Legal and Policy Options for Advancing Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut
The Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience in Southern Connecticut is a joint project managed collaboratively by the Southern Connecticut Regional Council of Governments, The Nature Conservancy, and the Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments. The project was supported by a Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Competitive Grant to assess and reduce risks associated with extreme weather events and increase resilience along ~30% of Connecticut’s coastline. The project focuses on community resilience building through natural and green infrastructure and land-use planning through ten contiguous coastal municipalities in Southern Connecticut including Fairfield, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, West Haven, New Haven, East Haven, Branford, Guilford, and Madison. As part of the broader project, the Southern Connecticut Regional Framework for Coastal Resilience: Legal, Policy, and Regulatory Assessment Guide is designed to advance risk reduction from extreme events, increase the resiliency of ecosystems, and initiate a Regional Resilience Framework via a partnership among local governments, regional planning agencies, NGOs, state agencies, and academia. This “Guide” is a truncated version of a much more detailed report prepared by the Marine Affairs Institute (MAI).
The content was produced by MAI through independent legal research and interviews. Independent research included direct consideration of federal and state laws and municipal charters, ordinances, and regulations, as well as other relevant sources of legal authority. Interviews were conducted in accordance with a standard protocol and were held with key staff from participating municipalities, relevant regional governance organizations, state agency personnel, and other knowledgeable stakeholders.
This guide is organized into two sections: 1) audit of legal authorities central to regional resilience policy and planning; and 2) legal and policy options for advancing natural/green infrastructure and improving overall municipal resilience. Jurisdictional and procedural processes are separated into the following categories:
- Planning and zoning, including building codes, flood and erosion control, coastal management, and wetlands regulation;
- Water quality protection;
- Parks, wildlife, and open space; and
- Transportation infrastructure, including navigation and highways.