Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 53 Pa.B. 8238 (December 30, 2023).

12 Pa. Code § 113.6. Regulation of particular obstructions.

§ 113.6. Regulation of particular obstructions.

 (a)  The Department is required by section 301 of the act (32 P. S. §  679.301) to publish a list of certain obstructions which present a special hazard to the health and safety of the public or occupants or may result in significant pollution, increased flood levels or flows, or debris endangering life and property when the obstructions are located in all or a designated portion of a floodplain. The construction, enlargement or expansion of a structure or commencement of an activity listed as a special hazard shall be prohibited in a floodplain unless a special permit has been issued for the proposed construction or activity.

 (b)  In accordance with section 301 of the act (32 P. S. §  679.301), the following list of obstructions and activities which present special hazards in floodplains is included in this chapter:

   (1)  Hospitals—public or private.

   (2)  Nursing homes—public or private.

   (3)  Jails.

   (4)  New mobile home parks and mobile home subdivisions, and substantial improvements to the existing parks and subdivisions.

 (c)  A construction, enlargement or expansion of the obstructions or commencement of the activities listed in subsection (b) may not be undertaken unless a special permit has been issued to the applicant either by the municipality within which the use or activity is proposed, or by the Department, whichever is applicable.

 (d)  Municipalities which administer floodplain management regulations and which are in compliance with the requirements of the act and this chapter, may issue special permits.

 (e)  If a municipality has been notified by the Department that it is in violation of the act or this chapter, it may not issue special permits. A municipality that has been notified by the Department that it is in violation of this chapter and therefore not authorized to issue special permits may forward applications for special permits to the Department for review and approval.

 (f)  Application procedures for special permits shall be as follows:

   (1)  In municipalities issuing special permits, the following procedures shall apply:

     (i)   Applications shall be submitted to the municipality for review and processing in accordance with the applicable procedures and requirements of the municipality and of subsection (g).

     (ii)   If a municipality receives an application which is incomplete it shall notify the applicant in writing, stating in what respects the application is deficient.

     (iii)   Upon receipt of a completed application, the municipality shall forward a complete copy of the application to the county planning commission for its information, review and comment, by registered or certified mail, within 3 working days following receipt of the complete application. The county may send comments it may have concerning the application to the municipality and Department.

     (iv)   When a municipality approves an application for a special permit, it shall file written notice of the approval together with the application and pertinent information with the Department within 5 working days after approval by registered or certified mail.

     (v)   The special permit does not become effective until 30 days after the notice has been received by the Department unless the Department disapproves the special permit.

     (vi)   The Department will review the application and communicate its decision or comments to the municipality and county planning commission within 30 days after it has received the notice or the Department will forfeit its right to do so.

     (vii)   Review by the Department will be limited to checking for compliance with the requirements of the act and this chapter.

     (viii)   If the special permit is disapproved by the Department, it will notify the municipality and applicant in writing, by registered or certified mail, of its reasons for the disapproval.

   (2)  When a municipality is not authorized to issue special permits and it forwards an application to the Department for review and approval, the following procedures shall apply:

     (i)   Applications shall be forwarded to the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services; Department of Community and Economic Development; Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120. A completed application shall consist of the items specified in subsection (g).

     (ii)   Upon receipt of a completed application, the Department will forward a copy of the application and pertinent information to the county planning commission for its review and comment, by registered or certified mail, within 3 working days following receipt of the completed application. The county planning commission shall have 30 days from the date of receipt of the application to submit comments to the Department.

     (iii)   The Department will either approve or disapprove the application and send written notification of its decision to the applicant within 45 days following receipt of the application. The Department will also send written notification to the municipality and county planning commission, within 5 days, of the determination the Department makes concerning applications it receives for special permits.

     (iv)   If the Department receives an application which is incomplete, it will send written notification to the applicant, within 5 working days after the Department receives the incomplete application, stating in what respects the application is deficient.

 (g)  Applications for special permits shall consist of five copies of the following items:

   (1)  A written request including a completed application form.

   (2)  A plan of the entire site, clearly and legibly drawn at a scale of 1 inch being equal to 100 feet or less, showing the following:

     (i)   North arrow, scale and date.

     (ii)   A map, which may be drawn at a smaller scale, of the general area of the municipality which provides enough information to enable a person who is unfamiliar with the municipality to accurately determine the location of the site or property involved.

     (iii)   Topography based upon the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929, showing existing and proposed contours at intervals of 2 feet.

     (iv)   Property and lot lines including dimensions and the size of the site expressed in acres or square feet.

     (v)   The location of existing streets, drives, other accessways and parking areas with information concerning widths, pavement types and construction and elevations.

     (vi)   The location of existing bodies of water or watercourses; buildings, structures and other public or private facilities including railroad tracks and facilities; and other natural and man-made features affecting or affected by the proposed activity or development.

     (vii)   The location of the floodplain boundary line, information and spot elevations concerning the 100-year flood elevations and information concerning the flow of water including direction and velocities.

     (viii)   A general plan of the entire site accurately showing the location of proposed buildings, structures, utilities and other improvements.

     (ix)   Other information which the municipality considers necessary for adequate review of the application.

   (3)  Plans of proposed buildings, structures and other improvements, clearly and legibly drawn at suitable scale showing the following:

     (i)   Sufficiently detailed architectural or engineering drawings including floor plans, sections and exterior building elevations, as appropriate.

     (ii)   The proposed finished floor elevations of a proposed building.

     (iii)   Complete information concerning flood depths, pressures, velocities, impact and uplift forces, and other factors associated with the 100-year flood.

     (iv)   Detailed information concerning proposed floodproofing measures.

     (v)   Cross-section drawings for proposed streets, drives, other access-ways and parking areas, showing rights-of-way and pavement widths.

     (vi)   Profile drawings for proposed streets, drives and vehicular accessways including existing and proposed grades.

     (vii)   Plans and profiles of proposed sanitary and storm sewer systems, water supply systems and other utilities and facilities.

   (4)  The following data and documentation:

     (i)   Certification from the applicant that the site upon which the activity or development is proposed is an existing separate and single parcel, owned by the applicant or the client he represents.

     (ii)   Certification from a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect that the proposed construction has been adequately designed to protect against damage from the 100-year flood.

     (iii)   A statement certified by a registered professional engineer, architect, landscape architect or other qualified person which contains a complete and accurate description of the nature and extent of pollution that might possibly occur from the development during the course of a 100-year flood including a statement concerning the effects the pollution may have on human life.

     (iv)   A statement certified by a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect which contains a complete and accurate description of the effects the proposed development will have on 100-year flood elevations and flows.

     (v)   A statement certified by a registered professional engineer, architect or landscape architect which contains a complete and accurate description of the kinds and amounts of any loose buoyant materials or debris that may possibly exist or be located on the site below the 100-year flood elevation and the effects such materials and debris may have on 100-year flood elevations and flows.

     (vi)   The appropriate component of the Department of Environmental Protection ‘‘Planning Module for Land Development.’’

     (vii)   Where an excavation or grading is proposed, a plan meeting the requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection to implement and maintain erosion and sedimentation control.

     (viii)   Other applicable permits, such as, but not limited to, a permit for an activity regulated by the Department of Environmental Protection under section 302 of the act (32 P. S. §  679.302).

     (ix)   An evacuation plan which fully explains the manner in which the site will be safely evacuated before or during the course of a 100-year flood.

 (h)  An application for a special permit will not be approved by either a municipality or the Department unless it can be determined that the structure or activity will be located, constructed and maintained in a fashion which will comply with the following:

   (1)  Protect the health and safety of the public and occupants. At a minimum, new structures shall be designed, located and constructed so that:

     (i)   The structure will survive inundation by waters of the 100-year flood without a lateral movement or damage to either the structure itself or to any of its equipment or contents below the 100-year flood level.

     (ii)   The first-floor elevation will be at least 1 1/2 feet above the 100-year flood elevation.

     (iii)   The occupants of the structure can be safely evacuated at any time during a 100-year flood.

   (2)  Prevent a significant possibility of pollution, increased flood levels or flows or debris endangering life and property.

   (3)  Comply with the requirements of the program.

 (i)  A municipality issuing special permits may, upon request from an applicant, consider the possibility of modifying the freeboard requirement of subsection (h)(1)(ii), provided that the applicant can demonstrate and the municipality can determine:

   (1)  That there are unique physical circumstances, including such things as exceptional topographical, or other existing conditions peculiar to the property.

   (2)  That because of the physical circumstances and conditions the proposed development cannot be reasonably designed and constructed in compliance with the applicable requirements and that a modification is therefore necessary.

   (3)  That failure to grant the requested modification will result in exceptional hardship to the applicant.

   (4)  That approval of the request will not result in an increased flood heights within a designated floodway.

   (5)  That approval of the request will not result in an additional threat to public health and safety, result in an extraordinary public expense or create a nuisance.

   (6)  That approval of the request will not result in a conflict with other applicable laws or regulations.

 (j)  In approving a request for a reduction in the required freeboard, a municipality shall comply with the following:

   (1)  Authorize the least reduction necessary to provide relief.

   (2)  Notify the applicant in writing that approval of the request will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance and increase risks to the structure, its contents and occupants. The notification shall be included with the municipality records, as required in paragraph (3).

   (3)  Maintain a complete record of requests which have been approved authorizing reductions in freeboard.

   (4)  Report the requests which have been approved in its annual report to the Department.

Cross References

   This section cited in 12 Pa. Code §  113.1 (relating to definitions).



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