Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My Friend, Richard Grosso Sounds Off on Growth's Insanity in Florida. By Geniusofdespair

As our UDB faces assault by developers...And an expanded highway is proposed along the UDB and supported by our zany Mayor Gimenez,  NSU Law Professor Richard Grosso sounds off. Richard Grosso has always been the voice of reason in my view. He is one of my heroes, along with Gimleteye (Alan Farago), on the environment:

OpEd in the Miami Herald Today:

Local governments don’t have the luxury of pretending sea-level rise and climate change aren’t real. Cities and counties must deal with the daily realities of the effects on homes, businesses, roads, water supplies, sewer lines, insurance costs, safety hazards, property-tax revenue, bond ratings and more that we are experiencing now — with even worse to come.

Southeast Florida has a Regional Climate Compact to coordinate climate-change efforts in four counties and many cities, an Everglades restoration project with the potential to restore freshwater flow to fight saltwater encroachment, strong legal and policy tools and lots of superior professional talent.

But, the massive scale of the challenge we face requires more willingness to change business as usual than we’ve seen to date. If we can’t show residents, businesses and investors (current and future) that South Florida is prepared to confront climate change and sea-level rise and prepare for the future, we are in big trouble — economically, socially and ecologically.
Richard Grosso

It starts with building and infrastructure practices. We can and must stop approving more development in coastal and inland low-lying areas, enact stricter limits on what can be built, and impose standards on how things are built.

But with years of experience about the implications of certain development, we still make many of the same mistakes we’ve made for decades.

We still capitulate to inaccurate claims that private property rights are violated if we don’t say yes. We still debate the science and economics that make clear that government must reduce how much we build and how we build.

We must stop paving over undeveloped land and erecting buildings that increase our carbon footprint and cause flooding. We still approve too many new development requests even though Florida land use and environmental permitting law strongly support local and state agencies that say No.

Nope, no climate change here. We have to look at the signs...all around the world.
We still plan roads to support new westward sprawl instead of promoting real redevelopment. We need to enact stronger building standards that ensure structures are stronger and safer, even where that increases up-front costs.

Most local governments rarely opposed the constant pressure for more westward sprawl because, “That’s what we’ve always done.” Whether it’s campaign contributions, disbelief that the world really has changed that much or simple inertia, we aren’t moving fast enough to protect and restore our natural defenses to climate change and rising sea levels.

Even when new development makes sense, the law allows government to enforce building limits and standards that protect neighbors from the flooding, erosion, pollution and other damage caused by storms.

Coastal development policy is a particular problem. We have to see beaches and dunes as living and dynamic geologic forms that protect us from storm surge and winds. They are not postcard images best used as the setting for expensive development.

We basically subsidize high-end coastal development by failing to protect our beaches and dunes. Protecting them through land-use planning and zoning is crucial to flooding and climate resilience.

We must stop risking public funds by putting infrastructure in vulnerable places, where it only encourages more ill-advised private building. Science and economics show that preventing natural areas from development — either through regulation or land acquisition — is the smartest long-term approach.

Natural lands help prevent the worse effects of climate change and sea-level rise. Paving them eventually means that taxpayers will have to pay the hefty costs of cleaning up after hurricanes, flooding and erosion wreak havoc. Using public money to protect natural areas instead of encouraging their development is smart economics.

The pace of government spending on Everglades restoration projects must increase. The ability of restoration projects to prevent the worst impacts of sea-level rise is being compromised by the slow pace of providing the money to do the work.

Economics and science require that our historic “all growth is good” practices give way to smarter decisions that protect our investments, not threaten them by increasing our vulnerability to the seas that surround us.


Gimleteye said...


Anonymous said...

With all the deniers citing false science, and republicans lawmakers stalling any movement to find real solutions, we are not coming up with reasonable solutions. That is why upcoming elections are so important.

Anonymous said...

As sea level rise forces migration from low lying coastal areas, we should take the opportunity to do the smartest planning possible rather than sprawl. Our planners know better than developers and I hope they will get noisy. I also hope the new Governor will reinstate the DCA, and this time with all of Richard's wisdom in mind.

Mark Potter said...

A voice of reason, how refreshing, run for governor!

Anonymous said...

On Wednesday evening, WLRN had a Senator Nelson interview. The reporter asked him about solar energy and he said it would solve rising seas. The reporter repeatedly said that the carbon in the atmosphere is already a cause, that solar panels wouldn’t mitigate what’s already been done. The interview made him sound befuddled. He needs to read the answers that are found in this article.

Milly from Hialeah said...

Good read. This is the type of individual who should run for county mayor.

There is a lot that can be "upgraded" and not "upzoned" throughout all existing neighborhoods. Instead, they are just putting up these big buildings, creating mixed used future slum sites and ruining already fragile neighborhoods). We should be renovating to revitalizing existing industrial areas everywhere, protecting agricultural lands, building sensibly (low impact projects that complement the existing).

I love the drawing!

Anonymous said...

Miami Beach (ground zero for sea level rise) has bond money projects that spanned 20 years. When it runs out of money for one bond offering it has to offer another bond. You can offer a general obligation bond or a sewer and water bond, but the truth is these projects are born out of neglect. Essentially all money collected from property tax goes to salaries. What you do then is keep approving private building projects at a larger scale or try to increase tourism. Dredging harbors for cruise ships will real help the environment. Ever wonder why somebody who used to work in the cruise industry is suddenly running for governor and used to be mayor of a flooding city? Don't even get me started on the correlation between dredging and flooding risks.

lala blood said...

We still debate the science and economics that make clear that government must reduce how much we build and how we build.

The countervailing argument you hear is that by restricting the amount of new housing built, you drive up the price of housing and make it so that only the rich can afford to live here. The only true solution is to limit the insane increase in the number of humans that inhabit the planet.

miaexile said...

god are you the artist of the painting?

Geniusofdespair said...

I made computer modifications to a photo in Photoshop. Do you like it? I took many photoshop courses.