Miami Beach officials discussing plans to remedy flooding issues

City leaders in Miami Beach met on Monday over plans to raise roads in areas prone to flooding.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – City leaders in Miami Beach met on Monday over plans to raise roads in areas prone to flooding.

Some say construction plans have become too complex and can pose significant setbacks. 

Salon owner Gustavo Briand told Local 10′s Ami Viteri whenever there’s heavy rain, water finds a way inside his Purdy Avenue business.

"The water that comes from the street, it comes like a little cascade, beautiful," he said. 

Video from several months ago that was shared with Local 10 shows the problem Briand said began after the city raised streets and installed pumps and generators to manage overflow. 

“It’s so unfair,” he said. “Sometimes I have to cut hair in flip flops and my clients have to take off their shoes.”

Concerns like that prompted Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian to ask for more discussion before the city moves forward on elevating roads in the west avenue corridor.

"As I like to say, nothing good happens to properties below the street," he said. 

 Samuelian worries about the challenges of marrying raised roads to existing lower properties, even with the protection of pumps to handle overflow. 

"At the end of the day, we need to think about protecting our properties, our neighborhoods and our residents," he said. "Not just dry our streets. 

But public works director Roy Coley says sea level rise is happening, and the city can either let it flood the streets or take action. 

"To elevate this public property to keep the seawater out, and then the private properties are going to have adaptation themselves," Coley said. 

According to Coley, despite a handful of rain events that overwhelmed the pumps in Sunset Harbour, without raising the roads, data shows tidal flooding would have happened over 80 times in this area. 

“There has been 85 times that sea level has been above this elevation and these places have not flooded,” he said. 

About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.