The Future: More Flooding For Development-Mad Fort Lauderdale





If Florida is “Ground Zero” for rising seas, then East Fort Lauderdale is  “Ground Zero of Ground Zero”.

If  you don’t believe me, talk to the folks who have lived in the Las Olas/Idyllwild  neighborhood for a decade or more.




Las Olas During Flood

Las Olas Boulevard: Recent Floods


What  they will tell you about is the steady rise of the “King Tides” that come in the Fall and Spring.

Ten years ago it was near the top of their seawall.  Now it’s over the seawall and half way  up the front and back yards while it’s flooding the streets.

If you want to see how rising seas will affect your neighborhood check out the interactive map linked here that allows viewing the impact on your house in one foot  increments of rising seas.

For a century South Florida generally avoided the consequences of flooding with miles of canals that run mainly on gravity flowing from west to east.  But once the ocean is higher than the Everglades, well…gravity only goes one way.

The only alternative will be a pumping system like the $300,000,000 Miami Beach is spending for just part of that city.  The cost of such a system for all of South Florida and the Keys would be in the tens of billions or  more.  Besides polluting bays and oceans, it is not even clear that it will work any better than trying to lower  the water in one half of your swimming pool by pumping the water into the other half.

In a battle between pumps and gravity my bet is on Mother  Nature.

Sounding like Holocaust deniers, the global warming/rising seas deniers have blocked serious solutions, which involve reducing Greenhouse gases. Unfortunately for them…and us, scientific facts are not subject to democratic rules.

Recently the deniers forced Congress to stop FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from raising rates fast enough to make it actuarially sound.

The congressional action did not stop rising seas. It will not stop the NFIP debt from going up another $10 billion.

But the insurance situation is peanuts compared to what is going to happen in the near future in the South Florida mortgage market.

Within the next five years someone is going to walk into Wells Fargo, SunTrust, Bank of  America, etc., applying for a multimillion mortgage to buy a waterfront home in  East Fort Lauderdale.

The application will go back to the loan committee. A member of that committee will come in with something like The Army Corp of Engineers report showing what the property will look like in thirty years.  She will then insist that it is a breach of his fiduciary duty to the bank’s shareholders to make a loan on collateral that may be underwater before  the redemption date.

The loan will be denied.

Now I am certain that some of you are thinking:  “Hey, what’s the big deal?  It’s one loan at one bank. There are plenty of other banks.”

But, like the child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” pointing out the Emperor’s nakedness, one loan denial will expose the fragility of our entire housing market.  It could collapse our real estate boom like the 1926 hurricane or the 2008 credit crunch. Interest rates will skyrocket. And like 1926 and 2008 it could all happen in a matter of  days.

Far from being off the wall, this scenario represents the soundest fiscal path for any bank.  After all, who of us would loan money to stranger when it was not clear that the collateral would  continue to exist during the life of the loan.






Fort Lauderdale is not the only place in Broward that will be flooded.

But the development-crazed Fort Lauderdale City Commission ignores the problem every time they approve more construction on the beach.  The rush blindly into a future of residents trapped in their homes by flooding, billions of dollars in hurricane damage and economic ruin as real estate values collapse.

Right now, this year, residents in east Fort Lauderdale were unable to drive along Las Olas Boulevard because of flooding.  Imagine if there are thousands of more drivers, which is the wet dream (no pun intended) of City Hall planners and some commissioners.

In the next month, the City Commission will consider a massive give-away of the publicly owned Bahia Mar on the beach to developers for 500-plus more residential units.

Boy, I’ve got to credit Fort Lauderdale’s City Hall genius for their creativity in shaping this deal. Five hundred more residential units is a really unique way to use that strip of public property!

I call it a give-away because they are handing these out-of-town developers a 100-year lease on the property, an insane lack of foresight.  How can they tie down that public property essentially forever? I guess it doesn’t matter to City Hall because officials who know it will be under water by then.

I call it a give-away because those twin 40-story towers will throw shadows on a public beach. The only ones to benefit will be the developers.  Maybe the tourist bureau can sell Fort Lauderdale beach as the only one where you won’t get skin cancer because you won’t get sun!

Before Fort Lauderdale City Hall approves one more building on the beach, commissioners should consider:

(1) How emergency services are getting to the beach during the increasing incidence of flooding?

(2) How is traffic going to be handled when the east-west roads — already nightmares — are reduced further by flooding to one lane or perhaps impassable? The traffic studies presented with a project are largely worthless because they are done by consultants working for the developer.

(3) How is the city services going to handle a hurricane emergency, which will come at some point?

(4) How the shadows of the buildings will affect the public beach?

Property rights may restrict them from considering some of these factors on privately-owned land.  Not on the public Bahia Mar, where the commissioners hold all the cards.







16 Responses to “The Future: More Flooding For Development-Mad Fort Lauderdale”

  1. '26 Storm says:

    Don’t worry too much about plans to develop on the beach. During the 1926 storm, the waves broke over the beach from the ocean to the intracoastal. The 100 year storm will happen again. Even if the buildings survive, it will wipe out the roads, sewer, water and make the area uninhabitable. It is not a matter of if but when.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    If you r in the 8th or 7th floor toilets you might catch this or that Commissioner member just outside complaining the intercoastal is overdeveloped then vo to the Betty Davis Room in the Basement to vote for MORE developments! Or you can stand smoking a cigar by the front door as the Commission members leave hearing them complain about Traffic! Or you can look at old election articles here where the current Commission members campaigned to save Ft Lauderdale from overdevelopment!

  3. A reader says:

    I once watched a waiter use a squeegee to remove water from a wall facing the Pacific Ocean at a restaurant in Central America. The rain fell, the waves crashed, and he kept on swiping with no positive results.

    Anyone who tries tell the greedy politicians and mostly out of state or out of country developers that Broward County and its coastal cities are overbuilt is doomed to acting like that poor waiter. Money talks and the politicians and developers walk away from the problems they create for residents and visitors alike.

  4. SAM FIELDS says:

    As the author of both bond issues (1989 and 2000) to buy up vacant land to reduce overbuilding, I am way ahead on the overbuilding.

    But this issue of rising seas has an extremely weak connection to local building or lack thereof.

    World climate change has increased average temperature. Warming air has meant warming seas. In the 9th grade they taught us that if you warm water it expands. Add to this melting glaciers that are losing their white reflective quality to pollution and continue to melt into the oceans.

    As long as we continue to increase CO2, “GLOBAL” warming—not just Fort Lauderdale or Florida warming—will increase.

    The scenario for Fort Lauderdale going under water will happen even if the only two houses ever built were the Bonnet House and Frank Stranahan’s Trading Post.

    The rest is how much rising seas are going to cost because of all the development becoming un-insurable, un-mortgageable and ultimately un-saleable.

  5. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I just saw the latest appointment to a Ft Lauderdale landuse board. He is a young guy from sonewhere else who works n is not a partner or shareholder in a real estate law firm! The law firm put his appointment on their marketing website. You think hes ever going to oppose an abscene project?
    But who grabs Seiler Roberts Rogers McKinzie and Tranralis and asks WHY THEIR APPOINTEES want to put a garage on every blade of grass and a hotel on every grain of sand? NO ONE because every wants one of those stupid City Proclamations or city funding! Dont blame the City Commission blame the Public who diesnt stand up to Jim Blosser Neil
    Sterling Stephanie Toothaker because the civic associations have become real estate agents shenanigans or are run by old farts n lunatics

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Dear Messrs Fields n Nevins n Mr A Reader Kristen Rosen Gonzalez won by more than 800 votes over a pro development lobbyist funded up the tuckus candidate on Miami Beach! Good reasonable candidates CAN WIN when THE DECENT PEOPLE CARE!

  7. Sam The Sham says:

    More Chicken Littles.

    The planet has not been warming, but COOLING for the last 17 years. There is more ice at both poles than before. The so called climate scientists would be laughed out of a high school science class for not using the same methods to measure temps in all locations. On top of that, any scientist would tell you that you need a control in your experiments. Exactly which planet did they use for that? Do we need to talk about all the scientists wishing to stay on the climate change grant gravy train? How about all those “sustainability officers” perpetuating the fraud to keep raking in those lucrative salaries?

    Las Olas Isles has been getting wet since the ’60s. Why is it that no one admits that the area was once a mangrove swamp and that the organic soil is unstable? Las Olas Isles are SINKING, the seas are not rising.

  8. The Temptations says:

    I remember when neighborhood leader Cindi Hutchinson ran against Jack Latona on a slow growth platform. Then when she got elected, she could not resist all of the Temptations. She even voted for the city’s tallest building located next to the Strannahan House, even though a land swap was put together for a park. She ended up in jail for taking playoffs from developers…..

  9. SAM FIELDS says:

    No rising seas??????????!

    “Core samples, tide gauge readings, and, most recently, satellite measurements tell us that over the past century, the Global Mean Sea Level (GMSL) has risen by 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). However, the annual rate of rise over the past 20 years has been 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) a year, roughly twice the average speed of the preceding 80 years.”

    The above quote, supporting the notion of rising seas, comes from that un-American, commie, hippie group known as…National Geographic.

    In agreement are NOAA, NASA and just about every scientist in the world.

    My favorite supporter of global warming/rising seas is Rich Muller.

    For years he and daughter, a statistician, were the top deniers.

    In an effort to kill the global warming science, the Koch brothers hired them to do the research to put the final nail in the global warming coffin.

    OOPs!. When they spent all the time and Koch money they needed to support their initial opinion, they realized they were wrong.

    They published their results in The Conversion of a Climate-Change Sceptic
    Who do you rely on…Lord Moncton?


    If you are like me you have no idea who “Lord Moncton” is.
    After looking him up on Wikipedia, I discovered that Lord Christopher Moncton is a leading climate change denier.

  10. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Mr Sham I think photographic records of the North Pole start anout 1910 n the South Pole about 1926. The maps shown on CNN etc seem to start about five to ten years ago BUT those maps show ice receeding n ocean levels since World War II have gone up (I dont recall pre 1941 ocean level records) so “tentatively” the rising tides n temperature crowd – an overwhelming majority of scientists n only opposed by tiny groups of Christian Fundamentalist linked academics) would appear to disagree with you

  11. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Ever go to one of those Conference meetings” where the Mayor n Commissioners whisper about who they had coffee with? Well at one of them City Manager Lee Feldman said the Stormwater Plan would be a BILLION DOLLARS and Dubose almost had a stroke Trantalis looked at the ceiling for flying pigs, Roberts n Rogers I think, said in French accents. Non. Non. Non only 800 Million 600 Million (again with French accents) and then Bavarian Irishman Seiler said with a Lower Bavarian accent I knowing about this therefore it was not said!
    You wait. In early 2018 at 5:00 am on a morning when there is an elsipse n cable tv goes out n Larry Barszewski is in the toilet the Ft Lauderdale City Commission will authorize a BILLION DOLLAR BOND ISSUE which will only be publicly announced after Jack Seiler is the Demicratic candidate for Attorney General Bruce Roberts is elected without opposition as Mayor n. Dean Trantalis will claim his vote for the BILLION DOLLAR BOND issue was cast by an imposter! You heard it here first!

  12. Really? says:

    Sam the Ham – The world has NOT been cooling for the last 17 years. It’s warming, just like scientists tell us. In fact, the last two months have been the warmest ever recorded. Google it. There are a lot of facts out there and you don’t have to be that smart to digest them. I’m sorry, but whoever you are, and I’m guessing you are not a scientist qualified to comment on the topic, responding to your ignorant “wisdom” isn’t really worth the time to write this. But I couldn’t help it.

  13. Zowie says:

    Our elected leaders won’t be satisfied until the whole county sinks into the sea under the weight of all the Publixes, car dealerships, toll roads, condos and other crap they can cram onto every square inch.


    SAM FIELDS commented in answer 4 that the question of climate change has little to do with too much construction in vulnerable areas. I disagree.
    The construction leads us into a future of paying for the destruction of the buildings, whether through skyrocketing insurance costs or taxes to pay for some sort of mitigation project.
    Global climate change will continue, no matter what is done in this country because of India, China and other countries.
    What can we in South Florida do?
    Unfortunately, all we can do is move.
    I was just in Lakeland. It is almost 200 feet above sea level.
    My sister-in-law lives in a very costly single-family waterfront home on Miami Beach. She is now thinking about moving off the beach because of the fear of future flooding.
    If I was 25, I wouldn’t invest in beachfront property here unless it was an investment that I planned to flip.

  14. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Mr Nevins is wise BUT what 25 year okd can afford a beach condo let alone a house outside a ziftik daughter of a Russian Oligarch?

  15. Bob Bekoff says:

    This news is about 70 years old. The isles on the south side of Las Olas and the Idlwyld neighborhood are almost 2′ lower than the north side. Not a development or global warming hocus pocus. Happens every year on the equinox tides. The city ran pumps thirty plus years ago when I moved onto the “high” side. Bogus story. Do some fact checking.

  16. SAM FIELDS says:

    Dear Bob,
    I understand from your letter you are a rising seas “denier” notwithstanding that there is not a scientist in the world that denies that the oceans are rising.

    Furthermore, 97%+ believe that human burning of fossil fuels is the major cause.

    Idyllwild, Alton Road and parts of Hollywood Lakes are the “canaries in the mine” simply because they are just a couple of feet lower than the adjacent land.

    For the rest of South Florida it is only a matter of time after the canaries go under…glub, glub,glub.

    But, as the owner of “Water Taxi”, perhaps you are looking forward to rising seas. That way you can expand your business from just Fort Lauderdale to Parkland, Weston and everything in between.