Managing coastal areas can be legally complex. While nothing can prevent all legal challenges, there are specific things communities can do to help avoid lawsuits as they protect people and property in a fair and effective way. These practices have been tested in courts from the Commonwealth to the U.S. Supreme Court. NOTE: What follows is not and cannot be legal advice. For legal advice, see an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.
- For an introduction to legal issues coastal communities are likely to face as they manage their floodplains, see StormSmart Coasts Fact Sheet 2, No Adverse Impact and the Legal Framework of Coastal Management (PDF, 868 KB).
- For an example of an NAI-type bylaw at work in a Massachusetts coastal community, see StormSmart Coasts Fact Sheet 3, A Cape Cod Community Prevents New Residences in Floodplains (PDF, 1 MB).
- For technical legal details, see the Association of State Floodplain Mangers' No Adverse Impact and the Courts: Protecting the Property Rights of All (PDF, 2.4 MB).
- For more legal background on floodplain management, also see Mitigating Misery: Land Use and Protection of Property Rights Before the Next Big Flood (PDF, 740 KB), published in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 9, Issue 2.