Broward County Florida Resiliency Standards for Flood Protection: Broward County Code of Ordinances Article XXV, Chapter 39.

Adopted by the Broward County Board of Commissioners in early 2020, Broward County’s new flood protection standards establish, and account for sea-level rise in, baseline elevation and maintenance standards for coastal and shoreline flood mitigation infrastructure for tidally affected communities in the County. Broward County adopted a new policy (2.21.7) in the County Land Use Plan requiring tidally influenced municipalities to adopt a local ordinance consistent with the regional standards, which were incorporated into county code as a model ordinance. The standards are meant to implement a regionally-consistent minimum elevation for flood mitigation and tidal barrier infrastructure that accounts for combined effects of sea-level rise, high tides, and high storm surge, and to ensure new structures are constructed under standardized criteria that account for future sea-level rise and flood pattern predictions through 2070. 

The model ordinance, adopted as Article XXV within Chapter 39 of the Broward County Code of Ordinances, declares it a public nuisance where a property owner fails to prevent tides from crossing their property and onto another’s property or a public right-of-way. Under the new ordinance, all new or substantially repaired or rehabilitated banks, berms, seawalls, and other flood mitigation infrastructure in tidally influenced Broward County communities must be:

  • made to perform as tidal flood barriers and maintained in good repair,
  • reach at least five feet above standard elevation (or four feet if permitted before the first day of 2035, and can be converted to five feet by the first day of 2050),
  • be maintained in good repair, not allowing tidal waters to flow through or over it onto adjacent property or public rights-of-way,
  • include lime rock rip-rap or another improved habitat enhancement at the structure’s waterward face, and
  • be constructed so as to permit release of upland hydrostatic pressure. 

The standard applies to new and “substantial” repairs or rehabilitations. A “substantial” repair or rehabilitation has occurred when more than 50% of a property’s shoreline structure is modified, or when an attachment (such as a mooring) valued at more than 50% of the cost of installing a tidal flood barrier on the property is installed. Oceanfront beaches and shorelines seaward from the Coastal Construction Control Line are not covered by these new standards.1  

In addition to the height requirements imposed by the standards, all tidal barriers undergoing substantial repair/rehabilitation must be constructed along the entire shoreline. Barriers are to be designed to join with adjacent barriers wherever practicable to avoid and close gaps. Lastly, contracts for the sale of real estate in tidally affected communities must include notice that the property may be subject to municipal regulation of its flood infrastructure. 

The new elevation standards were developed after engagement with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), who collaborated with Broward County in a risk management study related to rising sea levels and flooding risks. The policy is effective as of February 13, 2020. Municipalities in the county’s tidally affected communities must adopt standards consistent with the recommendations of the USACE/Broward County risk management study and this model ordinance no later than February 13, 2022. Homeowners whose property is subject to the new standards can find more information at Broward County’s online brochure outlining the new ordinance. 


Publication Date: February 13, 2020

Related Organizations:

  • Broward County Commission

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