By Ed Ignatoff, Citizens’ Climate Lobby
I manage my family’s commercial property in Palm Beach, which is home to seven small retail businesses. Our property is one half of one of Palm Beach’s famous Worth Avenue ‘Via’s. There is a long and interesting history of this property, which has been owned by my family for close to 100 years.
With strong ties to Palm Beach County since my grandmother immigrated to Palm Beach from Poland in the 1920s, I am writing today to highlight the effects of climate change on our business and the livelihoods of the shop owners who rent from us.
Our property is in an at-risk location for flooding. The Sea Level Rise Viewer provided by NOAA shows that, with just a one-foot rise in sea level, most of the surrounding roads required to access our location will be under water.
Even before we get to that point, our property, and much of the western section of Worth Avenue, are in a “high tide flooding” zone. To quote information on the NOAA viewer, “today’s flood will become tomorrow’s high tide, as sea level rise will cause flooding to occur more frequently and last for longer durations of time”.
Even today, the increasing risk of flooding is affecting our flood insurance rates. This cost has to be passed on my tenants. Over the years, we have hosted many “mom and pop” startups, as well as some more established businesses, all of whom work hard to succeed.
These costs are an additional burden. As the flooding gets worse and more persistent, I dare say we won’t even be able to rent the shops at all, rendering our property, essentially, useless. Further, I haven’t even mentioned the risks due to more frequent and more intense hurricanes that will hit the area.
In light of what’s happening here in Southeast Florida and elsewhere, it’s imperative that we encourage our legislators to support the Energy Innovation Dividend Act and any other changes that can slow down these climate changes. Mitigation isn’t enough.
Ed Ignatoff is a newly-retired software developer and is one of the founders of DataCore Software Corporation, based in Fort Lauderdale. He and his wife live in Boca Raton and they are both committed to raising climate change awareness. He is a member the Boca Raton chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.