Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas (PAS 473)

By Marya Morris, FAICP

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Economic, political, and market pressures make some development on floodplains inevitable. But appropriate subdivision designs can minimize risks of flood damage — or eliminate them entirely.

This report explores the full range of planning techniques to minimize possible problems in a flood-hazard area. Cluster development, coast-to-road lots, and elevated buildings are all suggested a...

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Oct. 1, 1997
APA Planning Advisory Service

About the Authors

Marya Morris
Marya Morris is a self employed planning and zoning consultant based in Glencoe, Illinois. She is also a freelance writer and editor and has authored nine Planning Advisory Service Reports, the most recent of which is on Coastal Zone Management published earlier this year. She has been a member of the Glencoe Plan Commission since 2009.

Table of Contents


1. Reducing flood losses and protecting the floodplain resources
The policy basis of managing floods • An overview of the National Flood Insurance Program • Legal issues for subdivision and floodplain management regulations

2. Protecting the natural functions of the floodplain
What is a floodplain? • Floodplain resources • The impacts of development on floodplains • Potential community uses in the floodplain • The broad range of floodplain protection tools

3. Planning tools for flood hazard areas
Local comprehensive planning • Floodplain management planning • Zoning and subdivision regulations • Other land-use planning tools

4. Site-specific measures to minimize flood damage and preserve natural function of floodplains
Subdivision and site plan review • Finding a workable approach: A design hierarchy • Additional considerations to minimize on- and off-site disruptions • Special considerations in alluvial fans • Special considerations in coastal high-hazard areas • Regulations for dune access

A. Partially annotated list of references • B. Selected National Flood Insurance Program (NMFIP); Minimum requirements • C. Site inventory and analysis • D. Site plan review checklist • E. Selected ordinances and development policies