On May 21, 2015, Governor Rick Scott signed into law CS/CS/CS Senate Bill 1094, available at http://laws.flrules.org/2015/69. The focus of the bill is on flooding. The first section of the bill contains additions to Florida’s comprehensive planning law. The bill modified Florida Statute section 163.3178(2)(f). This section of statutes has long required that coastal management elements of comprehensive plans include a “redevelopment component which outlines the principles which shall be used to eliminate inappropriate and unsafe development in the coastal areas when opportunities arise.”
CS/CS/CS Senate Bill 1094 first modified the language of the original section. Using underline to mark new language and strike-through to show deleted language, the modification is: “redevelopment component that which outlines the principles that must which shall be used to eliminate inappropriate and unsafe development in the coastal areas when opportunities arise.” This language seems to make the requirement even stronger than the previous language.
In addition, the modified statute added significant detail as to what the mandatory redevelopment component must contain. The redevelopment component must now:
- Include development and redevelopment principles, strategies, and engineering solutions that reduce the flood risk in coastal areas which results from high-tide events, storm surge, flash floods, stormwater runoff, and the related impacts of sea-level rise.
- Encourage the use of best practices development and redevelopment principles, strategies, and engineering solutions that will result in the removal of coastal real property from flood zone designations established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Identify site development techniques and best practices that may reduce losses due to flooding and claims made under flood insurance policies issued in this state.
- Be consistent with, or more stringent than, the flood-resistant construction requirements in the Florida Building Code and applicable flood plain management regulations set forth in 44 C.F.R. part 60.
- Require that any construction activities seaward of the coastal construction control lines established pursuant to s. 161.053 be consistent with chapter 161.
- Encourage local governments to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to achieve flood insurance premium discounts for their residents.
With this new law, Florida Statute section 163.3178(2)(f)1. now includes “sea-level rise” as one of the causes of flood risk that must be addressed in the “redevelopment principles, strategies, and engineering solutions” to reduce flood risk.
Previously the only mention of sea-level rise in the comprehensive planning chapter of Florida Statutes was the permissible language allowing local governments to incorporate “Adaptation Action Areas” into the coastal management element of their comprehensive plans (Fla. Stat. §163.3177(6)(g)10. (2014)) and a definition for “adaptation action area” in Florida Statute section 163.3164(1).
The addition of another reference to sea-level rise, especially one that is mandatory in nature, highlights the realization that sea-level rise represents an important challenge to consider in the long-term resilience of Florida communities.