St. Johns County may seek easements to rebuild dunes

Published on December 30, 2022 at 1:50 pm

St. Johns County officials are ready to discuss possible projects to rebuild sand dunes eroded by recent tropical storms.

But if FEMA does renourish the sand dunes gouged out by Tropical Storms Ian and Nicole, the county needs residents living along the coast in Ponte Vedra, South Ponte Vedra and Vilano Beach to grant easements so the work can be done.

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So county officials will host an open house to support the ongoing Coastal Management Easement Initiative from 4 to 6 p.m. Jan. 11, at the Ponte Vedra Beach Public Library at 101 Library Blvd.

County officials mailed easement documents to affected homeowners, who could receive sand from future sand placement projects. The most immediate opportunity for those property owners to receive sand is a potential FEMA Dune Enhancement Project in response to damages from Ian and Nicole, county officials said.

But homeowners must grant an easement for the county to work on the beach on the seaward side of any homeowners property before this or any future sand dune renourishment project begins.

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“The easements are limited in scope and do not include access through the property from the road or access to the front and side yards,” according to the county. “The easements grant access to the beach, and to the dunes from the beach. The county proposed perpetual easements to enable a more efficient response to future needs, but staff can also help homeowners with limited-duration easements.”

The open house will allow homeowners to get answers to questions related to the easements from St. Johns County Coastal Management staff, with notaries present to notarize any easement documents. County officials also are processing easement documents to mail to Butler Beach and Crescent Beach homeowners for similar projects, with a separate open house to be held in the near future.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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