Regulatory Tools: Local Ordinances, National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP)
Ordinances and regulations are tools used by local governments to codify actions in their jurisdictions and to create an orderly process for making and implementing important public policy decisions. A comprehensive plan or land use plan provides a broad vision for a community’s goals; however, such a document serves more as a guide rather than a set of specific laws. These plans must then be implemented through various ordinances and regulations which do carry the force of the law in order to catalyze meaningful action. There exist many types of regulatory strategies that aim to reduce flood risk and increase community resilience.
Below are CPRA’s recommendations for enhancing 1) parish and municipal ordinances, 2) insurance coverage beyond the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and 3) Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP):
Modify or expand the statutes allowing the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the authority through the CZMP/Coastal Use Permit (CUP) process to ensure future development is properly sited and designed; enable the CUP review process to incorporate single-family homes, consider including structures that may be defined as “fastlands” in the present day but are predicted to be below five feet above sea level over the next 50 years, and include areas newly encircled by levee infrastructure.
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Office of Coastal Management:
Utilize existing regulatory tools and frameworks to enforce coastal zone management regulations; the CUP review process should include all subdivisions, even if parcels are developed individually, and utilize to the best extent possible the projections of sea level rise, subsidence, land loss, and flood risk developed in support of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan.
Department of Transportation and Development:
Work to improve access to resources or other technical support to help facilitate local participation in Community Rating System (CRS) such as resource sharing, coordination of mapping/data collection efforts, etc.
Department of Insurance:
Consider expanding opportunities for insurance coverage beyond NFIP by including private or community-based insurance options.
Parish and Municipal Governments:
Adopt higher freeboard requirements such as FEMA FIRM BFE +2 for standard projects and BFE +3 for critical infrastructure, or building to the 500-year flood elevation as recommended by federal policy; elevation requirements may also be based on recommendations by the 2017 Coastal Master Plan; implement more stringent zoning codes, subdivision ordinances, or other flood ordinances; join or expand NFIP CRS to lower flood risk and reduce the cost of flood insurance; and pursue additional activities and regulatory measures to improve CRS scores and further reduce flood insurance premiums.
Develop new or promote existing coastal or hazard mitigation zoning codes, subdivision ordinances, or other flood ordinances that include hazard mitigation or flood risk reduction elements to protect current and future community development and recovery; continue to monitor the implementation of changes to NFIP including the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act and the Grimm-Waters-Richmond Act; and continue to advocate for responsible implementation of program reforms and policy updates.