Assessment of Redefining Florida's Coastal High Hazard Area

This report examines how a 2006 legislative change to Coastal High Hazard Area (CHHA) policies of HB 1359 changed the CHHA boundaries and may compromise resiliency and land development in Florida's coastal communities, particularly in light of concerns regarding climate change and sea-level rise.

Although the research is based on Florida's three 'Treasure Coast' counties (Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie Counties), the authors believe that the methodology, issues raised, and conclusions could be applicable to other areas of the state and should be assessed.

The focus of this report is to assess the impact of the (new) boundary definition for the CHHA. Although this was but one component of the revised CHHA policies, this avenue of analysis leads us to examine the salient issue of the degree to which HB 1359 reverses CHHA policy that for years has discouraged additional density levels beyond those adopted in the LCPs in coastal areas. 

Specifically, the changes to the CHHA policy would:

  • remove CHHA regulations from some of the most vulnerable coastal lands, coastal areas adjacent to the ocean, with the evacuation zone but situated at higher base elevations;
  • add land that is zoned for conservation or recreation use and which is already protected from imprudent development by its zoning designations and wetland regulations; 
  • and, the land use and built age analysis suggests that the change in boundaries might kindle redevelopment activity of “soft-sites,” as several key parcels and desirable neighborhoods will become eligible for upzoning reconsideration.



Publication Date: January 2008

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • James F. Murley
  • Ana Puszkin Chevlin
  • Ann-Margaret Esnard
  • Rachel Kalin

Related Organizations:

  • Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at FAU
  • Florida Hurricane Alliance


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Legal Analysis

States Affected:


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