The City of Ocean Springs completed the Community Resilience Index assessment on April 29, 2014, which identified training for and support of the Planning Commission as a primary weakness with respect to resiliency. This project will provide training to Commissioners to give them a solid foundation for making recommendations to the Board of Aldermen on planning decisions that may impact the City’s ability to withstand damage from future coastal storms and sea level rise. The Planning Commission has recently undertaken a major ordinance update as well with the drafting of a Unified Development Code (UDC), to replace its separate zoning and subdivision regulations. This project will conduct a Safe Growth Audit to review the code for resiliency and make recommendations to land use and development standards that promote greater resiliency. To conclude the project, the City will host Planning Commission/Aldermen-Hosted Public Workshops that better inform the public about how planning and land use decisions impact future resilience.
While significant strides have been made by the City to recover and redevelop, a foundational knowledge of resiliency needs and strategies is necessary to continue to enable decision-makers to shape policies for development, preservation and conservation that minimize future impacts. This proposal includes a three-phased approach:
a) Planning Commission Training,
b) Unified Development Code Resiliency Audit, and
c) Planning Commission/Aldermen-Hosted Public Workshops.
The Community Resilience Index assessment, conducted on April 29, 2014 identified training for the Planning Commission; educational opportunities for the public and a thorough analysis of planning regulation were all needed to reduce the City’s vulnerability to coastal hazards. The techniques described above are designed to mitigate these weaknesses and allow city appointees and citizens to form a better partnership to increase Ocean Springs’ resiliency. Throughout the project, there will be multiple opportunities to strengthen the messaging through partnerships with MS-AL Sea Grant, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), that will further disseminate positive messages about how to achieve greater resilience.