Communities across Louisiana now have access to strategies and development standards that can be used to reduce risk of flooding and protect land.
The Best Practices Manual for Development in Coastal Louisiana and The Louisiana Coastal Land Use Toolkit were developed through a partnership between the Center for Planning Excellence and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
Planners say it's important to be proactive rather than reactive whether the disaster is a hurricane or flood or land loss from coastal erosion. The new best practices manual aims to help coastal communities develop in ways that reflect lessons learned.
It's primarily designed to help planners and elected officials develop strategies for smart land use and assets less likely to wash away. Camille Manning-Broome is with the Center for Planning Excellence. "Creating a vision with the community and elected officials for the next fifteen years, bringing together transportation, housing, economic development--all the needs of how you build a community, making a vision for how that community grows," she said.
But the tools can help ordinary citizens make smarter decisions when buying or developing property. "How to make better decisions about where you live if you're in a risky environment. You can learn things such as better building techniques and we have regulations and guidance on how to develop a home that's safer," said Manning-Broome.
As well, many realtors attended the workshop in Lafayette releasing the manual and tool kit. Realtor Mary Jane Bauer says they want to be involved as ordinances are developed and she says greater public awareness is needed. "We're talking about coastal restoration. We're talking about loss of land. We're talking about loss of your property possibly. Louisiana, from what I understand, is losing so much coastal property every year." Bauer is the CEO of Acadiana Realtors.
The manual and toolkit are said to reflect the needs and desires of so many who attended Louisiana Speaks meetings held throughout the state after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.