In Fall 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) released a new statewide model floodplain bylaw.
This bylaw, prepared by staff from the DCR floodplain office, Federal Emergency Management Agency Region I, and Woods Hole Sea Grant/Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, was created to close gaps in compliance seen throughout Massachusetts. When a community opts o participate in the National Flood Insurance Program to provide access to federally-backed flood insurance to its constituents, it agrees to adopt certain regulatory provisions.
While most of these provisions are covered by state laws in the Building Code and Wetlands Protection Act, a handful of items must be codified locally. This new bylaw ensures that participating communities adopt all required regulations in order to remain in the National Flood Insurance Program.
This year, several communities in coastal Massachusetts have taken up the new bylaw. In nearly all communities, it passed successfully. The remaining communities are aiming to have the bylaw, either on its own or in concert with higher standards, on their Town Meeting Warrants in the spring or fall of 2022.