News / Stewart’s Data-Driven Designs Help Strengthen Resilience of Coastal Communities

October 3rd / 2019

Stewart's Data-Driven Designs Help Strengthen Resilience of Coastal Communities

The firm’s growing presence on the coast bolsters resilience and sustainability planning in Carolina Beach, Swansboro and Duck.

Stewart has partnered with coastal communities throughout North Carolina to develop and implement coastal resilience plans that uncover future vulnerabilities and direct strong community growth. The firm’s municipal planning and mobility practice is currently working with Carolina Beach, Swansboro and Duck, among other coastal locations, to prepare for potential hazards and build sustainable value in the community.

Coastal communities are required to comply with the Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA), and Stewart is delivering value with a unique data-driven approach to CAMA compliance as well as the diverse talents and backgrounds of the company’s employees. With these differentiators, Stewart implements coastal resilience plans that are tailored to each location’s needs, geographic makeup, current stage of planning and community interest, while addressing potential hazards such as hurricanes and the subsequent effects including flooding and infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Plans underway include:

  • Carolina Beach – Stewart is working with Carolina Beach on an update to its existing CAMA plan. The coastal town often faces stormwater and flooding concerns, which were exacerbated during Hurricane Florence in 2018. Through the CAMA plan, Stewart, in partnership with Carolina Beach, is enhancing the town’s resilience and minimizing risk while supporting the existing community.
  • Swansboro Stewart partnered with the waterfront town to update its CAMA land use plan, which is currently being implemented. Following impacts from Hurricane Florence in 2018, Stewart included additional considerations in the plan to locate development away from environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Duck – Stewart is currently working with Duck on an update to its existing CAMA plan. The town is unique in that it is nearly 100% built out, bounded by water on both sides and is subject to sound-side flooding, creating a circumstance that requires precision and creativity to maintain a healthy balance of development and preservation. “As coastal communities prepare for and face severe storms or other related hazards, it’s imperative that they have the right resilience plans in place,” said Cindy Szwarckop, associate vice president and municipal planning and mobility practice leader, Stewart. “We’re proud to partner with communities to address existing vulnerabilities and implement the plans that will prepare for future growth. We recently opened a Stewart office in Wilmington to better serve our coastal clients, and we look forward to continuing to build on this legacy as we work with communities to deliver sustainable value.”

Stewart will showcase its innovative approach to coastal resilience planning and implementation at the 2019 North Carolina Planning Conference, hosted by the North Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association at the Wilmington Convention Center from October 8 – 11. During the conference, Jay McLeod, senior planner and project manager, will moderate a panel session exploring real-world, proactive responses to resilience for coastal North Carolina communities, including Stewart’s current work with Carolina Beach and Swansboro.

McLeod brings a unique, scientific perspective to Stewart and its current projects, having received his master’s in urban ecology and biology. Coupled with Stewart’s focus on data-driven designs, the municipal planning and mobility group is well positioned to deliver the resilience plans that will prepare coastal communities for potential hazards and direct future growth.

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