I could hardly believe what I was seeing in a recent media report on the sea level rise task force in Jacksonville, formally known as the Adaptation Action Area Working Group.
This temporary committee is supposed to disband later this month — and that may be a good thing based on what I read.
The latest brainstorm coming out of the committee, according to WJCT, is to “try to prevent and manage climate gentrification.”
A definition of the term was provided:
“That’s when wealthy people living on the water move to safer areas and raise inland property values and rents along the way.”
There is so much wrong with that sentence I hardly know where to start.
Jacksonville’s riverfront and oceanfront properties have been referred to as “the Fertile Crescent” for the obvious reason that waterfront property is so expensive only the more affluent can buy it.
Equally obvious, they would be among the first to be affected if the seas should rise precipitously. (Seas have been rising and falling for eons.)
One presupposes they would seek to leave the property and move inland if it should become a problem.
And this is a bad thing?
And the threat is that they would cause property values to increase by moving to other areas?
For most people, a house is the major asset they own. They yearn for it to increase in value, which increases their net worth.
True, their property taxes increase along the way but if they ever sell the property I’m pretty sure they would be happy to sell it at a higher value.
How it becomes a threat to the common welfare for them to move to a safer place and simultaneously cause property values (and revenue to the local government) to increase along the way is mind-boggling.
One would wonder why city officials are trying to redevelop downtown and dramatically increase property values there.
The committee is planning strategies that include “managed retreat” from the rising seas.
Recommendations to the City Council are to be presented at the committee’s Aug. 26 meeting. Any action by the council might be added to the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan.
If one of the recommendations is to prevent the perceived threat of property values in Jacksonville increasing, let’s hope the council throws it in the wastebasket.