Expert: hurricanes could have an impact on land use, zoning

| Sep 27, 2017 | Land Use & Zoning

The damage done by Hurricane Irma to Cocoa, Brevard County and many parts of Florida was extensive. It is understood that rebuilding houses, businesses, roads and more will take a lot of money, effort and time.

Some experts question whether rebuilding is always a good idea. Some experts say that cities should reconsider and reconfigure zoning laws as a means of stopping people from building in areas prone to flooding and related problems such as storm surge.

A business meteorologist for IBM’s Global Business Services told CNBC that the $200 billion combined price tag for hurricanes Harvey and Irma should prompt changes in zoning and land use in some places along the nation’s coasts. “There has to be a lot of thought put into how we zone and where people should be building,” said Paul Walsh.

He noted in particular the damage done in Houston — the only major American city without zoning.

Walsh said the two hurricanes are “going to be a bit of a wake-up call in terms of the way we develop our communities going forward, especially along the coastal areas.”

He said the National Flood Insurance Program might require restructuring as well. He said the program essentially enables people to rebuild in areas prone to flooding. He said some homeowners have rebuilt multiple times in the very same flood plains.

Land use issues are critical to owners of commercial and residential properties. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process of obtaining a variance or rezoning.