NewsPalm Beach County


What is Palm Beach County doing to prevent another Surfside tragedy?

State Legislature fails to pass legislation
Posted at 4:58 PM, Apr 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-05 17:44:46-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Families who call an apartment complex home in North Miami Beach are devastated after being forced to pack up and move out.

City officials in North Miami Beach ordered residents of a five-story apartment building to evacuate after deeming the building "structurally unsound."

RELATED: Palm Beach County wants state to take lead on building inspection rules

Bayview 60 Homes is the second building ordered to evacuate in the city since the Surfside collapse last summer that killed 98 people.

The evacuation comes just weeks after House and Senate lawmakers failed to safety reforms that would have required inspections on older buildings among other things.

Bayview 60 Homes, North Miami Beach condos evacuated
Residents of a North Miami Beach apartment building had to evacuate on April 4, 2022, after it was deemed unsafe.

The stalled efforts at the state level have now caused Palm Beach County to revisit its plans to draft up its own condo safety legislation, according to Mayor Robert Weinroth.

"We are going to take a look at it, and certainly in the absence of state action, we are going to do something at the county [level]," Weinroth said.

He said staff is currently reviewing the failed proposals, Senate Bill 1702 and House Bill 1391, to serve as a potential blueprint.

"We'll look at the legislation that was filed in both the House and the Senate that they weren't able to come together and see what's the best parts of that we can use here in the county," Weinroth said.

Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth discusses building code action, April 5, 2022
Palm Beach County Mayor Robert Weinroth discusses building code action after the Florida Legislature did not pass any bills following the Surfside building collapse.

County staff is also looking to learn from Boca Raton, which became the first municipality in the county to require inspections of older condominiums.

"We have a lot of tall condo buildings, particularly near the ocean, and thus salt water, so we knew we needed to have something like that in place, so we moved very, very quickly to make sure that we did," Boca Raton council member Andy Thomson said.

County officials said it should be done with the reviewing process in about a month and will report back to commissioners on how to make sure that another Surfside tragedy does not happen here.