Local Mitigation Plan Review – Planning Process

The overall intent of the local mitigation plan review planning process is to assess the mitigation exercise. The planning process evaluates the involvement of the cross-sectional stakeholders and the public to reach a consensus on the hazard mitigation plan. The result of the process plan includes a review and evaluates the incorporation of appropriate, current plans, studies, reports, and the necessary technical information. Additionally, the planning process ensures that citizens understand the risks and vulnerability, and their role in supporting the policies and activities to reduce future losses. Consistently, we review the Seattle, Washington All-Hazard Mitigation Plan using the FEMA Local Mitigation Plan Review Tool (2011) as outlined in section 4.1 of the element of a planning process.

Planning Process

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Requirement 201.6(b)

An open participation of the public is an essential part in the development of an effective hazard mitigation plan. The planning process evaluates whether the mitigation plan includes the way it was prepared and the stakeholders involved in the process for every jurisdiction. The Seattle All-Hazards Mitigation Plan represents comprehensive efforts by the city departments to design an integrated mitigation strategy. According to the plan, the formal mitigation plan started in July 2003 with a convention of a planning group from various important departments. The plan continued throughout the year, culminating on February 9, 2004 after resolution by the City Council Resolution and the Mayor concurring it on February 18, 2004 (“Seattle all-hazards mitigation plan,” 2009, p.7). The plan also consists of the processes of the next intervening five years including the new initiatives and the projects to prioritize. The plan recognizes the participation and the significance of the public comments on the development of a hazard mitigation process. The stakeholders include representatives from the University of Washington, a geotechnical engineering company, the Port of Seattle, and private business owners as well as members of the local community. The plan consulted individuals from various city departments whenever they were needed including key officials from departments such as Law, Human Services, Office of Housing, Neighborhoods department, IT and economic department, Seattle center, and the risk management department. The plan also consulted other departments such as Homeland Security Presidential Directives among other important government agencies. To get the public participation, the public held a meeting on June 24, 2009, to deliberate and raise their opinion on the mitigation plan (p.10). The public also had a chance to comment on the approved plan during a meeting held on August 11, 2009 to brief in detail the EEMU Committee of the City Council.

44 CFR 201.6(b)(2)

The element involves assessing whether the plan involves the neighboring communities as well as local and regional agencies in the hazard mitigation plan. It also informs on the agencies allowed to regulate the development of the plan among other activities in the planning process. In collaboration with the department of neighborhood, the plan involves 38 neighborhood plans created by almost 20,000 citizens (p. 52). The plan considers the actions necessary to ensure that every neighborhood continues thriving and improving as Seattle grows. The local and regional agencies involved in the mitigation plan include the office of sustainability and environment in collaboration with the city departments, non-profit organizations, community-based agencies, and learning institutions among others. 

44 CFR 201.6(b)(1) and 201.6(c)(1)

The element is concerned with the way the public was involved in the planning process during the draft stage. It evaluates the way the public participated in the planning process and the way their feedback was utilized during the plan development. During the development of the mitigation plan the public participation was executed by placing a draft of the plan at the City Public Access Network website from may 15, 2009 (p. 10). The public would give back their public comments through an email link about their opinions on the plan. Afterwards, there was a meeting held on June 9, 2009 to brief the plan to the Seattle City Council Environment emergency Management and Utilities Committee. The activity was open to the public through Television. A public meeting was later held on June 24, 2009 with invitations sent to 13 neighborhood councils inviting community partners, business community, participants from the University of Washington and other interested parties (p. 10). Minutes of the meeting were recorded and used by the Mitigation Work Group to update the plan. Finally, when the Work Group presented the completed draft plan to the EEMU, the public was allowed to participate before the plan was adopted. 

 44 CFR 201.6(b)(3)

The plan must document the existing plans, reports, studies, and technical information reviewed. The plan should review existing sources such as state hazard mitigation plans, local comprehensive plans, flood insurance studies among others. The plan considered previous studies, plans, reports, and technical information in the risk assessment stage. A copy of the SHIVA was included in the document and represented as Appendix A, containing information about the hazards and previous occurrences, the impact they have had on the communities, the probability of future hazards, alongside data sources (p. 11). The plan also contains important technical information on various elements of the plan such as bridges, networks, codes and regulations, as well as information on Seattle’s hazards. 

44 CFR 201.6(c)(4)(iii)

The element considers whether there is a discussion on the way the community will continue with the public participation in the maintenance plan process. The plan should be able to include information on ways the public will continue participating after it has been approved and during its implementation. The plan will continue involving the public through public education and community preparedness. Information will be made available to the public to ensure the general preparedness of the community throughout the city. The plan will also provide specific mitigation information to help the community reduce the risk of earthquakes at their homes and at the workplace. The public will access the latest information and the right skills to control utilities in the aftermath of an earthquake and ways to retrofit older homes. 

44 CFR 201.6(c)(4)(i) 

The plan must be able to identify plans to continue monitoring, evaluating, and updating the hazard mitigation plan. The Seattle Washington All-Hazard Mitigation Plan, is not only intended to serve the current, but also future parties and inform them about the natural hazard mitigation projects and policies. The Seattle OEM intends to implement an annual plan review to ensure the information is current. In case of a major disaster, the OEM will convene the Work Group to explore new initiatives that can be used to mitigate the hazards. Consequently, every five years, the plan will be submitted again to the City Council to make minor and major changes as may be necessary. 

References

“Local Mitigation Plan Review Guide.” (2011). FEMA. Retrieved from: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/23194?fromSearch=fromsearch&id=4859“Seattle all-hazards mitigation plan.” (2009). FEMA. Retrieved from: http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~ordpics/31158_ex1.pdf

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