Local Flood Policies and Development Controls

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What are local flood policies and development controls: Local flood policies and development controls are non-legal documents that help achieve aims of the local environmental plans and the objectives of its planning zones by providing specific and comprehensive requirements for certain development types at different locations. Local flood policies and development controls are very important as they can steer away inappropriate development from areas with high hazard flows or development that can have significant impacts upon flood behaviour in other areas. In conjunction with local environment plans, local flood policies and development controls are the most important mechanisms to manage both existing and future flood risk.

Improves community access and recreational use:

Local flood policies and development controls can improve community access and recreational use. Why? Local flood policies and development controls typically take into consideration the natural function of flooding within the floodplain. As a result development is usually restricted from highly hazardous locations and are opened up for more suitable land uses such as parks, walking and cycle paths, sporting fields, community gardens and native vegetation corridors. 

Does not disadvantage individual members of the community:

Local flood policies and development controls are perceived to disadvantage individual members of the community. Why? These policies and controls generally place restrictions on what a property owner can build or what a property can do with their flood prone land.  It is the intention of these policies and controls however, to reduce the property owners or future owner’s exposure to the devastating effects of flooding to an acceptable level.

Provides safety to the community during flooding:

Local flood policies and development controls provide safety to the community during flooding. Why? Local flood policies and development controls try to ensure that development is not inappropriately constructed or positioned to cause increased risk to life to both the occupants and their potential rescuers.

Raises community awareness and understanding of the local flood risk:

Local flood policies and development controls generally improve community awareness and understanding of the local flood risk. Why? If a property has flood related development controls placed on that land consistent with the flood policy, a owner (particularly if they had previously not know) becomes aware of the local flood risk up to heights where the planning controls apply. Sometimes however, floods greater than the flood planning height may not be known to the owner, which can cause a false sense of security.

Does not threaten local plants and animals and their habitat:

Local flood policies and development controls do not cause negative environmental and ecological impacts. Why? Local flood policies and development controls typically take into consideration the natural function of flooding within the floodplain. This can provide a mechanism to reduce the clearing of local plants and animals and their habitat as development is generally not permitted in high flood flow areas.

Does not cause water quality issues:

Local flood policies and development controls generally do not cause water quality issues. Why? As stated above local flood policies and development controls typically take into consideration the natural function of flooding within the floodplain. This can provide a mechanism to ensure water quality is not impacted by development or redevelopment.

Initial Costs (i.e design/construction) require minimal council expenditure:

Local flood policies and development controls have minimal to moderate initial costs to council Why? These policies and development controls are typically developed by Council staff with guidance from State Government and recommendations from strategic planning documents such Floodplain Management Plans or commissioned studies. These policies and controls are then publically exhibited and passed by Council with possible amendments.

Requires minimal ongoing council expenditure after implementation:

Local flood policies and development controls require minimal ongoing costs to council. Why? As mentioned above Council staff typically develop these policies and development controls and from time to time these may need to be updated.

Reduces flood damages to the community:

Local flood policies and development controls reduce flood damages to the community. Why? Local flood policies and development controls can steer away inappropriate development from high hazard areas and set specifications for building requirements that reduce potential damages to an acceptable level of risk.

Does not cause negative flood impacts to other areas (both upstream and downstream):

Local flood policies and development controls generally do not cause adverse flood impacts. Why? As stated above local flood policies and development controls typically take into consideration the natural function of flooding within the floodplain. As such they generally ensure that flood flow paths are maintained and that flood water storage areas not filled reducing the potential for development or redevelopment adversely impact other areas. This is usually assessed through individual site specific flood studies and/or a Floodplain Management Study and Plan.