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Evaluating spatial impacts of changes to coastal hazard policy language.

INTRODUCTION

Coastal land in the United States is managed through a complex and often disjointed web of federal, state, and local programs and regulations that attempt to balance goals of community development, environmental protection, coastal hazard mitigation, and respect for property rights. The high economic value and appeal of coastal tourism, recreation, homes, ports, marinas, and transportation access present obstacles and challenges for instituting environmental and hazard mitigation policies and regulations. State coastal hazard policies in Florida seek to standardize local environmental regulations, but at the same time must allow sufficient flexibility to adapt to local geographies and constituencies (May 1994, Deyle and Smith 1998).

Against this backdrop of requisite uniformity and flexibility in policy, there has been a concerted effort in the past decade toward Community Vulnerability Assessments (CVAs): baseline vulnerability assessments that identify hazard threats (floods, earthquakes, wildfire, hurricane storm surge, and wind) and assess risk and exposure. GIS technology has served as a common platform for CVA assessments at local, regional, and country-wide scales. CVA takes into account physical characteristics such as building construction and age, as well as social parameters that hinder the abilities of individuals, households, or communities to respond and recover from natural disasters. However, such baseline assessments largely inventory physical, social, economic, and environmental factors, and according to Thomalla et al. (2006, 45), "still concentrate on what is exposed instead of understanding the processes and dynamics of exposure and responses."

It has become clear from recent hurricane response experience and emerging research on variable levels of storm impacts (Puszkin-Chevlin 2007a, FDCA 2006) that vulnerability also can be engendered in how policies are (re)formulated and applied. Revision and recalibration of policies and regulations can impact community vulnerability, directly or indirectly. However, in the urban planning academic discipline, policy language revision and review often is viewed primarily as content analysis--a reflection of sociopolitical processes. The research that we present here examines the semantics of policy language using GIS.

The underlying premise of our paper is threefold: (1) Proper analysis of proposed policy language can prevent failure during implementation and subsequent revision, a typical pattern noted in incremental policy development (Puszkin-Chevlin and Esnard 2009); (2) policy language must be assessed against numerous geographic characteristics of the coast (i.e., land use, building age, and asset value, and geomorphology) for sound coastal management; and (3) geographical analytical tools, and not just policy content analysis, can offer important insights on hazard policy impacts.

BACKGROUND

A 2007 "themed" issue of the Journal of Coastal Management explored the role of geography, including geographical/spatial investigation methods, in understanding coastal processes and informing coastal management policy and practice issues (Fletcher 2007, Fletcher and Smith 2007, Hodge and Johnson 2007, and McFadden 2007). McFadden (2007) argues that geographic science has been overshadowed by the governance aspects of coastal management. The author also reasoned that concerns for stakeholder representation and conflict resolution have primacy and, as a result, science has an increasingly marginalized position within integrated coastal zone management. These themes also appear in scholarly research by Birkland (1987), Deyle (1994), and Puszkin-Chevlin (2007a). Birkland noted that this is particularly evident in hurricane mitigation research, compared to earthquake research where scientific data forms the basis of policy response.

Fletcher and Smith in the same issue argue that coastal use is a reflection of the physical geography and the political and legal constructs that control development and regulate activities. Integrative paradigms, which include GIS spatial analysis, contribute to the understanding of coastal processes and are useful to policy making. Furthermore, such analyses are more value neutral, not guiding policy toward particular social objectives. As such, scientific geographic analysis can be employed to advance diverse and conflicting policy objectives.

Van Kouwen et al. (2008) identified challenges of matching Decision Support System (DSS) tools with knowledge and process aspects of integrated coastal zone management and decision making. The authors acknowledge that policy-related research is not sufficiently linked to the formal policy-making process itself. Getting policy makers to participate in the process of building DSS is offered as one possible solution. This is part of knowledge building for more relevant DSS tools for coastal zone management.

In reviewing the current literature, there appears to be a gap in scholarly documentation on the use of geographical investigation methods such as GIS, CVA tools, and DSS tools for a priori or a posteriori assessments of spatially implicit changes in coastal policy language. If this analysis is being reported, it is within government agencies and planning departments, and rarely published in the academic press. The GIS application presented here is an assessment of the impact of changes in the policy language of Florida's Coastal High Hazard Area (CHHA) boundary definition (adopted in 2006). It illustrates how relatively simple GIS-based analysis of proposed policy language could have illuminated unintended impacts on community vulnerability, and allow for revision and adjustment prior to adoption. This can be useful to multidisciplinary research and practitioner teams of planners, policy analysts, GIS analysts, hazard mitigation specialists, scientists, and designers of coastal management decision support systems.

POLICY CASE

In Florida, a state long known for mandating local comprehensive planning, coastal land planning and hazard mitigation policies are legislated in a broad framework of directives known as Florida Statute (FS) 163.178 and administrative laws known as 9J-5. Among them is the requirement that localities designate a Coastal High Hazard Area (CHHA)--an area that requires special planning consideration because of the risk of damage from wind and water during a tropical storm event. Parcels within the CHHA zone are subject to more stringent development regulations, which until the 2006 policy revision included a restriction on zoning changes that increased development densities above and beyond what was depicted on the local future land-use map (FLUM).

Designation and boundary delineation of such CHHAs date back to the passage of the Growth Management Act in 1985 and have been central and controversial components of coastal planning initiatives (DeGrove 1992, Chapin et al. 2006). As of 2007, there have been two boundary definition changes. First was the change from a locally defined area of risk (1985-1994) to a uniform state-wide definition based on emergency management professionals' criteria of the category-one evacuation zone (1994-2006). However, the emergency management department of each county had latitude in determining the boundaries of the areas that must be evacuated for a category-one hurricane. Generally, they identified a prudent, contiguous, planimetic zone away from the ocean or gulf coast shoreline. Furthermore, emphasis was placed on ease of communication of the boundary with the public. We refer to this definition as the "Old CHHA" throughout the document.
Criteria used to define the Old CHHA in the study area
were, for:

* Indian River County: (i) entire barrier island; (* ii)
western boundary of the Category 1 storm surge
(based on SLOSH data); and no rivers (Indian River
Comprehensive Plan, 2005);

* Martin County: (i) areas west of the Atlantic Ocean
to the Intracoastal Waterway; (ii) all mobile and
manufactured home parcels; and (iii) residential
parcels within half a mile from Indian River, the
North and South Fork of St. Lucie River, and the
Loxahatchee River (Martin County Comprehensive
Plan, 2004); and

* St. Lucie County: (i) entire barrier island; (ii) entire
Category 1 storm surge (based on SLOSH data);
and (iii) all mobile home parks (St. Lucie County
Comprehensive Plan, 2004).


The current (2009) definition, (adopted in 2006) which we refer to as the "New CHHA,"? is the area below the category-one storm surge line established by the Sea, Lake and Overland Surge from Hurricane (SLOSH) computerized storm surge model.? This most recent change (New CHHA) was prompted in part by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, and Dennis that crisscrossed Florida in 2004 and related debates about: (1) the impacts and fairness of the regulation on coastal communities; (2) a desire to ground the definition of vulnerability in scientifically defensible models; and (3) which type of professionals should control the statutory definition of the CHHA. Nonetheless, the New CHHA continues to raise questions and concerns among land-use planners, hazard mitigation specialists, and public officials (Compton 2006) and has left many unanswered questions about the implications of the change for additional coastal (re) development and increased vulnerability of people and property. A thorough assessment of the 2006 legislative boundary change was not undertaken by any state agency, despite such concerns and a specific recommendation by a CHHA Study committee (http://www.dca.state.fl.us/fdcp/dcp/chhsc/workshops.cfm) for additional analysis (Florida Department of Community Affairs 2006).. An analysis thus was independently undertaken by a university-based research center.

As researchers, we believe that this case study provides a useful model for assessing the spatial impacts of coastal hazard policy delineations. The change in policy language, from the "category 1 hurricane evacuation zones" to the "area below the elevation of the category 1 storm surge line as established by SLOSH" may have appeared innocuous to legislators and policy analysts unfamiliar with hazard mitigation and coastal management. In fact, the reuse of the term category one in context with hurricane and storm surge may have obfuscated the difference. It is precisely the subtlety of the word change that is central to the issue of community resiliency. As noted, the Old CHHA definition was a contiguous area with a western boundary set in relation to a distance from the ocean for evacuation purposes. In contrast, the new definition is based on a topographic elevation with respect to potential storm surge. While legislators left the "category 1 hurricane" wording from the Old CHHA definition, the category-one hurricane evacuation zone and the category-one SLOSH storm surge embody nearly opposite notions of prudence to risk. The spatial application of the former delineates all the areas deemed so risky they must be evacuated for even a weak hurricane. The spatial application of the latter identifies the very limited land that would be impacted by just one factor of a weak category-one storm.

The changes to Florida's CHHA delineation also offer an ideal case for application of GIS to evaluate impacts of changes in policy language given: (1) its geographic dimension (i.e., change from category-one hurricane evacuation to a topographically based zonal boundary criteria), (2) its temporal dimensions (i.e., three boundary definition iterations over the past 20 years), and (3) the desire to examine characteristics of land use and built age in relation to vulnerability and redevelopment pressure.

STUDY AREA

Florida's three Treasure Coast counties (as shown in Figure 1) were selected based on the rapid growth and ongoing development pressure experienced in the past two decades along the coast--a trend representative of coastal counties in the United States and elsewhere. The counties' geography, including the presence of three major rivers and the location of the coastal ridge, introduce additional features worthy of analysis. The Treasure Coast counties also provide examples of (1) built-out, (2) newer developments, and (3) older coastal cities and villages that might desire redevelopment in an attempt to control sprawl. Studies by Chapin et al. (2006) and Puszkin-Chevlin (2007a, 2007b) have documented the local political, historical, and contextual factors contributing to Florida's coastal asset accumulation and the important determinants that shape development outcomes along Florida's coastline. These studies grounded our understanding about the unique development history of each coastal county, and place the intercounty and intracounty comparative assessments of land parcels (including use, size, value, tenure, and year built) in context.

Although the study's focus on Florida may be viewed as overly narrow, we believe that the GIS-based assessment approach employed in this research has broad applicability and transferability to other regions that maintain current parcel level data. Thus, we provide the specific data points by county not as a key finding, but rather to illustrate how GIS analysis revealed issues of increased vulnerability created by the change in policy language. GIS was a particularly effective tool for depicting the changes in the geographic expanse of the Old CHHA and New CHHA, and for mapping and analysis of the distribution and characteristics (e.g., land use and year built) of parcels removed and gained because of revision of CHHA boundary definition.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

GIS ANALYSIS AND ASSUMPTIONS

This section provides a summary of the main steps used (see Figure 2), assumptions made and lessons learned regarding data sources, selecting appropriate geographic extents, categorizing and grouping parcel uses, and use of appropriate GIS functionality.

At the onset of our project we mapped the category-one storm surge and observed that because of rivers, tributaries, and canals, the areas extended up to eight miles inland for the study area counties. Knowing that the CHHA regulations were intended to limit development in areas proximate to the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, this key initial finding suggested that the boundary designation may not encompass the intended geography.

To keep the focus on coastal resiliency impacts, a similar assessment was completed for a subarea within three miles of the coastline. This three-mile area allows one to hone in on the impact of changing the CHHA definition because it eliminates areas that may be included in the "new" SLOSH-oriented definition, but would not experience significant surge water rise because of their inland location.

We also identified complications of implementing the new boundary. The SLOSH category-one hurricane storm surge perimeter line does not coincide with parcel boundaries, creating many split parcels. No policy language had been crafted to address this issue. For this assessment, we designated parcels out of the CHHA-based on whether the parcel's center point was outside the SLOSH category-one storm surge area.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

The most challenging aspect of the analysis was Step 4 (shown in Figure 2)--unpacking the net values (the difference in acreage of parcels between the old and new definition) resulting from the total values (Step 3). This was a critical piece of analysis, for the small net value changes camouflaged that many parcels were being added and many others were being removed. The location of the added and removed parcels had different vulnerability characteristics.

To better illustrate the implications of the new SLOSH-based policy language to hazard vulnerability, in Step 5 we compared the geography covered by New and Old CHHA to a widely accepted benchmark, the National Flood Insurance Program's VE flood zones (i.e., areas inundated by 100-year flooding, with velocity hazard wave action). We maintained that the state policy should at least meet the thresholds established by the federal government. We also mapped the SLOSH for the category-three storm surge.

Additionally, we acknowledged that tax parcels engender different vulnerability characteristics depending on whether they are developed and the type of development. In Step 6, we assess the impact of the change on potential development, redevelopment, and resiliency. We examined the land use and age of structures on the affected parcels with the following assumptions:

* Land held for recreation or conservation uses by government and nonprofit conservation entities are not likely to be developed. Undeveloped land held by public entities for conservation purposes have lower vulnerability, for there are few to no built improvements on the land.

* Vacant land held by private entities will be developed at market values that can support development costs profitably. Privately held vacant land has low vulnerability, but may contribute to community vulnerability in the future when it is developed. Additional new development increases exposure; new development also is typically built to modern hurricane standards that may be very resilient.

* Older structures or buildings that do not maximize the developable square footage are likely to experience redevelopment pressure as property values increase. Thus, building age serves as a proxy for redevelopment potential.

The gained and removed parcels were categorized by general land use (i.e., residential, commercial, governmental, institutional, vacant, and recreational) and year built (i.e., pre-1970, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, and post-2000). The parcel data used for this analysis was obtained from the Florida Department of Revenue (FDOR). This allowed for use of common attributes (e.g., parcel use codes, size of parcels, year built) for all counties in the study area.

When using parcel data, analysts also need to understand the difference between the tax parcels and land acres. While the acreage quantifies the size of the land parcels, the tax parcels represent improved real estate assets on the parcel of land. Thus, in the case of condominium or co-op buildings (land-use codes 04 and 05), one will find many tax parcels correlated to a particular acreage, in comparison to a multifamily rental residential building (land-use codes 03 and 08). Additionally, grouping or categorizing the parcel uses into broader land-use categories leaves room for variable interpretation by the analyst and had to be carefully brainstormed by the project team. In the case of open space, for example, special attention was paid to public and private ownership, and public ownership was scrutinized as government agencies may have conflicting land-use objectives. We aggregated land-use codes for vacant residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional properties (land-use codes 00, 10, 40, and 70, respectively), and segregated them from recreational and public open space (land-use codes 82, 95, and 97).

Because each coastal region has a unique group of stakeholders, research teams should assess these variables in their local context and incorporate knowledge of local government officials and stakeholders. For example, local sources may know if a vacant parcel is already slated for construction or perhaps under consideration for purchase by a conservation group. There may be rental properties in the process of condominium conversion. The diversity of professionals consulted also is important. Local coastal engineers can provide information on beach management practices and/or inlet dredging projects that impact storm surge water flow, while transportation planners may know about pending road and bridge improvements.

RESEARCH FINDINGS

The New CHHA Changes Shape

As previously noted, the most striking difference between the two boundary definitions is the shape of the regulated area (Figures 3 to 5). Because category-one storm surge areas could extend up to eight miles inland along these waterways, the New CHHA generally incorporates more inland properties that were not part of the evacuation zone (i.e., the Old CHHA). However, the difference in the size and shape varied significantly by county. In Martin County, the New CHHA boundary results in a net increase of 28 percent (7,621 acres), because the new definition picks up low-lying inland riverine areas (see Figure 3). In St. Lucie County, we note a net decrease of land of 9 percent (1,509 acres), because small parts of the barrier island and some mobile home parks on the mainland drop out (see Figure 4). In both these counties, the changes appeared to be largely explained by whether a county had included "storm surge" or "mobile home park" language in their pre-2006 definition of the category-one hurricane evacuation. In Indian River County, we observe a slight net increase in acreage of 4 percent that could not be explained by these factors. Upon closer review, it became clear that small net difference resulted from riverine areas replacing coastal areas located on higher elevations of the coastal ridge (see Figure 5)

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

REMOVED AND GAINED PARCELS: PERCEIVED VERSUS REAL

The net differences in parcels and acreage between the Old CHHA and the New CHHA is only one descriptive parameter, and must be understood in the context of the number and specific location of the impacted properties, as many were gained and others removed--especially in key coastal areas. For example, in Martin County, the net impact of the change is 4,248 acres of land, but the redefinition actually impacts 10,778 acres, as 7,513 acres were gained and 3,265 were removed. Similarly, there is a locational shift in parcels that are gained or removed from the CHHA.

The GIS map for Indian River County depicts the total impact, distinguishing between the removed and gained parcels, and showing the spatial location and distribution (see Figure 6). Thus, it became clear how the language depicting the CHHA as the "area below the category 1 storm surge" had the unintended impact of including low-lying riverine areas (land typically shielded from development through wetland regulation) and exempting land parcels in proximity to the ocean that sit on higher bluffs or the coastal ridge feature. The CHHA no longer was a contiguous area along the coastline. Rather, as higher elevation areas were exempted, it created holes similar to a "Swiss cheese" effect. Thus, while portions of the land may be elevated, they can be left isolated if surrounding low-lying areas are inundated or connecting roadways and bridges are damaged. The shortcomings of defining the CHHA boundary using SLOSH are illustrated in Figure 7 by adding layers depicting the road and highway network to the previously generated maps. In the area marked, the access roads traverse areas below the storm surge. This impacts approximately 919 parcels.

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]

[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]

ASSESSMENT AGAINST RELEVANT VULNERABILITY BENCHMARKS

The newly defined CHHA covers 379 fewer VE flood zone parcels than the old definition, a decrease of 17 percent for the entire study area (see Table 1). In contrast, the Old CHHA definition applied to all these properties. The greatest change occurs on the barrier islands in Indian River County and on Jupiter Island in Martin County. These are areas of clear coastal flood hazard risk.

As climate research indicates that stronger storms may become increasingly common with an increase in ocean water temperatures, it was important to examine how SLOSH models for stronger storms might better depict a coastal high hazard zone. In Indian River, for example, at the widest point, the storm surge from a more intense category-three storm would extend to the first 7,300 feet of mainland west of the Intracoastal. In St. Lucie County, like in Martin, the category-three storm surge area would increase the number of parcels in the CHHA and include the entire barrier islands. The land within the SLOSH category-three model better represented the NFIP's VE zone. A comparison of the size of the SLOSH areas for category-one and category-three storms helped clarify the arbitrariness of the selected threshold measure.

It is important to note, however, that the NFIP VE zone is one benchmark of risk and resiliency and it focuses on water inundation and damage caused by wave impact. However, waterfront and proximate parcels on the barrier island and mainland shoreline also face the strongest winds of a hurricane landfall. In 2004, when the study area was hit by Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, the coastal-most zone delineated by Florida's Coastal Construction Control Line experienced damage to 288 major structures (Florida Department of Environmental Protection 2004). Research on hurricane wind speed decay suggest that parcels even just slightly inland have advantages, for wind speeds decrease 10 percent to 20 percent from the landfall site because of the rougher topography of the land and vegetation (Schwerdt et al. 1979, Kaplan and DeMari, 1995). This bolsters the argument that land-use policy should attempt to limit asset development on barrier islands. To highlight the wind vulnerability issue, we compared the New CHHA definition to a high-wind-zone map provided by Citizen's Insurance Company and found that the new CHHA area was a fraction of the size of the latter. Overall, the New CHHA deemphasizes the distance from the ocean in favor of a topographical definition focused simply on inundation risk. Is this a prudent demarcation of coastal vulnerability?

CHANGES IN LAND USE AND INVENTORY CHARACTERISTICS

As one of the public concerns about the new policy was that it would encourage additional coastal asset accumulation, we investigated how the boundary change differentially impacted parcels with different land uses and parcels with structures of different ages (Williams and Phillip 2000). The breakdown of land uses among parcels that are added and removed from the CHHA confirms and strengthens the conclusion that the New CHHA could allow up-zoning on nearly 850 acres of vacant privately owned land removed from the Old CHHA. The New CHHA boundary also opens the door for up-zoning of some already developed residential areas and commercial parcels.

The only land-use categories that experience an increase in acres subject to the New CHHA regulations are recreational use and government-owned facilities, and this is limited to Martin County. However, increasing the amount of recreation and conservation land in the CHHA has no benefit in terms of directing development away from vulnerable coastal areas or limiting asset accumulation because this land is not likely to experience any development.

[FIGURE 8 OMITTED]

The new definition contains fewer properties in each year-built decadal range. However, because of the development chronology of the study area, which moved steadily inland and included a coastal building boom in the early 1980s, the inventory of the New CHHA boundaries included 45 percent fewer pre-1980 properties and 58 percent fewer properties constructed in the 1980s. In aggregate, the change in the boundaries would remove more than 5,700 structures built before 1980 and 2,300 structures built between 1980 and 1989 from the CHHA. See Figure 8 for a snapshot of Indian River County.

In Florida's real estate market, these properties are viewed as reaching obsolescence as consumer preferences for style and design features have shifted markedly toward newer construction. By comparison, only 744 tax parcels constructed after 2001 would be removed, a decrease of 32 percent. The take-home message is that to the extent that the New CHHA designation contributes to the removal of up-zoning restrictions from such older properties, it could encourage property redevelopment at densities beyond what currently is planned in the Future Land Use Map (FLUM). This has a mixed impact on vulnerability. Redevelopment can remove structures built to older and lax construction standards, but it also can increase the number and value of assets at risk.

CONCLUSIONS

In coastal management, there often is a gap between planning objectives and implementation. It can be challenging to craft politically palatable policy and regulatory language, and select the standards and thresholds that effectively operationalize the objectives. This case study highlighted the importance of scrutinizing small, seemingly benign-appearing incremental policy changes that occur both inside and outside the context of hazard-planning documents. The desire to minimize ambiguity with quantitative thresholds and ground regulatory policy in scientifically defensible data lead planners to adopt and apply concepts and models (in this case, SLOSH) with a limited understanding of their applicability, impact, and limitations. Thus, in an effort to define zones of geographic vulnerability with a numerically measurable parameter, parcels that are proximate to the ocean, subject to the high winds, and have limited road access get dropped from the CHHA zone. The spatial analysis offered by the CHHA case study revealed that the new boundary definition (adopted in 2006) creates a sort of "Swiss cheese" spatial boundary, with elevated areas excluded from development regulations while adjacent parcels are included. The analysis also highlighted the importance of comparing outcomes of policy language against both recognized standards (such as the NFIP VE zones) and equally valuable data gleaned from disaster experience, such as the high water mark or debris line.

Our assessment of the quantitative and spatial differences between the Old and New CHHA, therefore, compel us to question whether the SLOSH category-one storm surge is an appropriate boundary criterion. Moreover, while the use of the term SLOSH model appears to lend the new boundary an image of scientific creditability and accuracy, it does not distinguish risk factors precisely at the parcel level or address the full range of hazard risk. The scale at which the model estimates storm inundation is relatively coarse in comparison to the plat maps delineating parcel boundaries.

Finally, the case study illustrated how relatively simple GIS analysis elucidates impacts more clearly and visually. As noted, GIS offered the advantage of simultaneously illustrating the total number of impacted parcels as a composite of the geography added and removed from the CHHA. In contrast, numerical data presented in graphs and bar charts typically illustrate the net impact in an oversimplistic manner. Presenting the removed and gained parcels would require that the bar chart include positive and negative values, making it difficult to visually ascertain the net difference and never clarifying the spatial distribution of the added and removed parcels. GIS ground truths the impacts of policy change contextually in surroundings familiar to the stakeholders and government leaders. It facilitates a priori or a posteriori assessments of coastal policy changes by planners and policy makers. GIS has been effectively used in gathering data needed to develop Community Vulnerability Assessment (CVA), but it now must also be incorporated into decision support tools that can evaluate policy alternatives.

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the Florida Hurricane Alliance through a grant from the NOAA Weather Service. We also want to acknowledge Rachel Kalin, our graduate research assistant, and Jim Murley, the Director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions, for insights into the complexity of coastal planning and regulation. The findings and opinions reported are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the funding and administrative organizations.

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Endnotes

(1) Old CHHA Definition (1994-2006): FS 163.3178 (2)(h) "Designation of high-hazard coastal areas, which for uniformity and planning purposes, are herein defined as category 1 evacuation zones. However, application of mitigation and redevelopment policies, pursuant to s380.27(2), and any rule adopted there under, shall be at the discretion of local government."

New CHHA Definition (as of June 2006): Change introduced by HB 1359 "The coastal high hazard area is the area below the elevation of the category 1 storm surge line as established by a Sea, Lake and Overland Surges from Hurricanes (SLOSH) computerized storm surge model."

(2) SLOSH was developed by the National Weather Service to calculate potential surge heights from hurricanes.

Ana Puszkin-Chevlin was a Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University, Fort Lauderdale, at the time of this research. Puszkin-Chevlin's expertise is in coastal hazard vulnerability assessment and mitigation, land-use planning, and real estate market analysis.

Ann-Margaret Esnard is a Professor and Director of the Visual Planning Technology Laboratory at Florida Atlantic University, Fort Lauderdale. Esnard's expertise encompasses GIS/spatial analysis, vulnerability assessment, land-use planning, and disaster planning.

Corresponding Address:

Ann-Margaret Esnard

Professor

School of Urban and Regional Planning

Florida Atlantic University

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

(Phone) (954) 762-5646

Aesnard@fau.edu
Table 1. Parcels and Acres Impacted within VE Flood Zone

Parcels in Flood Zone VE in Selected Study Areas

 Three-mile Old CHHA New CHHA
 boundary boundary boundary

Martin 778 735 638
St. Lucie 901 851 757
Indian River 639 636 448
Total # of Parcels 2,318 2,222 1,843

Martin 5,248 5,118 4,657
St. Lucie 6,055 6,043 5,940
Indian River 1,506 1,503 1,237
Total Acres 12,810 12,664 11,834

 Percent of
 Absolute Absolute
 Change Change

Martin 97 13%
St. Lucie 94 11%
Indian River 188 30%
Total # of Parcels 379 17%

Martin 461 9%
St. Lucie 103 2%
Indian River 266 18%
Total Acres 830 7%
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Article Details
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Author:Puszkin-Chevlin, Ana; Esnard, Ann-Margaret
Publication:URISA Journal
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
Words:5962
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