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Miami Beach funds shoreline defenses with coastal development

Miami Beach is encouraging beachfront development in order to raise revenue to fund a storm water project. (Richard Cavalleri/

Flood-prone Miami Beach is trying a counterintuitive defense against climate change: It’s encouraging more development along shores vulnerable to hurricanes, sea level rise and erosion.

Danielle Paquette reports for the Washington Post that Miami Beach is looking to build more condos and chic hotels on environmentally sensitive beachfront. While that will put more property potentially in harm’s way, it also will raise property taxes to fund shoreline defenses.

The taxes and fees that the city collects from these properties, often purchased by investors who never set foot in them, are funding a $300 million storm water project. Construction began in February on a plan to add 80 storm pumps by 2020 that would send seawater back into Biscayne Bay at a rate of up to 14,000 gallons (53,000 liters) per minute, the article says.

“The move makes budgetary sense in a state with no income tax,” Paquette writes. “Much of South Florida’s public infrastructure is supported by property taxes.” 

Washington Post

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