[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. XXIII of the 2003 Revised General Ordinances of the Township of Willingboro. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is adopted in order to comply with the regulations of the Federal Insurance Administration pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program and the requirement that local municipalities amend their existing ordinances to incorporate revisions in the National Flood Insurance Program. The Township Council of the Township of Willingboro has the authority, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-1 et seq., to adopt regulations designed to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of its citizenry.
The flood hazard areas of the Township of Willingboro are subject to periodic inundations which 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 the cumulative effect of obstructions in areas of special flood hazards which increase flood heights and velocities and, when inadequately anchored, damage uses in other areas. Uses that are inadequately floodproofed, elevated or otherwise protected from flood damage also contribute to the flood loss.
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 protect human life and health;
To minimize expenditure of public money for costly flood-control projects;
To minimize the need for rescue and relief efforts associated with flooding and generally undertaken at the expense of the general public;
To minimize prolonged business interruptions;
To minimize damage to public facilities and utilities such as water and gas mains; electric, telephone and sewer lines; streets and bridges located in areas of special flood hazard;
To 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 flood-blight areas;
To ensure that potential buyers are notified that property is in an area of special flood hazard; and
To ensure that those who occupy the areas of special flood hazard assume responsibility for their actions.
In order to accomplish its purposes, this chapter includes methods and provisions for:
Restricting or prohibiting uses which are dangerous to health, safety, and property due to water or erosion hazards, or which result in damaging increases in erosion or in flood heights or velocities;
Requiring that uses vulnerable to floods, including facilities which serve such uses, be protected against flood damage at the time of initial construction;
Controlling the alteration of natural floodplains, stream channels, and natural protective barriers, which help accommodate or channel floodwaters;
Controlling filling, grading, dredging, and other development which may increase flood damage; and
Preventing or regulating the construction of flood barriers which will unnaturally divert floodwaters or which may increase flood hazards in other areas.
Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meanings they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application:
- A request for a review of the Construction Official's interpretation 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 feet 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 a one-percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year.
- BASE FLOOD
- The flood having a one-percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
- Any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all sides.
- BREAKAWAY WALL
- A wall that is not part of the structural support of the building and is intended through its design and construction to collapse under specific lateral loading forces without causing damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation system.
- 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.
- A. A nonbasement building:
- (1) Built, in the case of a building in an area of special flood hazard, to have the top of the elevated floor or, in the case of a building in a coastal high-hazard area, to have the bottom of the lowest horizontal structural member of the elevated floor elevated above the ground level by means of piling, columns (posts or piers), or shear walls parallel to the flow of the water; and
- (2) 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.
- B. In an area of special flood hazard, the term "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 areas of coastal high hazard, the term "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.
- 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.
- FLOOD or FLOODING
- A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from:
- 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.
- LOWEST FLOOR
- The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure, usable solely for the parking of vehicles, building access or storage, in an area other than a basement is not considered a building's lowest floor, provided that the enclosure is not built so to render the structure in violation of other applicable nonelevation design requirements.
- 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 MANUFACTURED HOME SUBDIVISION
- A parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
- NEW CONSTRUCTION
- Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of this chapter.
- START OF CONSTRUCTION
- For other than new construction or substantial improvements under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act (P.L. 97-348), includes substantial improvement and means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, placement, or other improvement was within 180 days of the permit date. The "actual start" means either the first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the pouring of a slab or footing, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work beyond the state of excavation, or the placement of a manufactured home on a foundation. "Permanent construction" does not include land preparation, such as clearing, grading and filling, nor does it include the installation of streets and/or walkways, nor does it include excavation for a basement, footings, piers, or foundations or the erection of temporary forms, nor does it include 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.
- A walled and roofed building, a mobile home, or a gas or liquid storage tank that is principally above ground.
- B. 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:
- (1) 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
- (2) Any alteration of a structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a state inventory of historic places.
- A grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.
This chapter shall apply to all areas of special flood hazards within the jurisdiction of the Township of Willingboro as determined by the Flood Insurance Rate Map for the Township and shown in the study adopted by reference in § 175-7.
The areas of special flood hazard identified by the Federal Insurance Administration in a scientific and engineering report entitled "Flood Insurance Study, Burlington County," dated November 30, 2010, and as subsequently revised and republished, is hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this chapter. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection coordinates flood and flood damage information and integrates flood-control activities of federal, state, county and municipal governments.
The reports and studies, including maps and profiles, are on file in the office of the Willingboro Township Clerk at the Municipal Complex, 1 Rev. Dr. M. L. King Jr. Drive, Willingboro, New Jersey.
Federal Flood Insurance Maps may be available at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Floodplain Management Office, which may be contacted at (609) 292-2296. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which also provides flood maps and insurance information, may be contacted at (800) 358-9616.
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 provisions of this chapter by failure to comply with any of its requirements (including violations of conditions and safeguards established in connection with conditions) shall constitute a misdemeanor. Any person who violates this chapter or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the Township of Willingboro from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation.
This chapter is not intended to repeal, abrogate, or impair any existing easements, covenants, or deed restrictions. This chapter is not intended to authorize or permit any use or structure not otherwise permitted by the Code of the Township of Willingboro. Where this chapter and other ordinances, easements, covenants, deed restrictions or state, State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), FEMA or federal rules and regulations conflict or overlap, whichever imposes the more stringent restrictions shall prevail.
In the interpretation and application of this chapter, all provisions shall be:
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 man-made or natural causes. This chapter does not imply that land outside the areas of special flood hazards or uses permitted within those areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This chapter shall not create any liability on the part of the Township of Willingboro, any officer or employee thereof or the Federal Insurance Administration for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
A development permit shall be obtained before construction or development begins within any area of special flood hazard established in § 175-7. Applications for a development permit shall be made on forms furnished by the Construction Official and may include but not be limited to plans, in duplicate, drawn to scale, showing the nature, location, dimensions, and elevations of the area in question; existing or proposed structures, fill, storage of materials and drainage facilities; and the location of the foregoing.
Specifically, the following information is required:
Elevation, in relation to mean sea level, of the lowest floor (including basement) of all structures;
Elevation, in relation to mean sea level, to which any structure has been floodproofed;
Certification by a registered professional engineer or architect that the floodproofing methods for any nonresidential structure meet the floodproofing criteria in § 175-17B; and
Description of the extent to which any watercourse will be altered or relocated as a result of proposed development.
The Construction Official is hereby appointed to administer and implement this chapter by granting or denying development permit applications in accordance with its provisions.
The duties of the Construction Official shall include, but not be limited to:
Permit review. The Construction Official shall:
Review all development permits to determine that the permit requirements of this chapter have been satisfied.
Review all development permits to determine that all necessary permits have been obtained from those federal, state or local government agencies from which prior approval is required.
Use of other base flood data. When base flood elevation and floodway data has not been provided in accordance with § 175-7, Basis for establishing areas of special flood hazard, the Construction Official shall obtain, review, and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation and floodway data available from a federal, state or other source, in order to administer § 175-17A, Residential construction, and § 175-17B, Nonresidential construction.
Information to be obtained and maintained. The Construction Official shall:
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.
Interpretation of FIRM boundaries. The Construction Official shall 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 provided in § 175-15.
The Planning Board of the Township of Willingboro shall hear and decide appeals and requests for variances from the requirements of this chapter.
The Planning Board shall hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is an error in any requirement, decision, or determination made by the Construction Official in the enforcement or administration of this chapter.
Those aggrieved by the decision of the Planning Board or any taxpayer may appeal the decision to the Superior Court.
In passing upon applications, the Planning Board shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this chapter, and:
The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others;
The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage;
The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of the damage on the individual owner;
The importance of the services provided by the proposed facility to the community;
The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable;
The availability of alternative locations for the proposed use which are not subject to flooding or erosion damage;
The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development;
The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles;
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
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.
Upon consideration of the factors set forth in Subsection A(4) of this section and the purposes of this chapter, the Planning Board may attach such conditions to the granting of variances as it deems necessary to further the purposes of this chapter.
The Construction Official shall maintain the records of all appeal actions, including technical information, and report any variances to the Federal Insurance Administration upon request.
Conditions for variances.
Generally, variances may be issued for new construction and substantial improvements to be erected on a lot of 1/2 acre or less in size contiguous to and surrounded by lots with existing structures construed below the base flood level, providing the items in Subsection A(4)(a) through (k) of this section have been fully considered. As the lot size increases beyond the 1/2 acre, the technical justification required for issuing the variance increases.
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.
Variances shall not be issued within any designated floodway if any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief.
Variances shall only be issued upon:
A showing of good and sufficient cause;
A determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and
A determination that the granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety or extraordinary public expense or create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public as identified in Subsection A(4) of this section or conflict with existing local laws or chapters.
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 below the base flood elevation and that the cost of flood insurance will be commensurate with the increased risk resulting from the reduced lower floor elevation.
In all areas of special flood hazards, the following standards are required:
All new construction and substantial improvements shall be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement of the structure.
All manufactured homes shall be anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement. Methods of anchoring may include but are not to be limited to use of over-the-top or frame ties to ground anchors. This requirement is in addition to applicable state and local anchoring requirements for resisting wind forces.
Construction materials and methods.
All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the systems.
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.
On-site waste disposal systems shall be located to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during flooding.
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.
All subdivision proposals shall have public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical, and water systems located and constructed to minimize flood damage;
All subdivision proposals shall be consistent with the need to minimize flood damage;
All subdivision proposals shall have adequate drainage provided to reduce exposure to flood damage; and
Base flood elevation data shall be provided for subdivision proposals and other proposed developments which contain at least 50 lots or five acres, whichever is less.
Enclosure openings. For all new construction and substantial improvements, fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor that are subject to flooding shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of floodwaters. Design for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect or must meet or exceed the following 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.
In all areas of special flood hazards where base flood elevation data have been provided as set forth in § 175-7, Basis for establishing areas of special flood hazard, or in § 175-14B, Use of other base flood data, the following standards are required:
Residential construction. New construction and substantial improvement of any residential structure shall have the lowest floor, including basement, elevated to or above the base flood elevation.
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 the level of the base flood elevation or, together with attendant utility and sanitary facilities, shall:
Be floodproofed so that below the base flood level the structure is watertight with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water;
Have structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy; and
Be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the design and methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice for meeting the applicable provisions of this subsection. The certification shall be provided to the Official as set forth in § 175-14A(2).
Located within areas of special flood hazard established in § 175-7 are areas designated as floodways. Since the floodway is an extremely hazardous area due to the velocity of floodwaters which carry debris, potential projectiles, and erosion potential, the following provisions apply:
Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvements, and other development, are 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.
The placement of any mobile home, except in an existing mobile home park or existing home subdivision, is prohibited.