Using Zoning to Reduce Flood Damages

Zoning Practice — March 2008

By Richard Roths, AICP


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The National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 and the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 required communities to adopt a floodplain ordinance to be eligible for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Many communities across the country have adopted such ordinances. More than 20,000 communities participate in NFIP today, but NFIP has been almost too successful in this effort.

Most communities adopt a floodplain ordinance based on a model ordinance provided to them by their state coordinating agency for NFIP. Only recently have communities begun to look at the risk beyond what is indicated on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps to determine whether additional steps should be taken.

This issue of Zoning Practice outlines an integrated strategy that connects hazard mitigation planning with zoning regulations to minimize risky floodplain development.


Page Count
Date Published
March 1, 2008
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American Planning Association

About the Author

Richard Roths, AICP