We are requesting authorization to restore the dune field from immediately south of 15 ½ Street extending approximately 1800 linear feet to immediately south of 19th Street, including closing vehicular access at 18th Street, adding subsurface stabilization at 19th Street to support access of Public Safety and Department of Public Works vehicles, and enhance the landscaping on the landward side of the impact area.
In its duty to promote beach preservation and the prevention of shoreline erosion, the Beach Task Force examined each of the City’s 27 public beach access points. As part of the assessment, the access points were evaluated based on Type of crossover (Pedestrian or Vehicular), Condition of the crossover, whether it was Critical to emergency access or heavy pedestrian traffic during season, its Flooding potential, and if we could readily Dam the access point in the event of a major weather event. Private crossovers were not evaluated at this time but should be included at a future date.
In summary, the condition of our dune system is good but has been seriously weakened by both Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. There are several points at which dunes should be improved. Most importantly, there are five vehicle access points that weaken the dune system dramatically because they are relatively large and “at grade”. During Hurricanes Matthew and Irma the City realized significant flood events at these vehicle access points, specifically 19th, 18th, Center, 3rd, and 2nd Streets.
For purposes of this request for a Letter of Permission, we are limiting the impact area to the South end of the shoreline.
As we consider our recommendation we are mindful of City emergency vehicle access (fire,police, lifeguard), adequate public access (number and locations), ADA access (height, degree of slope, and wheelchair accessibility) requirements, GADNR Shoreline Protection and Coastal Marshlands Protection requirements, and Public Works access.
We also considered our recommendation in the context of the broader City Public Works Plan for appropriate storm water management, the City Emergency Management Plan for evacuation during a major storm event, and the City budget.
This recommendation from the Beach Task Force was approved by the City Council at their September 28, 2017 meeting.