TOWN OF SWAN'S ISLAND
FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE
1. Purpose and Establishment 3
2. Permit Required 3
3. Application For Permit 4
4. Application Fee and Expert’s Fee 5
5. Review Standards for Flood Hazard Development Permit 5
6. Development Standards 7
7. Conditional Use Review 11
8. Certificate of Compliance 12
9. Review of Subdivisions and Development Proposals 12
10. Appeals and Variances 13
11. Enforcement and Penalties 15
12. Validity and Severability 15
13. Conflict With Other Ordinances 15
14. Definitions 16
15. Abrogation 20
Section 1. Purpose and Establishment
Certain areas of the Town of Swan’s Island are subject to periodic flooding, causing serious
damages to properties within these areas. Relief is available in the form of flood insurance as
authorized by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.
Therefore, the Town of Swan’s Island, Maine has chosen to become a participating community in
the National Flood Insurance Program, and agrees to comply with the requirements of the
National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-488, as amended) as delineated in this Floodplain
It is the intent of the Town of Swan’s Island, Maine to require the recognition and evaluation of
flood hazards in all official actions relating to land use in the floodplain areas having special flood
The Town of Swan’s Island has the legal authority to adopt land use and control measures to
reduce future flood losses pursuant to Title 30-A MRSA §3001-3007, 4352 and 4401-4407.
The National Flood Insurance Program, established in the aforesaid Act, provides that areas of
the Town of Swan’s Island having a special flood hazard be identified by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency and that floodplain management measures be applied in such flood hazard
areas. This Ordinance establishes a Flood Hazard Development Permit system and review
procedure for development activities in the designated flood hazard areas of the Town of Swan’s
The areas of special flood hazard are identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
in a map entitled “Flood Insurance Rate Map - Town of Swans Island, Maine, Hancock County”,
dated March 1, 1987, which is hereby adopted by reference and declared to be a part of this
Section 2 - Permit Required
Before any construction or other development (as defined in Section 14), including the placement
of manufactured homes, begins within any areas of special flood hazard established in Section 1,
a Flood Hazard Development Permit shall be obtained from the Code Enforcement Officer except
as provided in Section 7. This permit shall be in addition to any other permits which may be
required pursuant to the codes and ordinances of the Town of Swan’s Island, Maine.
Section 3 - Application For Permit
The application for a Flood Hazard Development Permit shall be submitted to the Code
Enforcement Officer and shall include:
A. The name, address and phone number of the applicant, owner and contractor;
B. An address and a map indicating the location of the construction site;
C. A site plan showing location of existing and/or proposed development, including but not
limited to structures, sewage disposal facilities, water supply facilities, areas to be cut and
filled, and lot dimensions;
D. A statement of the intended use of the structure and/or development;
E. A statement as to the type of sewage system proposed;
F. Specifications of dimensions of the proposed structure and/or development;
[Items G-J.2. apply only to new construction and substantial improvements.]
G. The elevation in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD), or to a locally
established datum, of the:
1. base flood at the proposed site of all new or substantially improved structures, which in
Zone A is determined:
(a) from any base flood elevation data from federal, state, or other technical sources
(such as FEMA’s Quick-2 model, FEMA 265/July 1995), including information
obtained pursuant to Section 6.J. and 9.D.;
(b) from the contour elevation extrapolated from a best fit analysis of the floodplain
boundary when overlaid onto a USGS Quadrangle Map or other topographical
map prepared by a Professional Land Surveyor or registered professional
engineer, if the floodplain boundary has a significant correlation to the elevation
contour line(s); or, in the absence of all other data,
(c.) to be the elevation of the ground at the intersection of the floodplain boundary
and a line perpendicular to the shoreline which passes along the ground through
the site of the proposed building.
2. highest and lowest grades at the site adjacent to the walls of the proposed building;
3. lowest floor, including basement; and whether or not such structures contain a basement;
4. level, in the case of non-residential structures only, to which the structure will be
H. A description of an elevation reference point established on the site of all developments for
which elevation standards apply as required in Section 6;
I. A written certification by a Professional Land Surveyor, registered professional engineer or
architect, that the base flood elevation and grade elevations shown on the application are
J. The following certifications as required in Section 6 by a registered professional engineer or
1. a Floodproofing Certificate (FEMA Form 81-65, 08/99, as amended), to verify that the
floodproofing methods for any non-residential structures will meet the floodproofing
criteria of Section 3.G.4.; Section 6.G.; and other applicable standards in Section 6;
2. a Hydraulic Openings Certificate to verify that engineered hydraulic openings in
foundation walls will meet the standards of Article 6.K.2.a.;
3. a certified statement that bridges will meet the standards of Section 6.L.;
4. a certified statement that containment walls will meet the standards of Section 6.M.;
K. A description of the extent to which any water course will be altered or relocated as a result of
the proposed development; and,
L. A statement of construction plans describing in detail how each applicable development
standard in Section 6 will be met.
Section 4 - Application Fee and Expert’s Fee
A non-refundable application fee of $25.00 shall be paid to the Town Treasurer and a copy of the
receipt for the same shall accompany the application. This application fee will be waived if the
application is submitted in conjunction with an application for a Shoreland Zoning Permit pursuant
to the Swan’s Island Shoreland Zoning Ordinance.
An additional fee may be charged if the Code Enforcement Officer, Planning Board or Board of
Appeals needs the assistance of a professional engineer or other expert. The expert’s fee shall
be paid in full by the applicant within 10 days after the town submits a bill to the applicant. Failure
to pay the bill shall constitute a violation of the ordinance and be grounds for the issuance of a
stop work order. An expert shall not be hired by the municipality at the expense of the applicant
until the applicant has either consented to such hiring in writing or been given an opportunity to
be heard on the subject. An applicant who is dissatisfied with a decision to hire expert assistance
may appeal that decision to the Board of Appeals.
Section 5 - Review Standards For Flood Hazard Development Permit Applications
The Code Enforcement Officer shall:
A. Review all applications for the Flood Hazard Development Permit to assure that proposed
developments are reasonably safe from flooding and to determine that all pertinent
requirements of Section 6 (Development Standards) have been, or will be met;
B. Utilize, in the review of all Flood Hazard Development Permit applications:
1. the base flood data contained in the “Flood Insurance Rate Map - Town of Swans Island,
Maine”, as described in Section 1.
2. In special flood hazard areas where base flood elevation data are not provided, the Code
Enforcement Officer shall obtain, review and reasonably utilize any base flood elevation
and floodway data from federal, state, or other technical sources, including information
obtained pursuant to Section 3.G.1.; Section 6.J.; and Section 9.D., in order to administer
Section 6 of this Ordinance; and
3. when the community establishes a base flood elevation in a Zone A by methods outlined
in Section 3.G.1.b., the community shall submit that data to the Maine Floodplain
Management Program in the State Planning Office.
C. Make interpretations of the location of boundaries of special flood hazard areas shown on the
maps described in Section 1 of this Ordinance;
D. In the review of Flood Hazard Development Permit applications, determine that all necessary
permits have been obtained from those federal, state, and local government agencies from
which prior approval is required by federal or state law, including, but not limited to Section
404 of the Federal water Pollution Act Amendmends of 1972, 33 USC 1334;
E. Notify adjacent municipalities, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Maine
Floodplain Management Program in the State Planning Office prior to any alteration or
relocation of a water course and submit copies of such notifications to the Federal
Emergency Management Agency;
F. If the application satisfies the requirements of this Ordinance, approve the issuance of one of
the following Flood Hazard Development Permits based on the type of development:
1. A two part Flood Hazard Development Permit for elevated structures. Part one
shall authorize the applicant to build a structure to and including the first
horizontal floor only above the base flood level. At that time the applicant shall
provide the Code Enforcement Officer with a second Elevation Certificate
completed by a Professional Land Surveyor, registered professional engineer or
architect based on the Part 1 permit construction, “as built”, for verifying
compliance with the elevation requirements of Section 6, paragraphs F, G, or H.
Following review of the Elevation Certificate Data, which shall take place within
72 hours of receipt of the application, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue
Part 2 of the Flood Hazard Development Permit. Part 2 shall authorize the
applicant to complete the construction project; or,
2. A Flood Hazard Development Permit for Floodproofing of Non-Residential
structures that are new construction or substantially improved non-residential
structures that are not being elevated but that meet the floodproofing standards
of Section 6.G.1., 2., and 3. The application for this permit shall include a
Floodproofing Certificate signed by a registered professional engineer or
3. A Flood Hazard Development Permit for Minor Development for all development
tthat is not new construction or a substantial improvement, such as repairs
maintenance, renovations, or additions, whose value is less than 50% of the
market value of the structure. Minor development also includes, but is not limited
to: accessory structures, as provided in Section 6.I., mining, dredging, filling,
grading, paving, excavation, drilling operations, storage of equipment or
materials, deposition or extraction of materials, public or private sewage disposal
systems or water supply facilities that do not involve structures; and nonstructural
projects such as bridges, dams, towers, fencing, pipelines, wharves
For development that requires review and approval as a Conditional Use, as provided for in this
Ordinance, the Flood Hazard Development Permit Application shall be acted upon by the
Planning Board as required in Section 7.
G. Maintain, as a permanent record, copies of all Flood Hazard Development Permit
Applications, corresponding Permits issued, and data relevant thereto, including reports
of the Board of Appeals on variances granted under the provisions of Section 10 of this
Ordinance, and copies of Elevation Certificates, Floodproofing Certificates, Certificates of
Compliance and certifications of design standards required under the provisions of
Sections 3, 6 and 8 of this Ordinance.
SECTION 6 - DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS
All developments in areas of special flood hazard shall meet the following applicable standards:
A. All Development - All development shall:
1. be designed or modified and adequately anchored to prevent flotation (excluding
piers and docks), collapse or lateral movement of the development resulting from
hydrodynamic and hydrostatic loads, including the effects of buoyancy;
2. use construction materials that are resistant to flood damage;
3. use construction methods and practices that will minimize flood damage; and,
4. use electrical, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and air conditioning equipment, and
other service facilities that are designed and/or located so as to prevent water
from entering or accumulating within the components during flooding conditions.
B. Water Supply - All new and replacement water supply systems shall be designed to
minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the systems.
C. Sanitary Sewage Systems - All new and replacement sanitary sewage systems shall be
designed and located to minimize or eliminate infiltration of flood waters into the system
and discharges from the system into flood waters.
D. On Site Waste Disposal Systems - On site waste disposal systems shall be located and
constructed to avoid impairment to them or contamination from them during floods.
E. Watercourse Carrying Capacity - All development associated with altered or relocated
portions of a watercourse shall be constructed and maintained in such a manner that no
reduction occurs in the flood carrying capacity of the watercourse.
F. Residential - New construction or substantial improvement of any residential structure
located within Zone A shall have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated to at least
one foot above the base flood elevation utilizing information obtained pursuant to Section
3.G.1; Section 5.B; or Section 9.D.
G. Non Residential - New construction or substantial improvement of any non-residential
structure located within Zone A shall have the lowest floor (including basement) elevated
to at least one foot above the base flood elevation utilizing information obtained pursuant
to Section 3.G.1.; Section 5.B; or Section 9.D., or together with attendant utility and
sanitary facilities shall:
1. be floodproofed to at least one foot above the base flood elevation utilizing
information obtained pursuant to Section 3.G.1.; Section 5.B; or Section 9.D., so
that below that elevation the structure is watertight with walls substantially
impermeable to the passage of water;
2. have structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic
loads and the effects of buoyancy; and,
3. be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the
floodproofing design and methods of construction are in accordance with
accepted standards of practice for meeting the provisions of this section. Such
certification shall be provided with the application for a Flood Hazard
Development Permit, as required by Section 3.J. and shall include a record of the
elevation above mean sea level to which the structure is floodproofed.
H. Manufactured Homes - New or substantially improved manufactured homes located
within Zone A shall:
1. be elevated such that the lowest floor (including basement) of the manufactured
home is at least one foot above the base flood elevation utilizing information
obtained pursuant to Section 3.G.1.; Section 5.B; or Section 9.D.;
2. be on a permanent foundation, which may be poured masonry slab or foundation
walls, with hydraulic openings, or may be reinforced piers or block supports, any
of which support the manufactured home so that no weight is supported by its
wheels and axles; and,
3. be securely anchored to an adequately anchored foundation system to resist
flotation, collapse, or lateral movement. Methods of anchoring may include, but
are not limited to:
a. over-the-top ties anchored to the ground at the four corners of the
manufactured home, plus two additional ties per side at intermediate
points (manufactured homes less than 50 feet long require one additional
tie per side); or by,
b. frame ties at each corner of the home, plus five additional ties along
each side at intermediate points (manufactured homes less than 50 feet
long require four additional ties per side).
c. all components of the anchoring system described in Section 6.H.3.a.&
b. shall be capable of carrying a force of 4800 pounds.
I. Accessory Structures - Accessory Structures, as defined in Section 14, located within
Zone A, shall be exempt from the elevation criteria required in Section 6.F. & G. above, if
all other requirements of Section 6 and all the following requirements are met. Accessory
1. be 500 square feet or less and have a value less than $3000;
2. have unfinished interiors and not be used for human habitation;
3. have hydraulic openings, as specified in Section 6.K.2., in at least two different
walls of the accessory structure;
4. be located outside the floodway;
5. when possible be constructed and placed on the building site so as to offer the
minimum resistance to the flow of floodwaters and be placed further from the
source of flooding than is the primary structure; and,
6. have only ground fault interrupt electrical outlets. The electric service disconnect
shall be located above the base flood elevation and when possible outside the
Special Flood Hazard Area.
J. Floodways - Encroachments, including fill, new construction, substantial improvement,
and other development shall not be permitted in a floodway which, in Zone A riverine
areas, is the channel of the river or other water course and the adjacent land areas to a
distance of one-half the width of the floodplain as measured from the normal high water
mark to the upland limit of the floodplain, unless a technical evaluation certified by a
registered professional engineer is provided demonstrating that the cumulative effect of
the proposed development, when combined with all other existing development and
1. will not increase the water surface elevation of the base flood more than one foot
at any point within the community; and,
2. is consistent with the technical criteria contained in Chapter 5 entitled "Hydraulic
Analyses," Flood Insurance Study - Guidelines and Specifications for Study
Contractors, (FEMA 37/ January 1995, as amended).
K. Enclosed Areas Below the Lowest Floor - New construction or substantial
improvement of any structure in Zone A that meets the development standards of Section
6, including the elevation requirements of Section 6, paragraphs F, G, or H and is
elevated on posts, columns, piers, piles, "stilts," or crawlspaces may be enclosed below
the base flood elevation requirements provided all the following criteria are met or
1. Enclosed areas are not "basements" as defined in Section 14;
2. Enclosed areas shall be designed to automatically equalize hydrostatic flood
forces on exterior walls by allowing for the entry and exit of flood water. Designs
for meeting this requirement must either:
a. be engineered and certified by a registered professional engineer or
b. meet or exceed the following minimum criteria:
(1) a minimum of two openings having a total net area of not less
than one square inch for every square foot of the enclosed area;
(2) the bottom of all openings shall be below the base flood
elevation and no higher than one foot above the lowest grade;
(3) openings may be equipped with screens, louvers, valves, or
other coverings or devices provided that they permit the entry
and exit of flood waters automatically without any external
influence or control such as human intervention, including the
use of electrical and other non-automatic mechanical means;
3. The enclosed area shall not be used for human habitation; and,
4. The enclosed areas are usable solely for building access, parking of vehicles, or
L. Bridges - New construction or substantial improvement of any bridge in Zone A shall be
designed such that:
1. when possible, the lowest horizontal member (excluding the pilings, or columns)
is elevated to at least one foot above the base flood elevation utilizing information
obtained pursuant to Section 3.G.1.; Section 6.J.; and Section 9.D.
2. a registered professional engineer shall certify that:
a. the structural design and methods of construction shall meet the
elevation requirements of this section and the floodway standards of
Section 6.J.; and
b. the foundation and superstructure attached thereto are designed to resist
flotation, collapse and lateral movement due to the effects of wind and
water loads acting simultaneously on all structural components. Water
loading values used shall be those associated with the base flood.
M. Containment Walls - New construction or substantial improvement of any containment
wall located within Zone A shall:
1. have the containment wall elevated to at least one foot above the base flood
elevation utilizing information obtained pursuant to Section 3.G.1.; Section 5 .B.;
or Section 9.D.
2. have structural components capable of resisting hydrostatic and hydrodynamic
loads and the effects of buoyancy; and
3. be certified by a registered professional engineer or architect that the design and
methods of construction are in accordance with accepted standards of practice
for meeting the provisions of this section. Such certification shall be provided with
the application for a Flood Hazard Development Permit, as required by Section
N. Wharves, Piers and Docks - New construction or substantial improvement of wharves,
piers, and docks are permitted in Zone A in and over water and seaward of the mean
high tide if the following requirements are met:
1. wharves, piers, and docks shall comply with all applicable local, state, and
federal regulations; and
2. for commercial wharves, piers, and docks, a registered professional engineer
shall develop or review the structural design, specifications, and plans for the
O. Coastal Floodplains -
1. All new construction located within Zone A shall be located landward of the reach
of mean high tide except as provided in Section 6.O.2.
2. Conditional Use - Lobster sheds and fishing sheds may be located seaward of
mean high tide and shall be exempt from the elevation requirement in Section
6.G. only if permitted as a Conditional Use following review and approval by the
Planning Board, as provided in Section 7, and if all the following requirements
and those of Section 6.A., 6.J., and 6.K. are met:
a. The conditional use shall be limited to low value structures such as metal
or wood sheds and shall not exceed more than one story.
b. The structure shall be securely anchored to the wharf or pier to resist
flotation, collapse, and lateral movement due to the effect of wind and
water loads acting simultaneously on all building components.
c. The structure will not adversely increase wave or debris impact forces
affecting nearby buildings.
d. The structure shall have unfinished interiors and shall not be used for
e. Any mechanical, utility equipment and fuel storage tanks must be
anchored and either elevated or floodproofed to one foot above the base
f. All electrical outlets shall be ground fault interrupt type. The electrical
service disconnect shall be located on shore above the base flood
elevation and when possible outside the Special Flood Hazard Area.
SECTION 7 - CONDITIONAL USE REVIEW
The Planning Board shall hear and decide upon applications for conditional uses provided for in
this Ordinance. The Planning Board shall hear and approve, approve with conditions, or
disapprove all applications for conditional uses. An applicant informed by the Code Enforcement
Officer that a Conditional Use Permit is required shall file an application for the permit with the
A. Review Procedure for a Conditional Use Flood Hazard Development Permit
1. The Flood Hazard Development Permit Application with additional information
attached addressing how each of the conditional use criteria specified in the
Ordinance will be satisfied, may serve as the permit application for the
Conditional Use Permit.
2. Before deciding any application, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing
on the application within thirty days of their receipt of the application.
3. If the Planning Board finds that the application satisfies all relevant requirements
of the ordinance, the Planning Board must approve the application or approve
with conditions within 45 days of the date of the public hearing.
4. A Conditional Use Permit issued under the provisions of this Ordinance shall
expire if the work or change involved is not commenced within 180 days of the
issuance of the permit by the Planning Board.
5. The applicant shall be notified by the Planning Board in writing over the signature
of the Chairman of the Planning Board that flood insurance is not available for
structures located entirely over water or seaward of mean high tide.
B. Expansion of Conditional Uses
1. No existing building or use of premises may be expanded or enlarged without a
permit issued under this section if that building or use was established or
constructed under a previously issued Conditional Use Permit or if it is a building
or use which would require a Conditional Use Permit if being newly-established
or constructed under this Ordinance.
SECTION 8 - CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
No land in a special flood hazard area shall be occupied or used and no structure which is
constructed or substantially improved shall be occupied until a Certificate of Compliance is issued
by the Code Enforcement Officer subject to the following provisions:
A. For New Construction or Substantial Improvement of any elevated structure the applicant
shall submit to the Code Enforcement Officer, an Elevation Certificate completed by a
Professional Land Surveyor, registered professional engineer, or architect, for
compliance with Section 6, paragraphs F, G, or H.
B. The applicant shall submit written notification to the Code Enforcement Officer that the
development is complete and complies with the provisions of this ordinance.
C. Within 10 working days, the Code Enforcement Officer shall:
1. review the Elevation Certificate and the applicant’s written notification; and,
2. upon determination that the development conforms with the provisions of this
ordinance, shall issue a Certificate of Compliance.
SECTION 9 - REVIEW OF SUBDIVISION AND DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS
The Planning Board shall, when reviewing subdivisions and other proposed developments that
require review under other federal law, state law or local ordinances or regulations and all
projects on 5 or more disturbed acres, or in the case of manufactured home parks divided into
two or more lots, assure that:
A. All such proposals are consistent with the need to minimize flood damage.
B. All public utilities and facilities, such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems are
located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damages.
C. Adequate drainage is provided so as to reduce exposure to flood hazards.
D. All proposals include base flood elevations, flood boundaries, and in a riverine floodplain,
floodway data. These determinations shall be based on engineering practices recognized
by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
E. Any proposed development plan must include a condition of plan approval requiring that
structures of any lot in the development having any portion of its land area within a
Special Flood Hazard Area, are to be constructed in accordance with Section 6 of this
ordinance. Such requirement will be included in any deed, lease, purchase and sale
agreement, or document transferring or expressing an intent to transfer any interest in
real estate or structure, including but not limited to a time-share interest. The condition
shall clearly articulate that the municipality may enforce any violation of the construction
requirement and that fact shall also be included in the deed or any other document
previously described. The construction requirement shall also be clearly stated on any
map, plat, or plan to be signed by the Planning Board or local reviewing authority as part
of the approval process.
SECTION 10 - APPEALS AND VARIANCES
The Board of Appeals of the Town of Swan's Island may, upon written application of an aggrieved
party, hear and decide appeals where it is alleged that there is an error in any order, requirement,
decision, or determination made by, or failure to act by, the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning
Board in the administration of the provisions of this Ordinance. The Board of Appeals may grant a
variance from the requirements of this Ordinance consistent with state law and the following
A. Variances shall not be granted within any designated regulatory floodway if any increase
in flood levels during the base flood discharge would result.
B. Variances shall be granted only upon:
1. a showing of good and sufficient cause; and,
2. a determination that should a flood comparable to the base flood occur, the
granting of a variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats
to public safety, public expense, or create nuisances, cause fraud or victimization
of the public or conflict with existing local laws or ordinances; and,
3. a showing that the issuance of the variance will not conflict with other state,
federal or local laws or ordinances; and,
4. a determination that failure to grant the variance would result in "undue
hardship," which in this sub-section means:
a. that the land in question cannot yield a reasonable return unless a
variance is granted; and,
b. that the need for a variance is due to the unique circumstances of the
property and not to the general conditions in the neighborhood; and,
c. that the granting of a variance will not alter the essential character of the
d. that the hardship is not the result of action taken by the applicant or a
C. Variances shall only be issued upon a determination that the variance is the minimum
necessary, considering the flood hazard, to afford relief, and the Board of Appeals may
impose such conditions to a variance as it deems necessary .
D. Variances may be issued for new construction, substantial improvements, or other
development for the conduct of a functionally dependent use provided that:
1. other criteria of Section 10 and Section 6.J. are met; and,
2. the structure or other development is protected by methods that minimize flood
damages during the base flood and create no additional threats to public safety.
E. Variances may be issued for the repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or restoration of
Historic Structures upon the determination that:
1. the development meets the criteria of Section 10, paragraphs A. through D.
2. the proposed repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or restoration will not preclude
the structure’s continued designation as a Historic Structure and the variance is
the minimum necessary to preserve the historic character and design of the
F. Any applicant who meets the criteria of Section 10, paragraphs A. through E. shall be
notified by the Board of Appeals in writing over the signature of the Chairman of the
Board of Appeals that:
1. the issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will
result in greatly increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as
high as $25 per $100 of insurance coverage;
2. such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property;
3. the applicant agrees in writing that the applicant is fully aware of all the risks
inherent in the use of land subject to flooding, assumes those risks and agrees to
indemnify and defend the municipality against any claims filed against it that are
related to the applicant's decision to use land located in a floodplain and that the
applicant individually releases the municipality from any claims the applicant may
have against the municipality that are related to the use of land located in a
G. Appeal Procedure for Administrative and Variance Appeals
1. An administrative or variance appeal may be taken to the Board of Appeals by an
aggrieved party within thirty days after receipt of a written decision of the Code
Enforcement Officer or Planning Board.
2. Upon being notified of an appeal, the Code Enforcement Officer or Planning
Board, as appropriate, shall transmit to the Board of Appeals all of the papers
constituting the record of the decision appealed from.
3. The Board of Appeals shall hold a public hearing on the appeal within thirty-five
days of its receipt of an appeal request.
4. The person filing the appeal shall have the burden of proof.
5. The Board of Appeals shall decide all appeals within thirty-five days after the
close of the hearing, and shall issue a written decision on all appeals.
6. The Board of Appeals shall submit to the Code Enforcement Officer a report of all
variance actions, including justification for the granting of the variance and an
authorization for the Code Enforcement Officer to issue a Flood Hazard
Development Permit, which includes any conditions to be attached to said permit.
7. Any aggrieved party who participated as a party during the proceedings before
the Board of Appeals may take an appeal to Superior Court in accordance with
State laws within forty-five days from the date of any decision of the Board of
SECTION 11 - ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES
A. It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to enforce the provisions of this
Ordinance pursuant to Title 30-A MRSA § 4452.
B. The penalties contained in Title 30-A MRSA § 4452 shall apply to any violation of this
C. In addition to any other actions, the Code Enforcement Officer, upon determination that a
violation exists, shall submit a declaration to the Administrator of the Federal Insurance
Administration requesting a denial of flood insurance. The valid declaration shall consist of;
1. the name of the property owner and address or legal description of the property
sufficient to confirm its identity or location;
2. a clear and unequivocal declaration that the property is in violation of a cited
State or local law, regulation, or ordinance;
3. a clear statement that the public body making the declaration has authority to do
so and a citation to that authority;
4. evidence that the property owner has been provided notice of the violation and
the prospective denial of insurance; and,
5. a clear statement that the declaration is being submitted pursuant to Section
1316 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended.
SECTION 12 - VALIDITY AND SEVERABILITY
If any section or provision of this Ordinance is declared by the courts to be invalid, such decision
shall not invalidate any other section or provision of this Ordinance.
SECTION 13 - CONFLICT WITH OTHER ORDINANCES
This Ordinance shall not in any way impair or remove the necessity of compliance with any other
applicable rule, ordinance, regulation, bylaw, permit, or provision of law. Where this Ordinance
imposes a greater restriction upon the use of land, buildings, or structures, the provisions of this
Ordinance shall control.
SECTION 14 - DEFINITIONS
Unless specifically defined below, words and phrases used in this Ordinance shall have the same
meaning as they have at common law and to give this Ordinance its most reasonable application.
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
Accessory Structure - means a small detached structure that is incidental and subordinate to
the principal structure.
Adjacent Grade - means the natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction next to
the proposed walls of a structure.
Area of Special Flood Hazard - means the land in the floodplain having a one percent or greater
chance of flooding in any given year, as specifically identified in the Flood Hazard Boundary Map
cited in Article I of this Ordinance.
Base Flood - means the flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any
given year, commonly called the 100-year flood.
Basement - means any area of the building having its floor subgrade (below ground level) on all
Building - see Structure.
Certificate of Compliance - A document signed by the Code Enforcement Officer stating that a
structure is in compliance with all of the provisions of this Ordinance.
Code Enforcement Officer - any person or board responsible for performing the inspection,
licensing, and enforcement duties required by a particular statute or ordinance.
Conditional Use - means a use that because of its potential impact on surrounding areas and
structures, is permitted only upon review and approval by the Planning Board pursuant to Section
Development - means any change caused by individuals or entities to improved or unimproved
real estate, including but not limited to the construction of buildings or other structures; the
construction of additions or substantial improvements to buildings or other structures; mining,
dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation, drilling operations or storage of equipment or
materials; and the storage, deposition, or extraction of materials, public or private sewage
disposal systems or water supply facilities.
Elevated Building - means a non-basement building
a. built, in the case of a building in Zone A, to have the top of the elevated floor, elevated
above the ground level by means of pilings, columns, post, piers, or "stilts;" and
b. adequately anchored so as not to impair the structural integrity of the building during a
flood of up to one foot above the magnitude of the base flood.
In the case of Zone A, Elevated Building also includes a building elevated by means of fill or
solid foundation perimeter walls with hydraulic openings sufficient to facilitate the unimpeded
movement of flood waters, as required in Section 6.K..
Elevation Certificate - An official form (FEMA Form 81-31, 08/99, as amended) that:
a. is used to verify compliance with the floodplain management regulations of the National
Flood Insurance Program; and,
b. is required for purchasing flood insurance.
Flood or Flooding - means:
a. A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land
1. The overflow of inland or tidal waters.
2. The unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.
b. The collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or other body of water as a
result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding
anticipated cyclical levels or suddenly 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 flash flood or an abnormal tidal surge, or by some similarly unusual and
unforeseeable event which results in flooding as defined in paragraph a.1. of this
Flood Elevation Study - means an examination, evaluation and determination of flood hazards
and, if appropriate, corresponding water surface elevations.
Flood Hazard Boundary Map (FHBM) - means an official map of a community, issued by the
Federal Insurance Administration, where the boundaries of the base flood have been designated.
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) - means an official map of a community, on which the
Federal Insurance Administrator has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk
premium zones applicable to the community.
Floodplain or Flood-prone Area - means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water
from any source (see flooding).
Floodplain Management - means the operation of an overall program of corrective and
preventive measures for reducing flood damage, including but not limited to emergency
preparedness plans, flood control works, and floodplain management regulations.
Floodplain Management Regulations - means zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations,
building codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as a floodplain ordinance,
grading ordinance, and erosion control ordinance) and other applications of police power. The
term describes such state or local regulations, in any combination thereof, which provide
standards for the purpose of flood damage prevention and reduction.
Floodproofing - means any combination of structural and non-structural 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 contents.
Floodway - see Regulatory Floodway.
Freeboard - means a factor of safety usually expressed in feet above a flood level for purposes
of floodplain management. Freeboard tends to compensate for the many unknown factors, such
as wave action, bridge openings, and the hydrological effect of urbanization of the watershed,
that could contribute to flood heights greater than the height calculated for a selected size flood
and floodway conditions.
Functionally Dependent Use - means a use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it
is located or carried out in close proximity to water. The term includes only docking facilities, port
facilities that are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, and ship
building and ship repair facilities, but does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing
Historic Structure - means 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 of the Interior to qualify as a registered historic district;
c. 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
d. Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic
preservation programs 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.
Locally Established Datum - means, for purposes of this ordinance, an elevation established for
a specific site to which all other elevations at the site are referenced. This elevation is generally
not referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) or any other established datum
and is used in areas where Mean Sea Level data is too far from a specific site to be practically
Lowest Floor - means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An
unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or
storage in an area other than a basement area is not considered a building's lowest floor,
provided that such enclosure is not built so as to render the structure in violation of the applicable
non-elevation design requirements described in Section 6.K. of this ordinance.
Manufactured Home - means 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
connected to the required utilities. For floodplain management purposes the term manufactured
home also includes park trailers, travel trailers, and other similar vehicles placed on a site for
greater than 180 consecutive days.
Manufactured Home Park or Subdivision - means a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land
divided into three or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.
Mean Sea Level - means, for purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program, the National
Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929, or other datum, to which base flood elevations shown
on a community's Flood Insurance Rate map are referenced.
Minor Development - means all development that is not new construction or a substantial
improvement, such as repairs, maintenance, renovations, or additions, whose value is less than
50% of the market value of the structure. It also includes, but is not limited to: accessory
structures as provided for in Section 6.I., mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation,
drilling operations, storage of equipment or materials, deposition or extraction of materials, public
or private sewage disposal systems or water supply facilities that do not involve structures; and
non-structural projects such as bridges, dams, towers, fencing, pipelines, wharves and piers.
National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) - means the national vertical datum, whose standard
was established in 1929, which is used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NGVD
was based upon mean sea level in 1929 and also has been called “1929 Mean Sea Level (MSL)”.
New Construction - means structures for which the "start of construction" commenced on or
after the effective date of the initial floodplain management regulations adopted by a community
and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.
100-year flood - see Base Flood.
Regulatory Floodway -
a. means the channel of a river or other water course 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, and
b. in Zone A riverine areas, the floodway is considered to be the channel of a river or other
water course and the adjacent land areas to a distance of one-half the width of the
floodplain, as measured from the normal high water mark to the upland limit of the
Riverine - means relating to, formed by, or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream,
Special Flood Hazard Area - see Area of Special Flood Hazard.
Start of Construction - means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start
of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, substantial
improvement or other improvement was within 180 days of the permit date. The actual start
means either the first placement of permanent construction of a structure on a site, such as the
pouring of slab or footings, the installation of piles, the construction of columns, or any work
beyond the stage of 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
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 a substantial improvement, the actual start of
construction means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of a
building, or modification of any construction element whether or not that alteration affects the
external dimensions of the building.
Structure - means, for floodplain management purposes, a walled and roofed building. A gas or
liquid storage tank that is principally above ground is also a structure.
Substantial Damage - means, damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of
restoring the structure to its before damage condition would equal or exceed 50 percent of the
market value of the structure before the damage occurred.
Substantial Improvement - means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other
improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of
the structure before the start of construction of the improvement. This term includes structures
which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed. The
term does not, however, include either:
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
b. Any alteration of a Historic Structure, provided that the alteration will not preclude the
structure's continued designation as a historic structure, and a variance is obtained from
the community’s Board of Appeals.
Variance - means a grant of relief by a community from the terms of a floodplain management
Violation - means the failure of a structure or development to comply with a community's
floodplain management regulations.
SECTION 15 - ABROGATION
This ordinance repeals and replaces any municipal ordinance previously enacted to comply with
the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (P.L. 90-488, as amended).
Certification of Ordinance
I, Gwen J. May, Town Clerk of Swan’s Island, certify that the foregoing is a
true copy of the ordinance entitled “Floodplain Management Ordinance for the Town of Swan’s Island,
Maine” as adopted March 3, 2003.
Attest, this day of March, 2003