Projects

Integrating hazard mitigation into local planning to support community resiliency on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

End Date: 1/31/13

Abstract

Planning documents in most of the counties and cities in Coastal Mississippi are in two distinct categories: those that plan for future growth and those that address hazards and emergency management. Investigators believe that the two plan groups likely have some linkages but lack shared values or goals and objectives. Comprehensive planning is usually the responsibility of a planning or zoning department and hazard mitigation planning is conducted by emergency managers. If local governments are going to make sound planning decisions related to future growth, hazard impacts and coastal resiliency must be incorporated into the comprehensive planning process and the planning documents.

The first step in moving toward this integration is to identify the connections and the gaps between the two types of planning documents. Recommendations for improved linkages must then be made to local governments. Integrating hazard mitigation principles into comprehensive planning and land use strategies will reduce future damage to property and public facilities, avoid development in hazardous areas and provide adequate public shelters and reduce hurricane evacuation times. Societal benefits include improved public safety and enhanced community resiliency.

The research will begin with the compilation of all Comprehensive Plans, Capital Improvement Plans and Hazard Mitigation Plans from the six counties and 15 municipalities in the study area. Using a matrix, Investigators will review each Comprehensive Plan and Capital Improvement Plan for hazard mitigation principles by identifying connections and gaps between the plans.

Objectives

  1. To identify existing connections between hazard mitigation plans and comprehensive plans
  2. To identify exiting gaps or missing connections between hazard mitigation plans and comprehensive plans
  3. To develop recommendations on how to specifically link hazard mitigation principles to the comprehensive plans
  4. To develop policy recommendations related to mandates for hazard mitigation planning and comprehensive planning in Mississippi

Methodology

The research will begin with the compilation of all Comprehensive Plans, Capital Improvement Plans and Hazard Mitigation Plans from the six counties and 15 municipalities in the study area. Using a matrix, Investigators will review each Comprehensive Plan and Capital Improvement Plan for hazard mitigation principles by identifying connections and gaps between the plans.

Rationale

Planning documents in most of the counties and cities in Coastal Mississippi are in two distinct categories: those that plan for future growth and those that address hazards and emergency management. Investigators believe that the two plan groups likely have some linkages but lack shared values or goals and objectives. Comprehensive planning is usually the responsibility of a planning or zoning department and hazard mitigation planning is conducted by emergency managers. If local governments are going to make sound planning decisions related to future growth, hazard impacts and coastal resiliency must be incorporated into the comprehensive planning process and the planning documents.

The first step in moving toward this integration is to identify the connections and the gaps between the two types of planning documents. Recommendations for improved linkages must then be made to local governments. Integrating hazard mitigation principles into comprehensive planning and land use strategies will reduce future damage to property and public facilities, avoid development in hazardous areas and provide adequate public shelters and reduce hurricane evacuation times. Societal benefits include improved public safety and enhanced community resiliency.

Specifically, the investigation will address two of the MASGC focus areas:

Improve planning for, response to and recovery from coastal hazards and climate associated risks
Demonstrate the connections between planning decisions (e.g. land use, infrastructure siting) and hazard impacts

For More Information Contact: the MASGC Research Coordinator, Loretta Leist (Loretta.leist@usm.edu). Please reference the project number R/MG/CSP-19.

Results

See "Integrating hazard mitigation into local planning to support community resiliency on the Mississippi Gulf Coast"