Fort Lauderdale hope to combat flooding with higher sea walls

High tides putting some areas 2 feet further below water than expected

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – High tides translate to big headaches for some Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods, and unfortunately city engineers say the rising water is getting worse.

"We experienced a high tide that was not just a foot above predicted, but 2-feet," Nancy Gassman, assistant public works director for Fort Lauderdale said.

To combat the tides, engineers are considering a new ordinance that would require waterfront homes to raise their seawalls.

Those changes are expected to cost thousands, but some homeowners, such as Maria Meyer who lives near Las Olas, sees the wall as an investment.

"I am impressed that we a planning now for what will be happening in 30 years," Meyer said.

City engineers said homeowners must adhere to new seawall requirements if there is damage to their existing wall.

John Holmes, who lives North of Oakland Park in the Bermuda Rivera subdivision, said the new seawall law isn’t fair because his community does not flood.

"It doesn't apply equally to all neighborhoods," Holmes said. "Our neighborhood  is higher compared to Los Olas."

Public works officials said that just because some streets are not flooding now, doesn’t mean flooding won’t become an issue in the future.

"It is one piece of a much larger plan that the city has to reduce tidal flooding and protect their homes," Gassman said.

Fort Lauderdale residents can visit the city's website to view the proposed ordinance changes and provide comments.

The  next commission meeting is slated to take place on May 3, and the seawall item will appear for fist public reading on June 7 and second public reading on June 21. 

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