Planning & Zoning in Michigan>Floodplain Management Standards

Floodplain Management Standards
This information was adapted from the 'Shiawassee & Huron Headwaters Preservation Project' developed by Oakland County Planning and Carlisle Wortman & Associates.

Floodplain management regulations have been in existence for a number of years, but took on increased significance with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Program. Floodplain regulations are a necessary prerequisite to permit enrolling of proposed owners in the flood insurance program.

The following language represents standards that are designed to prevent loss of life and property by restricting development within floodplain areas.

Section. __________. Floodplain Management Standards

(a.) Intent. It is the intent of the (community) in adopting this article to significantly reduce hazards to persons and damage to property as a result of flood conditions in the (community); to comply with the provisions and requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program; to protect human life, health and property from dangerous and damaging effects of flood conditions; to minimize public expenditures for flood control projects, rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of flooding, repair of flood damage public facilities and utilities, and the redevelopment of flood damaged homes, neighborhoods, commercial and industrial areas; to maintain stable development patterns not subject to the blighting influence of flood damage; to designate floodplains and institute floodplain development regulations and general development standards; to establish regulations concerning the same; and to provide for the administration of this article and to provide penalties for violation.

(b.) Delineation of the flood hazard area overlay zone.
(1) The flood hazard area zone shall overlay existing zoning districts delineated on the official (community) Zoning Map. The boundaries of the flood hazard area zone shall coincide with the boundaries of the areas indicated as within the limits of the 100-year flood on the Flood Insurance Road Map for (community) dated ___________. The Flood Insurance Rate Map is adopted by reference, appended, and declared to be a part of this ordinance. The term flood hazard area as used in this ordinance shall mean the flood hazard area zone.

(2) Disputes as to the location of a flood hazard area zone boundary shall be resolved by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

(3) In addition to other requirements of this ordinance applicable to development in the underlying zoning districts, compliance with the requirements of this Section shall be necessary for all development occurring within the flood hazard area zone. Conflicts between the requirements of this Section and other requirements of this ordinance or any other ordinance shall be resolved in favor of this Section, except where the conflicting requirement is more stringent and would further the objectives of this Section to a greater extent than the requirements of this Section. In such cases, the more stringent requirement shall be applied.

(c.) Principal and Accessory Uses Permitted.
(1) Within the flood hazard area overlay zone, no land shall be used except for one or more of the following principal uses:

a. Agriculture and pasture land.

b. Parks and recreation facilities, provided no permanent structures are constructed.

c. Swimming beaches, fishing, and boating docks in accord with the provisions of the Inland Lakes and Streams Act of 1972.

d. Required open space or lot area for structural uses that are landward of the overlay zone.

(2) The following accessory structures and uses are permitted, provided they are also permitted in the underlying zoning district.

a. Off-street parking, streets, roads, bridges, outdoor play equipment, sheds and garages, boathouses, boat hoists, utility lines, pump houses, bleachers, bank protection structures, signs, fences, gazebos and similar outdoor equipment and appurtenances, provided each of the following requirements are met:

1. The structure would not cause an increase in water surface elevation, obstruct flow, or reduce the impoundment capacity of the floodplain.

2. All equipment and structures shall be anchored to prevent flotation and lateral movement.

3. Compliance with these requirements is certified by an engineering finding by a registered engineer.

(d.) Filling and Dumping - Dredging and filling and/or dumping or backfilling with any material in any manner is prohibited unless through compensating excavation and shaping of the floodplain, the flow and impoundment capacity of the floodplain will be maintained or improved, and unless all applicable state regulations are met.

(e.) General Standards for Flood Hazard Reduction.
(1) No building or structure shall be erected, converted, or substantially improved or placed, and no land filled or structure used in a flood hazard area unless permission is obtained from the (community). Approval shall not be granted until a permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality under authority of Act 245 of the Public Acts of 1929, as amended by Act 167 of the Public Acts of 1968 has been obtained.

(2) All public utilities and facilities shall be designed, constructed, and located to minimize or eliminate flood damage.

(3) Land shall not be divided in a manner creating parcels or lots which cannot be used in conformance with the requirements of this Section.

(4) Available flood hazard data from federal, state or other sources shall be reasonably utilized in meeting the standards of this section.

(f.) Disclaimer of Liability. The degree of flood protection required by this article is considered reasonable for regulatory purposes and is based upon engineering and scientific methods of study. Larger floods may occur on rare occasions. Flood heights may be increased by man-made or natural causes. Thus, approval of the use of land under this article shall not be considered a guarantee or warranty of safety from flood damage. This article does not imply that areas outside the flood hazard area will be free from flood damage. This article does not create liability on the part of the (community) or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damage that results from reliance on this article, or any administrative decision lawfully made.

(g.) Flood Hazard Area Variances.
(1) Variances from the provisions of Section ______ Floodplain Management shall only be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals upon a determination of compliance with the general standards for variances contained in this ordinance and each of the following specific standards.

a. A variance shall be granted only upon:

1. a showing of good and sufficient cause;

2. a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and

3. a determination that the granting of a variance will not result in a harmful increase in flood heights, additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, create nuisances, cause fraud on or victimization of the public, or conflict with existing laws or ordinances; and

4. a determination that the granting of a variance will not result in any violations of applicable state or federal laws.

b. The variance granted shall be the minimum necessary, considering the flood hazards, to afford relief to the applicant.

(2) The Zoning Board of Appeals may attach conditions to the granting of a variance to ensure compliance with the standards contained in this ordinance.

(3) Variances may be granted for the reconstruction, rehabilitation, or restoration of structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the Michigan Historic Markers listing of historic sites or any other state register of historic places without regard to the requirements of this section governing variances in flood hazard areas.

(h.) Mapping disputes.
(1) Where disputes arise as to the location of the flood hazard area boundary or the limits of the floodway, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall resolve the dispute and establish the boundary location. In all cases, the decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals shall be based upon the most current floodplain studies issued by the Federal Insurance Administration. Where Federal Insurance Administration information is not available, the best available floodplain information shall be utilized.

(2) Where a dispute involves an allegation that the boundary is incorrect as mapped and the Federal Insurance Administration floodplain studies are being questioned, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall modify the boundary of the flood hazard area or the floodway only upon receipt of an official letter of map amendment issued by the Federal Insurance Administration.

(3) All parties to a map dispute may submit technical evidence to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
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