Sec 1-19-9-220

1-19-9.220 Procedures for Activities within Danger Reach Areas (A) Within the danger reach area the Board of Appeals may grant an application for approval for the replacement of dwelling units (including manufactured homes) damaged by flood, the substantial improvement of habitable area within existing structures, the addition of habitable area to an existing structure, or development of an existing parcel of record lying partially within a danger reach area. The Board of Appeals may grant an application for approval for activity within a danger reach area when the Board specifically finds that:

(1) Failure to grant the variance would result in exceptional hardship to the applicant; and

(2) The granting of an application for approval would not increase flood heights, expand the danger reach area, or threaten public safety; and

(3) The granting of an application for approval is necessary considering the flood hazard to provide relief; and

(4) All new structures and substantial improvements to existing structures will have the lowest floor elevated to the greatest extent possible with respect to the danger reach elevation and an elevation certificate is filed with the Zoning Administrator; and

(5) A waterway construction permit, or other approval, by the Maryland Department of the Environment if improvements are to be located within an area subject to state regulatory authority; and

(6) If any portion of the improvement is within the danger reach area, the action shall be recorded with the deed to the property on which an application for approval is granted prior to the issuance of a building permit. Any expense incurred by the recording is the responsibility of the applicant.

(B) The Board of Appeals may approve within the danger reach area the substantial improvement of habitable area within existing structures or the addition of habitable area to an existing structure or permit development of an existing parcel of record lying partially within a danger reach area if:

(1) The (lowest) habitable floor is elevated at least 1 foot above the elevation of the danger reach area and the dwelling or improvement is placed on a permanent foundation system to resist flotation, collapse or lateral movement; and

(2) The relocation or substantial improvements to existing structures or the addition of accessory structures containing fully enclosed areas below the lowest floor (including, but not limited to crawl spaces, solid footings and continuous foundations) shall be designed to meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:

(a) A minimum of 2 openings having a total net area of not less than 1 square inch for every square foot of enclosed area subject to flooding shall be provided.

(b) The bottom of all openings shall be no higher than 1 foot above grade.

(c) Openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves, or other coverings or devices, provided that they permit the automatic entry and exit of floodwaters.

(C) The Board of Appeals will notify the applicant of approval in writing through the Zoning Administrator. The decision of approval and findings shall include the notification that:

(1) The issuance of a decision to allow construction of a structure within the danger reach area may result in increased premium rates for insurance;

(2) Such construction in the danger reach area may increase risks to life and property.

(D) The Board of Appeals shall not grant approval to build within the danger reach area for lots created after the enactment of these provisions.

(E) With respect to existing lots affected by the danger reach area, the Zoning Administrator may, by the issuance of a zoning certificate, approve the following:

(1) The location on a lot of open shelters, pole-type structures (open on all sides and without walls), open fences and recreational uses, and recreational equipment which are not contained in a building, provided that the type of construction will not increase the flood elevation or expand the danger reach area;

(2) The replacement of a habitable structure or portion thereof damaged or destroyed other than by flooding;

(3) The expansion of a structure to add nonhabitable improvements, including, but not limited to, porches, decks, patios, etc., when such improvements will be located within the danger reach area, provided that the construction will not increase the flood elevation or expand the danger reach area;

(4) The expansion of a structure to create additional habitable areas, provided that the additional habitable area does not fall within the danger reach area.

(Ord. 96-02-154, 2-6-1996; Ord. 07-29-469, 9-4-2007)

Division 2. Danger Reach Areas