...to preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders
In accordance with notice to members of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council’s Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP) subcommittee, a meeting of the subcommittee was held on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 4 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island’s Coastal Institute large conference room, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, R.I.
Anne Maxwell Livingston, Chair
Grover Fugate, CRMC Executive Director
John Longo, Esq. CRMC Assistant Legal Counsel
James Boyd, CRMC
Jennifer McCann, URI CRC
Teresa Crean, URI CRC
Call to order. A. Livingston called the first meeting of the Subcommittee to order at 4:15 p.m.
Item 1. Discussion of SAMP work completed to-date- G. Fugate said that the issues in Matunuck necessitated the Beach SAMP, and that surge events and erosion spurred the need for heavier regulations. Superstorm Sandy opened the door for funding sources, he said, and many of the sources are closely tied to or combined with other related projects: habitat restoration, etc. Thus far, the Beach SAMP team has gathered $11 million in total toward the SAMP. It sounds like a lot, G. Fugate said, but using T. Crean’s visual, which divides the SAMP into four categories, each of the four is only half-funded. This SAMP uniquely requires coordination with all entities involved, G. Fugate said, including towns, private property owners, NGOs, concerned stakeholders. The team has started putting tools in place to get a better picture of the scope of the issues, and with the tools, the team will start on the adaptation side of planning.
A. Livingston suggested prioritizing tasks so that the available funding can be used wisely, and asked what the role of the subcommittee would be, since the SAMP was underway before its creation. At these meetings, we need to make sure we’re still happy with the goals, she said. G. Fugate said the subcommittee would review how any program changes would impact current policies. J. Boyd offered as an example that the SLAMM maps would have been vetted through the subcommittee. Staff will start drafting changes to the program for the subcommittee to review. G. Fugate said the process would differ from the Ocean SAMP, which was developed from scratch. In this case, he said, the CRMC has a program in place, so some parts will be changed and tools will be built within the program for municipalities. It won’t be a new set of regulations, G. Fugate said, but a series of regulation changes, tools, best management practices and design guidelines. A. Livingston asked if anything new would come of this SAMP? J. McCann said there will be guidelines for historic communities to make their structures more storm-resistant, more like the Greenwich Bay SAMP – one of the most successful SAMPs. G. Fugate said that the magnitude of coastal changes makes this the most important SAMP, and it might not ever be “done.” The subcommittee discussed other tools being used by coastal states: buy-outs, down-zoning, tax credits, temporary structures. G.Fugate said there’s a need to educate people on these issues – STORMTOOLS is one way how. The subcommittee discussed flood insurance.
Item 2. Discussion of Municipal Guidance Memo – tools and resources – T. Crean said the document was distributed at the last stakeholder meeting, and that future editions will be topic-specific. She said it would be sent out to the coastal communities in the Washington County area, and that the SAMP team would be following up with them after. J. Boyd suggested it be called, “Coastal Municipal Guidance Memo,” to be clear. He then suggested passing it on the EC4.
Item 3. Discussion of Project/Deliverable Tracker Spreadsheet – T. Crean said this document focuses more on tools than funding sources (because some items might have multiple sources). G. Fugate said the SAMP document itself will likely be small, with a second volume full of technical reports and indexes, but because there are a lot of products to originate from the SAMP, the team wants to track them as being part of the overall effort, as well as those related to/associated with the SAMP. The subcommittee discussed upcoming research and other activities as examples: a green infrastructure design pilot project, municipal capacity-building project with URI landscape architects and students (Green and Resilient Infrastructure Program). There is also a legal workshop in the fall co-hosted by Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Program and Roger Williams University School of Law open to solicitors and some staff to discuss legal issues with impending adaptation. SAMP team members are on the development committee with Dennis Esposito).
Item 4. Table of Contents – T. Crean explained that this SAMP is unique from all the others, and was difficult to outline at first. Now that the team has taken time to consider it, the table of contents reflects that. Assessing risk will be a big and important topic in the document, she said. G. Fugate said STORMTOOLS gives us surge, and now Malcolm Spaulding has another modeling tool for wind data, using save points from the US Army Corps of Engineers. The subcommittee discussed what this new tool will encompass. J. Boyd said the SLAMM maps will result in regulation changes most likely late summer or early fall.
T. Crean reminded the subcommittee that the July 14 Beach SAMP Stakeholder meeting would review all of what was discussed at the subcommittee meeting. P. Beaudette asked, regarding the legal workshop, was the SAMP team looking at a possible need for legislative changes? G. Fugate said not yet, and that the team continues to look at tools to help cities and towns deal with that and liability issues. The team, he said, is looking at emergency permitting. P. Beaudette said the subcommittee and team should consider involving the General Assembly environmental committee, and have a representative come in and be part of this.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.