Plus, higher seawalls & condo repairs
The annual Red Tide is getting worse along the Gulf of Mexico beaches, Fort Lauderdale is poised to go along with new tougher seawall requirements together with stiff fines for homeowners, and residents of a Miami high-rise condo displaced by unsafe conditions have returned to their homes after more than a year-and-a-half away. It’s all in this week’s Environment & Engineering Digest.
Red Tide: The annual red tide, caused by the naturally-occurring Karenia brevis organism, has been mild so far this year compared to the 2021 bloom that killed off a lot of fish up and down Florida’s Gulf coast. But it is now slowly getting worse, with high levels of red tide reported last week off the coast of Sarasota County and in Roberts Bay, near Venice. Medium levels continue to impact Pinellas County beaches from Fort DeSoto to Redington Beach.
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science issued an advisory cautioning that beachgoers may experience respiratory irritation while visiting beaches in Sarasota, Manatee and Pinellas counties. Southerly winds are being blamed for pushing the neurotoxin north from Charlotte and Lee counties, where red tide first emerged in the wake of Hurricane Ian.
Higher Seawalls: The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports the Fort Lauderdale city commission is expected this month to approve higher seawall requirements – and penalties for non-compliance – to meet Broward County mandates. Current seawall requirements of a minimum 3.9 feet above mean sea level would go to 4 feet. The wall is also required to be strong enough to add a 12-inch cap in the future to meet a 5-foot height requirement by 2050. Those residents who don’t comply within a year would face fines of $100 per day. Fixing or replacing a seawall can cost from $1,000 to $2,000 per linear foot, according to the article.
Condo Owners Return Home: It was August 9, 2021 when the 138 residents of a Miami eight-story condominium building were told to pack up and get out by 8am the following morning. Their building at 5050 NW Seventh Street in the Flagami neighborhood was deemed unsafe by city inspectors during the rush of emergency building inspections in the aftermath of the Champlain Towers South condo collapse in Surfside that killed 98 people on June 24, 2021. Now, after 19 months away, 84 of the 138 residents were allowed to return last weekend following building repairs. Columns underneath the building had to be repaired and strengthened, as well as the air conditioning area on the roof, with numerous fire safety equipment replaced during the upgrades.
LMA Newsletter of 3-6-23