MAY 22, 2019
SEA LEVEL: Amendments sought FROM PAGE 5
like to see what the unforeseen consequences might be,” Cole told the commission. “If one of our houses gets knocked down and it’s determined that it’s in a high-risk area, are we going to be able to rebuild that or are you going to say we’re going to take that and use it for a park now? That’s the concern I’m getting from people out there,” Cole said. “I’m only one person, but I can’t say yes to this,” he added. Garrett and Gilbert said failure to comply with the state mandate would make the city ineligible for state funds for hurricane and storm recovery efforts. They also said it would jeopardize the city’s ability to make any other future comp plan amendments. Using a jigsaw puzzle analogy, Garrett said the comp plan is like the picture on the puzzle box and the additional ordinances and land development code amendments adopted in the future would be the puzzle pieces that implement change. Gilbert said the immediate goal is to address king tides and high tides, more so than rising sea levels. Mayor John Chappie and Vice Mayor Jake Spooner shared some of Cole’s concerns and his sense of uncertainty but joined commis-
sioners Marilyn Maro and Randy White in adopting the ordinance on first reading to keep the process moving. Chappie said he did not want to fall out of compliance with the state and jeopardize state funds with hurricane season approaching.
The proposed comp plan amendments were previously discussed at joint City Commission and Planning and Zoning Board work meetings in March and April. During the March meeting, City Engineer Lynn Burnett said the natural shorelines along Bay Drive South and along the bay on the north end town that are not protected by seawalls provide no natural barrier to sea level rise and rising tides. “Without doing something else to your shoreline – if we do have one to two feet of sea level rise, or king tide events that become normal events – those properties that are on Avenue A and Bay Drive South are lost. The goal is to not lose them, to implement protective measures,” Burnett said. Burnett was not at last week’s meeting because she was attending an annual hurricane conference. She will be present for the commission’s June 6 discussion.