An Exploratory Framework to Evaluate the City of San Marcos' Commitment to Land Use Management as a Flood Mitigation Strategy
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Purpose: This applied research project has a dual purpose. The first is to explore the different types of land use management practices that reduce flood hazards. Second, the Association of State Floodplain Manager’s (ASFPM) No Adverse Impacts (NAI) program is used to assess the City of San Marcos’ commitment to floodplain land use management. Method: This research uses three working hypotheses (floodplain regulations, planning decisions, and elevation standards) that are developed from the ASFPM’s No Adverse Impact Toolkit to assess the City of San Marcos’ commitment to using land use management to mitigate flood hazards. While initially based on the No Adverse Impact Toolkit, the working hypotheses contain land use management methods and techniques found in the literature that can be applied to mitigate flood hazards. Each working hypothesis contains sub-hypotheses that are used to provide specific criteria to assess the City’s Commitment. This study assesses the City of San Marcos through analysis of the City’s Ordinances, Land Development Code, Master Plans, Development Agreements, and Conceptual Plans. Findings: The City of San Marcos exhibits adequate-to-strong commitment in all three working hypotheses. Planning decisions was the only working hypothesis to reveal limited commitment. The City’s floodplain regulations exceed the recommendations from the literature in many cases, but there is room for improvement. The primary recommendation is for the City to increase its minimum land dedication regulations to 7 acres per 1,000 residents. The City’s greenway and public acquisition plans meet the recommendations from the literature, but capital improvements fall short. This is not a reflection on the City’s commitment, however, because this strategy requires an excessive amount of resources. The City is completely committed to base flood elevations and adequately committed to promoting limited enclosures over fill. There are extenuating circumstances when the use of fill in the floodplain is the best option, but it harms other members of the community.