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Municipal Code

Chapter 26. Floodplain Ordinance

Sec. 26-12. Definitions

(1) Definitions. Unless specifically defined, words and phrases in this ordinance shall have their common law meaning and shall be applied in accordance with their common usage.  Words used in the present tense include the future, the singular number includes the plural and the plural number includes the singular.  The word "may" is permissive, "shall" is mandatory and is not discretionary.

A Zones means those areas shown on the Official Floodplain Zoning Map which would be inundated by the regional flood.  These areas may be numbered or unnumbered A Zones.  The A Zones may or may not be reflective of flood profiles, depending on the availability of data for a given area.

Accessory structure or use means a facility, structure, building or use which is accessory or incidental to the principal use of a property, structure or building.

Base flood means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year, as published by FEMA as part of a FIS and depicted on a FIRM.

Basement means any enclosed area of a building having its floor sub-grade, i.e., below ground level, on all sides.

Building. See STRUCTURE.

Bulkhead line means a geographic line along a reach of navigable water that has been adopted by a municipal ordinance and approved by the Department pursuant to s. 30.11, Stats., and which allows limited filling between this bulkhead line and the original ordinary highwater mark, except where such filling is prohibited by the floodway provisions of this ordinance.

Campground means any parcel of land which is designed, maintained, intended or used for the purpose of providing sites for nonpermanent overnight use by 4 or more camping units, or which is advertised or represented as a camping area.

Camping unit means any portable device, no more than 400 square feet in area, used as a temporary shelter, including but not limited to a camping trailer, motor home, bus, van, pick-up truck, tent or other mobile recreational vehicle.

Certificate of compliance means a certification that the construction and the use of land or a building, the elevation of fill or the lowest floor of a structure is in compliance with all of the provisions of this ordinance.

Channel means a natural or artificial watercourse with definite bed and banks to confine and conduct normal flow of water.

Crawlways or Crawl space means an enclosed area below the first usable floor of a building, generally less than five feet in height, used for access to plumbing and electrical utilities.

Deck means an unenclosed exterior structure that has no roof or sides, but has a permeable floor which allows the infiltration of precipitation.

Department means the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Development means any artificial change to improved or unimproved real estate, including, but not limited to, the construction of buildings, structures or accessory structures; the construction of additions or alterations to buildings, structures or accessory structures; the repair of any damaged structure or the improvement or renovation of any structure, regardless of percentage of damage or improvement; the placement of buildings or structures; subdivision layout and site preparation; mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations; the storage, deposition or extraction of materials or equipment; and the installation, repair or removal of public or private sewage disposal systems or water supply facilities.

Dryland access means a vehicular access route which is above the regional flood elevation and which connects land located in the floodplain to land outside the floodplain, such as a road with its surface above regional flood elevation and wide enough for wheeled rescue and relief vehicles.

Encroachment means any fill, structure, equipment, building, use or development in the floodway.

Existing manufactured home park or subdivision means a parcel of land, divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale, on which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots is completed before the effective date of this ordinance.  At a minimum, this would include the installation of utilities, the construction of streets and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads

Expansion to existing mobile/manufactured home park means the preparation of additional sites by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed.  This includes installation of utilities, construction of streets and either final site grading, or the pouring if concrete pads.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) means the federal agency that administers the National Flood Insurance Program.

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) means a map of a community on which the Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both special flood hazard areas (the floodplain) and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.  This map can only be amended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Flood or flooding means a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas caused by one of the following conditions:

      1. The overflow or rise of inland waters,
      2. The rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source,
      3. The inundation caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels along the shore of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior, or
      4. The sudden increase caused by an unusually high water level in a natural body of water, accompanied by a severe storm, or by an unanticipated force of nature, such as a seiche, or by some similarly unusual event.

Flood frequency means the probability of a flood occurrence which is determined from statistical analyses. The frequency of a particular flood event is usually expressed as occurring, on the average once in a specified number of years or as a percent (%) chance of occurring in any given year.

Floodfringe means that portion of the floodplain outside of the floodway which is covered by flood waters during the regional flood and associated with standing water rather than flowing water.

Flood hazard boundary map means a map designating approximate flood hazard areas.  Flood hazard areas are designated as unnumbered A‑Zones and do not contain floodway lines or regional flood elevations.  This map forms the basis for both the regulatory and insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until superseded by a Flood Insurance Study and a Flood Insurance Rate Map.

Flood insurance study means a technical engineering examination, evaluation, and determination of the local flood hazard areas.  It provides maps designating those areas affected by the regional flood and provides both flood insurance rate zones and base flood elevations and may provide floodway lines.  The flood hazard areas are designated as numbered and unnumbered A‑Zones.  Flood Insurance Rate Maps, that accompany the Flood Insurance Study, form the basis for both the regulatory and the insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Floodplain means land which has been or may be covered by flood water during the regional flood.  It includes the floodway and the floodfringe, and may include other designated floodplain areas for regulatory purposes.

Floodplain island means a natural geologic land formation within the floodplain that is surrounded, but not covered, by floodwater during the regional flood.

Floodplain management means policy and procedures to insure wise use of floodplains, including mapping and engineering, mitigation, education, and administration and enforcement of floodplain regulations.

Flood profile means a graph or a longitudinal profile line showing the relationship of the water surface elevation of a flood event to locations of land surface elevations along a stream or river.

Floodproofing means any combination of structural provisions, changes or adjustments to properties and structures, water and sanitary facilities and contents of buildings subject to flooding, for the purpose of reducing or eliminating flood damage.

Flood protection elevation means an elevation of two feet of freeboard above the water surface profile elevation designated for the regional flood.  (Also see:  FREEBOARD.)

Flood storage means those floodplain areas where storage of floodwaters has been taken into account during analysis in reducing the regional flood discharge.

Floodway means the channel of a river or stream and those portions of the floodplain adjoining the channel required to carry the regional flood discharge.

Freeboard means a safety factor expressed in terms of a specified number of feet above a calculated flood level.  Freeboard compensates for any factors that cause flood heights greater than those calculated, including ice jams, debris accumulation, wave action, obstruction of bridge openings and floodways, the effects of watershed urbanization, loss of flood storage areas due to development and aggregation of the river or stream bed.

Habitable structure means any structure or portion thereof used or designed for human habitation.

Hearing notice means a publication or posting meeting the requirements of Ch. 985, Stats.  For appeals, a Class 1 notice, published once at least one week (7 days) before the hearing, is required.  For all zoning ordinances and amendments, a Class 2 notice, published twice, once each week consecutively, the last at least a week (7 days) before the hearing.  Local ordinances or bylaws may require additional notice, exceeding these minimums.

High flood damage potential means damage that could result from flooding that includes any danger to life or health or any significant economic loss to a structure or building and its contents.

Historic structure means any structure that is either:

      1. Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register,
      2. 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,
      3. Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior, or
      4. Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either by an approved state program, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior; or by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.

Increase in regional flood height means a calculated upward rise in the regional flood elevation, equal to or greater than 0.01 foot, based on a comparison of existing conditions and proposed conditions which is directly attributable to development in the floodplain but not attributable to manipulation of mathematical variables such as roughness factors, expansion and contraction coefficients and discharge.

Land use means any nonstructural use made of unimproved or improved real estate.  (Also see DEVELOPMENT.)

Manufactured home means a structure transportable in one or more sections, which is built on a permanent chassis and is designed to be used with or without a permanent foundation when connected to required utilities.  The term "manufactured home" includes a mobile home but does not include a "mobile recreational vehicle."

Mobile recreational vehicle means a vehicle which is built on a single chassis, 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection, designed to be self-propelled, carried or permanently towable by a licensed, light-duty vehicle, is licensed for highway use if registration is required and is designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling, but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use.  Manufactured homes that are towed or carried onto a parcel of land, but do not remain capable of being towed or carried, including park model homes, do not fall within the definition of "mobile recreational vehicles."

Municipality or Municipal means the county, city or village governmental units enacting, administering and enforcing this zoning ordinance.

NAVD or NORTH AMERICAN VERTICAL DATUM means elevations referenced to mean sea level datum, 1988 adjustment.

NGVD or National Geodetic Vertical Datum means elevations referenced to mean sea level datum, 1929 adjustment.

New construction means for floodplain management purposes, "new construction" means structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of floodplain zoning regulations adopted by this community and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.  For the purpose of determining flood insurance rates, it includes any structures for which the "start of construction" commenced on or after the effective date of an initial FIRM or after December 31, 1974, whichever is later, and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.

Nonconforming structure means an existing lawful structure or building which is not in conformity with the dimensional or structural requirements of this ordinance for the area of the floodplain which it occupies.  (For example, an existing residential structure in the floodfringe district is a conforming use.  However, if the lowest floor is lower than the flood protection elevation, the structure is nonconforming.)

Nonconforming use means an existing lawful use or accessory use of a structure or building which is not in conformity with the provisions of this ordinance for the area of the floodplain which it occupies.  (Such as a residence in the floodway.)

Obstruction to flow means any development which blocks the conveyance of floodwaters such that this development alone or together with any future development will cause an increase in regional flood height.

Official floodplain zoning map means that map, adopted and made part of this ordinance, as described in Sec. 26-02 (2), which has been approved by the Department and FEMA.

Open space use means those uses having a relatively low flood damage potential and not involving structures.

Ordinary highwater mark means the point on the bank or shore up to which the presence and action of surface water is so continuous as to leave a distinctive mark such as by erosion, destruction or prevention of terrestrial vegetation, predominance of aquatic vegetation, or other easily recognized characteristic.

Person means an individual, or group of individuals, corporation, partnership, association, municipality or state agency.

Private sewage system means a sewage treatment and disposal system serving one structure with a septic tank and soil absorption field located on the same parcel as the structure.  It also means an alternative sewage system approved by the Department of Commerce, including a substitute for the septic tank or soil absorption field, a holding tank, a system serving more than one structure or a system located on a different parcel than the structure.

Public utilities means those utilities using underground or overhead transmission lines such as electric, telephone and telegraph, and distribution and collection systems such as water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer.

Reasonably safe from flooding means base flood waters will not inundate the land or damage structures to be removed from the special flood hazard area and that any subsurface waters related to the base flood will not damage existing or proposed buildings.

Regional flood means a flood determined to be representative of large floods known to have occurred in Wisconsin.  A regional flood is a flood with a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year, and if depicted on the FIRM, the RFE is equivalent to the BFE.

Start of construction means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, or other improvement was within 180 days of the permit date.  The actual start means either the first placement of permanent construction on a site, such as the pouring of slab or footings, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work beyond initial 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.  For an alteration, 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.

Structure means any manmade object with form, shape and utility, either permanently or temporarily attached to, placed upon or set into the ground, stream bed or lake bed, including, but not limited to, roofed and walled buildings, gas or liquid storage tanks, bridges, dams and culverts.

Subdivision means the definition given in s. 236.02(12), Wis. Stats.

Substantial damage means damage of any origin sustained by a structure, whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its pre-damaged condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the equalized assessed value of the structure before the damage occurred.

Unnecessary hardship means where special conditions affecting a particular property, which were not self‑created, have made strict conformity with restrictions governing areas, setbacks, frontage, height or density unnecessarily burdensome or unreasonable in light of the purposes of the ordinance.

Variance means an authorization by the board of adjustment or appeals for the construction or maintenance of a building or structure in a manner which is inconsistent with dimensional standards (not uses) contained in the floodplain zoning ordinance.

Violation means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with the floodplain zoning ordinance.  A structure or other development without required permits, lowest floor elevation documentation, floodproofing certificates or required floodway encroachment calculations is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided.

Watershed means the entire region contributing runoff or surface water to a watercourse or body of water.

Water surface profile means a graphical representation showing the elevation of the water surface of a watercourse for each position along a reach of river or stream at a certain flood flow.  A water surface profile of the regional flood is used in regulating floodplain areas.

Well means an excavation opening in the ground made by digging, boring, drilling, driving or other methods, to obtain groundwater regardless of its intended use.

(Ord. No. 1169, 1, 1-12-2010)