Planning and Policy

To support planning and policy efforts to address coastal hazards, we will develop an interactive map for accessing local government coastal resilience information and create a self-assessment tool to help identify local coastal resilience opportunities. These products are described below along with a list of complementary resources that already exist.

Coastal Resilience Self-Assessment Tool 

A coastal resilience self-assessment has been developed to help communities weigh the effects of common coastal hazards and begin to consider planning and mitigation opportunities that may increase the coastal resilience of their community. The assessment contains a tool to prioritize coastal hazards issues, a series yes/no questions related to common planning and mitigation actions and a summary to reflect on the top actions of interest to your community. The self-assessment provides a starting point to identify opportunities to increase a community’s resilience to coastal hazards. The Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Project team will review completed self-assessment to provide further guidance and assistance on the key issues identified in the assessment.

The Self Assessment is available for download here: Coastal Resilience Self Assessment

A separate Appendix contains links to resources for each topic: Appendix 

Coastal Ordinances and Policies  

Community zoning ordinance provisions can reduce the risk that coastal development is exposed to and limit adverse impacts to the coast. These ordinances can include provisions on setback distances from the bluff edge for new development or redevelopment, building relocation, vegetation removal, stormwater management, on-site waste disposal, or the use of shore protection devices, as well as requirements for engineering or geotechnical analyses of proposed site modifications that may affect safety or bluff stability. Below are links to guidance on Coastal Ordinances and Policies that have been created for Wisconsin’s coastal communities.

SEWRPC Model Zoning Regulations for Lake Michigan Bluff Setbacks – A model ordinance for building setbacks from bluffs for new development along Lake Michigan

Managing Coastal Hazard Risks on Wisconsin’s Dynamic Great Lakes Shoreline – A report that describes coastal hazards in Wisconsin that includes an erosion hazard model ordinance with language on erosion hazard setbacks, regulated uses, shoreline protection devices, conditional uses, nonconfromance, and variances.

Coastal Ordinance Provisions in Wisconsin Communities – A report that reviews county, city, village and town ordinances in Wisconsin that contain provisions that have been adopted to reduce the risks to coastal development as of 2016

Protecting Coastal Investments: Examples of Regulations for Wisconsin’s Coastal Communities – A guide that describes the causes of coastal erosion and provides ordinance language on coastal setbacks, relocatable structures, shoreline protection, stormwater management, site planning, and hazard disclosure. An inventory of coastal setback provisions as of 2008 is provided as an appendix.

Adapting to a Changing Coast – Options and Resources for Local Officials in Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Communities – Publication with 28 policy, permitting, funding, and collaboration options that local governments can pursue to improve their ability to adapt to changing water levels and other coastal hazards.

Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Communities Overview  

An interactive map has been developed that provides quick access to local government information about coastal resilience for communities in southeastern Wisconsin. By clicking on one of the 22 municipalities and 4 counties along the coast, one can access useful information, including general government and mapping websites, comprehensive and hazard mitigation plans and relevant ordinances. The framework for this work was completed as part of the NOAA-funded Great Lakes Coastal Storms Program and interactive maps were developed for Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. The maps draw from information in Google Spreadsheets and code is shared through a GitHub site. Additional information and features will be added to the maps as the project moves forward.

Related Resources 

Great Lake Coastal Resilience Planning GuideA website with guidance on Great Lakes coastal hazard resilience featuring case studies, tools, maps, data and publications

A Guide to Hazard Mitigation Planning for Wisconsin’s Coastal Communities – A guide that describes how to identify, profile and mitigate coastal hazards for inclusion in a hazard mitigation plan

Plan Integration for Resilience Scorecard Guidebook – A guide that describes how to evaluate how multiple community plans (i.e., hazard mitigation, land use, economic development, etc.) may affect a community’s vulnerability to hazards and how to identify priorities for better integrating strategies across plans to reduce overall community vulnerability to hazards

A Guide to Planning for Coastal Communities in Wisconsin – A guide that describes how to address coastal issues in a variety of community planning considerations