The readers’ forum

Create greenspace on Grove waterfront


The Miami Herald’s Sept. 29 editorial, Combating rising seas, says: “And government officials in coastal cities will have to rethink zoning laws near their beaches. When an aging Miami Beach hotel is razed, it should not be the site for another high-rise condo, for example, which simply puts more people at risk. It could become green space instead. Better to take a hit on city property-tax coffers than put more residents in harm’s way.”

Yet, the headline on the Oct. 21 editorial was: Open Up Miami’s waterfront in Coconut Grove, in support of building glass-fronted multistory buildings on a fill area of the Coconut Grove waterfront.

If the Herald wants to support farsighted governance and prudent husbandry of tax dollars, it should not be promoting the building of major projects on the waterfront, land reclaimed from the sea, a shoreline where Nuclear Regulatory Agency and insurance underwriter studies point out a 25-foot storm surge is possible from a major storm. The recently released change in the Federal Flood Insurance program keeps the worst flood rating for this waterfront site.

The Grove Harbor development allows the project, and the liability, to return to the city if the project is damaged and the developer wishes to walk away. Millions will be spent by the county and the Miami Parking Authority in infrastructure support of the “private” development.

Was the Editorial Board swayed by a pretty rendering that may never be fully developed and wiped away in a few hours?

The new method for calculating federal insurance rates is more site specific now that satellites are able to gauge land and sea elevations more accurately. The new rates that went into effect on Oct. 1 clearly show that the costs of rebuilding on waterfront property in major metropolitan areas have become unsustainable for the program.

The federal government is buying out homeowners in the Northeast who were displaced by Superstorm Sandy, as it has been doing along the Mississippi River, where replacing homes again and again after floods was financially irresponsible.

Instead of opining that this is a “solid plan,” the Herald should realize that waterfront Grove property should be a marine buffer zone of open greenspace, instead of a potential white elephant on our waterfront.

Sheila Boyce, Coconut Grove

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