Zoning regulations are one of the most powerful tools communities have to promote appropriate growth. Zoning bylaws and ordinances allow communities to reduce conflicts by clearly defining areas appropriate for growth, as well as areas where growth should be discouraged or prohibited. Consider adopting zoning that directly decreases risk to people and property. To maximize its legal power, zoning regulations should clearly explain why your community wishes to discourage or prohibit growth in the coastal floodplain, and should be consistently applied across permitting boards and departments.

The following resources provide additional information about zoning:

  • The StormSmart Coasts Fact Sheet 2, No Adverse Impact and the Legal Framework of Coastal Management (PDF, 1.82 MB) explains the legal issues surrounding regulating land use in coastal floodplains.
  • These Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publications provide zoning information:
    • Section 2.3 of FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual has general information on siting and the appropriateness of specific areas for different types of structures. To obtain a free copy of the Coastal Construction Manual (in print or on a CD), contact the FEMA Publications Distribution Facility at (800) 480-2520.
    • Fact Sheet 6 from FEMA’s Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction series explains how planning, siting, and design decisions affect coastal home costs.
    • Fact Sheet 7 from FEMA’s Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction series provides guidance on lot selection and siting considerations for coastal residential buildings.

* Your community needs only 500 points to qualify for reduced flood insurance premiums through the Community Rating System (CRS). For more information (including how to apply for the CRS program), see our Community Rating System (CRS) primer.

Notes from the folks at CRS:

“Low density zoning credit is provided for limiting development to no more than one building per acre. Credit increases as the allowable density decreases to one building to 10 acres.”

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