By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The City of Miami Beach held a panel discussion to mark the release of its special edition of MB Magazine. “How Miami Beach is Rising Above” was the topic of discussion Tuesday, May 28th, at the Colony Theatre in South Beach.
Moderated by Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, attendants gained insight on the city’s efforts in climate change adaptation. City Manager Jimmy L. Morales, Chief Resilience Officer and Assistant City Manager Susanne Torriente and Assistant City Manager Eric Carpenter completed the panel.
Over one hundred guests were in attendance during the meeting, as well as being live streamed. Attendees had the opportunity to submit questions to the panel, and topics ranged from flooding, high tides, seaweed along the beaches, raising sidewalk and road elevation, hurricane preparedness and property values.
For year, the city has been reviewing and improving existing planning and zoning codes to match their needs. Miami Beach also requires new construction over 7,000 square feet to achieve LEED Gold certification or Living Building Challenge certification. Living Building Challenge certification was developed by the International Living Future Institute to encourage eco-friendly creation.
“You don’t want to wait ‘til it’s too late. It gets much more expensive and if we’re going to be doing the work anyway, we really need to get the properties resilient,” Morales said during the climate discussion.
“As we saw with our recent bonds, where Wall Street looked at it and actually gave us kudos and kept our high ratings, because in fact, we’re one of the most aggressive cities in dealing with this.”
According to GOBankingRates, 77.6 percent of Miami Beach homes are at risk of being under water by year 2100 – the highest percentage in the nation. The city is anticipated to have the highest total value of underwater homes at $33.4 billion.
“For right now, the projections for sea level rise for southeast Florida, in the short term which is by 2030, we expect 6 to 10 inches above the 1992 mean sea level,” Torriente said at the town hall meeting. “And in the long term, 2100, the projected rise is 31 to 81 inches.”
After the event, Melissa Berthier, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications for the city shared, “We received excellent feedback from many attendees, and will now be hosting Facebook Live forums with the release of future magazines.”