Post-storm redevelopment planning may involve the creation and implementation of Hazard Mitigation Plans, building permit moratoria for various types of use, or Redevelopment Task Forces, that are responsible for overseeing the implementation of both. Local municipalities, most familiar with the unique challenges of an area, are the best equipped to develop and implement hazard mitigation strategies and policies.The long-term benefits of mitigation planning include increased community awareness of potential hazards, sustainable and disaster-ready infrastructure, prevention of structure placement or re-placement in hazard areas, the creation of partnerships that support planning and mitigation efforts, and a reduction in future damages to human health and the built environment. A moratorium on development suspends the right of property owners to obtain development approvals while the community takes time to consider, draft, and adopt land use plans or rules to respond to new or changing circumstances not adequately covered by its current laws. A local redevelopment task force can be created via local law to oversee post-disaster reconstruction or realignment. The task force may meet regularly to create a redevelopment plan, consider policies for redeveloping the area, determine redevelopment priorities as well as mitigation measures in advance of an emergency, and suggest regulatory changes.
Used by: Municipalities, counties, state
Used for: Restricting or managing post-storm redevelopment and retreat from known hazard areas
Hillsborough County, Florida: Post-Disaster Redevelopment and Mitigation Ordinance
Hillsborough County’s Post-Disaster Redevelopment and Mitigation ordinance was enacted in 1993 to respond to potential natural or man-made hazards, in conformance with the goals and policies of the Coastal Management and Port Element of the county comprehensive plan. The comprehensive plan requires the county to adopt a post-disaster redevelopment plan that will restrict and eliminate unsafe structures, create a “decision-making matrix” for the post-disaster rebuilding or relocation of public infrastructure, and guide orderly redevelopment in the recovery period.
In preparation for future storm events, the county ordinance establishes a redevelopment task force, which will oversee post-disaster reconstruction and advise the Board of County Commissioners. Buildings that are damaged less than 50% of their replacement cost may be rebuilt subject to current building and safety codes. Buildings suffering greater damage may be rebuilt to their original size and use if they comply with federal elevation requirements, local floodproofing requirements, building and safety codes, and other state and local regulations. The County also has an initial building moratorium; a destroyed structure moratorium; major and minor damaged structure moratoria; and a new development moratorium, an outstanding building permit and an outstanding development order moratoria, and a site plan review moratorium.
Town of Duck, North Carolina: Moratorium on Rebuilding and Reconstruction
North Carolina’s Coastal Areas Management Act of 1974 encourages cooperative land use planning between state and local governments. It is the policy of the State of North Carolina that “adequate plans for post-disaster reconstruction should be prepared by and coordinated between all levels of government prior to the advent of a disaster.” North Carolina’s Design and Construction Guidelines for local hazard mitigation plans suggest that coastal communities should “outline a post-disaster permitting process that facilitates repairs but remains steadfast to the need to mitigate against future disasters.” One way to accomplish this is to create a short-term building moratorium to allow the community time to assess damage and consider mitigation measures.
The Town of Duck, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, is a coastal community that has adopted local regulations implementing state coastal policies. In 2005, Duck adopted, and the State of North Carolina certified, the town’s CAMA CORE Land Use Plan. Duck’s Code of Ordinances includes a chapter on Rebuilding and Reconstruction that sets out procedures for assessing damage, declaring a building moratorium, and defining types of moratoriums that may be declared in the aftermath of a damaging storm. The ordinance is intended to ensure that rebuilding occurs “in an orderly manner,” and with the opportunity to identify “appropriate areas for post-storm change and innovation.”
A building moratorium may be declared in the event of a Category 4 hurricane or greater; when the President issues a disaster declaration for the town; when 100 or more buildings have suffered major damage; or when the Mayor has declared a state of emergency. When a building moratorium is declared, an “initial moratorium” extends for 48 hours, during which no building permits may be issued. A “destroyed structure moratorium” extends for 30 days following the expiration of the initial moratorium and during this period, no permit for replacement of a destroyed structure will be issued. In order to receive building permits, all replacement building and repairs following moratoriums must meet applicable town zoning and other code requirements.