Date: November 17th, 2020
By: Joe Perrone

At its October 15th meeting, the Town Council approved the scope of services with the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council (ECFRPC) for coastal resiliency planning, the purpose of which is to improve the Town’s capacity to deal with future threats from sea level rise. The ECFRPC will work with the Town through public engagement and education, and by an assessment of the Town’s vulnerabilities, to ensure its resiliency to changing climate conditions that would influence and guide the decision making process for future development, infrastructure projects, and various programs within the Town. The study will be in three phases.

Phase 1 – Vulnerability Assessment:

The project team will conduct a vulnerability assessment related to sea level rise, frequent flooding, storm surge and erosion, as well as modeling completed for Volusia County that evaluates new storm surge impacts as sea levels rise. (Existing analysis completed for Volusia County will be used as a base for the assessment with data localized to the Town.) The vulnerability assessment will evaluate impacts to facilities critical to the Town’s function, health, safety, and evacuation support, as well as all roadway facilities, land uses, and social characteristics to identify vulnerabilities in public service and response. Modeling will also evaluate potential economic impacts of future flooding.

Phase 2 – Public Engagement:

The ECFRPC will engage stakeholders in the Town through an online survey and will facilitate two workshops and one meeting with Town staff to discuss vulnerabilities and to gather input concerning issues, opportunities, and needs which will be used to identify areas of concern for the vulnerability assessment. The purpose of the first workshop is to engage participants in roundtable type discussions of local vulnerabilities, resilience strategies, and project and policy ideas. Using the information gathered from this initial workshop, the project team will develop an online survey that will focus on values, priorities, and strategies to increase the Town’s resilience. The ECFRPC will create the survey and a flier for the Town to distribute, which Planning Department staff has indicated should be available either in late December or in January. The final workshop will provide an overview of the survey results and identified strategies for consideration, as well as other pertinent topics that may emerge during the process.

Phase 3 – Develop Peril of Flood Policies for the Coastal Element of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan:

The project team will develop goals, objectives, and policies with related data and figures for the coastal element of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan. This may (1) include new or revised goals, objectives, and policies, including development principles, strategies, and engineering solutions that will reduce the flood risk in coastal areas from high tide events, storm surge, stormwater runoff, and the related impacts of sea level rise; (2) propose strategies that will result in the removal of coastal real property from flood zone designations established by FEMA; (3) identify site development techniques that may reduce losses due to flooding; (4) be consistent with, or more stringent than, the flood resistant construction requirements in the Florida Building Code; (5) provide compliance with state code requirements on any construction activities seaward of the Coastal Construction Control lines; (6) encourage local government to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System administered by FEMA to achieve flood insurance discounts for residents. (Note: the Town currently participates in this program and has the lowest flood insurance premiums in the state.)