Town of Highlands, NY
Orange County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 114-4 Word usage and definitions.

A. 
Word usage. 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.
B. 
Definitions.
APPEAL
A request for a review of the local administrator's interpretation of any provision of this chapter or a request for a variance.
AREA OF SHALLOW FLOODING
A designated AO, AH or VO Zone on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) with a one-percent-or-greater annual chance of flooding to an average annual depth of one to three feet where a clearly defined channel does not exist, where the path of flooding is unpredictable and where velocity flow may be evident. Such flooding is characterized by ponding or sheet flow.
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 given year. This area may be designated as Zone A, AE, AH, AO, A1-A30, A99, V, VO, VE, or V1-V30. It is also commonly referred to as the base floodplain or one-hundred-year floodplain. For purposes of this chapter, the term "special flood hazard area (SFHA)" is synonymous in meaning with the phrase "area of special flood hazard."
BASE FLOOD
The flood having a one-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
BASEMENT
That portion of a building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
BUILDING
See "structure."
CELLAR
Has the same meaning as "basement."
CRAWL SPACE
An enclosed area beneath the lowest elevated floor, 18 inches or more in height, which is used to service the underside of the lowest elevated floor. The elevation of the floor of this enclosed area, which may be of soil, gravel, concrete or other material, must be equal to or above the lowest adjacent exterior grade. The enclosed crawl space area shall be properly vented to allow for the equalization of hydrostatic forces which would be experienced during periods of flooding.
(1) 
Structures or facilities that produce, use, or store highly volatile, flammable, explosive, toxic and/or water-reactive materials;
(2) 
Hospitals, nursing homes, and housing likely to contain occupants who may not be sufficiently mobile to avoid death or injury during a flood;
(3) 
Police stations, fire stations, vehicle and equipment storage facilities, and emergency operations centers that are needed for flood response activities before, during, and after a flood; and
(4) 
Public and private utility facilities that are vital to maintaining or restoring normal services to flooded areas before, during, and after a flood.
CUMULATIVE SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT
Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure that equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure at the time of the improvement or repair when counted cumulatively for 10 years.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.
ELEVATED BUILDING
A nonbasement building built, in the case of a building in Zones A1-A30, AE, A, A99, AO, AH, B, C, X, or D, to have the top of the elevated floor, or in the case of a building in Zones V1-30, VE, or V, to have the bottom of the lowest horizontal structure member of the elevated floor, elevated above the ground level by means of pilings, columns (posts and piers), or shear walls parallel to the flow of the water and adequately anchored so as not to impair the structural integrity of the building during a flood of up to the magnitude of the base flood. In the case of Zones A1-A30, AE, A, A99, AO, AH, B, C, X, or D, elevated building also includes a building elevated by means of fill or solid foundation perimeter walls with openings sufficient to facilitate the unimpeded movement of floodwaters. In the case of Zones V1-V30, VE, or V, elevated building also includes a building otherwise meeting the definition of elevated building, even though the lower area is enclosed by means of breakaway walls that meet the federal standards.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
The Federal agency that administers the National Flood Insurance Program.
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 watercourses studied in detail in the Flood Insurance Study.
FLOOD ELEVATION STUDY
An examination, evaluation and determination of the flood hazards and, if appropriate, corresponding water surface elevations, or an examination, evaluation and determination of flood-related erosion hazards.
FLOOD HAZARD BOUNDARY MAP (FHBM)
An official map of a community, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazard have been designated as Zone A but no flood elevations are provided.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM)
An official map of a community, on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency has delineated both the areas of special flood hazard and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY
See "flood elevation study."
(1) 
A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
(a) 
The overflow of inland or tidal waters;
(b) 
The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
(2) 
Flood or flooding also means the collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels or suddenly caused by an unusually high water level in a natural body of water, accompanied by a severe storm, or by an unanticipated force of nature, such as a flash flood or an abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly unusual and unforeseeable event which results in flooding as defined in Subsection A(1) above.
FLOODPLAIN or FLOOD-PRONE AREA
Any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source (see definition of "flooding").
FLOODPROOFING
Any combination of structural and nonstructural additions, changes, or adjustments to structures which reduce or eliminate flood damage to real estate or improved real property, water and sanitary facilities, structures and their contents.
FLOODWAY
Has the same meaning as "regulatory floodway."
FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT USE
A use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water, such as a docking or port facility necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, shipbuilding, and ship repair facilities. The term does not include long-term storage, manufacturing, 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.
HISTORIC STRUCTURE
Any structure that is:
(1) 
Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of the 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 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 states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
(4) 
Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either:
(a) 
By an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior; or
(b) 
Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.
LOCAL ADMINISTRATOR
The person appointed by the community to administer and implement this chapter by granting or denying development permits in accordance with its provisions. This person is often the Building Inspector, Code Enforcement Officer, or employee of an engineering department.
LOWEST FLOOR
Lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement or cellar). 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 designed to be used with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. The term does not include a recreational vehicle.
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, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88), or other datum, to which base flood elevations shown on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map are referenced.
MOBILE HOME
Has the same meaning as "manufactured home."
NEW CONSTRUCTION
Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of a floodplain management regulation adopted by the community and includes any subsequent improvements to such structure.
ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR FLOOD or 100-YEAR FLOOD
Has the same meaning as "base flood."
PRINCIPALLY ABOVE GROUND
At least 51% of the actual cash value of the structure, excluding land value, is above ground.
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
A vehicle which is:
(1) 
Built on a single chassis;
(2) 
Four hundred square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projections;
(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.
REGULATORY 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 a designated height as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a Flood Insurance Study or by other agencies as provided in § 114-14B of this chapter.
START OF CONSTRUCTION
The date of permit issuance for new construction and substantial improvements to existing structures, provided that actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition placement, or other improvement is within 180 days after the date of issuance. The actual start of construction means the first placement of permanent construction of a building (including a manufactured home) on a site, such as the pouring of a slab or footings, installation of pilings or construction of columns. Permanent construction does not include land preparation (such as clearing, excavation, grading, or filling), or the installation of streets or walkways, or excavation for a basement, footings, piers or foundations, or the erection of temporary forms, or the installation of accessory buildings such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main building. 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.
STRUCTURE
A walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home.
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE
Damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred. Substantial damage also means flood-related damages sustained by a structure on two separate occasions during a ten-year period for which the cost of repairs at the time of such flood event, on the average, equals or exceeds 25% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT
Any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. Substantial improvement also means cumulative substantial improvement. The 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 of 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 an historic structure, provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as an historic structure.
VARIANCE
A grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter which permits construction or use in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.