Five Cutler Bay residents collaborated with town officials and staff on a plan to reduce the community’s vulnerability to natural disasters — specifically flooding during major storms — and their work may result in a reduction in flood insurance premiums.
After nine public involvement meetings, the town established a Floodplain Mitigation Plan Advisory Committee comprised of Jorge E. Acevedo, PE; Luis A. Badillo; Paul J. Mauriello, AICP; Janice C. Rowton, and Dan Vesce. They have been meeting continuously since October 2013.
Joining them were town staff and consultant David Stroud of AMEC Environment & Infrastructure. Councilmember Mary Ann Mixon served as the committee’s council liaison.
That plan has been reviewed and approved by the Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Town staffers believe that in addition to other benefits of the plan, it may improve the town’s current rating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System.
Public Works director Alfredo Quintero said that could help those who live here.
“Residents that pay flood insurance currently receive a 20 percent premium discount on their flood insurance as a result of the town’s participation in the NFIP,” Quintero said. “The adoption of the Floodplain Mitigation Plan will potentially result in an additional 5 percent reduction in flood insurance premiums for yown residents.”
Because the physical, financial and emotional losses caused by disasters can usually be reduced through hazard mitigation planning, the purpose of having a plan is to encourage communities “to integrate mitigation with day-to-day decision making” regarding land-use planning, floodplain management, site design and other activities.
Mixon said she is pleased with the results.
“The committee has done an absolutely phenomenal job,” Mixon said. “Each member brings to the table their own area of expertise. Working together with our consultant and town staff they were successful in not only getting the Floodplain Mitigation Plan adopted but ultimately saving the residents and business owners of Cutler Bay millions of dollars in flood insurance premiums. They’ve made me very proud.”
The town already has started to apply some of the recommendations in the plan. One such effort is the SW 212th Street Drainage Improvement Project. Listed as No. 7 in the plan’s priority list, it has been funded by two grants totaling $700,000. Cutler Bay was one of only two municipalities in the state that received this grant from the Florida Department of Emergency Management in 2012.
“Having a Flood Mitigation Plan that has been approved by FEMA qualifies the town to seek additional grant funding for the implementation of flood mitigation projects, further reducing the tax burden for our residents” said town manager Rafael Casals.
“The town council wants to thank the committee members for volunteering their time and expertise to the development of the town’s first Floodplain Mitigation Plan.” The plan and a quarterly report detailing the town’s progress with recommended projects are available on the town’s website at www.cutlerbay-fl.gov.
Residents who would like to receive additional information, or who have questions regarding the town’s Flood Mitigation Plan, can contact Building & Code Compliance director Sandra Aronoff via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or Public Works director Alfredo Quintero via email to email@example.com or call 305-234- 4262.