Real Results: Reorienting Resiliency Program

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Dear Neighbors,

When I ran to be your Commissioner, one of my most important campaign promises was to review our resiliency strategy.  I committed to apply my engineering expertise and ensure that the solutions put forward were the most well thought out, effective and efficient. I am happy to share a progress update including some real results.

Real Results

  • I sponsored, with the unanimous support of my colleagues, an insightful review of the City’s resiliency efforts by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) at no cost to our city’s taxpayers.  The initial report can be found below and the final report will be published in July.
  • I helped lead the charge to successfully reject (5 – 2 Commission vote) an ill-conceived almost $90 million La Gorce neighborhood street-raising project, and demand better.

Reorienting Resiliency Program

Based in large part on our results above the City Manager, Jimmy Morales, is recommending we reorient our program with the following actions:

  • Address the need for permanent generators on both future and current projects under contract.
  • Finish existing projects that are underway.  Also, the City will fix any issues that have been identified with completed projects.
  • Integrate green, blue and gray infrastructure into a stormwater plan through dynamic modeling and design criteria.  The City will identify a multidisciplinary firm that can take the completed engineering models and create an integrated neighborhood improvement plan.
  • Proceed with West Avenue project in collaboration with a major research university that has proposed a demonstration “Acceleration” project that will take existing plans and update them to integrate green, blue and gray infrastructure at no cost to the City.

Additional Policy Priorities

While I am encouraged, I plan to forcefully advocate for further improvements to our program including:

  • Make sure that our resiliency projects have the proper aesthetics that make our city distinct and attractive, and properly utilize the Design Review Board.
  • Rethink our “one size fits all” street raising policy, which has potential downsides and risks to private property owners.  We need to tailor any potential street raising to the uniqueness of our neighborhoods and immediately explore policy alternatives.
  • More actively support neighborhoods that want to pursue undergrounding power lines as part of neighborhood projects.
  • Seize unique opportunities to create truly innovative resilient parks including potentially 500-600 Alton, North Beach West Lots, etc.
  • Implement dramatic improvements in our community engagement throughout our resiliency program.
  • Enhance our financial planning and oversight for this several hundred million dollar investment.

I made a promise, and am pleased with the important progress we have made in just 6 months.  “Do Nothing” is not an alternative; Miami Beach will become more resilient, and we will do it right.

Yours in service,

Mark Samuelian
Miami Beach Commissioner

Link to ULI Study: