Tumwater amends regulations in floodplain areas, added standards of construction


Tumwater City Council approved an ordinance amending Tumwater Municipal Code (TMC) Chapter 18.38, which deals with regulations for the city’s floodplain overlay area, on Tuesday, March 19.

The areas regulated by the chapter include special flood hazard areas and all protected areas. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updated the county’s flood hazard area in November last year, the ordinance updated the chapter to incorporate FEMA’s new data.

The amendments also reflect FEMA’s other current standards to ensure that property owners in the city can remain eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The Planning Commission recommended the approval of the amendments on February 13, which has remained the same since the Planning Commission made its recommendation.

The ordinance updated 15 sections of the chapter, adding new design and construction standards for structures in the flood hazard areas and clarifying provisions in the permitting system.

As the changes clarify that new manufactured homes in the flood hazard area must be anchored to minimize flood damage, Councilmember Kelly Von Holtz asked what would trigger this requirement if someone were to renovate an existing manufactured house.

Planning Manager Brad Medrud said that if the level of work to be done on the property exceeds a 50% threshold, the regulations will kick in. He noted that hitting that threshold for a manufactured home will be challenging, so minor repairs will not trigger anchoring requirements.

Other provisions deal with storing material that could injure life and new public record requirements.

Councilmember Joan Cathey noted that the updated code would likely be relevant to the redevelopment of the old brewery site, which Land Use Planner Erika Smith-Erickson agreed to.


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