City and 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.

In this episode:

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

Why is this 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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