State of the Beach/State Reports/LA/Coastal Development

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There are no statewide minimum setback standards for coastal development and permits are not required to repair or maintain existing structures in hazard areas. A Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mapping tool is used to determine the need for a Coastal Use Permit, which is generally required for residential and commercial construction in the coastal zone. While the Louisiana Protection and Restoration Final Technical Report Hazard Mitigation Planning Appendix has great recommendations to increase the resiliency of the coastline, many of the recommendations are not yet implemented.

Coastal Development Policies

1. State has robust development setback policies: No

Louisiana Coastal Management Program, Section 309: There are no coastal development setbacks in Louisiana.

2. State restricts new developments in coastal hazard areas: No

Best Practices White Paper on LA Coastal Communities: “The way the ordinances currently stand, there is little that is enforceable. If the local government is to rely on a standard in a construction manual, building code or other standards document, then citizens would have a clearer idea of how to comply with the regulation and/or ordinance.” “In areas of extreme risk for natural hazards, local governments need to increase development requirements commensurate with the likelihood of a hazard occurring. Individuals should be discouraged from building in those unsafe areas. Local governments should establish a zone of extreme risk and increase the building requirements in those areas."

Coastline Construction Restrictions: Though restrictions on developments are not very robust or enforceable, the state does require coastal use permits. Development permitting is split between local governments and the state. Permits issued by the local government must be in line with the state coastal plan/act.

Coastal Use Permit: Permits are required for coastal developments to ensure that structures and activities that alter the coastline are within Coastal Use Guidelines. The Coastal User's Guide helps explain the process for applying for a coastal use permit: "This law seeks to protect, develop, and, where feasible, restore or enhance the resources of the state’s coastal zone. Its broad intent is to encourage multiple uses of resources and adequate economic growth while minimizing adverse effects of one resource use upon another without imposing undue restrictions on any user. Besides striving to balance conservation and resources, the policies of the LCRP also help to resolve user conflicts, encourage coastal zone recreational values, and determine the future course of coastal development and conservation. The OCM regulates development activities and manages the resources of the Coastal Zone. A Coastal Use Permit (CUP) Program has been established by the Act to help ensure the management and reasonable use of the state’s coastal wetlands. There are two divisions in the Office of Coastal Management that regulate development activities and manage the resources of the Coastal Zone. These Divisions are ―Permits & Mitigation‖ and ―Interagency Affairs / Compliance‖. The text that follows describes the functions of both divisions and key sections or programs within those divisions that make up the OCM. For complete information on all the various sections and programs of the OCM please visit our webpage at: ". A GIS based tool to determine applicability for Coastal Use Permit is available here.

3. State restricts repairing developments in coastal hazard areas: No

Coastline Construction Restrictions: "The Act does not require permits for normal maintenance and repair of existing structures as long as the structure or development in question is (1) existing lawfully, (2) currently serviceable, and (3) in active use during the year preceding the repair and the repair did not involve dredging or filling"

4. State has policies that protect natural resources that provide coastal hazard mitigation benefits: Yes

Louisiana has a federally funded wetlands protection program called Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act: “From 1990 to 2018, the CWPPRA program has authorized 218 coastal restoration and protection projects. The restoration techniques used include: freshwater and sediment diversion, dredged material placement for marsh creation, shoreline protection, terracing, hydrologic restoration, barrier island restoration, and vegetative planting."

There is also a Coastwide Reference Monitoring System: “The Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS) was designed to monitor the effectiveness of restoration actions at multiple spatial scales from individual projects to the influence of projects on the entire coastal landscape”. The tool is accompanied by high quality GIS coastal wetland data.

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority: There are plans to rebuild wetlands through sediment diversion.

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