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NCEM/ECU HURRICANE WORKSHOP, May 28, 2014 Anuradha MUKHERJI, PhD. Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Department of Geography, Planning,

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Presentation on theme: "NCEM/ECU HURRICANE WORKSHOP, May 28, 2014 Anuradha MUKHERJI, PhD. Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Department of Geography, Planning,"— Presentation transcript:

1 NCEM/ECU HURRICANE WORKSHOP, May 28, 2014 Anuradha MUKHERJI, PhD. Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment East Carolina University BUILDING LOCAL RESILIENCE Hazard Mitigation Plan Implementation in Coastal North Carolina Corolla, Currituck County, 2012 (Source: Image by author)

2 The Research Research Background Research Methods Research Findings Initial Recommendations PRESENTATION OUTLINE Swan Quarter, Hyde County, 2012 (Source: Image by author)

3 THE RESEARCH Research Focus : The 20 North Carolina CAMA (under Coastal Area Management Act) counties with a certified multi-jurisdictional county level hazard mitigation plan. (Source: Base maps from the United States Census Bureau ( and from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (

4 RESEARCH BACKGROUND Hazard mitigation plan implementation challenges in coastal North Carolina Looks at the 20 coastal counties under CAMA All 20 CAMA counties have certified hazard mitigation plans but implementation of policy recommendations or action remains uneven s Hazard mitigation broadly grouped into: Structural Mitigation & Non-Structural Mitigation Limited understanding of local hazard mitigation plan implementation Increasing responsibility on local governments but uncertainty about local commitment & capacity Implementation following policy adoption Place-based studies

5 RESEARCH METHOD Emergency Management PlanningOther (e.g., County Manager, Zoning) TOTAL MALE 542 11 FEMALE 161 8 TOTAL 6103 Place-based qualitative research Content analysis of hazard mitigation plans In-depth semi-structured interviews First (i.e. descriptive) & second (i.e., pattern) cycle coding

6 RESEARCH FINDINGS THE WHAT, HOW, AND WHY OF HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN IMPLEMENTATION WHAT: Hazard mitigation measures pursued and associated challenges WHY:Issues impacting decision to pursue hazard mitigation measures HOW:Resource challenges for implementing hazard mitigation measures

7 WHAT: Hazard mitigation measures pursued & challenges ELEVATING HOMES Elevating homes FEMA freeboard standards Convincing community Price tag, expensive Existing housing stock cannot afford to elevate House structurally not sound for elevation Properties difficult to qualify for grant BUYOUT Buyout and create open spaces Cost high along coast Tough to meet cost-benefit of buyout DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS Push back from citizen and developers when enforcing development standards in flood zone Difficult to convince public on zoning Lack of staff & time to plan, develop & enforce ordinance Politically difficult to change ordinance effecting land use OTHER Explain & convince people to carry flood insurance Public education to explain regulations Storm water management Shifting critical infrastructure out of the floodplain Funding shortage for capital investment RESEARCH FINDINGS: WHAT

8 RESEARCH FINDINGS: WHY POPULATION & GEOGRAPHY County, city located in the floodplain Importance of estuary and waterway to livelihood - tourism and fishing Flooding in low lying areas Large population on a barrier island Large areas with limited population Distribution of population: Isolated communities and long distances Swamp lands and wetlands – effect on septic systems VULNERABILITY Vulnerable to hurricanes, flash floods, storm surge Housing vulnerability - Older homes, not to standard, not maintained Housing stock built in the floodway Mobile home parks in floodplain Demographic vulnerability – retiree communities Lack of infrastructure and business Low-income minority population Lack of insurance PUBLIC SUPPORT No support for hazard mitigation in rural areas Educating community Help people understand hazard in community Lack of political will Issues of property rights very strong Not a priority unless hazard event occurs Difficulty educating public Most people reactive, keying in to immediate needs only Some attention because of an older population Resistance to change Tied to economy PLAN ISSUES Un-useable plans Contractor driven cookie cutter plans Plan not for average person, only those who understand terminology Acronyms make plan hard to follow Lack of familiarity with plan causes lack of implementation WHY: Issues impacting decision to pursue hazard mitigation

9 RESEARCH FINDINGS: HOW FUNDING Limited monies Lack of funding Financial constraint Fiscal challenge Tight budget Need external funds Pursuing HMGP grants Acquiring funding – tedious and complex Administration of funding is complex Who pays - Funding improvements of existing developments STAFF Wearing multiple hats Stretched thin Limited staff Competing priorities Staff constraints & capacities Staff turnover Lack of technical expertise OTHER Fragmented implementation by multiple departments Limited people to help move projects forward Challenge coordinating among jurisdictions COPING STRATEGIES / ADAPTAION Staff Constraints: Implementation and compliance through consultant Funding Limits: Rely on state and federal governments for grants Public Support: Pro- active public education by going to churches Timing hazard mitigation initiatives Competition for funds and price tag for projects very high Cannot put up a cash match, small rural community with small tax base Cannot be competitive with municipalities with established tax base HOW: Resources for implementing hazard mitigation

10 INITIAL RECOMMENDATIONS 1.Cannot assume implementation just because there is a hazard mitigation plan in place 2.Building Resilience: Help counties balance conflict between safety and expense 3.Address the fragmented nature of mitigation implementation (i.e., everyone has a piece – planning, building inspections, public works, utilities) – who is the lead 4.Targeted assistance for technical expertise and grant applications – particularly in rural counties with limited staff – creating a tiered system of grants based on population, a pool of funds to assist with match money

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