Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5045

Public Act No. 04-144

AN ACT CONCERNING FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT AND HAZARD MITIGATION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) (a) As used in this section and section 4 of this act, "floodplain" means that area of a municipality located within the real or theoretical limits of the base flood or base flood for a critical activity, as determined by the municipality or the Federal Emergency Management Agency in its flood insurance study or flood insurance rate map for the municipality prepared pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program, 44 CFR Part 59 et seq.

(b) Whenever a municipality, pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program, 44 CFR Part 59 et seq. , is required to revise its zoning regulations or any other ordinances regulating a proposed building, structure, development or use located in a floodplain, the revision shall provide for restrictions for flood storage and conveyance of water for floodplains that are not tidally influenced as follows:

(1) Within a designated floodplain, encroachments resulting from fill, new construction or substantial improvements, as defined in 44 CFR Part 59. 1, involving an increase in footprint to the structure shall be prohibited unless the applicant provides to the zoning commission certification by a state licensed engineer that such encroachment shall not result in any increase in base flood elevation;

(2) The water holding capacity of the floodplain shall not be reduced by any form of development unless such reduction (A) is compensated for by deepening or widening the floodplain, (B) is on-site, or if adjacent property owners grant easements and the municipality in which the development is located authorizes such off-site compensation, (C) is within the same hydraulic reach and a volume not previously used for flood storage, (D) is hydraulically comparable and incrementally equal to the theoretical volume of flood water at each elevation, up to and including the hundred year flood elevation, which would be displaced by the proposed project, and (E) has an unrestricted hydraulic connection to the same waterway or water body; and

(3) Work within adjacent land subject to flooding, including work to provide compensatory storage, shall not result in any increase in flood stage or velocity.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a municipality may adopt more stringent restrictions for flood storage and conveyance of water for floodplains that are not tidally influenced.

Sec. 2. Section 16a-27 of the general statutes, as amended by section 10 of public act 03-4 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(a) The secretary, after consultation with all appropriate state, regional and local agencies and other appropriate persons shall prior to March 1, 2003, complete a revision of the existing plan and enlarge it to include, but not be limited to, policies relating to transportation, energy and air. Any revision made after May 15, 1991, shall identify the major transportation proposals, including proposals for mass transit, contained in the master transportation plan prepared pursuant to section 13b-15. Any revision made after July 1, 1995, shall take into consideration the conservation and development of greenways that have been designated by municipalities and shall recommend that state agencies coordinate their efforts to support the development of a state-wide greenways system. The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall identify state-owned land for inclusion in the plan as potential components of a state greenways system.

(b) Any revision made after August 20, 2003, shall take into account (1) economic and community development needs and patterns of commerce, and (2) linkages of affordable housing objectives and land use objectives with transportation systems.

(c) Any revision made after March 1, 2006, shall (1) take into consideration risks associated with natural hazards, including, but not limited to, flooding, high winds and wildfires; (2) identify the potential impacts of natural hazards on infrastructure and property; and (3) make recommendations for the siting of future infrastructure and property development to minimize the use of areas prone to natural hazards, including, but not limited to, flooding, high winds and wildfires.

[(b)] (d) Thereafter on or before March first in each revision year the secretary shall complete a revision of the plan of conservation and development.

Sec. 3. Subdivision (4) of subsection (a) of section 7-536 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(4) "Local capital improvement project" means a municipal capital expenditure project for any of the following purposes: (A) Road construction, renovation, repair or resurfacing, (B) sidewalk and pavement improvements, (C) construction, renovation, enlargement or repair of sewage treatment plants and sanitary or storm, water or sewer lines, including separation of lines, (D) public building construction other than schools, including renovation, repair, code compliance, energy conservation and fire safety projects, (E) construction, renovation, enlargement or repair of dams, bridges and flood control projects, (F) construction, renovation, enlargement or repair of water treatment or filtration plants and water mains, (G) construction, renovation or enlargement of solid waste facilities, (H) improvements to public parks, (I) the preparation and revision of local capital improvement plans projected for a period of not less than five years and so prepared as to show the general description, need and estimated cost of each individual capital improvement, (J) improvements to emergency communications systems, (K) public housing projects, including renovations and improvements and energy conservation and the development of additional housing, (L) renovations to or construction of veterans' memorial monuments, (M) thermal imaging systems, (N) bulky waste and landfill projects, (O) the preparation and revision of municipal plans of conservation and development adopted pursuant to section 8-23, provided such plans are endorsed by the legislative body of the municipality not more than one hundred eighty days after adoption by the commission, [and] (P) acquisition of automatic external defibrillators, and (Q) floodplain management and hazard mitigation activities. "Local capital improvement project" means only capital expenditures and includes repairs incident to reconstruction and renovation but does not include ordinary repairs and maintenance of an ongoing nature and "floodplain management" and "hazard mitigation" shall have the same meaning as in section 8 of this act.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall develop guidelines to be used by municipalities in revising ordinances restricting flood storage and conveyance of water for floodplains, as defined in section 1 of this act, that are not tidally influenced. Such guidelines shall include, but not be limited to, a model ordinance that may be used by municipalities to comply with the provisions of section 1 of this act. The commissioner shall make the guidelines available to the public.

Sec. 5. Subsection (d) of section 20-327b of the general statutes, as amended by section 146 of public act 03-6 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

(d) (1) The Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, shall, by regulations adopted in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, prescribe the form of the written residential disclosure report required by this section and sections 20-327c to 20-327e, inclusive. The regulations shall provide that the form include information concerning municipal assessments, including, but not limited to, sewer or water charges applicable to the property. Such information shall include: (i) Whether such assessment is in effect and the amount of the assessment; (ii) whether there is an assessment on the property that has not been paid, and if so, the amount of the unpaid assessment; and (iii) to the extent of the seller's knowledge, whether there is reason to believe that the municipality may impose an assessment in the future.

(2) Such form of the written residential disclosure report shall contain the following:

(A) A certification by the seller in the following form:

"To the extent of the seller's knowledge as a property owner, the seller acknowledges that the information contained above is true and accurate for those areas of the property listed. In the event a real estate broker or salesperson is utilized, the seller authorizes the brokers or salespersons to provide the above information to prospective buyers, selling agents or buyers' agents.

 

. . . . (Date)

. . . . (Seller)

 

. . . . (Date)

. . . . (Seller)"

(B) A certification by the buyer in the following form:

"The buyer is urged to carefully inspect the property and, if desired, to have the property inspected by an expert. The buyer understands that there are areas of the property for which the seller has no knowledge and that this disclosure statement does not encompass those areas. The buyer also acknowledges that the buyer has read and received a signed copy of this statement from the seller or seller's agent.

 

. . . . (Date)

. . . . (Seller)

 

. . . . (Date)

. . . . (Seller)"

(C) A statement concerning the responsibility of real estate brokers in the following form:

"This report in no way relieves a real estate broker of the broker's obligation under the provisions of section 20-328-5a of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies to disclose any material facts. Failure to do so could result in punitive action taken against the broker, such as fines, suspension or revocation of license. "

(D) A statement that any representations made by the seller on the written residential disclosure report shall not constitute a warranty to the buyer.

(E) A statement that the written residential disclosure report is not a substitute for inspections, tests and other methods of determining the physical condition of property.

(F) Information concerning environmental matters such as lead, radon, subsurface sewage disposal, flood hazards and such other topics as the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection may determine would be of interest to a buyer.

(G) A statement that information concerning the residence address of a person convicted of a crime may be available from law enforcement agencies or the Department of Public Safety and that the Department of Public Safety maintains a site on the Internet listing information about the residence address of persons required to register under section 54-251, 54-252, 54-253 or 54-254, who have so registered.

Sec. 6. Section 22a-27j of the general statutes, as amended by section 108 of public act 03-6 of the June 30 special session, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(a) Any person, firm or corporation, other than a municipality, making an application for any approval required by chapters 124, 126, 440 and 444 or by regulations adopted pursuant to said chapters shall pay a fee of twenty dollars, in addition to any other fee which may be required, to the municipal agency or legislative body which is authorized to approve the application. On and after July 1, 2004, the fee shall be thirty dollars. Such municipal agency or legislative body shall collect such fees, retaining [one dollar] two dollars of such fee for administrative costs, and shall pay the remainder of such fees quarterly to the Department of Environmental Protection and the receipts shall be deposited into an account of the State Treasurer and credited to the Environmental Quality Fund established pursuant to section 22a-27g. The portion of such fund attributable to the fees established by this section shall be used by the Department of Environmental Protection as follows: (1) Nineteen dollars shall be used for the purpose of funding the environmental review teams program of the Bureau of Water Management within said department, the Council on Soil and Water Conservation established pursuant to section 22a-315 and the eight county soil and water conservation districts, and (2) nine dollars shall be deposited into the hazard mitigation and floodplain management account established pursuant to section 7 of this act and used for grants under section 9 of this act.

(b) Not later than three months following the close of each fiscal year starting with fiscal year July 1, 2000, the Department of Environmental Protection shall identify those municipalities that are not in compliance with subsection (a) of this section for the previous fiscal year and shall provide the Office of Policy and Management with a list of such municipalities. The list shall be submitted annually and in such manner as the Office of Policy and Management may require. The Office of Policy and Management, when issuing the first payment from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund established pursuant to section 3-55i, in the fiscal year during which said list is received, shall reduce said payment to a municipality by [five hundred] one thousand dollars for each quarter of the preceding fiscal year that the municipality has not been in compliance with subsection (a) of this section to a maximum of [two] four thousand dollars in each fiscal year. The Office of Policy and Management shall certify to the State Comptroller the amount of any funds withheld under this subsection to be transferred to the Environmental Quality Fund for the uses set forth in subsection (a) of this section, and the State Comptroller shall cause said amount to be transferred to such fund.

Sec. 7. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2004) There is established an account to be known as the "hazard mitigation and floodplain management account". The hazard mitigation and floodplain management account shall be an account of the Environmental Quality Fund established under section 22a-27g of the general statutes. Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, any moneys required by law to be deposited in the account shall be deposited in the Environmental Quality Fund and credited to the hazard mitigation and floodplain management account. Any balance remaining in the account at the end of any fiscal year shall be carried forward in the account for the fiscal year next succeeding. The account shall be available to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection for the purposes of sections 8 to 12, inclusive, of this act.

Sec. 8. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2004) As used in sections 9 to 12, inclusive, of this act:

(1) "Eligible applicant" means any municipality, regional planning agency organized under the provisions of chapter 127 of the general statutes, any regional council of elected officials organized under the provisions of chapter 50 of the general statutes, or any regional council of government organized under the provisions of sections 4-124i to 4-124p, inclusive, of the general statutes;

(2) "Hazard mitigation" means activities that include, but are not limited to, actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to human life, infrastructure and property resulting from natural hazards including, but not limited to, flooding, high winds and wildfires; and

(3) "Floodplain management" means activities that include, but are not limited to, actions taken to retain the existing capacity of designated floodplain areas to store and convey flood waters.

Sec. 9. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2004) (a) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall establish and administer a hazard mitigation and floodplain management grant program to reimburse eligible applicants for costs incurred in the reduction or elimination of long-term risks to human life, infrastructure and property from natural hazards, including, but not limited to, flooding, high winds and wildfires, and in the retention of present capacity of designated floodplain areas to store and convey flood waters. Each grant shall be in an amount equal to ninety per cent of the costs to be incurred for such activities. Application for a grant shall be made in writing to the commissioner in such form as the commissioner may prescribe and shall include a description of the purpose, objectives and budget of the activities to be funded by the grant. If the applicant is a municipality, the chief executive officer of the municipality applying for the grant may designate the town planner, the director of public works, the police chief, the fire chief or the emergency management director of such municipality as the agent to make the application.

(b) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall establish, by regulations adopted in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, relative priorities for the approval of grants under this section. Such priorities may take into account the differing needs of eligible applicants, the need for consistency and equity in the distribution of grant awards and the extent to which particular projects may advance the purposes of this section. The commissioner shall accord highest priority to projects which involve (1) the preparation or revision of hazard mitigation plans by municipalities, or (2) participation in the community rating system of the National Flood Insurance Program. The commissioner shall accord secondary priority to projects which involve (A) the execution of hazard mitigation projects by municipalities in accordance with approved hazard mitigation plans; or (B) administering and providing financial assistance for the hazard mitigation and floodplain management grant program established under this section. The commissioner may establish further criteria for the approval of grants under this section. Not later than February 1, 2005, the commissioner shall develop and disseminate a pamphlet that describes the evaluation process for grant applications under this section. In awarding grants under this section, the commissioner shall consult with any person the commissioner deems necessary.

(c) The commissioner shall authorize grant awards under this section on or before July thirty-first and December thirty-first of each fiscal year in which payment of a grant is to be made.

(d) The commissioner shall allocate not less than sixty per cent of the moneys in the hazard mitigation and floodplain management account in any fiscal year for grants under this section.

Sec. 10. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) (a) On and after July 1, 2005, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall make grants to municipalities under section 9 of this act, from funds in the hazard mitigation and floodplain management account, established under section 7 of this act.

(b) If the commissioner finds that any grant awarded pursuant to this section is being used for other purposes or to supplant a previous source of funds, the commissioner may require repayment.

Sec. 11. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2004) (a) Recipients of grants under section 9 of this act shall submit a report to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, in such form as the commissioner prescribes, not later than September first of the fiscal year following the fiscal year such grant was received. Such report shall contain a description of activities paid for with financial assistance under the grant. The chief executive officer of a municipality that receives a grant may designate the town planner, the director of public works, the police chief, the fire chief or the emergency management director of such municipality as the agent to make such report.

(b) On or before January 1, 2007, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall prepare a report on grants made under section 9 of this act for the preceding fiscal year. Each such report shall include: (1) A description of the grants made, including the amount, purposes and the municipalities to which they were made; and (2) any findings or recommendations concerning the operation and effectiveness of the grant program.

Sec. 12. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2004) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to implement the provisions of sections 8 to 11, inclusive, of this act.

Approved May 21, 2004