HILLSBOROUGH: Officials approve flood measures

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By Andrew Martins, Managing Editor
A pair of ordinances aimed at addressing how property owners in Hillsborough prepare for potential flooding were recently approved by municipal officials.
The two measures, approved at the Nov. 9 Township Committee meeting, deal with Chapter 172, titled “Flood Damage Prevention,” and a section of Chapter 232, titled “Property Maintenance.”
Mayor Frank DelCore said the ordinances were important to the township and its continued flood insurance coverage.
“The township must adopt a flood plain management ordinance that meets the national flood insurance program requirements in order to remain eligible for insurance,” he said.
In the case of the first ordinance, the township repealed and completely replaced the existing language of Chapter 172. According to the code book, that portion had not been updated since 2007. Prior to that, the last time those regulations were updated was March 1981.
Though most of its language remains the same, the newly approved chapter added definitions for various terms, as well as the inclusion of a “substantial damage review” to be conducted by the township building inspector in the event that floods damage property.
The inspector would look for damage caused by flooding and non-flooding circumstances. Following their assessment, the inspector would then provide a letter of “Substantial Damage Determination” to the property owner and the Dam Safety and Flood Control Section of the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The new chapter also includes updates to building standards for zones in special flood hazards. More stringent requirements for manufactured homes were also included in the chapter.
As for Chapter 232, officials opted to make amendments that removed exterior maintenance standards for non-residential and multi-family properties that required rainwater to drain within an hour after a storm passes were removed.
Now, the township requires that property owners ensure that sufficient grading and drainage allow for all surface water to drain within 24 hours.
The code book now explicitly states that all property owners are responsible for their own on-site stormwater facilities. As such, an annual inspection report, conducted by a professional engineer or state certified stormwater inspector, must be submitted to the township Engineering Department no later than June 30. Inspections must be completed by the end of October each year.
Mayor DelCore said this specific chapter has been in effect for more than 25 years and that most of those provisions were already enforced by the township.
“During that time frame, non-residential property owners have always been responsible for the maintenance of their stormwater facilities,” Mayor DelCore said. “This amendment requires those property owners to supply the township with an annual inspection report, as required by the state Department of Environmental Protection.”
In the event that a property owner does not comply with the ordinance, the township can level a fine not exceeding $1,250, imprisonment of no more than 90 days or both. Each day in violation will count as a separate offense. 