BY BUDDY NEVINS
County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs may be the only Broward politician who gets it.
Jacobs has been warning about global warming for years.
Kristin Jacobs: She understands the threat
She has been largely ignored, except by the White House which put her on a global warming task force.
No one has listened to Jacobs, which is especially strange in a community where the height above sea level is less than the height of players on the Miami Heat.
This week, the Hallandale Beach City Commission again disregarded Jacobs’ message. The development-happy commissioners approved 3-2 a condo that is being built “135 feet east of the Coastal Construction Control Line, or CCCL,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Then they delayed approval until April 16 when a third commissioner disagreed with the landscaping, parking and height of the new building.
The CCCL is defined on a state website like this:
“Recognizing the value of the state’s beaches, the Florida legislature initiated the Coastal Construction Control Line Program to protect the coastal system from improperly sited and designed structures which can destabilize or destroy the beach and dune system. Once destabilized, the valuable natural resources are lost, as are its important values for recreation, upland property protection and environmental habitat.”
That Hallandale Beach commissioners are even entertaining a condo 135 feet past that line doesn’t surprise me. The place has been poorly governed for decades.
Ever wonder why Hallandale Beach is so full of tall condominiums? Ever wonder why Hallandale Beach has such overcrowded roads?
When I was a kid — my step-father was in the development industry — it was an open secret that the Hallandale Beach Commission was for sale.
Hallandale Beach today is an overcrowded pile of ugly condominiums and strip shopping centers with nothing unique or especially appealing.
I spent 30 minutes driving three miles along Hallandale Beach Boulevard to visit a dermatologist at 10:30 a.m. in the morning last year. I switched dermatologists.
So I wouldn’t normally worry about a 38-story building in Hallandale Beach, a city I view as a lost cause, except for one reason: When that building is wreaked by the next hurricane, we will all pay higher insurance rates.
Because this is Florida, there will be a hurricane that damages that building. It is being built where no structure should be…virtually in the ocean.
A United Nations report warned just this week of more severe storms, more flooding and more disruptions in coastal areas because of global warming. The report stated there is a high confidence that the world will experience:
- Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones
- Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water and health and emergency services.
- Extreme events such as heat waves, “extreme precipitation and coastal flooding.”
It doesn’t seem like the time is right to build so close to the waves.
Commissioners Bill Julian and Michele Lazarow are the good guys this time. They were against the project, the Sun-Sentinel said.
Commissioner Anthony Sanders also objected to some aspects of the project.
The Sun-Sentinel didn’t mention Commissioner Alex Lewy, a state House candidate.
Lewy said he voted for the project because the new building will have far less density than the neighboring structures — roughly 50 units per acre compared to as high as 150 per acre in older condos. Thus, it will put less cars on the street.
He also said the distance from the ocean is not an issue because the condo will still be behind the existing sea wall.
Jacobs has long been worried about construction on the barrier islands. She has been talking about it for years.
Maybe if she gets to the state House – She is running for an open seat in North Broward. – she will have better luck making others listen. Somehow I doubt it.
The flood of developers’ dollars will always trump warnings about future flooding…until it is too late. And too late is coming too soon.
(Personal note from Buddy: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect figure for the height of this controversial condominium project. The mistake is mine. The remainder of my opinion piece stands.)