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CHAPTER 4

2009 Marshall County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan


Chapter 4 - The Planning Process

4.1 Federal Requirements for the Planning Process
4.2 Summary of Plan Updates
4.3 Opportunities for Public Comment on the Plan
4.4 Opportunities for Involvement in the Planning Process
4.5 Review and Incorporation of Applicable Plans and Documents
4.6 How the Plan was Prepared
4.7 Who was Involved in the Planning Process
4.8 How the Public was Involved in the Planning Process
4.9 The Plan Review and Update Process

4.1 Federal Requirements for the Planning Process

This chapter of the Plan addresses the Planning Process requirements of 44 CFR Section 201.6 (b) and (c)(1) and the process for the plan review and update requirements of Section 201.6 (d)(3), as follows:

"201.6 (b) Planning process. An open public involvement process is essential to the development of an effective plan. In order to develop a more comprehensive approach to reducing the effects of natural disasters, the planning process shall include:

  1. An opportunity for the public to comment on the plan during the drafting stage and prior to plan approval;
  2. An opportunity for neighboring communities, local and regional agencies involved in hazard mitigation activities, and agencies that have the authority to regulate development, as well as businesses, academia and other private and non-profit interests to be involved in the planning process; and
  3. Review and incorporation, if appropriate, of existing plans, studies, reports, and technical information. "

"201.6 (c) Plan content. The plan shall include the following:

  1. Documentation of the planning process used to develop the plan, including how it was prepared, who was involved in the process, and how the public was involved."

"201.6 (d) Plan review.

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4.2 Summary of Plan Updates

Table 4-1 summarizes changes made to the 2004 plan as a result of the 2009 plan update:

Table 4-1. Summary of Plan Updates

Section Change
4.3 Opportunities for Public Comment on the Plan Adds new opportunities through toll free number, new Web site, and an updated public survey
4.4 Opportunities for Involvement in the Planning Process Expanded opportunities
4.5 Review and Incorporation of Plans and Documents Incorporated new studies; intensive examination of local tools
4.6 How the Plan was Prepared Increased number and scope of HMPC meetings; more direct involvement and oversight by HMPC
4.7 Who was Involved in the Planning Process Reorganized HMPC with new members
4.8 How the Public was Involved in the Planning Process Increased involvement
4.9 The Plan Review and Update Process This is the first 5 year review and update of the plan
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4.3 Opportunities for Public Comment on the Plan

The Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC) solicited public input into the mitigation plan through a public survey, public meetings, the local news media, and an internet Web site. Residents were encouraged to provide input through their representative on the Committee from each jurisdiction. A toll free number was available for the residents to reach the planning team. They were also invited to attend committee meetings and provide their comments and concerns. The plan on the Web site was continually updated and available for public review and comment throughout the planning process. (Refer to Appendix H "Community Involvement Documentation" for further explanation and documentation).

On March 10, 2009 at 7:00 pm, the Marshall County EMA director hosted a public meeting at the Marshall County Courthouse in Guntersville. At the meeting were members of the planning team and EMA who were available to discuss the mitigation planning process and the various stations set up around the room and in the hallway. There were displays explaining the different hazards that could affect the communities. Severe weather information, man-made hazard definitions, mitigation measures, handbooks, videos and a Public Survey questionnaire were also included at the various stations. The displays and information were left in place at the courthouse for three weeks to allow for the public to have adequate time to view the information. In addition, the Marshall County EMA provided a public survey to all Marshall County employees and encouraged the local public to also participate. The survey was available in paper form at the courthouse as well as on the Marshall County EMA as a Web form. A copy of the survey can be found in Appendix H "Community Involvement Documentation".

A public hearing to receive comments was jointly held by all jurisdictions prior to each adopting this Plan by resolution, as required by State law. The original resolutions and public hearing minutes are kept on file at the Marshall County EMA offices.

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4.4 Opportunities for Involvement in the Planning Process

A notice and survey were sent to various local and regional agencies with an interest in hazard mitigation, agencies that have the authority to regulate development, and representatives of businesses, academia and other private and non-profit interests notifying them of the draft plan and requesting their input and cooperation. (A copy of the notice and survey are included in Appendix H). Those agencies which received the notice and survey are listed below.

Federal Agencies

State Agencies

Local and Regional Agencies

Neighboring Counties (represented by county EMA directors)

Businesses (major employers in Marshall County)

Academia

Non-Profits and Other Agencies

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4.5 Review and Incorporation of Applicable Plans and Documents

The participating jurisdictions provided copies of their plans, studies, reports, ordinances, regulations and technical information to the planning team. The planning team reviewed the documents and recorded the sections from each document that pertained to hazard mitigation. These documents were closely examined to see what mitigation measures were currently being pursued and what new measure could be included in future revisions.

The planning team discovered that most of the plans and ordinances had been adopted before the 2004 plan was developed. The more current documents were amendments to existing ordinances. Some of these ordinances addressed specific natural hazards concerns - flood plain management, storm water detention, erosion and sedimentation control, commercial logging, and open burning. No local comprehensive plans had been updated in the last five years, and consequently, were not integrated with the 2004 mitigation plan. There did not appear to be any active attempt to integrate the recommendations and findings of the 2004 plan in the recent documents, other than in the Marshall County Emergency Operations Plan. (Refer to Appendix B "Community Mitigation Capabilities" for documentation of planning and regulatory tools).

The 2004 mitigation strategy was incorporated into the Marshall County Emergency Operations Plan (MCEOP) administered through the Emergency Management Agency office. From 2004 through 2009, the Marshall County EMA conducted a yearly review of the MCEOP in conjunction with the mitigation actions that were in progress or planned for implementation.

The following plans and documents were reviewed by the planning team:

The pertinent mitigation strategies developed from this mitigation plan update should be integrated into any revisions of existing comprehensive plans and future planning documents at the appropriate time. Specific measures for plan integration are included in the Community Mitigation Action Programs for each jurisdiction (see - 6 Mitigation Strategy).

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4.6 How the Plan was Prepared

In August 2008, a kick off meeting was held to reactivate the HMPC and prepare for the upcoming five year plan update. Between August 2004 and January 2009, the Marshall County EMA staff and the planning consultant team organized the planning process and the HMPC representative membership.

During the plan drafting process, the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee held five meetings between January 8 and April 1, 2009. Documentation of these meetings in the form of agendas, sign-in sheets and meeting minutes are on file in the EMA office and copies are included in Appendix G "Committee Meeting Documentation." The Committee's tasks were facilitated by a Web site, marshall.hazmitalabama.com, specifically designed to assist in the planning process. The Web site listed the dates and times of all Committee meetings and public meetings and displayed sections of the draft plan as they were completed. Sample pages from the Web site are on file in the EMA office. Those Committee members unable to attend a meeting received agendas and Committee assignments via fax, email, mail, telephone, or personal meetings with the planning team. Detailed minutes of each meeting were prepared and distributed to each member for review and approval.

Each Committee member was asked to participate in a series of exercises designed to solicit input into the planning process. The participating jurisdictions completed all of the exercises. The first planning meeting, held on January 8, 2009, was an introduction to mitigation planning. The meeting discussions covered a review of the 2004 plan and the 2009 update process. Each member was given a copy of the information provided by each jurisdiction in 2004 for the capabilities assessment, risk assessments, and planned mitigation actions. Committee members reviewed the handouts and suggested updates to each. For the capabilities assessments, each jurisdiction reviewed the 2004 report and added any new capabilities developed since the 2004 plan. (See Appendix B "Community Mitigation Capabilities" for the results of this assessment). The risk assessment handout asked members to identify the hazards affecting each jurisdiction and rate the extents and probabilities of future occurrences. (See Appendix D "HMPC Hazard Identification and Ratings" for the results of this exercise). The mitigation action program handout was a listing of what each jurisdiction had planned as mitigation measures in 2004. Jurisdiction representatives were asked to review the listing and mark whether the measure had been met or not, and if not, why. (See Appendix C "2004 Plan Implementation Status").

The Committee meeting held on February 5, 2009, addressed the findings of the previous exercises and introduced the Committee to man-made hazards. The Committee was given a man-made hazard risk assessment handout similar to the natural hazard risk assessment exercise they completed in 2004. They were also provided a handout to profile natural and man-made hazards.

The Committee reconvened on February 26, 2009 at which time members began to discuss mitigation actions and how to prioritize the actions. Each participating jurisdiction's representative was asked to describe the most critical hazard issues and make recommendations for mitigation actions and projects to address those issues.

During the Committee meeting held on March 12, 2009 common goals, issues, and mitigation actions that could be undertaken jointly by all jurisdictions were discussed. The members were asked to consider what actions they would like their jurisdictions to pursue and to prioritize those actions. The information they provided from the previous meetings were returned to the committee members as references for them to use in the development of their mitigation measures.

The Committee members turned in their mitigation ideas to the EMA for inclusion in the draft plan on March 23, 2009. The planning team referenced all the information provided from the members' participation in Committee meetings and in Committee exercises to incorporate into the plan update.

The Committee reconvened on April 1, 2009 to complete the review and discussions of all components of the 2009 draft plan. Afterwards, the planning team assembled the final draft plan for submission to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency for review and approval.

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4.7 Who was Involved in the Planning Process

4.7.1 The Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee

The Marshall County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC), comprised of representatives from all the jurisdictions and organizations concerned with hazard mitigation, guided the development of this plan. The membership of the HMPC and the jurisdictions and organizations represented are listed below:

Notes:

(1) The Marshall County Engineer also represents the Towns of Douglas, Grant, and Union Grove.

(2) The Marshall County EMA serves as the lead local agency supporting the drafting, adoption, and ongoing implementation of the plan. The EMA supports committee activities and represents the interests of all Marshall County jurisdictions and agencies, including school boards and utilities.

(3) Marshall County has jurisdiction within all incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County and, through normal business practices, performs services, such as planning, engineering, public works, emergency management, and any other services authorized by intergovernmental agreement, to support municipal operations. The Marshall County Committee members represent all municipalities within Marshall County as well as unincorporated communities within the County.

(4) The Town of Sardis City partially lies within Marshall County, but has participated in the county mitigation plan for Etowah County. Although Arab and Boaz reside in two counties, the Marshall County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan includes these two municipalities.

4.7.2 The Mission of the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee

The Committee adopted the following mission statement in 2004 and retained it for this update:

The mission of the Marshall County Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee is to oversee and establish a comprehensive hazard mitigation planning process that engages public participation and support; facilitates Federal, state, regional and local agencies' coordination; constantly monitors and evaluates the potential risks of hazards to life and property; actively mobilizes all available community resources and measures to mitigate the threats of hazards; and, results in programmed actions with specific results.

4.7.3 Preparation of the Plan Update

This 2009 plan update was prepared under the direction of the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee with the support of the Marshall County EMA. The Marshall County Commission retained the consulting firm of Lehe Planning, LLC, the same firm that assisted with the 2004 plan, to prepare the 2009 update. A professional urban planner James E. Lehe, AICP, served as Plan Coordinator. A professional planner will continue to provide guidance and support to the Committee with any revisions, amendments, or updates to this Plan.

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4.8 How the Public was Involved in the Planning Process

The public was given many opportunities to participate in the plan update. The opportunities ranged from being an active participant during committee meetings to offering comments through the internet and over the telephone.

All Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee meetings were announced and open to the public. Anyone interested in the planning process was welcomed to attend and the meeting dates were posted on the Marshall County Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Web site at marshall.hazmitalabama.com and announced by some of the local media. During the meetings representatives of the local media were present and reported to the public on the progress of the plan update.

The HMPC sponsored a special community meeting held on March 10, 2009 at the Marshall County Courthouse. At that meeting the plan, hazards, and mitigation measures were discussed among participants. Displays and handouts regarding various hazards were made available to the public. The public was encouraged to fill out a public survey about the risks and threats of hazards. (The results from those surveys can be found in Appendix H "Community Involvement Documentation.") The exhibits and information remained on display in the County Courthouse for five weeks after the meeting.

A toll free number (1-866-978-3633) was made available for interested parties to contact the planning team with questions and comments. They were also encouraged to email their comments to marshall@hazmitalabama.com.

At the end of the planning process, the public was invited to attend the joint public hearing held by all jurisdictions in the Commission Chambers of the Marshall County Courthouse prior to plan adoption by each of the governing bodies, allowing individuals a final opportunity for public comments.

For more detailed documentation and additional discussion of public involvement, see Appendix H "Community Involvement Documentation".

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4.9 The Plan Review and Update Process

The plan review and update process resulted in a comprehensive update of the entire 2004 plan elements, which was achieved through a process that involved the following tasks, among others:

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greenLRChapter 3 - Community Profiles
Chapter 5 - Risk AssessmentgreenR