Key Biscayne voters approve $100M bond tied to climate change

Measure was criticized as a “blank check”

Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne residents voted to pass a referendum that would allow the village to issue $100 million in general obligation bonds to deal with the effects of climate change.

More than 56 percent of the roughly 6,100 voters in Key Biscayne approved the referendum in Tuesday’s general election.

About $40 million could go toward mitigating the effects of sea level rise and flooding, $23 million toward protecting the beaches and shoreline, and more than $49 million to harden and place infrastructure underground to withstand hurricanes, according to the village’s August town hall presentation.

Critics have called the referendum a “blank check” measure that does not identify specific projects the bonds would fund. Attorney David Winker, who is representing a resident suing the village over the referendum, said his client’s lawsuit is “about what good governance and public participation in decision-making on funding of resiliency measures should look like.”

Winker said it violates the village charter, as well as Florida law requiring that voters be provided with sufficient information about the projects that would be funded.

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In 2017, residents in the city of Miami voted to pass the $400 million Miami Forever Bond, part of which was set aside for climate change mitigation efforts, including storm drain upgrades, flood pumps and sea walls.

The following year, Miami Beach voters approved a $439 million general obligation bond, nearly $200 million of which was set aside for neighborhood and infrastructure projects.

In Miami Beach, where resiliency projects have included the installation of stormwater pumps and the controversial raising of roads, a study commissioned by the city found that raising roads and elevating homes increases a property’s value, the Miami Herald reported earlier this year.

While waterfront home sales have surged in coastal markets such as Miami Beach throughout the pandemic, fewer waterfront single-family homes have sold in Key Biscayne. Property values throughout the village have dropped nearly 5 percent over the last three years, according to the Herald.

The last three waterfront homes to trade in Key Biscayne have sold for significant discounts off their asking prices.

Last month, the mansion at 460 North Mashta Drive sold for $13 million, a 33 percent discount of its original asking price of $19 million.

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