By Josephine Fuller, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – Last month, Miami-Dade County Commission Vice-Chair Woman, Rebeca Sosa, advanced two legislative items that would help further protections for property owners against sea level rise. The items will expand the Property Assessed Clean Energy Program, also known as PACE.
PACE is a financing program that allows property owners to voluntarily opt into a special assessment district in order to finance improvements on their property. The new items were passed unanimously by County Commissioners and will move on the Florida Legislature for consideration.
“The PACE program has been greatly successful and is already helping many families make their homes energy efficient and safer against hurricanes,” Commissioner Sosa said. “Expanding the program will provide our residents with a greater opportunity to make their homes more resilient and give them the assistance they need.”
Currently, state statues approve improvements that include energy conservation, efficiency, renewable energy, and wind resistance. The two items that Sosa pushed for will now ensure that sea level rise is also included.
According to the press release from October 7th, these improvements will include elevating electrical boxes and home foundations, improvements to the underground infrastructure of homes, and sewage treatment improvements.
The recommendations were brought forward by the Sea Level Rise Task Force and the Office of Resiliency. The task force regularly reviews relevant data and studies regarding the potential impacts of sea level rise.
The Office of Resilience was established in the spring of 2016 when Greater Miami and the Miami Beaches were accepted to join the international 100 Resilient Cities Program.
In the spring of this year, they released the Resilient305 Strategy, a document that addresses challenges by prioritizing government and community collaboration, according to their website.
Resilient305 focuses on shocks and stresses that impact the Miami area. Some of these include coastal erosion, rainfall flooding, coastal and tiding flooding, and infrastructure failure.
The City of Miami Beach currently has four PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) in place: Alliance|NRG (Florida Pace Funding Agency), Clean Energy Corridor (Ygrene), RenewPACE (Renew Financial), and Renovate America.