Effective April 1st, the City of Miami Beach is requiring all new construction 7,000 square feet or more to meet or exceed LEED Gold standards… or pay an impact pay a fee equal to 5 percent of the construction costs. The idea is to force builders to address – one way or the other – the very real effects of climate change already being felt on Miami Beach.
As Miami Herald columnist Joey Flechas notes, Miami Beach will benefit whether the developers choose to build ‘green’ or to pay the fee:
That’s a big chunk of money. If the city had been collecting that fee for the last six years, it would have about $60 million to spend on green projects like water quality monitoring, cleanup of contamination and charging stations for electric vehicles.
Betsy Wheaton, the city’s environment and sustainability director, told the Miami Herald the city wants to build a fund specifically for sustainability projects like building permeable pavements and improving the Beach’s tree canopy. As the city continues an ambitious, $400 million anti-flooding pump program to combat rising tides, she also envisions incorporating green elements, like reintroduction of mangroves, into seawall projects for stemming sea level rise.
The City of Miami currently requires all new development of more than 50,000 square feet to be built to LEED Silver standards, while Miami-Dade County requires all new county buildings to obtain LEED Silver certification.