Creation of “Adaptation Action Areas” in Florida's Community Planning Act

The 2011 Florida Legislature passed the Community Planning Act (CPA - HB 7207) making significant changes to the state’s growth management laws, including the addition of optional adaptation planning for coastal hazards and the potential impacts of sea level rise. The Adaptation Action Area (AAA), as defined in the CPA, is an optional comprehensive plan designation for areas that experience coastal flooding and that are vulnerable to the related impacts of rising sea levels for prioritizing funding for infrastructure and adaptation planning.

The CPA allows local governments to adopt AAA's and consider policies in the local comprehensive plan to improve the communities resilience to coastal flooding.  AAA's are defined as areas at risk of flooding from high-tide events, storm surge, flash floods, stormwater runoff, and related impacts of sea level rise. Criteria for the adaptation action area may include, but need not be limited to, areas for which the land elevations are below, at, or near mean higher high water, which have an hydrologic connection to coastal waters, or which are designated as evacuation zones for storm surge."  AAA designations, allow local governments to adopt policies and direct resources to increase the resilience of that area to future sea-level rise. 

Broward County amended its comprehensive plan in 2013 to include additional adaptation policies, and to use the AAA designation to identify areas at risk of inundation under a 2-foot sea-level rise scenario.  The plan recommends policies to discourage new development in these areas. 


In January 2011, NOAA approved the Florida Coastal Management Program’s (FCMP) Section 309 Strategy, including an initiative to be conducted by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) titled, “Community Resiliency: Planning for Sea Level Rise.”  This five-year initiative will examine the statewide planning framework and determine how to best integrate adaptation into the existing process as well as how to coordinate adaptation efforts statewide. Resources of this initiative are to be used by the staff from the Florida DEO and its partners when providing technical assistance on addressing Adaptation Action Areas in other local comprehensive plans.


Publication Date: June 2, 2011

Related Organizations:

  • Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO)

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  • Laws

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