We All Have a Shared Role: Many Are Unaware of What Cities Can & Cannot Do To Address Flooding
By Hallandale Beach Mayor, Joy Cooper
August 3, 2023
Over the past few weeks of rain everyone has flooded their minds. I have been following many chats on various Social Media Networks and many residents are frustrated and some are unaware of what cities can and cannot do to address flooding. We all have a shared role when it comes to Flooding and the government must work together with all stakeholders.
Cities obviously can do a better job of managing Emergency Incidents. Shutting down many side roads is one that we can do better. Even when closed, there are still those knuckle heads that simply cannot get through their heads the damage they will do to their cars and worse someone’s home or business. Sitting in your home watching the water rise and praying the driver does not create a wake is horrible. If there is Flooding, stay home or pull off to safe higher ground and stay put.
Hardening our communities against Floods is a shared responsibility. Governments can build Drainage Projects for Roadways and Government Assets. We do not have the ability to fix everyone’s home or condominium. Private property owners need to understand that they need to harden their homes. There are some Local, State, and National Programs that can assist, but it is still up to the owners. Many are putting in Shutters, Hurricane Windows and New Roofs. Residents need to know they can do more. There are also new technologies and products to help prevent Flood Water from coming into your homes and buildings.
A while back we made that decision not to distribute Sandbags any longer. I was apprehensive about the decisions, so I did some research to reassure myself there were better alternatives. Currently online you can find an array of products. Now you can even buy Reusable Water Barriers of all types and sizes. These can be as low as 2 for $25 Dollars. This makes sense. Not only can they be reused, it cuts the time and Stress of waiting in line and then trying to carry two bags of sand to your home. There was always a limit of two per car.
While there is a focus on homes many condominiums have had issues. Many residents are unaware that even though you do not always hear about it there are many condo parking lots that Flood into our community and along our beaches. Some of the ground floor units along 12th and other areas have been damaged. It was good to hear that FEMA came through and helped these unit owners.
Along the beach it is a different issue. Many of our older buildings have issues with their parking lots. For many years these lots have been draining into the Ocean. In 2008, State Legislators passed a Law eliminating these Ocean Outfalls. The date to come in compliance is 2025. There were some changes to the Law, but all the Drains still need to come into compliance.
The biggest offenders were the large Outfalls from Wastewater Plants. They were pumping Pretreated Wastewater right off our shore. Drainage Pipes from condos also put their runoff into the Ocean. Broward County regulates the removal of these Drains. All Condominiums that have Parking Lots or Property Drains that tie into the Ocean must now remove them and install Drainage Wells. The question becomes where in the property can these Wells be placed?
Our City has four Beach Access Points plus North and South Beach. The Beach access between the condos is not owned by the City but was established by Right of Way ROW Agreements. They provide the ability for the City to Improve, Maintain and Utilize the areas. One condominium has already contracted to place their Well on Beach Access 4. We were unaware until recently that construction began since the County issued the Permit without the City being notified. The Walkway was closed, and the Well was to be completed by July 31st.
As of August 1st, the Well was still not completed and our Parks Director is working with our Building Department to further understand the Construction Process and time frames. It is important to note that Beach Access 1 between Malaga and La Mer will also be shut down for the same type of work. Now that we are aware there will be better coordination and time frames.
We know that this will be an inconvenience to our residents to access the Beach from the Westside of A1A. Currently we do have a FREE MiniBus that may be of help. The issue is just new, and I have already spoken to our City Manager about possible solutions particularly for our Handicapped and Senior beach goers. Until we have a better handle on how many Projects will need to take place and how long they will take we ask those impacted to be patient for further information.
As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns, and ideas to make our City a better place! I am available at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or: email@example.com. You can reach me at my Office number: (954) 457-1318. Or Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at Mayor Joy Cooper.