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City & County General Plan Hazard Zones

Regulatory natural hazard zones drawn by city and county planners are where “the rubber meets the road.” California law requires municipalities to publish a long-range vision called the General Plan. Its “Safety Element” maps local hazards that are unique or often differ from the state zones. Because they can affect a building-permit decision and limit the buyer’s use of the property, the Safety Element zones should be disclosed if applicable.

Hosted by Geologist Patrick McClellan, B.Sc., M.A., CA PG# 3854

In this episode:

• Municipal natural hazard zones
• The General Plan “Safety Element”
• Locally imposed land-use regulation
• Importance in the NHD Report


Why this is important

• California law requires disclosure of certain federal and state-mapped hazard zones to a buyer of real property.
• In addition, counties and cities often map additional hazards and regulate local building and development within those zones. In fact, there are more than 750 county and city-level hazard zones throughout California.
• A property that is "NOT IN" any state-level hazard zone may be "IN" one or more county or city-level regulated hazard zone.
• Be sure to get an NHD report that discloses county and city regulatory hazard zones. Not all do. They are included in First American NHD and JCP-LGS disclosure reports.


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