By: Will Van Vactor
New federal recommendations may impact development in many Oregon communities. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a Biological Opinion in April 2016. The opinion is a scientific opinion that makes recommendations to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) about how it can manage the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to avoid violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Biological Opinion focuses on the impact the NFIP has on steelhead and salmon species in Oregon.
FEMA has not yet adopted the NFMS recommendations as mandatory standards. Using guidance from local governments, FEMA plans to notify Oregon communities of new mandatory standards in Fall 2017.
If you own land is in a flood plain (or close to one), the NMFS recommendations, and any related rules implemented by FEMA, may impact future development on your property. To learn more about these potential impacts, talk to your local planning department or a land use attorney.
There are a number of different opinions about whether these new flood plain recommendations are good or bad. For your reading pleasure, here are a couple of those opinions:
- New flood plain regulations hurt Oregon communities and lack common sense - By Peter DeFazio, U.S. Congressman
- A common sense approach to reforming development in Oregon flood plains - By Bob Sallinger, Mike Houck and Travis Williams
As of November 2017, the proposed floodplain regulations remain controversial. Coos Bay recently filed suit against the federal government claiming the new regulations are an overreach. The outcome of the lawsuit has national implications. Depending on the outcome, the proposed regulations may significantly impact land use within the new floodplain zones in Oregon.
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