The storm and flood damage in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas this weekend reminds us that Newport is unusually vulnerable to similar threats. We have 585 businesses and a total of 1,988 building structures – business, residential and public – in the city’s current FEMA-defined flood danger area. These firms, families and property owners are threatened by coastal flooding every month, by future storms, and by the steady rise of sea level.
Except for Lauren Carson, it’s not clear than any of our local candidates are dedicated to protecting us from what may be Newport’s biggest danger. In her first term as our representative on Smith Hill, Carson created a RI House commission to study the effect of rising sea levels and flooding on the economy of the state.
Her Commission proposed a flood audit program for waterfront business and homeowners to help them determine risks and plan protections; also regular training for municipal zoning and planning boards on the impact of sea rise and flooding on our waterfront properties. Both programs are moving forward with support of RI government and university departments.
With $3.8 billion in property value currently in flood-threatened areas of town, Newporters should re-elect Carson and identify others who will work on creative ways to deal with this vulnerability.
David W. Stookey
Mill Street, Newport