[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of West Haven 4-11-1983 by Ord. No. 201. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The flood areas of the City of West Haven are subject to periodic inundation which can result in loss of life and property, health and safety hazards, disruption of commerce and governmental services, extraordinary public expenditures for flood protection and relief and impairment of the tax base, all of which adversely affect the public health, safety and general welfare.
These flood losses are caused by shoreline flood hazard areas subjected to periodic tidal and storm flooding and the cumulative effect of obstructions in floodplains, causing increases in flood heights and velocities, and by the occupancy in flood hazard areas by uses vulnerable to floods or hazardous to other lands which are inadequately elevated, floodproofed or otherwise protected from flood damages.
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:
Restrict or prohibit uses which are dangerous to health, safety and property due to water or erosion or to flood heights or velocities.
Require that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction.
Control the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels and natural protective barriers, which are involved in the accommodation of floodwaters.
Control filling, grading, dredging and other development which may increase erosion or flood damage.
Prevent or regulate the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert floodwaters or which may increase flood hazards to other lands.
The objectives of this chapter are to:
Protect human life and health.
Minimize future expenditure of public money for costly flood-control projects.
Minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public.
Minimize prolonged business interruptions.
Minimize damage to public facilities and utilities, such as water and gas mains, electric and telephone lines, streets and bridges, located in floodplains.
Help maintain a stable tax base by providing for the sound use and development of flood-prone areas in such a manner as to minimize future flood-blight areas.
Make potential home buyers aware that their property is in a flood area.
In order to fulfill the purposes and objectives set forth, it is the intent of the City Council to authorize the following management program.
The Planning and Zoning Commission shall be the administering agency for the City of West Haven's flood management program. As such, the Commission will be responsible for adopting and, through its staff, administering a set of flood hazard area regulations. The Commission will also be responsible for creating a procedure for obtaining a permit to carry on regulated activities in a flood hazard area.
Duties of the Director of Planning shall include but not be limited to the following. He shall:
Review all development permits to assure that the permit requirements of this chapter have been satisfied.
Review permits for proposed development to assure that all necessary permits have been obtained from those federal, state or local governmental agencies from which prior approval is required.
Notify adjacent communities, if affected, and the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water and Related Resources, prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse and submit evidence of such notification to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With the assistance of the City Engineer, assure that maintenance is provided within the altered or relocated portion of said watercourse so that the flood-carrying capacity is not diminished.
With the assistance of the City Engineer, verify and record the actual elevation, in relation to mean sea level, of the lowest floor, including the basement, of all new or substantially improved structures.
With the assistance of the City Engineer, verify and record the actual elevation, in relation to mean sea level, to which the new or substantially improved structures have been floodproofed.
In coastal high-hazard areas, obtain certification from a registered professional engineer that the structure is securely anchored to adequately anchored pilings or columns in order to withstand velocity waters and hurricane wave wash.
In coastal high-hazard areas, along with the Building Official, review plans for the adequacy of breakaway walls.
When floodproofing is utilized for a particular structure, obtain certification from the applicant's engineer.
When necessary, require the applicant to have an engineer verify floodproofing and/or structural support methods proposed.
Where interpretation is needed as to the exact location of the boundaries of the areas of special flood hazard (for example, where there appears to be a conflict between a mapped boundary and actual field conditions), request engineering information from the applicant or use available data to make the necessary interpretation as provided in this section.
When base flood elevation data has not been provided, obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation data available from a federal, state or other source, including requests for engineering data from the applicant.
Provide that the standards set forth in the flood hazard area regulations are fulfilled.
All records pertaining to the provisions of this chapter shall be maintained in the Planning and Zoning office and shall be open for public inspection.
The Flood and Erosion Control Board shall be designated as the Flood Hazard Appeal Board in order to hear any appeals brought before it by applicants and/or property owners. Said body shall meet at least quarterly and as necessary to hear any appeals from the flood hazard area regulations or any decision of the Director of Planning in his capacity as the administrator of the city's flood management program.
The Flood Hazard Appeal Board shall hear any appeal brought before it within 15 working days of its receipt and render a decision within 45 working days of the completion of the hearing. One extension of up to 45 working days is permitted if agreed to by the applicant and the Board. The decision and the reason for it shall be stated in writing and sent by registered mail to the applicant and delivered to the Director of Planning. The Flood and Erosion Control Board shall be authorized to amend its existing rules, regulations and/or bylaws to accommodate the additional responsibility of being designated the city's Flood Hazard Appeal Board.