CharlotteDems Editor’s note: The following letter to the editor by Charlotte Co. DEC Communications Chair Jim Blue was published in the Sun Monday, April 1.
From March 11 through March 15, the planning firm Dover, Kohl and Partners asked Punta Gorda citizens to create city goals. Most of the discussion centered around the City Center and boosting Punta Gorda’s economic base.
But one thing was missing.
Three years ago, Dover guided North Miami Beach in creating a similar plan.
Among Plan NoBE’s “Five Big Ideas” was “Build to Last.”
Quoting Dover’s plan, “The climate is changing, the ocean is rising, storms are becoming more intense.” And it urges, “a city-wide response through aggressive adaptation strategies.”
In Dover’s “Five Big Ideas” for Punta Gorda, rising sea levels are nowhere to be found.
PG’s plan is still in development. So we have time to ask Dover why what’s good for North Beach wouldn’t be right for Punta Gorda.
The data used to guide the North Beach plan should be the same. Dover used Corps of Engineers projections for Key West that show sea levels rising up to 10 inches by 2030. NOAA projections show 12 inches. Even the most optimistic projection shows a sea level rise of six inches, just 11 years away.
Dover’s mitigation plan for North Beach is to raise streets and modify buildings.
If you want to see the recommendations, just Google “plannobe.”
During last week’s charrette, I raised a question about rising seas. A fellow PG resident scoffed, “We’ll all be dead before that matters.” I hope the rest of us in Punta Gorda take a longer view.
(Read the letter in Sun)