JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Time is running out for property owners to provide easements in the affected areas of the Pinellas County Shore Protection Project Sand Key Segment. Owners in the affected areas and individual parcels have until June 2 to provide the perpetual storm damage reduction easements to Pinellas County, otherwise these areas will be bypassed completely.
The Corps estimates approximately 8,000 linear feet of beach in Sand Key will be bypassed due to the lack of consecutive easements from property owners coupled with areas not requiring nourishment.
The Corps and Pinellas County recently hosted two public meetings to ensure property owners understand the importance of the easements. Perpetual easements are required over the portions of property located along the shoreline and within the projected material placement areas. The easements will allow for construction activities necessary to build and maintain the beach and ensure these beach areas remains open to the public in perpetuity. The county has been actively reaching out to property owners within affected areas to secure these easements.
“It is ultimately up to the property owner to decide if they will grant the easement to receive federal, state, and county funds to renourish their beach property, and unfortunately many oceanfront landowners have already declined to sign the easement,” said Project Manager Laurel Reichold
“The top of the beach berm, or the highest height permitted for construction is 5.3 feet. Without the easements, the beach berm cannot be built properly and the area will have to be skipped completely,” Reichold said.
The proposed project will repair damages sustained from Hurricane Hermine to the Sand Key Segment as well as provide nourishment to the Treasure Island and Long Key segments. The Corps is still waiting to find out the total approved federal funding amounts for the project, and would then proceed with advertisement sometime in July, with project award in September.
Beach nourishment benefits property owners and the public by providing increased storm protection, recreational opportunities, and restoration of critical habitat for shorebird and marine turtle nesting.
The Pinellas County Shore Protection Project totals 21.8 miles of shoreline. Three constructed and authorized segments are actively maintained by the federal government in a cost share agreement with Pinellas County. These segments include Sand Key, Treasure Island, and Long Key. The federal government has invested nearly $120 million in restorative beach erosion control measures, including beach renourishment and the construction of groins, to date.