.
B. 
The areas of special flood hazard shall be the areas shown and bounded as the areas of special flood hazards within the jurisdiction of the City as identified on a map entitled "Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps" of the City of Troy, New York, to be made effective on the date of adoption of this chapter by action of the City Council.
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:
APPEAL
A request for a review of an interpretation by the Director of Code Enforcement of any provision of this chapter or a request for a variance.
AREA OF SHALLOW FLOODING
A designated AO Zone on the flood insurance rate map (FIRM). The base flood depths range from one to three feet, a clearly defined channel does not exist, the path of flooding is unpredictable and indeterminate, and velocity flow may be evident.
AREA OF SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD
The land in the floodplain within a community subject to one-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year and designated as Zone A and A(1-30) on FIRM. It is also commonly referred to as the "base floodplain" or "one-hundred-year floodplain".
BASE FLOOD
The flood having one-percent chance of being equalled or exceeded in any given year.
BASEMENT
That portion of a building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations located within the area of special flood hazard.
ELEVATED BUILDING
A nonbasement building built to have the lowest floor elevated above the ground level by means of fill, solid foundation perimeter walls, pilings, columns (posts and piers) or shear walls.
FLOOD or FLOODING
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland or tidal waters and/or the unusual and rapid accumulation of runoff of surface water from any source.
FLOOD BOUNDARY AND FLOODWAY MAP (FBFM)
An official map of the community published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as part of a riverine community's flood insurance study. The FBFM delineates a regulatory floodway along water courses studied in detail in the flood insurance study.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM)
The official map on which the Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazards and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY
The official report provided in which the Federal Insurance Administration has provided flood profiles, as well as the flood boundary-floodway map and the water surface elevation of the base flood.
FLOODPROOFING
Any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes or adjustment to structures which reduces or eliminates flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
FLOODWAY
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.
FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT USE
A use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it it located or carried out in close proximity to water, such as docking or port facilities necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, shipbuilding, and ship repair. The term does not include long-term storage, manufacture, sales or service facilities.
HIGHEST ADJACENT GRADE
The highest natural elevation of the ground surface, prior to construction, next to the proposed walls of a structure.
LOWEST FLOOR
The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure, 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 that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable nonelevation design requirements of this chapter.
MANUFACTURED HOME
A structure, transportable in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed for use with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. For floodplain management purposes, the term "manufactured home" also includes park trailers, travel trailers, and other similar vehicles placed on a site for greater than 180 consecutive days. For insurance purposes, the term "manufactured home" does not include park trailers, travel trailers and other similar vehicles.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR SUBDIVISION
A parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
MEAN SEA LEVEL
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 a community's flood insurance rate map are referenced.
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of this chapter (March 16, 1980).
PRINCIPALLY ABOVE GROUND
That at least 51% of the actual cash value of the structure excluding land value, is above ground.
REGULATORY FLOODWAY
Has the same meaning as "floodway."
START OF CONSTRUCTION
The initiation, excluding planning and design, of any phase of a project, physical alteration of the property, and shall include land preparation, such as clearing, grading and filling; installation of streets and/or walkways; excavation for a basement, footings, piers or foundations or the erection of temporary forms. It also includes the placement and/or installation on the property of accessory buildings (garages, sheds), storage trailers, and building materials. For manufactured homes, the "actual start" means affixing of the manufactured home to its permanent site.
STRUCTURE
A walled and roofed building, a manufactured 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.
VARIANCE
A grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.
In the area of special flood hazard, the following general standards shall apply:
A. 
Anchoring.
(1) 
All new construction and substantial improvements shall be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure.
(2) 
All manufactured homes shall be elevated and anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement by providing over-the-top or from ties to ground anchors. This requirement is in addition to applicable state and local anchoring requirements for resisting wind forces. Special requirements shall be that:
(a) 
Over-the-top ties be provided at each of the four corners of the manufactured home, with two additional tiers per side at intermediate locations, with manufactured homes less than 50 feet long requiring one additional tie per side;
(b) 
Frame ties be provided at each corner of the home with five additional ties per side at intermediate points, with manufactured homes less than 50 feet long requiring four additional ties per side;
(c) 
All components of the anchoring system be capable of carrying a force of 4,800 pounds;
(d) 
Any additions to the manufactured home be similarly anchored; and
(e) 
A manufactured home shall be elevated to at least six inches above the base flood level and anchored to the elevated foundation in accordance with Federal Emergency Management Agency manual (FEMA 85), Manufactured Home Installation in Flood Hazard Areas, published in September 1985.
B. 
Construction materials and methods.
(1) 
All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed with materials and utility equipment resistant to flood damage.
(2) 
All new construction and substantial improvements shall be constructed using methods and practices that minimize flood damage.
(3) 
For all new construction and substantial improvements, fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor that are subject to flooding shall be designated to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters. Designs for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect or must meet or exceed the following minimum criteria: A minimum of two openings having a total net area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding shall be provided. The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade. Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers or other coverings or devices, provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
C. 
Utilities.
(1) 
All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate the infiltration of floodwaters into the system.
(2) 
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;
(3) 
On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding; and
(4) 
Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing and air conditioning equipment and other service facilities shall be designed and/or located so as to prevent water from entering or accumulating within the components during conditions of flooding.
D. 
Subdivision proposals.
(1) 
All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
(2) 
All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities such as gas, sewer, electrical and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage.
(3) 
All subdivision proposals shall have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood damage.
(4) 
Base flood elevation data shall be provided for subdivision proposals by the subdivider, as well as for other proposed development which contains 50 lots or five acres, whichever is less.
E. 
Residential construction. New construction and substantial improvement of any residential structure shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated to at least six inches above base flood elevation.
F. 
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 at least six inches above the level of the base flood elevation or, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities, shall:
(1) 
Be floodproofed so that less than six inches above the base flood level 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 who shall develop and/or review structural design, specifications, and plans for the construction, and shall certify that the design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of this chapter, and a record of such certificate which includes the specific elevation (in relation to mean sea level) to which such structures are floodproofed shall be maintained. Such certificates shall be provided to the City Engineer or his/her designee.
G. 
Manufactured homes. All manufactured homes to be placed or substantially improved within Zones A1-30 shall be elevated on a permanent foundation such that the lowest floor of the manufactured home is at least six inches above the base flood elevation and be securely anchored to an adequately anchored foundation system in accordance with Subsection A of this section.
H. 
Floodways. Since floodways are extremely hazardous areas due to the velocity of floodwaters which carry debris, potential projectiles and erosion potential, the following provisions shall apply:
(1) 
Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements and other developments, 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.
(2) 
If the technical evaluation demonstrates that encroachments will not result in any increase in flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood discharge, all new construction and substantial improvements shall comply with the provisions of this section.
A. 
Designation of the enforcement officer. The Director of Code Enforcement is hereby appointed to administer and implement this chapter by granting or denying building permit applications in accordance with its provisions.
B. 
Duties and Responsibilities of the enforcement officer. Duties of the Director of Code Enforcement shall include but shall not be limited to:
(1) 
Issuance of permit. Ensuring that all actions in the floodplain involving development have permits issued by the City prior to starting.
(2) 
Permit application review.
(a) 
Review all applications for development to determine that the requirements of this chapter have been satisfied. In his/her review, the City Engineer or his/her designee shall ensure that the following information be included in the application:
[1] 
Elevation in relation to mean sea level of the lowest floor, including basement, of all structures;
[2] 
Elevation in relation to mean sea level to which any structure has been floodproofed;
[3] 
Certification by a registered professional engineer or architect that the floodproofing methods for any nonresidential structure meet the floodproofing standards as set forth in this chapter;
[4] 
Description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development.
(b) 
Review all applications for development to determine that all necessary permits have been obtained from those federal, state or local governmental agencies from which prior approval is required.
(c) 
Review all applications for development to determine if the proposed development is located in the floodway. If located in the floodway, assure that the encroachment provisions of § 158-4H are met.
(3) 
Information to be obtained and maintained.
(a) 
Obtain and record the actual elevation, in relation to mean sea level, of the lowest habitable floor, including basement, of all new or substantially improved structures, and whether or not the structure contains a basement.
(b) 
For all new or substantially improved floodproofed structures, verify and record the actual elevation in relation to mean sea level.
(c) 
For all new or substantially improved floodproofed structures, maintain the floodproofing certifications required.
(d) 
Maintain for public inspection all records pertaining to the provisions of this chapter.
(e) 
Obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from a federal, state or other source, including data obtained in § 158-4D(4), as criteria for requiring that new construction, substantial improvements, or other development in Zone A shall comply with all provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
Alterations of watercourses.
(a) 
Notify adjacent communities and the state coordinating office prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse and submit evidence of such notification to the Federal Insurance Administration.
(b) 
Require that maintenance is provided within the altered or relocated portions of said watercourse so that the flood-carrying capacity is not diminished.
(5) 
Interpretation of boundaries. Make interpretations where needed, as to the exact location of the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazards (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 outlined in § 158-6.
A. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals of the City shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision or determination made by the Director of Code Enforcement in the enforcement or administration of this chapter and:
C. 
In passing upon such applications, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, and standards specified in other sections of this chapter and:
(1) 
The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others;
(2) 
The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage;
(3) 
The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner;
(4) 
The importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the community;
(5) 
The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable;
(6) 
The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage;
(7) 
The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development;
(8) 
The relationship of the proposed use to the comprehensive plan and floodplain management program of that area;
(9) 
The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles;
(10) 
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; and
(11) 
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.
D. 
Conditions for variances.
(1) 
Generally, variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements to be erected on a lot of one-half acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures constructed below the base flood level, providing items (1) through (11) in Subsection C have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond 1/2 acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.
(2) 
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.
(3) 
Variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements and for other development necessary for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that:
(a) 
The criteria of D(1), (4), (5) and (6) of this subsection are met;
(b) 
The structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood damages during the base flood and create no additional threat to public safety.
(4) 
Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
(5) 
Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
(6) 
Variances shall only be issued upon:
(a) 
A showing of good and sufficient cause;
(b) 
A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship 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 or extraordinary public expense; create nuisances; cause fraud on or victimization of the public; or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances.
(7) 
Upon consideration of the factors of this chapter, the Zoning Board of Appeals may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.
(8) 
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 less than six inches above 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.
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed a violation, and the violator shall be liable to a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment of not more than 15 days, or both, and each day such violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.