Landslide Hazards and Planning (PAS 533/534)

By James Schwab, FAICP, Paula Gori, Sanjay Jeer

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Is a landslide waiting to happen in your community? Landslides occur primarily in mountainous regions, but flatter parts of the country are not immune. Landslides often go hand-in-hand with other natural disasters such as wildfires and floods, making them an important consideration in hazard mitigation planning and comprehensive plans.

This report will help planners minimize the risk landslide...

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 30, 2005
APA Planning Advisory Service

About the Authors

James Schwab
Mr. Schwab joined the American Planning Association in November 1985. Originally the assistant editor of Planning, APA's monthly magazine, he joined APA’s research department in August 1990. He serves as the co-editor of a monthly publication, Zoning Practice. He is the Manager of APA’s Hazards Planning Center in the Chicago office. Mr. Schwab is currently managing three FEMA-funded projects for the Hazards Planning Center. The first two are Subdivision Design in Flood Hazard Areas, which will result in a PAS Report in September 2016; and the Planning Information Exchange, a series of peer-exchange webinars on hazard mitigation planning. Both involve the Association of State Floodplain Managers as a partner organization. The third began in October 2015, Innovations in Planning and Public Engagement for Local Resilience, and involves University of California-San Diego, Placeways LLC, and National Charrette Institute as partners. He is also currently involved in two NOAA-funded projects. One is nationally focused with the Association of State Floodplain Managers as the lead partner; it aims to help communities incorporate climate data into capital improvements planning. The other is led by APA, with Jim as the project manager, and is focused on the Great Lakes, with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and the University of Illinois as partners; its purpose is to work with pilot communities in metropolitan Chicago on incorporating climate data into comprehensive plans and capital improvements programs. Both started in 2016. Mr. Schwab was the project manager for “Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation,” an ambitious effort funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to completely rewrite Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment (1998), which APA produced under a cooperative agreement with FEMA. This effort included substantial multimedia web tools including the Recovery News blog and a series of briefing papers. Mr. Schwab was also project manager and general editor for the FEMA-funded APA Planning Advisory Report, Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning, released in May 2010. He was the general editor and project manager for Planning for Drought, a PAS Report released in January 2014 and produced under a subcontract with the University of Nebraska’s National Drought Mitigation Center. Under an APA subcontract with the Association of State Floodplain Managers, he has also been involved in a project providing training and online resources to communities affected by Great Lakes coastal hazards. Mr. Schwab was the sole author of two PAS Reports in the 1990s, Industrial Performance Standards for a New Century and Planning and Zoning for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. He served as the project manager for a FEMA-supported project in which APA has developed training for planners on the planning provisions of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, and for the Firewise Communities Post-Workshop Assessment. With Stuart Meck, he co-authored the 2005 PAS Report, Planning for Wildfires. He was also the principal investigator and primary author of Tribal Transportation Programs, produced for the Transportation Research Board. He was the project manager and general editor for the PAS Report, Planning the Urban Forest: Ecology, Economy, and Community Development, released in January 2009, and led the subsequent development of a training workshop based on that report, with a matching grant from the U.S. Forest Service. Finally, Mr. Schwab is APA’s lead representative for its partnership with NOAA’s Digital Coast. Mr. Schwab has worked overseas several times on hazard-related planning: in the Dominican Republic overseeing site planning training in 2001, in Sri Lanka following the Indian Ocean tsunami, speaking at a disaster recovery conference in Taiwan in 2006, as a Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Advanced Engineering in New Zealand in 2008, and speaking in May 2013 at a European Union conference on cities and climate change in Venice, Italy. Mr. Schwab is also the author of two books. The first, Raising Less Corn and More Hell: Midwestern Farmers Speak Out, was published in 1988 by the University of Illinois Press. It is an oral history of the farm crisis that affected the Midwest during the 1980s. The second, Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue-Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America, was released by Sierra Club Books in the fall of 1994. He is presently developing plans for a two-book series about the 1993 and 2008 Midwest floods.

Paula Gori

Sanjay Jeer

Table of Contents

1. A primer on landslide hazards for planners

The nature of landslide hazards • Scope and consequences • Key planning issues

2. Planning to address landslide hazards
Trends in hazard planning • Landslide hazards and the comprehensive plan • Hazard identification and risk management • Policy responses

3. Development regulations for landslide hazards
Zoning and landslide mitigation • Use restrictions • Grading ordinances • Maintenance requirements • Subdivision and planned unit development standards • Transfer of development rights • Bonds and insurance • Hillside development ordinances

4. Geologic hazard abatement districts (GHADs)
California's experience with hazard mitigation through geologic hazard abatement districts • Weighing the benefits of GHADs

5. Technical tools to assist planners in combating landslide hazards
New quantitative landslide hazard assessment tools for planners • Growth, geology, and GIS: Mapping, modeling and living with geologic hazards in Moab-Spanish Valley, Grand County, Utah

6. Case studies: how local governments respond to the challenge of planning for landslide hazards
A model of effective use of geology in planning, Portola Valley, California • The Kelso, Washington, Aldercrest-Banyon Landslide • Policy tools for addressing landslide hazards in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania • Green Mountain Landslide: A case history of geologic hazards planning in Colorado

7. State and federal roles in landslide hazard planning and mitigation
California's seismic hazards mapping act: A statewide approach to landslide hazard mitigation • Landslide Hazards and federal lands: The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service experience • The role of government in landslide hazards loss reduction with a discussion of role of the United States Geological Survey and other federal agencies