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Township of Unity, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Unity 3-17-2011 by Ord. No. O-1-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Legislature of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has, by the passage of the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act of 1978, delegated the responsibility to local governmental units to adopt floodplain management regulations to promote public health, safety, and the general welfare of its citizenry. Therefore, the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Unity does hereby ordain and enact as follows.
The intent of this chapter is to:
A. 
Promote the general health, welfare, and safety of the community.
B. 
Encourage the utilization of appropriate construction practices in order to prevent or minimize flood damage in the future.
C. 
Minimize danger to public health by protecting water supply and natural drainage.
D. 
Reduce financial burdens imposed on the community, its governmental units, and its residents, by preventing excessive development in areas subject to flooding.
E. 
Comply with federal and state floodplain management requirements.
This chapter supersedes any other conflicting provisions that may be in effect in identified floodplain areas. However, any other ordinance provisions shall remain in full force and effect to the extent that those provisions are more restrictive. If there is any conflict between any of the provisions of this chapter with those in any other ordinance currently in effect, the more restrictive provisions shall apply.
The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter is declared to be void or invalid for any reason whatsoever, the remaining sections, subsections, paragraphs, sentences, clauses or phrases shall continue and remain in full force and effect.
The degree of flood protection sought by the provisions of this chapter is based on acceptable engineering principles and considered reasonable for regulatory purposes. Larger floods may occur or flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes, such as ice jams and bridge openings restricted by debris. This chapter does not imply that areas outside any identified floodplain areas or land uses permitted within such areas will be free from flooding or flood damages. This chapter shall not create liability on the part of the Township of Unity or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damages that result from reliance on this chapter or any administrative decision lawfully made thereunder.
The identified floodplain area shall be any area of the Township of Unity classified as special flood hazard areas (SFHAs) in the Flood Insurance Study (FIS) and the accompanying Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) dated March 17, 2011, and issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the most recent revision thereof, including all digital data developed as part of the Flood Insurance Study. The above-referenced FIS and FIRMs, and any subsequent revisions and amendments are hereby adopted by the Township of Unity and declared to be a part of this chapter. The identified floodplain area shall consist of the following specific areas:
A. 
FW (floodway area): the areas identified as "floodway" in the AE Zone in the Flood Insurance Study prepared by FEMA. The term shall also include floodway areas which have been identified in other available studies or sources of information for those floodplain areas where no floodway has been identified in the Flood Insurance Study.
B. 
FF (flood-fringe area): the remaining portions of the one-hundred-year floodplain in those areas identified as an AE Zone in the Flood Insurance Study, where a floodway has been delineated.
C. 
FE (special floodplain area): the areas identified as Zone AE in the Flood Insurance Study, where one-hundred-year flood elevations have been provided, but no floodway has been delineated.
D. 
FA (general floodplain area): the areas identified as Zone A in the FIS that are subject to inundation by the 1% annual-chance flood event determined using approximate methodologies. Because detailed hydraulic analyses have not been performed, no BFEs or flood depths are shown. When available, information from other federal, state, and other acceptable sources shall be used to determine the BFE, as well as the floodway area, if possible. When no other information is available, the BFE shall be determined by using a point on the boundary of the identified floodplain area that is nearest the construction site in question.
In lieu of the above, the Township may require the applicant to determine the elevation with hydrologic and hydraulic engineering techniques. Hydrologic and hydraulic analyses shall be undertaken only by professional engineers or others of demonstrated qualifications, who shall certify that the technical methods used correctly reflect currently accepted technical concepts. Studies, analyses, computations, etc., shall be submitted in sufficient detail to allow a thorough technical review by the Township.
The identified floodplain area may be revised or modified by the Township where studies or information provided by a qualified agency or person documents the need for revision. Approval must be obtained from FEMA prior to such change. As soon as practicable, but not later than six months after the date such information becomes available, the Township shall notify FEMA of the changes by submitting all technical or scientific data supporting such change.
A. 
Requests for variances shall be considered by the Township subject to the following:
(1) 
No variance shall be granted for any construction, development, use or activity within any floodway area that would cause any increase in the one-hundred-year flood elevation.
(2) 
No variance shall be granted for any construction, development, use or activity within any FE area that would, together with all other existing and anticipated development, increase the one-hundred-year flood elevation more than one foot at any point.
(3) 
Except for a possible modification of the 1 1/2 foot freeboard requirement involved, no variance shall be granted for any of the other requirements pertaining specifically to development regulated by special permit or to development which may endanger human life.
(4) 
If granted, a variance shall involve only the least modification necessary to provide relief.
(5) 
In granting any variance, the Township shall attach whatever reasonable conditions and safeguards it considers necessary in order to protect the public health, safety and welfare and to achieve the objectives of this chapter.
(6) 
Whenever a variance is granted, the Township shall notify the applicant, in writing, that:
(a) 
The granting of the variance may result in increased premium rates for flood insurance.
(b) 
Such variance may increase the risks to life and property.
(7) 
In reviewing any request for a variance, the Township shall consider, at a minimum, the following:
(a) 
That there is good and sufficient cause.
(b) 
That failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.
(c) 
That the granting of the variance will neither result in an unacceptable or prohibited increase in flood heights, additional threats to public safety or extraordinary public expense, nor create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimize the public or conflict with any other applicable state or local ordinances and/or regulations.
(8) 
A complete record of all variance requests and related actions shall be maintained by the Township. In addition, a report of all variances granted during the year shall be included in the annual report to FEMA.
B. 
Notwithstanding any of the above, however, all structures shall be designed and constructed so as to have the capability of resisting the one-hundred-year flood.
A. 
General requirements.
(1) 
No encroachment, alteration or improvement of any kind shall be made to any watercourse until all adjacent municipalities which may be affected by such action have been notified by the Township or the applicant and until all required permits or approvals have been first obtained from the Bureau of Waterways Engineering. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Strategic Planning and Operations Office, shall be notified prior to any alteration or relocation of any watercourse.
(2) 
Any new construction, development, uses or activities allowed within any identified floodplain area, shall be undertaken in strict compliance with the provisions contained in this chapter and any other applicable codes, ordinances and regulations.
(3) 
No encroachment, alteration, or improvement of any kind shall be made to any watercourse unless it can be shown that the activity will not reduce or impede the flood-carrying capacity of the watercourse in any way.
B. 
Special requirements for FW, FE and FA areas.
(1) 
Within any FW (floodway area), the following provisions apply:
(a) 
Any new construction, development, use, activity or encroachment that would cause any increase in one-hundred-year flood heights shall be prohibited.
(b) 
No new construction or development shall be allowed, unless a permit is obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection.
(2) 
Within any FE (special floodplain area), no new construction or development shall be allowed unless it is demonstrated that the cumulative effect of the proposed development, when combined with all other existing and anticipated development, will not increase the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood more than one foot at any point.
(3) 
Within any FE (special floodplain area) or FA (general floodplain area), the following provisions apply:
(a) 
No new construction or development shall be located within the area measured 50 feet landward from the top-of-bank of any watercourse unless a permit is obtained from the Department of Environmental Protection.
C. 
Elevation and floodproofing requirements.
(1) 
Residential structures. Within any identified floodplain area, any new construction or substantial improvement of a residential structure shall have the lowest floor (including the basement) elevated up to or above the regulatory flood elevation.
(2) 
Nonresidential structures.
(a) 
Within any identified floodplain area, any new construction or substantial improvement of a nonresidential structure shall have the lowest floor (including the basement) elevated up to or above the regulatory flood elevation, or be designed and constructed so that the space enclosed by such structure shall remain either completely or essentially dry during any flood up to that height.
(b) 
Any nonresidential structure or part thereof having a lowest floor which is not elevated to at least 1 1/2 feet above the one-hundred-year flood elevation, shall be floodproofed in a completely or essentially dry manner in accordance with the W1 or W2 space classification standards contained in the publication entitled "Flood-Proofing Regulations," published by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (June 1972, as amended March 1992) or with some other equivalent standard. All plans and specifications for such floodproofing shall be accompanied by a statement certified by a registered professional engineer or architect which states that the proposed design and methods of construction are in conformance with the above-referenced standards.
(3) 
Space below the lowest floor.
(a) 
Fully enclosed space below the lowest floor (including the basement) is prohibited.
(b) 
Partially enclosed space below the lowest floor (including the basement) which will be used solely for the parking of a vehicle, building access or incidental storage in an area other than a basement, shall be designed and constructed to allow for the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters for the purpose of equalizing hydrostatic forces on exterior walls. The term "partially enclosed space" also includes crawl spaces. Designs for meeting this requirement must either be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect, or meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:
[1] 
A minimum of two openings having a net total area of not less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed space.
[2] 
The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than one foot above grade.
[3] 
Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, etc., or other coverings or devices, provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.
(4) 
Construction plans. Plans of all proposed buildings, structures and other improvements, shall include the following:
(a) 
The proposed lowest floor elevation of any proposed building based upon North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
(b) 
Detailed information concerning any proposed floodproofing measures.
A. 
Fill. If fill is used, it shall:
(1) 
Extend laterally at least 15 feet beyond the building line from all points.
(2) 
Consist of soil or small rock materials only. Sanitary landfills shall not be permitted.
(3) 
Be compacted to provide the necessary permeability and resistance to erosion, scouring or settling.
(4) 
Be no steeper than one foot vertical to two feet horizontal, unless substantiated data justifying steeper slopes are submitted to and approved by the Building Code Official.
(5) 
Be used to the extent to which it does not adversely affect adjacent properties.
B. 
Drainage facilities. Storm drainage facilities shall be designed to convey the flow of stormwater runoff in a safe and efficient manner. The system shall ensure proper drainage along streets and provide positive drainage away from buildings. The system shall also be designed to prevent the discharge of excess runoff onto adjacent properties.
C. 
Water and sanitary sewer facilities and systems.
(1) 
All new or replacement water and sanitary sewer facilities and systems shall be located, designed and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damages and the infiltration of floodwaters.
(2) 
Sanitary sewer facilities and systems shall be designed to prevent the discharge of untreated sewage into floodwaters.
(3) 
No part of any on-site sewage system shall be located within any identified floodplain area except in strict compliance with all state and local regulations for such systems. If any such system is permitted, it shall be located so as to avoid impairment to it or contamination from it during a flood.
D. 
Other utilities. All other utilities, such as gas lines, electrical and telephone systems, shall be located, elevated (where possible) and constructed to minimize the chance of impairment during a flood.
E. 
Streets. The finished elevation of all new streets shall be no more than one foot below the regulatory flood elevation.
F. 
Storage. All materials that are buoyant, flammable, explosive, or in times of flooding could be injurious to human, animal or plant life, and not listed herein which may endanger human life, shall be stored at or above the regulatory flood elevation and/or flood proofed to the maximum extent possible.
G. 
Placement of buildings and structures. All buildings and structures shall be designed, located and constructed so as to offer the minimum obstruction to the flow of water and shall be designed to have a minimum effect upon the flow and height of floodwater.
H. 
Anchoring.
(1) 
All buildings and structures shall be firmly anchored in accordance with accepted engineering practices to prevent flotation, collapse or lateral movement.
(2) 
All air ducts, large pipes, storage tanks and other similar objects or components located below the regulatory flood elevation shall be securely anchored or affixed to prevent flotation.
I. 
Floors, walls and ceilings.
(1) 
Wood flooring used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be installed to accommodate a lateral expansion of the flooring, perpendicular to the flooring grain, without causing structural damage to the building.
(2) 
Plywood used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be of a marine or water-resistant variety.
(3) 
Walls and ceilings at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be designed and constructed of materials that are water-resistant and will withstand inundation.
(4) 
Windows, doors and other components at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be made of metal or other water-resistant material.
J. 
Paints and adhesives.
(1) 
Paints and other finishes used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be of marine or water-resistant quality.
(2) 
Adhesives used at or below the regulatory flood elevation shall be of a marine or water-resistant variety.
(3) 
All wooden components (doors, trim, cabinets, etc.) shall be finished with a marine or water-resistant paint or other finishing material.
K. 
Electrical components.
(1) 
Electrical distribution panels shall be at least three feet above the one-hundred-year flood elevation.
(2) 
Separate electrical circuits shall serve lower levels and shall be dropped from above.
L. 
Equipment. Water heaters, furnaces, air-conditioning and ventilating units and other electrical, mechanical or utility equipment or apparatus shall not be located below the regulatory flood elevation.
M. 
Fuel supply system. All gas and oil supply systems shall be designed to prevent the infiltration of floodwaters into the system and discharges from the system into floodwaters. Additional provisions shall be made for the drainage of these systems in the event that floodwater infiltration occurs.
A. 
Dangerous substances. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act, and the regulations adopted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, as required by the Act, any new or substantially improved structure which will be used for the production or storage of any of the following dangerous materials or substances; or will be used for any activity requiring the maintenance of a supply of more than 550 gallons, or other comparable volume, of any of the following dangerous materials or substances on the premises; or will involve the production, storage or use of any amount of radioactive substances shall be subject to the provisions of this section, in addition to all other applicable provisions. The following list of materials and substances are considered dangerous to human life:
(1) 
Acetone.
(2) 
Ammonia.
(3) 
Benzene.
(4) 
Calcium carbide.
(5) 
Carbon disulfide.
(6) 
Celluloid.
(7) 
Chlorine.
(8) 
Hydrochloric acid.
(9) 
Hydrocyanic acid.
(10) 
Magnesium.
(11) 
Nitric acid and oxides of nitrogen.
(12) 
Petroleum products (gasoline, fuel oil, etc.).
(13) 
Phosphorus.
(14) 
Potassium.
(15) 
Sodium.
(16) 
Sulphur and sulphur products.
(17) 
Pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides and rodenticides).
(18) 
Radioactive substances, insofar as such substances are not otherwise regulated; and
(19) 
Any other material which, due to its quantity, concentration, physical or chemical characteristics, may pose a real hazard to human health and/or the environment. Such hazardous materials may include, but are not limited to, the following categories: explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids, flammable solids, oxidizers and organic peroxides, toxic materials, radioactive materials, corrosives and/or any material listed with the Hazardous Material Information System (HMIS).
B. 
Prohibited structures. Within any FW (floodway area), any structure of the kind described in Subsection A above shall be prohibited.
C. 
Construction above freeboard. Where permitted within any floodplain area, any new or substantially improved structure of the kind described in Subsection A above, shall be elevated or designed and constructed to remain completely dry up to at least 1 1/2 feet above the one-hundred-year flood and designed to prevent pollution from the structure or activity during the course of a one-hundred-year flood. Any such structure, or part thereof, that will be built below the regulatory flood elevation shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the standards for completely dry floodproofing contained in the publication "Flood-Proofing Regulations" (United States Army Corps of Engineers, June 1972, as amended March 1992) or with some other equivalent watertight standard.
A. 
Manufactured homes shall be prohibited within any FW (floodway area).
B. 
Within any FA (general floodplain area) or FE (Special Floodplain Area), manufactured homes shall be prohibited within the area measured 50 feet landward from the top-of-bank of any watercourse.
C. 
Where permitted within any floodplain area, all manufactured homes, and any improvements thereto, shall be:
(1) 
Placed on a permanent foundation.
(2) 
Elevated so that the lowest floor of the manufactured home is 1 1/2 feet or more above the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.
(3) 
Anchored to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement.
All subdivision proposals and development proposals containing at least 50 lots or at least five acres, whichever is the lesser, in flood hazard areas where base flood elevation data are not available, shall be supported by hydrologic and hydraulic engineering analyses that determine base flood elevations and floodway information. The analyses shall be prepared by a licensed professional engineer in a format required by FEMA for a Conditional Letter of Map Revision or Letter of Map Revision. Submittal requirements and processing fees shall be the responsibility of the applicant.
Recreational vehicles in Zones A1-30, AH and AE must either:
A. 
Be on the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days;
B. 
Be fully licensed and ready for highway use; or
C. 
Meet the permit requirements for manufactured homes in § 57-13.
A. 
General. In accordance with the administrative regulations promulgated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to implement the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act, the following activities shall be prohibited within any identified floodplain area unless a special permit has been issued by the Township:
(1) 
The commencement of any of the following activities or the construction, enlargement or expansion of any structure used or intended to be used for any of the following activities:
(a) 
Hospitals.
(b) 
Nursing homes.
(c) 
Jails or prisons.
(2) 
The commencement of or any construction of a new manufactured home park or manufactured home subdivision or substantial improvement to an existing manufactured home park or manufactured home subdivision.
B. 
Application requirements for special permits. Applicants for special permits shall provide five copies of the following items:
(1) 
A written request, including a completed building permit application form.
(2) 
A small scale map showing the vicinity in which the proposed site is located.
(3) 
A plan of the entire site, clearly and legibly drawn, at a scale of one inch being equal to 100 feet or less, showing the following:
(a) 
North arrow, scale and date.
(b) 
Topography based upon the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 showing existing and proposed contours at intervals of two feet.
(c) 
All property and lot lines, including dimensions, and the size of the site expressed in acres or square feet.
(d) 
The location of all existing streets, drives, other accessways and parking areas, with information concerning widths, pavement types and construction, and elevations.
(e) 
The location of any existing bodies of water or watercourses, buildings, structures and other public or private facilities, including railroad tracks and facilities, and any other natural and man-made features affecting or affected by the proposed activity or development.
(f) 
The location of the floodplain boundary line, information and spot elevations concerning the one-hundred-year flood elevations, and information concerning the flow of water, including direction and velocities.
(g) 
The location of all proposed buildings, structures, utilities and any other improvements.
(h) 
Any other information which the municipality considers necessary for adequate review of the application.
(4) 
Plans of all proposed buildings, structures and other improvements, clearly and legibly drawn at suitable scale, showing the following:
(a) 
Sufficiently detailed architectural or engineering drawings, including floor plans, sections and exterior building elevations, as appropriate.
(b) 
For any proposed building, the elevation of the lowest floor (including the basement) and, as required, the elevation of any other floor.
(c) 
Complete information concerning flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces, and other factors associated with the one-hundred-year flood.
(d) 
Detailed information concerning any proposed floodproofing measures.
(e) 
Cross-section drawings for all proposed streets, drives, other accessways and parking areas, showing all rights-of-way and pavement widths.
(f) 
Profile drawings for all proposed streets, drives and vehicular access ways, including existing and proposed grades.
(g) 
Plans and profiles of all proposed sanitary and storm sewer systems, water supply systems and any other utilities and facilities.
(5) 
The following data and documentation:
(a) 
Certification from the applicant that the site upon which the activity or development is proposed is an existing separate and single parcel, owned by the applicant or the client he/she represents.
(b) 
Certification from a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect that the proposed construction has been adequately designed to protect against damage from the one-hundred-year flood.
(c) 
A statement, certified by a registered professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or other qualified person which contains a complete and accurate description of the nature and extent of pollution that might possibly occur from the development during the course of a one-hundred-year flood, including a statement concerning the effects such pollution may have on human life.
(d) 
A statement, certified by a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect, which contains a complete and accurate description of the effects the proposed development will have on one-hundred-year-flood elevations and flows.
(e) 
A statement, certified by a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect, which contains a complete and accurate description of the kinds and amounts of any loose buoyant materials or debris that may possibly exist or be located on the site below the one-hundred-year flood elevation and the effects such materials and debris may have on one-hundred-year flood elevations and flows.
(f) 
The appropriate component of the Department of Environmental Protection's Planning Module for Land Development.
(g) 
Where any excavation or grading is proposed, a plan meeting the requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control.
(h) 
Any other applicable permits, such as, but not limited to, a permit for any activity regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection under Section 302 of Act 1978-166, 32 P.S. § 679.302.
(i) 
An evacuation plan which fully explains the manner is which the site will be safely evacuated before or during the course of a one-hundred-year flood.
Upon receipt of an application for a special permit by the Township, the procedures followed for an application for a preliminary plan approval shall be followed.
A. 
Within three working days following receipt of the application, a complete copy of the application and all accompanying documentation shall be forwarded to the County Planning Commission by registered or certified mail for its review and recommendations. Copies of the application shall also be forwarded to the Township Planning Commission and Township Engineer for review and comment.
B. 
If an application is received that is incomplete, the Township shall notify the applicant, in writing, stating in what respect the application is deficient.
C. 
If the Township decides to disapprove an application, it shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the disapproval.
D. 
If the Township approves an application, it shall file written notification, together with the application and all pertinent information, with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, by registered or certified mail, within five working days after the date of approval.
E. 
Before issuing the special permit, the Township shall allow the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development 30 days, after receipt of the notification by the Department, to review the application and decision made by the Township.
F. 
If the Township does not receive any communication from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development during the thirty-day review period, it may issue a special permit to the applicant.
G. 
If the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development should decide to disapprove an application, it shall notify the Township and the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the disapproval, and the Township shall not issue the special permit.
A. 
In addition to the requirements of this chapter, the following minimum requirements shall also apply to any proposed development requiring a special permit. If there is any conflict between any of the following requirements and those of this chapter or in any other code, ordinance or regulation, the more restrictive provision shall apply.
B. 
No application for a special permit shall be approved unless it can be determined that the structure or activity will be located, constructed and maintained in a manner which will:
(1) 
Fully protect the health and safety of the general public and any occupants of the structure. At a minimum, all new structures shall be designed, located and constructed so that:
(a) 
The structure will survive inundation by waters of the one-hundred-year flood without any lateral movement or damage to either the structure itself or to any of its equipment or contents below the one-hundred-year flood elevation.
(b) 
The lowest floor (including the basement) elevation will be at least 1 1/2 feet above the one-hundred-year flood elevation.
(c) 
The occupants of the structure can remain inside for an indefinite period of time and be safely evacuated at any time during the one-hundred-year flood.
(2) 
Prevent any significant possibility of pollution, increased flood levels or flows, or debris endangering life and property.
C. 
All hydrologic and hydraulic analyses shall be undertaken only by professional engineers or others of demonstrated qualifications, who shall certify that the technical methods used correctly reflect currently accepted technical concepts. Studies, analyses, computations, etc., shall be submitted in sufficient detail to allow a thorough technical review by the Township and the Department of Community and Economic Development.
A. 
Existing structures. The provisions of this chapter do not require any changes or improvements to be made to lawfully existing structures. However, when an improvement is made to any existing structure, the provisions of Subsection B shall apply.
B. 
Improvements. The following provisions shall apply whenever any improvement is made to an existing structure located within any identified floodplain area:
(1) 
No expansion or enlargement of an existing structure shall be allowed within any floodway area that would cause any increase in the elevation of the one-hundred-year flood.
(2) 
No expansion or enlargement of an existing structure shall be allowed within any FE area that would, together with all other existing and anticipated development, increase the one-hundred-year-flood elevation more than one foot at any point.
(3) 
Any modification, alteration, reconstruction or improvement of any kind to an existing structure, to an extent or amount of 50% or more of its market value, shall constitute a substantial improvement and shall be undertaken only in full compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
Any modification, alteration, reconstruction or improvement of any kind to an existing structure, to an extent or amount of less than 50% of its market value, shall be elevated and/or floodproofed to the greatest extent possible.
The following words and phrases, when used in this section and in relation to construction within a floodplain, shall have the meanings set forth hereafter. To the extent any word or phrase set forth hereafter is defined differently in any other portion of this chapter, the meaning set forth hereafter shall be attributed to those circumstances involving floodplain construction. Any inconsistencies in any word or phrase shall be construed to give effect to both definitions where possible and this section shall be interpreted to effectuate its intended purpose.
BASE FLOOD
A flood that has a 1% chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (also called the "one-hundred-year flood").
BASE FLOOD ELEVATION (BFE)
The elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) for Zones AE, AH, A1-30 that indicates the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a 1% or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.
BASEMENT
Any area of the building having its floor below ground level on all sides.
DATE OF COMPLETION or DATE WORK COMPLETED
When used herein, shall mean the date any work performed under a permit issued hereunder is completed on the ground, inspected and finally approved, in writing, by the Floodplain Administrator.
DEVELOPMENT
Any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including. but not limited to, the construction, reconstruction, renovation, repair, expansion, or alteration of buildings or other structures; the placement of manufactured homes; streets, and other paving; utilities; filling, grading and excavation; mining; dredging; drilling operations; storage of equipment or materials; and the subdivision of land.
ESSENTIALLY DRY SPACE
A space which will remain dry during flooding, except for the passage of some water vapor or seepage; and which space is substantially impermeable to the passage of water.
FA (GENERAL FLOODPLAIN AREA)
The areas identified as Zone A in the Flood Insurance Study for which no one-hundred-year flood elevations have been provided. When available, information from federal, state and other acceptable sources shall be used to determine the one-hundred-year elevation, as well as a floodway area, if possible. When no other information is available, the one-hundred-year elevation shall be determined by using a point on the boundary of the identified floodplain area which is nearest the construction site in question.
FE (SPECIAL FLOODPLAIN AREA)
The areas identified as Zone AE in the Flood Insurance Study, where one-hundred-year flood elevations have been provided but no floodway has been delineated.
FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FLOOD INSURANCE RATE MAP (FIRM)
The Official Map upon 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 community.
FLOOD INSURANCE STUDY (FIS)
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.
FLOOD-FRINGE DISTRICT
That area of the one-hundred-year floodplain not included in the Floodway District. The basis for the outermost boundary of this district shall be the one-hundred-year-flood elevations contained in the flood profiles of the Flood Insurance Study.
FLOODPLAIN
A relatively flat or low land area which is subject to inundation from the rapid accumulation of surface waters, including Floodway Districts, Flood-Fringe Districts and General Floodplain Districts.
FLOODPLAIN AREA
A relatively flat or low land area which is subject to partial or complete inundation from an adjoining or nearby stream, river or watercourse; and/or any area subject to the unusual and rapid accumulation of surface waters from any source.
FLOODPLAIN DISTRICT
A floodplain area for which no detailed flood profiles or elevations are provided, but where a one-hundred-year floodplain boundary has been approximated. Such areas are shown on the Flood Boundary and Floodway Maps of the Flood Insurance Study.
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
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.
FLOODWAY DISTRICT
That portion of a floodplain delineated for regulation by this chapter which must be reserved to discharge the waters of the one-hundred-year flood without causing more than a one-foot rise in flood heights. The areas included in this district are specifically defined on Tables 1 through 6 of the Flood Insurance Study.
FW (FLOODWAY AREA)
The areas identified as "floodway" in the AE Zone in the Flood Insurance Study prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The term shall also include floodway areas which have been identified in other available studies or sources of information for those floodplain areas where no floodway has been identified in the Flood Insurance Study.
HISTORIC STRUCTURE
Any structure that is:
A. 
Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register;
B. 
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;
C. 
Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or
D. 
Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation that have been certified either:
(1) 
By an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior; or
(2) 
Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.
LOWEST FLOOR
The lowest floor of the lowest fully enclosed area (including the basement). An unfinished, flood-resistant, partially enclosed area used solely for parking of vehicles, building access, and incidental storage, in an area other than a basement area is not considered the lowest floor of a building, provided that such space is not designed and built so that the structure is in violation of the applicable non-elevation 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 attached to the required utilities. The term includes park trailers, travel trailers, recreational and other similar vehicles that are placed on a site for more than 180 consecutive days.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARK OR 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 July 17, 1978, and includes any subsequent improvements thereto.
ONE-HUNDRED-YEAR FLOOD
A flood that, on the average, is likely to occur once every 100 years (i.e., that has a 1% chance of occurring each year, although the flood may occur in any year).
RECREATIONAL VEHICLE
A vehicle which is:
A. 
Built on a single chassis;
B. 
Not more than 400 square feet, measured at the largest horizontal projections;
C. 
Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light-duty truck; and
D. 
Not designed for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.
REGULATORY FLOOD ELEVATION
The one-hundred-year-flood elevation, plus a freeboard safety factor of 1 1/2 feet.
SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA (SFHA)
An area in the floodplain subject to a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year. It is shown on the FIRM as Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, or, AH.
START OF CONSTRUCTION
Any or all of the following:
A. 
Land preparation, such as clearing, grading, and filling;
B. 
The installation of streets and/or walkways;
C. 
Excavation for a basement, footings, piers, or foundations or the erection of temporary forms;
D. 
The first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the pouring of a slab or footings, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work beyond the stage of excavation;
E. 
The placement of a manufactured home on a foundation; or
F. 
For a "substantial improvement," 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, a gas or liquid storage tank or any other building or appurtenance that is principally above ground, including a manufactured home. 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.
SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE
Damage from any cause sustained by a structure where the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50% or more 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. This term includes structures that have incurred "substantial damage" regardless of the actual repair work performed. The term does not, however, include:
A. 
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
B. 
Any alteration of an "historic structure," provided that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as an "historic structure."
VIOLATION
The failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with the community's floodplain management regulations. A structure or other development without an elevation certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in 44 CFR 60.3(b)(5), (c)(4), (c)(10), (d)(3), (e)(2), (e)(4), or (e)(5) is presumed to be in violation until such time that documentation is provided.
A. 
Designation of Floodplain Administrator. The Building Code Official of the Township of Unity is hereby appointed to administer and enforce this chapter and is referred to hereinafter as the Floodplain Administrator.
B. 
Permits required. A floodplain construction permit shall be required before any construction or development is undertaken within any area of the Township of Unity. The floodplain construction permit shall be in addition to any other permits or approvals required by the Township for the construction or development at issue.
C. 
Duties and responsibilities of the Floodplain Administrator.
(1) 
The Floodplain Administrator shall issue a permit only after it has been determined that the proposed work to be undertaken will be in conformance with the requirements of this and all other applicable codes and ordinances.
(2) 
Prior to the issuance of any permit, the Floodplain Administrator shall review the application for the permit to determine if all other necessary government permits required by state and federal laws have been obtained, such as those required by the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (Act 1966-537, as amended); the Pennsylvania Dam Safety and Encroachments Act (Act 1978-325, as amended); the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act (Act 1937-394, as amended)[1]; and the U.S. Clean Water Act, Section 404, 33 U.S.C. § 1344. No permit shall be issued until this determination has been made.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 35 P.S. § 750.1 et seq., 32 P.S. § 693.1 et seq., and 35 P.S. § 691.1 et seq., respectively.
(3) 
During the construction period, the Floodplain Administrator and/or other Certified Building Inspector designated by Floodplain Administrator and retained by the Township, shall inspect the premises to determine that the work is progressing in compliance with the information provided on the permit application and with all applicable municipal laws and ordinances. The Floodplain Administrator and/or other Certified Building Inspector designated by Floodplain Administrator and retained by the Township may make as many inspections during and upon completion of the work as are necessary to ensure that any work is properly performed.
(4) 
In the discharge of their duties, the Floodplain Administrator and/or other Certified Building Inspector designated by Floodplain Administrator and retained by the Township shall have the authority to enter any building, structure, premises or development in the identified floodplain area, upon presentation of proper credentials, at any reasonable hour, to enforce the provisions of this section.
(5) 
In the event the Floodplain Administrator discovers that the work does not comply with the permit application, or any other applicable laws and ordinances, or that there has been a false statement or misrepresentation by any applicant, the Floodplain Administrator shall revoke the permit and report such fact to the Board of Supervisors for whatever action it considers necessary.
(6) 
The Floodplain Administrator shall maintain all records associated with the requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, permitting, inspection and enforcement.
(7) 
The Floodplain Administrator and/or other Certified Building Inspector designated by the Floodplain Administrator and retained by the Township shall apply the requirements of Title 34 of the Pennsylvania Code, the 2006 IBC and the 2006 IRC or latest revisions thereof in determining whether the work performed is appropriate and all work performed under any permit issued by the Floodplain Administrator shall comply with the requirements of Title 34 of the Pennsylvania Code, the 2006 IBC and the 2006 IRC or latest revisions thereof.
A. 
Application for a permit hereunder shall be made, in writing, to the Floodplain Administrator on forms supplied by the Township of Unity. Such application shall contain the following:
(1) 
Name and address of applicant.
(2) 
Name and address of owner of land on which proposed construction is to occur.
(3) 
Name and address of the contractor performing the work.
(4) 
The site location, including the address and Tax Map parcel number of the property upon which the work will be performed.
(5) 
A list of other permits required and copies of all other permits received.
(6) 
A brief description of the proposed work and the estimated costs of same, together with a breakout of flood-damage and/or floodproofing related costs, and, where relevant, an estimate of the fair market value of the building before the flood damage occurred.
(7) 
A plan of the site showing the exact size and location of the proposed construction and any existing buildings or structures.
B. 
If any proposed construction or development is located entirely or partially within any identified floodplain area, the applicant shall provide information, in sufficient detail and clarity, to enable the Floodplain Administrator to determine whether:
(1) 
All proposals are consistent with the need to minimize flood damage and conform with the requirements of this and all other applicable codes and ordinances;
(2) 
All utilities and facilities, such as sewage, gas, electrical and water systems, are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage;
(3) 
Adequate drainage is provided so as to reduce exposure to flood hazards;
(4) 
Structures will be anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement;
(5) 
Building materials are flood-resistant;
(6) 
Appropriate practices that minimize flood damage have been used; and
(7) 
Electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, air-conditioning equipment, and other service facilities have been designed and/or located to prevent water entry or accumulation.
C. 
The Floodplain Administrator may require the applicant to produce additional information to assist in making those determinations set forth in Subsection B above. At a minimum, the applicant shall submit the following:
(1) 
A completed permit application form.
(2) 
A plan of the entire site, clearly and legibly drawn at a scale of one inch equal to 100 feet or less and containing the following:
(a) 
North arrow, scale, and date;
(b) 
Topographic contour lines, if available;
(c) 
The location of all existing and proposed buildings, structures, and other improvements, including the location of any existing or proposed subdivision and/or development;
(d) 
The location of all existing streets, drives, and other access ways; and
(e) 
The location of any existing bodies of water or watercourses, identified floodplain areas, and, if available, information pertaining to the floodway and the flow of water, including directions and velocities.
(3) 
Plans of all proposed buildings, structures and other improvements, drawn at a scale suitable to the Floodplain Administrator, showing the following:
(a) 
The proposed lowest floor elevation of any proposed building based upon North American Vertical Datum of 1988;
(b) 
The elevation of the base flood;
(c) 
Supplemental information as may be necessary and/or required under Title 34 of the Pennsylvania Code, the 2006 IBC or the 2006 IRC.
(4) 
The following information:
(a) 
Where available, information concerning flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces and other factors associated with a base flood elevation.
(b) 
Detailed information concerning any proposed floodproofing measures and corresponding elevations.
(c) 
A statement by a registered professional engineer or architect certifying that the cumulative effect of any proposed development within an FE (special floodplain area) when combined with all other existing and anticipated development, will not increase the base flood elevation more than one foot at any point.
(d) 
A statement by a registered professional engineer or architect certifying that the proposed construction or development has been adequately designed to withstand the pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces associated with the base flood elevation. Such statement shall include a description of the type and extent of floodproofing measures that have been incorporated into the design of the structure and/or the development.
(e) 
Information sufficient to determine compliance with § 57-11F, Storage, and § 57-12, Development which may endanger human life, above, including:
[1] 
The amount, location and purpose of any materials or substances referred to in §§ 57-11F and 57-12 which are intended to be used, produced, stored or otherwise maintained on site; and
[2] 
A description of the safeguards incorporated into the design of the proposed structure to prevent leaks or spills of the dangerous materials or substances listed in § 57-12 during a base flood.
(f) 
The appropriate component of the Department of Environmental Protection's "Planning Module for Land Development."
(g) 
Where any excavation or grading is proposed, a plan meeting the requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control.
(5) 
Applications for permits shall be accompanied by a fee, payable to the Township, based upon the estimated cost of the proposed construction as determined by the Floodplain Administrator.
D. 
Review of application by others. Copies of all plans and applications for any proposed construction or development in any identified floodplain area to be considered for approval may be submitted by the Floodplain Administrator to any other appropriate agency and/or individual (e.g., planning commission, municipal engineer, etc.) for review and comment.
E. 
Changes. After a permit has been issued by the Floodplain Administrator, no changes of any kind shall be made to the application, permit or any of the plans, specifications or other documents submitted with the application, without the written consent and approval of the Floodplain Administrator. Requests for any change shall be in writing and submitted by the applicant to Floodplain Administrator for consideration.
F. 
Placards. In addition to the permit, the Floodplain Administrator shall issue a placard that must be displayed on the premises during the time construction is in progress. This placard shall contain the number of the permit, the date of its issuance, and be signed by the Floodplain Administrator.
G. 
Timing of construction. Work qualifying as the "start of construction" as defined in this chapter shall commence within 180 days of the date the permit for same is issued and shall be completed within 12 months of the date the permit is issued. Any permit issued hereunder shall expire of its own accord and without further notice if (1) work meeting the definition of "start of construction" is not initiated within 180 days of the date the permit for same is issued or (2) constructed is not completed within 12 months of the date the permit for same is issued, unless an extension is granted, in writing, by the Floodplain Administrator. Time extensions shall be granted only if a written request is submitted by the applicant, which sets forth sufficient and reasonable cause for the Floodplain Administrator to approve such a request and the Floodplain Administrator approves such request in writing. No oral extensions or approvals shall be valid.
H. 
Fees. The fees for all permits, inspections, appeals and hearings referenced in this chapter shall be determined by Resolution adopted hereafter.
A. 
Notices. Whenever the Floodplain Administrator or other authorized Township representative determines that a violation of any provisions of this section, or of any regulation herein has occurred, the Floodplain Administrator shall give notice to the applicant that such violation has occurred. Such notice shall:
(1) 
Be in writing;
(2) 
Include a statement describing the nature of the violation and the provisions of this section being violated;
(3) 
Prescribe a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 30 days, for the correction of any violation or condition;
(4) 
Be served upon the property owner and/or applicant by certified mail and regular U.S. mail, postage prepaid, at the address of the owner and/or applicant contained in the permit application; and
(5) 
Describe the remedial action necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this section.
B. 
Appeals. Any person aggrieved by any action or decision of the Floodplain Administrator concerning the administration of the provisions of this chapter, may appeal to the Unity Township Zoning Hearing Board. Such appeal must be filed, in writing, within 30 days following the date of issuance of the decision, determination or action of the Floodplain Administrator. Any appeal filed later than 30 days shall be deemed untimely and be rejected.
(1) 
Any appeal filed hereunder shall be set for hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board at a regular monthly meeting scheduled not less than 10 days nor more than 60 days from the date the appeal is received. Notice of the time and place at which the appeal will be heard shall be given to all parties.
(2) 
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Zoning Hearing Board may take an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County consistent with the time limitations and the law of this commonwealth, including the Pennsylvania Flood Plain Management Act.
A. 
Civil enforcement and penalties for violation. Any person, partnership, corporation or other entity violating the provisions of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township, pay a judgment of not less than $300 nor more than $600 plus all court costs, and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Township in the pursuit thereof. No judgment shall commence or be imposed, levied or payable until a court of competent jurisdiction determines that a violation exists. Where a civil judgment for a violation of this chapter has not been timely paid, the violator shall be liable for the penalty imposed, including daily penalties for continuing violations of not less than $300 nor more than $600 for each day a violation exists, plus court costs and reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the Township in the subsequent enforcement proceedings.
B. 
Conveyance not a defense. The transfer of all or any portion of the property subject to this chapter shall not exempt the seller or transferor from such penalties or from the remedies herein provided for any violation of this chapter occurring during the seller or transferor's period of ownership. In such circumstances, both the seller/transferor and buyer/transferee may be deemed jointly and severally liable for any violation and/or responsible to remedy same.
C. 
Joint and several liability. The owner or tenant of any structure or premises or land or lot or part thereof, or any agent, architect, attorney, banker, builder, contractor or other person who commits, participates in, assists in or maintains such violation may each be found to be in separate violation of this chapter and be subject to those penalties herein provided.
D. 
Refusal of development permits and approvals. The Township may refuse to issue any permit or grant any approval necessary to further improve or develop any real property subject to development or resulting from a subdivision of real property in violation of this chapter or any other ordinance referenced herein.
E. 
Cumulative remedies. The remedies available to the Township in the enforcement of this chapter are cumulative. Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed or construe to preclude the Township from taking such other legal action, at law or in equity, necessary to prevent or remedy any violation or otherwise enforce the terms of this chapter.