Protect Brevard Barrier Island Evacuation - Area of Critical Concern Designation

  • by: Sandra Sullivan
  • recipient: Tyler Sirois, Randy Fine, Debbie Mayfield, Robert Brackett, Tom Wright, Chase Tremont, Florida

As a resident of Brevard Barrier Island, I hereby request the Brevard State Delegation, to support the Florida State Designation of Area of Critical State Concern under "Florida Environmental Land and Water Management Act of 1972" in order to protect the life safety of barrier island residents for evacuation and ability to obtain homeowner and flood insurance. 

We request the state amend state bill CS/CS/HB 1489 to amend to add all of the Brevard Barrier islands for this protection. 

In response to SB102, Brevard County has proposed BCC100 which will take away the protections on density on the barrier island.

For decades, Florida has prioritized its barrier islands, and in Brevard the density was right-sized in the 1990s given the critical evacuation concerns and the vulnerability of the barrier island to hurricanes.  For example, Central Beaches was capped in density with DCA in 1999 under an joint FCT agreement which incentified Brevard County and Satellite Beach to cap density. 

In a CAT 4/5 hurricane, a storm surge of 6-9+ feet is expected so it is imperative to evacuate. Brevard's barrier island is 56 hours to evacuate according to ECFRPC study for CAT 5 hurricane.  

What changed?  Florida's Affordable Housing SB102, according to the Affordable Housing Coalition is unclear whether subsection 7 refers to highest density as "right-density" or with bonus density. Increasing density onthe barrier island will result in lives lost and higher losses. In addition to life safety, this also impacts already insurance crisis.  The Area of Critical Concern will continue to protect the barrier island from inappropriate density development. 

In Merritt Island, the results of a recently completed comprehensive Hydrology flooding study in October 2022. Merritt Island is a barrier island with unique bowl topography of extensive protected wetlands subject to recurring and prolonged flooding, making the island of statewide significance; including narrow island to the south is also vulnerable to hurricane impacts and evacuation deficiency. Merritt Island is surrounded by the Indian River Lagoon and Banana River of statewide significance.

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