The Town of Narragansett has undertaken a complete update of its multi-hazard mitigation plan entitled “Strategy for Reducing Risks from Natural Hazards in Narragansett, Rhode Island”. The plan was prepared pursuant to the requirements of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 and to achieve eligibility for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hazard mitigation grant programs. The 2011 Plan is an update of the Town of Narragansett’s 1999 Hazard Mitigation Plan and its 2005 interim update and identifies local natural hazards and projects actions the Town (or others) may take to prevent impacts from them. Public comment is invited on the process and/or elements of the Plan. The open period for public comment is from December 15, 2011 through January 31, 2012.
The Disaster Mitigation Act planning regulations and guidance stress that each local government seeking FEMA approval of its mitigation plan must participate in the planning effort in the following ways:
• Participate in the process as part of the Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee (HMPC);
• Detail areas within the planning area where the risk differs from that facing the entire area;
• Identify specific projects to be eligible for funding; and
• Have the governing board formally adopt the plan.
For the Town of Narragansett Mitigation Plan’s HMPC, “participation” in the update meant:
• Attending and participating in the HMPC meetings;
• Providing available data requested of the HMPC;
• Reviewing and providing comments on the plan drafts;
• Advertising, coordinating, and participating in the public input process; and
• Coordinating the formal adoption of the plan by the governing boards.
The Planning Committee used FEMA’s 10-step planning process integrating recommendations from FEMA’s Local Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance (2008), the Local Mitigation Planning How-To Guides, and the 10-step planning process used for FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS) and Flood Mitigation Assistance programs. The Committee was comprised of representatives from several Town departments including Police, Fire, Planning Department, Emergency Management, the Town Engineer and Public Works. There were several planning meetings held between September 2010 and November 2011.
The Town of Narragansett, through competitive bidding, hired the Maguire Group to facilitate the hazard mitigation plan update. The kick-off meeting with the consultant occurred in June, 2011. At this meeting the Committee reviewed the goals and objectives, discussed the planning process, and identified the strategy for the update of the plan. Based on their experience and local knowledge, the committee members narrowed the scope of research to the topics of greatest relevance to Narragansett. This included ranking the particular hazards that should receive most attention during the update process. Through the 13 month process, the Committee reviewed and updated each of the sections of the previously approved plan, including improved formatting and more in-depth information specific to the Town of Narragansett. Sections that were updated include Planning Process, History/Profile of Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk Assessment, Mitigation Goals and Actions, Plan Maintenance and Maps.
The Town of Narragansett and the Hazard Mitigation Committee realize that successful hazard mitigation is an ongoing process that requires implementation, evaluation, and updated revisions to this plan. Also realized is the importance of integrating appropriate sections of the plan into the town’s Comprehensive Plan, Emergency Operations Plan, and site plan review process. It is intended that this plan and the ongoing efforts of the Hazard Mitigation Committee will preserve and enhance the quality of life, property, and resources for the Town of Narragansett.
The Local Hazard Mitigation Committee, under the leadership of the Town Manager, will evaluate and update the plan annually, after a disaster, as funding opportunities arise for the actions and projects identified in the plan, or as actions are completed in order to re-prioritize.
Any updates to the plan will be reviewed and submitted to RI Emergency Management Agency upon local approval. The Town Council will involve the public in the plan revision process by periodically holding an advertised public meeting to present recommended revisions and solicit input. Revised plans will also be sent to South Kingstown and North Kingstown.