Town of Agawam, MA
Hampden County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 1-30-1978; amended 6-18-2013 by TOR-2013-5]
The Floodplain Zone and the regulations herein have been established for the following purposes: to protect and preserve the watercourses and their adjoining floodplain; to reduce the hazards of floods upon the public health, safety and general welfare; to protect floodplain occupants from a flood that is or may be caused by their own land use and that is or may be undertaken without full realization of the dangers therein; to protect the public from the burden of extraordinary financial expenditures for flood control and relief; and to protect the capacity of the floodplain to absorb, transmit and store runoff to assure retention of sufficient floodway area to convey flows which can reasonably be expected to occur.
A. 
The Floodplain District is herein established as an overlay district. The District includes all special flood hazard areas within the Town of Agawam designated as Zone A or AE on the Hampden County Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the administration of the National Flood Insurance Program. The map panels of the Hampden County FIRM that are wholly or partially within the Town of Agawam are Panel Nos. 25013C0377E, 25013C0379E, 25013C0381E, 25013C0382E, 25013C0383E, 25013C0384E, 25013C0387E, 25013C0391E, 25013C0392E, 25013C0401E, 25013C0403E, 25013C0404E, 25013C0411E, and 25013C0413E, dated July 16, 2013. The exact boundaries of the district may be defined by the one-hundred-year base flood elevations shown on the FIRM and further defined by the Hampden County Flood Insurance Study (FIS) report dated July 16, 2013. The FIRM and FIS report are incorporated herein by reference and are on file in the Building Department.
B. 
In Zone A areas where base flood elevation data is not provided by the Flood Insurance Study, other available data from federal, state or other sources shall be utilized as a basis of determining the base flood level for purposes of enforcing the provisions of this article.
In those portions of the Town so designated in § 180-68, the following uses of land shall be permitted, provided that all necessary state or federal permits are obtained:
A. 
Conservation of water, plants and wildlife.
B. 
Legally permitted outdoor recreation not requiring development or landscape alteration in conflict with the purpose of this zone.
C. 
Grazing, forestry and other farms or agriculture consistent with the purposes of the zone.
D. 
Dwellings lawfully existing prior to the adoption of these provisions; however, no building permits for substantial improvements or extensions shall be granted unless a special permit is granted by the Board of Appeals.
E. 
Proper operation and maintenance of dams and other water control devices.
F. 
Construction and maintenance of highways, streets, sidewalks, sewers, water mains, storm drains, utilities and related facilities by governmental agencies, provided that the water and sewer systems and utilities be designed and constructed to minimize flood damage and to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwater into the systems and discharges from the systems into floodwaters.
G. 
The following uses by special permit as provided by § 180-71, if determined to be consistent with the purpose of this zone, said determination to be made by the Board of Appeals following application for a special permit by the landowner or owner:
(1) 
Developed recreation facilities, except buildings.
(2) 
Utility lines and facilities.
(3) 
Dams and other water control facilities, if in an authorized plan by a public agency or if built to create ponds for recreational or agricultural use.
(4) 
Minor buildings incidental to permitted flood control, recreation, agricultural, etc., uses, and not exceeding 200 square feet in ground coverage, if constructed so as to not obstruct natural hydrological features.
(5) 
In the floodway fringe, the Zone AE, Zone A, that portion of the Floodplain Zone outside the floodway, the development of structures for residential use only if the lowest floor (including the basement) is elevated to or above the level of the base flood (one-hundred-year flood) and the development of structures for nonresidential use only if the lowest floor (including the basement) is elevated to be above the level of the base flood (one-hundred-year flood) or, together with the attending utility and sanitary facilities, is floodproofed to or above the level of the base flood (one-hundred-year flood), provided that a special permit is issued by the Board of Appeals. The term "floodproofed" shall mean watertight, with walls substantially impermeable to the passage of water and with structural components having the capacity of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic loads and effects of buoyancy.
A. 
In those portions of the Town so specified in § 180-68 as "floodplain," the following uses of land shall be prohibited:
(1) 
The bulk storage of buoyant, flammable, explosive or toxic materials.
(2) 
The addition, removal or transfer of such quantities of material, including trees, shrubs, and ground cover, that would reduce the water storage capacity of the floodplain, obstruct the flow of floodwaters in a floodway or otherwise adversely affect the natural hydrology of the area to the extent that the base flood elevation would be raised cumulatively more than one foot.
(3) 
The digging or drilling of a well intended as a source of domestic water.
(4) 
The installation of septic tank or leaching fields or on-site waste disposal systems.
(5) 
The placement or location of a mobile home or the creation of mobile home parks or subdivisions.
B. 
In land within the floodway the following uses of land shall be prohibited, in addition to those listed above:
(1) 
Any development within the portions of the Town so specified as "floodway" on the Flood Insurance Rate Map.
(2) 
Erection, construction or other creation or installation of any building, dam or other structure.
(3) 
Any use or structure which would result in any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge. Encroachments, including structures, are prohibited in the regulatory floodway which would result in any increase in flood levels within the community during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
A. 
The application for a special permit shall include a plan prepared and certified by a professional engineer or land surveyor registered in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This plan will show all proposed and existing buildings, structures, roads, ways, drainage facilities and landscape features, including wetlands, trees and the like, and other engineering and hydrological data the Board finds necessary. The plan will show all existing and proposed finished ground contours at one-foot intervals.
B. 
The application for a special permit shall also include an environmental impact statement prepared by an environmentally qualified registered professional engineer. This statement will describe the impact upon the physical environment of the proposed use.
C. 
The Board of Appeals may waive the requirements of Subsection B if it determines that the probable impact upon the physical environment of the proposed use is to be minimal and that an environmental impact statement is not necessary to its consideration of the application and provided there is no direct conflict with the Laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
D. 
The applicant shall provide the Board with an original and seven copies of the request and of any plan and/or environmental impact statement required under Subsections A and B above. The Board of Appeals shall within seven days forward one copy of each to the Inspector of Buildings, Planning Board, Board of Health and Conservation Commission. These agencies may file written recommendations with the Board of Appeals within 30 days of receipt of notification. The Board of Appeals shall not grant approval of an application for a special permit until these recommendations have been received or until expiration of said thirty-day period.
E. 
In passing upon such request, the Board of Appeals shall consider all technical evaluations, all relevant factors, standards specified in other sections of this article and:
(1) 
The danger that materials may be swept onto other lands to the injury of others.
(2) 
The danger to life and property due to flooding or erosion damage.
(3) 
The susceptibility of the proposed facility and its contents to flood damage and the effect of such damage on the individual owner.
(4) 
The importance of the services provided by the proposed facilities to the community.
(5) 
The necessity to the facility of a waterfront location, where applicable.
(6) 
The availability of alternative locations, not subject to flooding or erosion damage, for the proposed use.
(7) 
The compatibility of the proposed use with existing and anticipated development.
(8) 
The relationship of the proposed use to the Comprehensive Plan and Floodplain Management Program for that area.
(9) 
The safety of access to the property in times of flood for ordinary and emergency vehicles.
(10) 
The expected heights, velocity, duration, rate of rise and sediment transport of the floodwaters and the effects of wave action, if applicable, expected at the site.
(11) 
The costs of providing governmental services during and after flood conditions, including maintenance and repair of public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems and streets and bridges.
F. 
The Board of Appeals may issue a permit under this section if it finds that the proposed use of the premises will not endanger the health and safety of the occupants of land within the floodplain or the public, or it may issue a permit with such conditions as it deems necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants and the public or provide proper flood control or protection, or it may deny the application. The burden of showing that the proposed development will not endanger health and safety and that it will be an appropriate use of the land shall rest upon the developer, who shall provide such additional engineering and hydrological data as the Board of Appeals deems necessary. The Board shall, as a condition of approval, require that effective notice be given to prospective purchasers or existing landowners, by signs, notation on plans and permits or otherwise, of past flooding of said premises and the steps undertaken by the petitioner or his successor in title to alleviate the effects of the same.
G. 
Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Board shall ensure that:
(1) 
New construction or substantial improvements of residential structures within the Floodplain Zone will have the lowest floor (including the basement) elevated to or above the level of the one-hundred-year flood.
(2) 
No use or structure shall be located in the designated floodway which would result in any increase in flood levels during the base flood discharge.
(3) 
No fill or encroachment within the designated floodway shall be permitted that would impair its ability to carry and discharge the waters resulting from the one-hundred-year flood, unless it has been demonstrated through hydrologic and hydraulic analyses performed in accordance with standard engineering practice that the proposed encroachments would not result in any increase in flood levels during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
(4) 
All other necessary permits for the proposed development, as defined in § 180-2, have been received from those federal, state or local governmental agencies from which price approval is required.
(5) 
Adjacent communities and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, at 251 Causeway Street, Suite 600-700, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, are notified prior to any alteration or relocation of a watercourse, and that evidence of such notification is submitted to FEMA, at 99 High Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02110, and that the flood-carrying capacity within the altered or relocated portion of any watercourse is maintained.
(6) 
New or replacement water supply systems and/or sanitary sewerage systems to be located in the Floodplain Zone shall be designed to minimize or eliminate infiltration of floodwaters into the systems and discharges from the systems into floodwaters.
(7) 
All subdivision proposals must be designed to assure that:
(a) 
Such proposals minimize flood damage;
(b) 
All public utilities and facilities are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage; and
(c) 
Adequate drainage is provided to reduce exposure to flood hazards.
(8) 
In a riverine situation, the Building Inspector shall notify the following of any alteration or relocation of a watercourse:
(a) 
Adjacent communities and bordering states;
(b) 
NFIP State Coordinator, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, at 251 Causeway Street, Suite 600-700, Boston, MA 02114-2104;
(c) 
NFIP Program Specialist, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region I, at 99 High Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02110.
(9) 
Base flood elevation data is required for subdivision proposals or other developments greater than 50 lots or five acres, whichever is the lesser, within unnumbered A Zones.
(10) 
In Zones A and AE, along watercourses that have not had a regulatory floodway designated, the best available federal, state, local, or other floodway data shall be used to prohibit encroachments in floodways which would result in any increase in flood levels within the community during the occurrence of the base flood discharge.
A. 
A subdivision filed with the Planning Board under Chapter 41 of the General Laws of Massachusetts shall meet the rules and regulations of the Planning Board as they apply to floodplain management.[1] The subdivision as approved by the Planning Board may be considered a single application when submitted to the Board of Appeals under this article. The action of the Planning Board shall in no way limit the Board of Appeals in its decision and setting of conditions.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Art. VII, Floodplains, of Ch. 159, Subdivision of Land.
B. 
Nothing contained in this article shall limit the authority of the Board of Health with respect to premises in the Floodplain Zone or affect the applicability of the Building Code[2] to any building in the Floodplain Zone.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 82, Building Construction.
C. 
A building permit issued by the Inspector of Buildings before the effective date of this article shall be deemed to be a permit hereunder.
D. 
Any plans or applications submitted to any board, agent or authority of the Town which concerns land within the floodplain shall be noted: "This proposal is for land which lies in the floodplain and meets the requirements of the Floodplain Ordinance."
E. 
Any existing nonconforming uses or structures in the designated floodway shall not be substantially improved but may be modified, altered, repaired or reconstructed, subject to regulations pertaining to nonconforming uses, to incorporate floodproofing measures, provided that such measures or such modification, alteration, repair or reconstruction do not raise the level of the one-hundred-year flood at any point.
F. 
No new construction, alteration or extension of a structure for human occupancy as permitted under § 180-71 shall be allowed beyond the foundation stage until the elevation of the lowest floor (including the basement) has been checked and certified, in writing, to the Inspector of Buildings or as being the elevation as stated on the approved plans or higher. All final grades or any change in topography shall be checked and certified, in writing, as being according to the approved plans. Inspection and certification shall be made by a registered professional engineer or land surveyor. All costs incurred under this section shall be borne by the applicant. Records of these elevations and certifications shall be maintained in the office of the Inspector of Buildings and shall be open to public inspection.
G. 
Where interpretation is needed as to the exact location of the boundaries the Floodplain Zone (for example, where there appears to be conflict between a mapped boundary and actual field conditions), the Building Inspector shall consult the NFIP Program Specialist, FEMA and/or the NFIP State Coordinator at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation for the necessary interpretation.
The completion of all earth work not bonded or covenanted under Chapter 41 of the General Laws of Massachusetts shall be guaranteed with the Town of Agawam by securities or bond as required by the Town prior to commencement by any earth work.
The invalidity of any section or provision of this article for regulation of the floodplain shall not invalidate any other section or provision hereof.