During an emergency meeting of the Board of County Commissioners held this morning, about 10 members of the public addressed County Engineer Herbert P. Tompkins, county administration, and all five members of the Board to express their concern that 20-feet, or less, of land now lies between the foundation of their homes and the Atlantic Ocean.
“We need an advocate when we go to Tallahassee, because the Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t take us seriously as individuals,” said Linda Beagle, who with her husband John, each spoke to the Board and others present about the consequences of inaction to bolster the beach in front of their oceanfront home.
An emergency proclamation was unanimously approved by the Board declaring the local “state of emergency” in the affected coastal areas; a necessary step for the property owners before they can take any action to mitigate their wind and water damages to the habitable portion of their property that lies seaward of their residence.
“I really appreciate staff members who were the first to be notified about the most recent erosion,” Commissioner Rachael Bennett told Historic City News. “Had they not acted quickly, we would not have heard this issue before our regular meeting next Tuesday. Now, the property owners can get to work immediately.”
St Johns County Engineering Division will issue a “permit for emergency protection” to each of the property owners; who still must comply with all rules and permitting requirements as defined by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems.
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