Beach Renourishment Planned 2011

Living on a barrier island of sand entails building on a changing foundation. While nature is in flux and bends to the conditions, people continue to build rigid, immovable houses on the shore line. As the barrier island moves with the slow cycle of shifting sands the shore line shifts regardless of where the property lines were drawn.

Anna Maria Island aerial

Over the decades of building on the seashore, the ever shifting shoreline has been ‘restored’ by pumping sand back to replace lost beach. This is no small exercise and is very expensive. A beach renourishment in 2002 took almost a year and millions of dollars to expand the beach width and protect private properties along just 0.6 miles. A 4.6 mile renourishment in 2005 was plagued by delays and equipment obstructions.

The next renourishment is planned for 2011 – 2012. Government entities from local to county to state to federal are involved in the permitting, financing, and operation in order to maintain a ‘line in the sand’. But there are plenty of strings attached. One condition of government subsidy is that public access is allowed and parking facilities be sufficient.

AMI beach alleyPublic access on Anna Maria Island is usually by numerous path ways or alleys at the end of streets. Parking near the beach on the narrow streets, however, is physically limited and officially regulated. Home owners do not appreciate visitors driving on their lawns, blocking their driveways, and littering the street, yet alone frequent uncivil or lewd behavior.

So the city officials try to balance their constituents’ requests for limited public parking, and the county/state/federal demands for more public parking in order to permit beach reclamation funding.

A work session of County officials and Coastal Planning and Engineering of Boca Raton is scheduled for Feb 12, at 7pm.

Tell us what you think and stay tuned.

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