Legal Requirements for Equitable Design and Implementation of Flood Buyout Programs in Rhode Island
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Legal Requirements for Equitable Design and Implementation of Flood Buyout Programs in Rhode Island

  • 2020

Filetype[PDF-1011.60 KB]


  • Description:
    This paper discusses potential equity problems associated with voluntary flood buyout programs and suggest how the program can be implemented in a way that will minimize these issues. Part I of this paper explains the types of programs that fund buyouts and discusses how Rhode Island has implemented buyout programs in the past. Part II introduces state and federal civil rights laws that might be violated by inequitable buyout programs and analyzes the potential legal challenges that can be anticipated based on past cases involving flood zone buyouts, other types of disaster relief for flooding and hurricanes, and urban revitalization projects. It also draws connections between the relevant case law and Rhode Island’s voluntary flood buyout program to suggest ways that the program can be developed in the future to produce equitable outcomes. Part III considers specific issues affecting the ability of low-income homeowners and tenants to participate in buyouts, with a specific focus on legal assistance for these individuals and gaps in assistance programs that may hinder equitable administration of buyouts. Part IV reviews recent proposals to change federal flood insurance and related programs and identifies proposed changes that would alter buyout program administration.​ Finally, Part V concludes.
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