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Unless specifically defined below, words or phrases used in this chapter shall be interpreted so as to give them the meaning they have in common usage and to give this chapter its most reasonable application.

A. A Zone. See "Special flood hazard area."

B. "Accessory structure" means a structure that is either:

1. Solely for the parking of no more than two cars; or

2. A small, low-cost shed for limited storage, less than one hundred fifty (150) square feet and one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) in value (as referenced to the 2009 Consumer Price Index for the San Francisco Bay Area).

C. "Accessory use" means a use which is incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the parcel of land on which it is located.

D. "Alluvial fan" means a geomorphologic feature characterized by a cone- or fan-shaped deposit of boulders, gravel, and fine sediments that have been eroded from mountain slopes, transported by flood flows, and then deposited on the valley floors, and which is subject to flash flooding, high velocity flows, debris flows, erosion, sediment movement and deposition, and channel migration.

E. "Apex" means a point on an alluvial fan or similar landform below which the flow path of the major stream that formed the fan becomes unpredictable and alluvial fan flooding can occur.

F. "Appeal" means a request for a review of the Floodplain Administrator's interpretation of any provision of this chapter.

G. "Area of shallow flooding" means a designated AO or AH zone on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The base flood depths range from one to three feet; a clearly defined channel does not exist; the path of flooding is unpredictable and indeterminate; and velocity flow may be evident. Such flooding is characterized by ponding or sheet flow.

H. Area of Special Flood Hazard. See "Special flood hazard area."

I. "Base flood" means a flood which has a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year (also called the "100-year flood"). Base flood is the term used throughout this chapter.

J. "Base flood elevation" (BFE) means the elevation shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map for Zones AE, AH, A1-A30, VE and V1-V30 that indicates the water surface elevation resulting from a flood that has a one percent or greater chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year.

K. "Basement" means any area of the building having its floor subgrade – i.e., below ground level – on all sides.

L. "Breakaway walls" are any type of walls, whether solid or lattice, and whether constructed of concrete, masonry, wood, metal, plastic or any other suitable building material, which is not part of the structural support of the building and which is designed to break away under abnormally high tides or wave action without causing any damage to the structural integrity of the building on which they are used or any buildings to which they might be carried by floodwaters. A breakaway wall shall have a safe design loading resistance of not less than ten (10) and no more than twenty (20) pounds per square foot. Use of breakaway walls must be certified by a registered engineer or architect and shall meet the following conditions:

1. Breakaway wall collapse shall result from a water load less than that which would occur during the base flood; and

2. The elevated portion of the building shall not incur any structural damage due to the effects of wind and water loads acting simultaneously in the event of the base flood.

M. Building. See "Structure."

N. "Coastal high hazard area" means an area of special flood hazard extending from offshore to the inland limit of a primary frontal dune along an open coast and any other area subject to high velocity wave action from storms or seismic sources. It is an area subject to high velocity waters, including coastal and tidal inundation or tsunamis. The area is designated on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) as Zone V1-V30, VE, or V.

O. "Development" means any human-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials.

P. "Permit" means any permit as required by the City of Berkeley for development or any other activities in the City and includes but is not limited to permits as defined by and issued under Title 23, as well as permits and entitlements issued under Title 19 and Chapter 17.08.

Q. "Encroachment" means the advance or infringement of uses, plant growth, fill, excavation, buildings, permanent structures or development into a floodplain which may impede or alter the flow capacity of a floodplain.

R. "Existing manufactured home park or subdivision" means a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed before July 25, 1978.

S. "Expansion to an existing manufactured home park or subdivision" means the preparation of additional sites by the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads).

T. "Flood," "flooding," or "floodwater" means:

1. A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of normally dry land areas from the overflow of inland or tidal waters; the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; and/or mudslides (i.e., mudflows); and

2. The condition resulting from flood-related erosion.

U. "Flood Boundary and Floodway Map (FBFM)" means the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazard and the floodway.

V. "Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)" means the official map on which the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Federal Insurance Administration has delineated both the areas of special flood hazard and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.

W. "Flood Insurance Study" means the official report provided by the Federal Insurance Administration that includes flood profiles, the Flood Insurance Rate Map, the Flood Boundary and Floodway Map, and the water surface elevation of the base flood.

X. "Floodplain" or "flood-prone area" means any land area susceptible to being inundated by water from any source. See "Flooding."

Y. "Floodplain management" means the operation of an overall program of corrective and preventive measures for reducing flood damage and preserving and enhancing, where possible, natural resources in the floodplain, including but not limited to emergency preparedness plans, flood control works, floodplain management regulations, and open space plans.

Z. "Floodplain management regulations" means this chapter and other zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, building codes, health regulations, special purpose ordinances (such as grading and erosion control) and other application of police power which control development in flood-prone areas. This term describes federal, state or local regulations in any combination thereof which provide standards for preventing and reducing flood loss and damage.

AA. "Floodproofing" means any combination of structural and nonstructural 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 their contents. For guidelines on dry and wet floodproofing, see FEMA Technical Bulletins TB 1-93, TB 3-93, and TB 7-93.

AB. "Floodway" means the channel of a river or other watercourse 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. Also referred to as "regulatory floodway."

AC. "Floodway fringe" is that area of the floodplain on either side of the regulatory floodway where encroachment may be permitted.

AD. Reserved.

AE. "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, and does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing facilities.

AF. "Hardship" as used in this chapter means the exceptional hardship that would result from a failure to grant the requested variance. The City Council requires that the variance be exceptional, unusual, and peculiar to the property involved. Mere economic or financial hardship alone is not exceptional. Inconvenience, aesthetic considerations, physical handicaps, personal preferences, or the disapproval of one's neighbors likewise cannot, as a rule, qualify as an exceptional hardship. All of these problems can be resolved through other means without granting a variance, even if the alternative is more expensive, or requires the property owner to build elsewhere or put the parcel to a different use than originally intended.

AG. "Highest adjacent grade" means the highest natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction next to the proposed walls of a structure.

AH. "Historic structure" means any structure that is:

1. Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of the Interior) 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 directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.

AI. "Levee" means a human-made structure, usually an earthen embankment, designed and constructed in accordance with sound engineering practices to contain, control or divert the flow of water so as to provide protection from temporary flooding.

AJ. "Levee system" means a flood protection system which consists of a levee, or levees, and associated structures, such as closure and drainage devices, which are constructed and operated in accord with sound engineering practices.

AK. "Lowest floor" means the lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area, including basement (see "Basement" definition).

1. An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure below the lowest floor that is 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 it conforms to applicable nonelevation design requirements, including, but not limited to:

(a) The flood openings standard in Section 17.12.090.C.3;

(b) The anchoring standards in Section 17.12.090.A;

(c) The construction materials and methods standards in Section 17.12.090.B; and

(d) The standards for utilities in Section 17.12.100.

2. For residential structures, all subgrade enclosed areas are prohibited as they are considered to be basements (see "Basement" definition). This prohibition includes below-grade garages and storage areas.

AL. "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 attached to the required utilities. The term "manufactured home" does not include a "recreational vehicle."

AM. "Manufactured home park or subdivision" means a parcel (or contiguous parcels) of land divided into two or more manufactured home lots for rent or sale.

AN. "Market value" is defined in the City of Berkeley substantial damage/improvement procedures. See Section 17.12.080.

AO. "Mean sea level" means, for purposes of the National Flood Insurance Program, the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929, North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988, or other datum, to which base flood elevations shown on a community's Flood Insurance Rate Map are referenced.

AP. "New construction," for floodplain management purposes, means structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after July 25, 1978, and includes any subsequent improvements to such structures.

AQ. "New manufactured home park or subdivision" means a manufactured home park or subdivision for which the construction of facilities for servicing the lots on which the manufactured homes are to be affixed (including, at a minimum, the installation of utilities, the construction of streets, and either final site grading or the pouring of concrete pads) is completed on or after July 25, 1978.

AR. "Obstruction" includes, but is not limited to, any dam, wall, wharf, embankment, levee, dike, pile, abutment, protection, excavation, channelization, bridge, conduit, culvert, building, wire, fence, rock, gravel, refuse, fill, structure, vegetation or other material in, along, across or projecting into any watercourse which may alter, impede, retard or change the direction and/or velocity of the flow of water, or due to its location, its propensity to snare or collect debris carried by the flow of water, or its likelihood of being carried downstream.

AS. One-Hundred-Year Flood or 100-Year Flood. See "Base flood."

AT. "Primary frontal dune" means a continuous or nearly continuous mound or ridge of sand with relatively steep seaward and landward slopes immediately landward and adjacent to the beach and subject to erosion and overtopping from high tides and waves during major coastal storms. The inland limit of the primary frontal dune occurs at the point where there is a distinct change from a relatively mild slope.

AU. "Program deficiency" means a defect in a community's floodplain management regulations or administrative procedures that impairs effective implementation of those floodplain management regulations.

AV. "Public safety and nuisance" as related to this chapter, means that the granting of a variance must not result in anything which is injurious to safety or health of an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin.

AW. "Recreational vehicle" means a vehicle which is:

1. Built on a single chassis;

2. Four hundred (400) square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;

3. Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light-duty truck; and

4. Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

AX. "Regulatory floodway" means the channel of a river or other watercourse 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.

AY. "Remedy a violation" means to bring the structure or other development into compliance with state or local floodplain management regulations, or if this is not possible, to reduce the impacts of its noncompliance. Ways that impacts may be reduced include protecting the structure or other affected development from flood damages, implementing the enforcement provisions of the ordinance or otherwise deterring future similar violations, or reducing state or federal financial exposure with regard to the structure or other development.

AZ. "Riverine" means relating to, formed by, or resembling a river (including tributaries), stream, brook, etc.

BA. Sheet Flow Area. See "Area of shallow flooding."

BB. "Special flood hazard area (SFHA)" means an area in the floodplain subject to a one percent or greater chance of flooding in any given year. It is shown on an FHBM or FIRM as Zone A, AO, A1-A30, AE, A99, AH, V1-V30, VE or V.

BC. "Start of construction" includes substantial improvement and other proposed new development and means the date the building permit was issued, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, or other improvement was within one hundred eighty (180) days from the date of the permit. 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 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 a substantial improvement, 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.

BD. "Structure" means a walled and roofed building that is principally above ground; this includes a gas or liquid storage tank or a manufactured home.

BE. "Substantial damage" means damage of any origin sustained by a structure whereby the cost of restoring the structure to its before-damaged condition would equal or exceed fifty (50) percent of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred.

BF. "Substantial improvement" means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds fifty (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:

1. Any project for improvement of a structure to correct existing violations or 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 conditions; or

2. Any alteration of a historic structure; provided, that the alteration will not preclude the structure's continued designation as a historic structure.

BG. V Zone. See "Coastal high hazard area."

BH. "Variance" means a grant of relief from the requirements of this chapter which permits construction in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter.

BI. "Violation" means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with this chapter. A structure or other development without the elevation certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in this chapter is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided.

BJ. "Water surface elevation" means the height, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD) of 1929, North American Vertical Datum (NAVD) of 1988, or other datum, of floods of various magnitudes and frequencies in the floodplains of coastal or riverine areas.

BK. "Watercourse" means a lake, river, creek, stream, wash, arroyo, channel or other topographic feature on or over which waters flow at least periodically. "Watercourse" includes specifically designated areas in which substantial flood damage may occur, but "watercourse" does not include storm drain pipes. (Ord. 7108-NS § 1 (part), 2009)