Article 27


(F.F. & W.)


27.0                Statement of Purpose   

The F.F. Overlay District is designed to protect those lands which are subject to predictable inundation’s at frequent intervals.  Such regulations as herein established, while permitting reasonable economic use of affected properties, will protect the public health and reduce potential financial obligations on the Township and its individuals by frequent and periodic floods.  By restricting the use of flood lands, areas are reserved for the impoundment of water with a consequent stabilized stream flow which promotes and maintains the streams’ ecological environment.

27.1                Boundaries Further Defined  

The floodplain and floodway districts are hereby established “overlay districts”, meaning that these districts are overlaid upon the districts and the land so enclosed may be used in a manner permitted in the underlying district only if and to the extent such use is also permitted in this district.  The floodplain and floodway district are hereby established as shown in Appendix “A” to the Zoning Map, which accompanies this Resolution.

As used in this Article, the terms floodplain and floodway refer in the first instance to certain areas whose boundaries are determined and can be located on the ground by reference to the specific fluvial characteristics set forth in the definitions of these terms.  These terms also refer to overlay zoning districts whose boundaries are established on the map identified in this Section, which boundaries are intended to correspond to the actual physical location of floodways and floodplains.  (These overlay districts thus differ from other zoning districts whose boundaries are established solely according to planning or policy rather than physical criteria).  The floodplain area is the same as delineated in the Floodplain Building Regulations, as provided by the Erie Regional Planning Commission.

In any area that is located outside a designated floodplain, but where a stream is located, no building or fill may be located within a distance of the stream bank equal to five (5) feet the width of the stream at the top of the bank or twenty (20) feet on each side, whichever is greater.



27.2                Artificial Obstructions Within Floodplain  

  1. No artificial obstruction may be located within any floodway, except as provided in Section 21.25 and with issuance of a floodplain permit from the Erie Regional Planning Commission.
  2. For purposes of this section, an artificial obstruction is any obstruction, other than a natural obstruction that is capable of reducing the flood-carrying capacity of a stream or may accumulate debris and thereby reduce the flood-carrying capacity of a stream.  A natural obstruction includes any rock, tree, gravel or analogous natural matter that is an obstruction and has been located within the floodway by a non-human cause.


    1. Permissible Uses Within Floodways  

Notwithstanding this provision of this Resolution, no use of land within a floodway may be permitted unless the proposed use is listed in the underlying district and in the following list:

  1. General farming, pasture, outdoor plant nurseries, horticulture, forestry, wildlife sanctuary, game farm and other similar agricultural, wildlife and related uses.
  2. Ground level loading areas, parking areas, rotary aircraft ports and other similar ground level area uses.
  3. Lawns, gardens, play areas and other similar uses.
  4. Golf courses, tennis courts, driving ranges, archery ranges, picnic grounds, parks, hiking or horseback riding trails, open space and other similar private and public recreational uses.


27.4                Limitations on Uses Within Floodways and Floodplains  

  1. Any development within the District should meet the following criteria:


  1. The proposed development is consistent with the need to minimize flood damage, and
  2. All public utilities and facilities such as sewer, gas, electrical and water systems are located and constructed to minimize or eliminate flood damage, and
  3. Adequate drainage is provided to minimize or reduce exposure to flood hazards, and
  4. All necessary permits have been received from Erie Regional Planning Commission and those agencies from which approval is required by federal or state law.
  1. No building may be constructed and no substantial improvement of an existing building may take place within any floodway.  With respect to mobile home parks that are nonconforming because they are located within a floodway, mobile homes may be relocated in such parks only if they comply with the provisions of Subsection (7).


  1. No new residential building may be constructed and no substantial improvement of a residential building may take place within any floodplain unless the lowest floor (including the basement) of the building or improvement is elevated to or above the base flood level.
  1. Residential accessory structures shall be allowed within floodplains provided they are firmly anchored to prevent flotation.
  2. Anchoring of any accessory buildings may be done by bolting the building to a concrete slab or by over the top ties.  When bolting to a concrete slab, one-half (1/2”) inch bolts six (6) feet on center with a minimum of two (2) per side shall be required.  If over the top ties are used, a minimum of two (2) ties with a force adequate to secure the building is required.


  1. No new residential building may be constructed and no substantial improvements of a non-residential building may take place within any floodplain unless the lowest floor (including the basement) of the building or improvement is elevated or flood-proofed to or above the base flood level.  Where flood-proofing is used in lieu of elevation, a registered professional engineer or architect shall certify that any new construction or substantial improvement has been designed to withstand the flood depths, pressure, velocities, impact and uplift forces associated with the base flood at the location of the building and that the walls below the base flood level are substantially impermeable to the passage of water.
  1. For purposes of this section, “substantial improvement” means for a building constructed prior to the effective date of this chapter, any repair, reconstruction or improvement of a building, the cost of which equals or exceed fifty (50%) percent of the market value of the structure either (i) before the improvement or repair is started or (ii) if the structure has been damaged and is being restored, before the damage occurred.  “Substantial improvement”  occurs when the first alteration on any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of the building commences, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.  The term does not however, include with (i) any project for improvement of a structure to comply with existing state or local health, sanitary or safety code specifications that are solely necessary to insure safe living conditions, or (ii) any alteration of a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places or a State Inventory of Historic Places.


  1. No zoning, special use or conditional permit may be issued for any development within a floodplain until the permit issuing authority has reviewed the plans to assure that any new construction or substantial improvements shall be:
  1. Designed (or modified) and adequately anchored to prevent flotation collapse or lateral movement of the structure.
  2. Constructed with materials and utility equipment resistant to flood damage.
  3. Constructed by methods and practices that minimize flood damage.


  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section, no mobile home may be located or relocated within that portion of the floodplain outside of the floodway, unless the following criteria are met:
  1.       Ground anchors for tie downs are provided.
  2.       The following tie down requirements are met:


a.         Over the top ties are required at each of the four (4) corners of the mobile home, with one (1) additional tie per side at an intermediate location, for mobile homes less than fifty (50) feet long.  Two (2) additional ties per side are required for mobile homes more than fifty (50) feet long.
b.         Frame ties are required in conjunction with each over the top tie.
c.         All components of the anchoring must be carrying a force of 4,800 pounds.

3.         Lots or pads are elevated on compacted fill or by any other method approved by the administrator so that the lowest habitable floor of the mobile home is at or above the base flood level.

4.         Adequate surface drainage and easy access for mobile home hauler is provided.

5.         Load bearing foundation supports such as piers or pilings must be placed on stable soil or concrete footings no more than ten (10) feet apart and if the support height is greater than seventy two (72”) inches, the support must contain steel reinforcement.

  1. Dumping or backfilling with any material excavation in any manner is prohibited unless:


  1. Through compensating excavation and shaping of the floodplain, the flow and impounding capacity of the floodplain will be maintained or improved and will not cause an increase in the flood hazard or damage from floods and will not allow water to collect in pools that will stagnate.
  2. No significantly measurable reduction in the flow or impoundment capacity of the floodplain thereby results.
  3. Where there is dumping, backfilling or excavation in any manner, adequate site plans and engineering drawings shall be submitted to effectively show the final results of such action.

27.5                Site and Landscaping Plan Review  

For all development in the F.F. District, a site plan shall be submitted to the Township Zoning Commission for its review and recommendations.  The Zoning Commission, in its review of the site plan, shall have regard the provisions of Article 27.

27.6                Reference to Flood Plain Permit  

Floodplain permits are required in accordance with the requirements of the Flood Damage Prevention and Flood Plain Building Regulations, Resolution No. 81-31.  Applications for permits must be made through the Erie County Department of Planning and Development.

    1. Wetlands 


Wetlands are areas inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency or duration sufficient to support and under normal circumstances support a prevalence or vegetation adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.  Size is not a limitation.  Areas smaller than an acre are regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

27.8                Permits Required  

Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403):  Under this law you will need a permit from the Corps of Engineers for any structure or work that takes place in, under or over a navigable water or wetland adjacent to navigable waters of the United States.

27.9                Wetland Zone Mapping  

This section allows for the incorporation of wetland maps into the zoning resolution.  Although all wetlands cannot be delineated without site specific analysis, the overlay district will delineate wetlands where the determination has been made.  Permits shall be obtained through the Army Corps of Engineers, as appropriate.

27.10              Erie Soil and Water Conservation Regulations  

Berlin Township Trustees and Berlin Township Zoning Commission will provide, through the Erie Soil and Water Conservation District, with the Erie Regional Planning Commission and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service acting in an advisory capacity, such necessary land use information as the Township may request.



  1. The Township reserves the right to disapprove any subdivision or building on soils which are subject to periodic flooding or which have extremely poor drainage conditions, severe slopes or high shrink swell.  However, if the subdivider or builder agrees to make such improvements as will make the area completely safe for occupancy, the building may be approved, subject, however, to the approval of the Erie County Board of Health and the Berlin Township Zoning Inspector.  The extent of critical soil problems will be provided in the soil survey data supplied by the Soil Conservation Service.


  1. Whenever any stream or natural surface drainage course is located in the area of construction, the subdivider or builder shall, in accordance with Section 6137.12 of the Ohio Revised Code, provide an easement of such total width as will be represented by the sum of the width of the drainage course as measured horizontally from vertical bank to vertical bank at each side of the course and land extending seventy five (75) feet from the sides of the drainage course on both sides.  This easement is for the purpose of widening, deepening, relocating or protecting the stream for drainage or public use.


  1. The building shall have a planned surface water drainage system.  It will be graded so that the surface and gutter discharge water will not be directed onto adjoining lots or onto the surface or right-of-way of the adjoining public roadway.



  1. A zoning permit application for construction of a dwelling shall be accompanied by a drainage plan which will indicate the course of drainage and outlets for surface and roof gutter water, as well as, topographical data (elevations) of the building subject to approval of the Township Zoning Inspector prior to issuance of the zoning permit.


  1. The subdivider or builder shall construct all necessary facilities including underground pipe, inlets, catch basins or open drainage ditches, as determined by the Berlin Township Zoning Inspector and the Erie Regional Planning Commission, to provide for the adequate disposal of subsurface and surface water and maintenance of natural drainage courses.  The velocity of flow in an open ditch shall not exceed four (4) feet per second in soil ditches or six (6) feet per second in turf gutters.  Paved gutters will be required if velocities of flow are greater than those specified or if it is otherwise likely that destructive erosion will result.  Drainage ditches shall not be permitted to discharge into any sanitary sewer facility.


  1. Where topography and other physical conditions make full compliance with the design standards, an undue hardship upon the owner, the owner may refer the problem of compliance to the Township Trustees and Zoning Board of Appeals for recommendations as to permissible variances.


  1. The opinion of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Township Trustees as to whether or not these flooding, poor drainage or other soil problems as above set out exist shall be determined by the signatures of three (3) members of the Zoning board of Appeals and two (2) Township Trustees placed upon the application for said construction.