Will Miami Beach's anti-flooding measures work? The city's getting an outside opinion.
2018-03-08 | Miami Herald
So the city's getting a second opinion from outside experts, and those experts want to hear from the public.
To address the concerns, commissioners agreed Wednesday to allow a nine-member panel of experts to visit the Beach's already-upgraded areas, examine future plans and give a second opinion on the city's approach to removing floodwaters from the barrier island, a growing concern as sea-level rise threatens to worsen tidal flooding in the coming decades.
The commission unanimously agreed to the parameters of the review, which will be conducted by nine professionals in engineering, real estate, urban planning and other disciplines under the guidance of the
The full membership of the panel has not been finalized. One of the confirmed members is
The Beach's 10-year,
"Some aspects of these projects may potentially impact private property, and that's really where we've seen a lot of concern," said Commissioner
During the past year, homeowners have expressed their discomfort with the city's plans to raise the roadway in front of their homes for fear of swamping their properties. The city's public outreach, efforts to create a public-private drainage program and decision to extend the long-term schedule from seven years to ten eased residents' worries only somewhat.
The conversation became a campaign issue in last year's elections. The three candidates elected, Mayor
On Wednesday, the rest of the commission agreed. The panel will visit for four days the week of
The scope of the review includes engineering, aesthetics, phasing of construction and communication to the public about the city's plans. The panel will also explore how the city might encourage private property owners to adapt their land and buildings to handle rising waters.
Several formerly flood-prone streets now remain dry during seasonal high tides each year. But the upgraded infrastructure has had occasionally run into problems. Twice during heavy rainstorms, streets flooded in Sunset Harbour, a corner of South Beach that is often used to illustrate the city's efforts to adapt the built environment for sea level rise. In those cases, pumps were either out of service or lacked power during an outage, prompting bureaucrats and politicians to apologize and scramble to plan for future storms.
During one of those storms, a restaurant's flood insurance claim was denied after an adjuster deemed the establishment a basement because the front door ended up a few feet below street level when the city raised the roadway. That issue was resolved last year after the property owner appealed and the city got involved. The claim was approved in December.
Skeptical residents also point to the findings of a
Water quality is not in the purview of the advisory panel, but the city is negotiating a deal with
Herald staff writer
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