Flood Control Law In California’s Central Valley

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Background and review of California flood control legislation in 2007. Presentation made to the Sacramento County Bar Association Real Estate Section in May 2008

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  • Title Slide 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
  • Flood Control Law In California’s Central Valley

    1. 1. Protection of Public Safety, Risk, and Liability Shifting after 2007 Legislation How will it affect local planning and development? 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner Prepared and presented by Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner Rocklin, California
    2. 2. Flooding – the Valley’s natural state <ul><li>Prehistory – an inland sea, source of today’s gas and oil </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous and colonial period – pervasive wetlands, meandering rivers and streambeds, seasonal flooding </li></ul><ul><li>Gold Rush – control, diversion and use of water for mining and farming </li></ul><ul><li>Hydraulic mining changes the landscape </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1.5 billion cu.yds soil & rock - 8 x Panama canal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clogged rivers, buried valley land </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Valley farmers and merchants fight back </li></ul><ul><li>Groundbreaking environmental litigation brings end to hydraulic mining 1884. Woodruff v North Bloomfield Gravel Mining Co. </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    3. 3. River towns and sprawl <ul><li>Sacramento, West Sacramento, Stockton, Marysville/Yuba City, Colusa, Red Bluff, Redding all began as river towns </li></ul><ul><li>River towns wall off the rivers for survival </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers wall off the rivers to reclaim land </li></ul><ul><li>Freeways become the new rivers in the 1950 s </li></ul><ul><li>Tale of three cities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marysville – contained by strong levees becomes economic backwater </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yuba City – highways 20/99 and sprawl sustain economic dynamism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Woodland – Interstate 5 jogs west and YC/Marysville fade </li></ul></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    4. 4. Flood control regulatory chaos <ul><li>First reforms in 1911 – creation of State district </li></ul><ul><li>Welter of federal, state, cities and special district agencies with little coordination, standards, planning, or funding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Army Corps of Engineers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bureau of Reclamation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>California Dept of Water Resources – Div Flood Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local levee, drainage and reclamation districts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Land use planning by cities and counties separate from flood control responsibilities </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    5. 5. <ul><li>Probability of flooding </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Weather – frequency and severity of storms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hydrogeology (elevation and proximity to floodways) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality of structural protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ 100-year” protection is 1% annual = 26% over 30 years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yuba County flooded in 1986 and 1997 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consequences of flood control failure </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural and agricultural areas - lower economic damage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Densely urbanized areas - higher, catastrophic, damage </li></ul></ul>Flood risk calculus 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    6. 6. 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    7. 7. Who Bears the risk? <ul><li>Self-help – charitable assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Federal / State Government Assistance </li></ul><ul><li>Flood insurance (64% of 500-year flood plain properties not insured) </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation – Paterno v. State of California Case No. C040553. Third Dist. Nov. 26, 2003 </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    8. 8. <ul><li>Geography of Sacramento – San Joaquin Valley </li></ul><ul><li>50 miles wide </li></ul><ul><li>450 miles long </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    9. 9. 2007 Flood Bill Package <ul><li>Six Bills – redundant, overlapping, uncertainties (?) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SB 5 (Machado) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adopts 200-year flood as minimum standard </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reorganizes Reclamation Board as Central Valley Flood Protection Board </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Requires Central Valley Flood Protection Plan by 2012 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>City and County General Plans to conform to CVFPP within 24 months – zoning within 36 months </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Restricts development agreements and subdivision maps within flood hazard areas unless certain findings are made </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SB 17 (Florez) Sets pay for board </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AB 5 (Wolk) requires DWR to map areas “protected by project levees” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AB 70 (Jones) Shared liability for city/county “unreasonably approving” development in flood hazard area not consistent with CVFPP. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AB 156 (Laird) Sets mapping, planning and reporting requirements and timetables, requires DWR to give yearly notice to property owners in flood hazard areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AB 162 (Wolk) General Plan land use, conservation, safety and housing element revision requirements defined and schedule established </li></ul></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    10. 10. Statutory Deadlines - DWR 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner Deadline Task Statutory Provision July 1, 2008 Develop preliminary maps of areas within 100- and 200-year floodplains protected by project levees Water Code § 9610 Provide information to cities located outside areas protected by project levees of flood information available from FEMA and other sources Water Code § 9610 December 31, 2008 Prepare schedule for mapping areas at risk within the Central Valley Water Code § 8612 Prepare maps for levee protection zones, including those lands where flood levels would be more than three feet deep in the event of a project levee failure, and distribute them to other agencies Water Code § 9130 January 1, 2009 Propose updated requirements for adoption by the Building Standards Commission for construction within areas protected by the CVFPP where flood levels are expected to exceed three feet in a 200-year flood Health and Safety Code § 5465 January 1, 2010 Develop cost-sharing formulas with local agencies for State flood protection bonds Water Code § 9625 September 1, 2010 Send the first of the notices to property owners whose land is in whole or in part within a levee protection zone ( Water Code § 9120 December 31, 2010 Prepare a status report on the progress of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Water Code § 9610 January 1, 2012 Complete preparation of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Water Code § 9612
    11. 11. Statutory Deadlines - CVFPB 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner Deadline Task Statutory Provision December 31, 2008 Adopt a schedule for mapping areas at risk Water Code § 8612 Advise the Legislature of implementation schedule for preparation of the periodic flood control system status report for the State Plan of Flood Control Water Code § 9120 July 1, 2012 Adopt the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Water Code § 9612
    12. 12. Statutory Deadlines Cities and Counties 5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner Deadline Task Statutory Provision Annually Update the Land Use Element to incorporate available information from DWR and FEMA Gov. Code § 65302 (a) After January 1, 2009 Amend the Conservation and Safety Elements Gov. Code § 65302 (d) and (g) July 1, 2012 (affected Central Valley jurisdictions only) Cities and counties must complete their collaboration with State and local flood management agencies to develop funding mechanisms to finance local flood protection responsibilities (Water Code 9623) [This requires consistency with the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan that isn’t scheduled for adoption until 2012] Water Code § 9612 July 1, 2014 (affected Central Valley jurisdictions only) Adopt amendments to the General Plan to conform to the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Gov. Code § 65302.9 County must adopt flood emergency plans, in cooperation with its cities, consistent with the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan Water Code § 9621 July 1, 2015 (affected Central Valley jurisdictions only) Adopt revisions to the zoning ordinance to make it consistent with the amended General Plan Gov. Code § 65860.1
    13. 13. Required findings for approvals <ul><li>The facilities of the State Plan of Flood Control or other flood management facilities protect the property to the urban level of flood protection in urban and urbanizing areas or the national Federal Emergency Management Agency standard of flood protection in nonurbanized areas. </li></ul><ul><li>The city or county has imposed conditions on the development agreement that will protect the property to the urban level of flood protection in urban and urbanizing areas or the national Federal Emergency Management Agency standard of flood protection in nonurbanized areas. </li></ul><ul><li>The local flood management agency has made adequate progress on the construction of a flood protection system which will result in flood protection equal to or greater than the urban level of flood protection in urban or urbanizing areas or the national Federal Emergency Management Agency standard of flood protection in nonurbanized areas for property located within a flood hazard zone, intended to be protected by the system. For urban and urbanizing areas protected by project levees, the urban level of flood protection shall be achieved by 2025. </li></ul><ul><li>Findings must be written and based on substantial evidence in the record </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    14. 14. 2007 Flood Bill Questions <ul><li>What cities and counties are affected? TBD </li></ul><ul><li>Only applies to portions of the Central Valley – why not anywhere in the State? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will pay for General Plan revisions? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a de facto development moratorium on development in flood plains? </li></ul><ul><li>Is 200-year protection good enough? </li></ul><ul><li>Who will pay for levee and other work? </li></ul><ul><li>Is liability shift to local governments meaningful? </li></ul><ul><li>Will global warming make matters worse? </li></ul><ul><li>Will Valley river towns die if they can’t grow? </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner
    15. 15. <ul><li>American Planning Association – California Chapter </li></ul><ul><li>Terry Rivasplata, Jones & Stokes </li></ul><ul><li>Best Best & Krieger, LLP – Jessica Hirsch & Anthony J. Van Ruiten </li></ul><ul><li>The City of Woodland </li></ul><ul><li>Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency – Pete Ghelfi </li></ul><ul><li>California Department of Water Resources – webmaster </li></ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul>5/12/2008 Joel Ellinwood, AICP Lawyer-Planner

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