As Miami Beach battles sea-rise flooding, some neighbors feud over the fixes

“Dramatic street raising causes the city problems. It elongates the projects, it causes there to be a lot more cost and complexity and it is losing the trust of the residents,” said Commissioner Mark Samuelian.

Fighting over whether to elevate road or how high to raise them slow down other work that could help residents now, like installing more pumps and clearing drains. One of improvements delayed over the dispute about North Bay Road was repairing area fire hydrants, where the water pressure suffers because of leaky, aging pipes.

Samuelian sees street raising as an answer to tomorrow’s problems, not today’s, and unnecessary in some neighborhoods.

In some cases, he said, elevation could even hurt the neighborhood. Neighbors opposing street elevation consistently cite a loss in their property value as a big concerns. They also worry higher streets will make their front doors will look funny and potentially funnel damaging water into their homes.

“We’re counting on our property base to fund the projects. We had to be very careful about anything we could do that would impact that,” Samuelian said. “I think we need to stop.”

Samuelian and some residents point to the findings of recent expert groups, which advised adopting more natural solutions, like plants, to soak up excess water.

June 7, 2018 | Miami Herald | As Miami Beach battles sea-rise flooding, some neighbors feud over the fixes

After Years of Ocean Drive Restaurant Ripoffs, Miami Beach Now Legislating Menus

“We’re trying to ensure that the customer has clarity on what they’re about to pay and that they know,” Commissioner Mark Samuelian said when the measure was discussed in an April meeting. “That is the basic principle.”

July 6, 2018 | Miami New Times | After Years of Ocean Drive Restaurant Ripoffs, Miami Beach Now Legislating Menus

Revisiting Miami Beach’s Road Raising Policy

Samuelian acknowledges, “’Do nothing’ is not an option.” He said, “The City has made some important progress over the last few years.” With that learning and the recommendations of outside experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Harvard, Samuelian said, “We’re in a situation where we are going to… ‘reorient’ our resiliency program which, to me, means real change in how we’re doing it.”

“There’s one specific item that jumps off the charts and that is the idea that we have a policy in place to elevate streets to 3.7 NAVD across the City unless hardship is proven, so there is an out clause. That policy, in my opinion, is flawed and we need to change it,” Samuelian said.

“First, putting private property below grade is never a good thing. There are significant downsides and risks to doing that including potentially flooding. Why might you have flooding? It could be an event that’s outside of what was contemplated in the design. It could be a drain that gets clogged or the system may not function exactly as it was designed,” he said, mentioning Sunset Harbour.

June 2, 2018 | RE: Miami Beach | Revisiting Miami Beach’s Road Raising Policy