Hillsborough County, FL – Redevelopment

The Hillsborough County Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan focuses on providing long-term sustainable development strategies for rebuilding communities following a natural disaster. The plan addresses the wide variety of issues affected by disasters, such as land use, housing, infrastructure, economic development and environmental restoration, by providing policies, operational strategies, roles and responsibilities for implementation.

Project Overview

The Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and Division of Emergency Management required all of Florida’s coastal counties and municipalities to adopt a Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan (PDRP). The Hillsborough County Plan, completed in 2010, complimented other local comprehensive plans and mitigation and emergency management strategies by identifying policies, operational strategies, and roles and responsibilities for implementation that will guide decision making in post-disaster redevelopment. It was chosen as one of five Florida communities to participate in a pilot program, whose PDRP now serves as a model for the rest of the State.

Hillsborough County’s PDRP was developed for disasters that require long-term redevelopment efforts, focusing on community redevelopment and restoring economic viability to the area. It emphasizes hazard mitigation and community improvement in a way that is consistent with its local comprehensive plan. Because its framework for implementation is flexible, the plan can be used at a range of scales and for multiple hazards, from minor localized events to major disasters affecting entire communities. Disasters are broken down into three categories based on the severity of resulting damage: catastrophic disaster (requiring state and federal assistance, including military involvement), major disaster (usually exceeds local capabilities and requires some state and federal assistance), and minor disaster (falls mostly within response capabilities of local government). Implementation actions are grouped into pre-disaster, short-term recovery, and long-term redevelopment phases.

Plan Highlights

Environment

  • Post-disaster monitoring programs ensure that air and water quality standards are maintained.

Community

One of the county’s main concerns post-disaster is enabling people to return to work and reopening businesses.

  • By adapting post-disaster needs for transportation, temporary housing, and the reopening of schools and childcare, employees are able to return to work faster, allowing business operations to resume.

Infrastructure

Technical Advisory Committees are used to facilitate a smooth transition and coordination between entities.

  • The plan outlines a list of entities that the Infrastructure and Public Facilities Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) can consult with on different issues in order to return infrastructure to working condition.
  • Critical infrastructure interdependencies for electric, gas and oil, water, communication, and transportation are outlined in order to help manage post-disaster transitions and responsibilities.

Process

Because coordination between the many entities and communities involved in disaster response was prioritized, Technical Advisory Committees are used to create smooth communication between these groups.

  • Assessments of existing capacity are taken, necessary updates are identified, and technical advisory committees are formed to prepare for disaster conditions.
  • The TAC’s role is specified and groups are created to coordinate related efforts to achieve a more sustainable plan and a faster recovery.
  • Expected issues during a disaster are outlined, related policy and procedures are stated, and strategies are suggested, including time frames, responsible parties and action items.

Lessons Learned

The Hillsborough County Post-Disaster Redevelopment Plan complements the local comprehensive plan, local mitigation strategy, and comprehensive emergency management plan. The clear institutional framework that outlines who is responsible for specific action items reduces the risk of overlaps and gaps in implementation. By suggesting milestones that may show a successful completion of the long-term redevelopment period, monitoring and evaluation of progress is possible. Major updates are made every 5 years and post-disaster updates are also suggested in order to keep the plan relevant.