St Lucie County Federal Beach Project Meeting – July 29th, 2020 at 2:00pm.
The recently mailed package from SLC regarding the Construction Easements for the Federal Beach project is on the PC website (Beach & Dune Committee page). Also included is information about the County hosted meeting on July 29th to further explain and clarify any questions.
Following is the link to the County’s new web pages which include extensive information on the project: https://www.stlucieco.gov/departments-services/a-z/mosquito-control-coastal-management-services/2020-south-hutchinson-island-renourishment-project
Presentation is available on the PC website prior to the meeting. Click here
Go To Meeting Access information Click here
Beach Update Information Attached: The attached package (click here) was mailed last week from the County to Associations (not individual condo owners) and other Property Owners along the beachfront, within the 3.3 mile Federal Beach Project. Included in the package is the new SLC website link www.stlucieco.org/southhutchinsonproject, which provides background, timelines and requirements for the project. One of the requirements for the initial construction is the Construction Easements from each property owner. You are encouraged to review the package and attend the SLC meeting on July 29th to obtain more information and clarification.
Update on the A1A crosswalk at Island Dunes. After some delays, FDOT has advised that the construction of the crosswalk will be completed by the end of November. This is most welcome news for all of those in the Island Dunes area.
Members of the PC Board continue to work cooperatively with the County to get clarity around the funding options for the Federal Beach Project, particularly important prior to the SLC Budget workshops beginning later this month. Also, have been meeting with the new SLC Deputy County Administrator, Alphonso Jefferson, who will be responsible for the project going forward.
As discussed in the past, adding public beach accesses will increase the Federal cost share and thus reduce the local cost to the County and/or property owners. At this time, there has not yet been any commitment in any of the strategically located properties. Therefore, the local cost share calculations are expected to be made using the higher end of the estimated remaining unfunded balance. If this changes later, the total local share will be reduced allowing a reduction of any planned levy.
Another critical milestone is signing of the USACE’s PPA (Project Partnership Agreement) which is on target to be completed in August. Following the signing of the PPA, the information package on the Construction Easements, a required part of implementing the project, will be sent by the County to the Associations/property owners. The package will explain the efforts needed to secure the project Construction Easements. Also planned is a new website page with answers to commonly asked questions, other pertinent information, including a beach nourishment assessment cost estimator.
If you have any questions relating to the beach project, the contact at the County is Joshua Revord (772-462-1269).
Beach Project Update
As Harvey Alligood, Chair Beach & Dune Committee, indicated at the June membership meeting, the County has changed its position regarding compensation to property owners in the identified “gap” areas, who provide easements for public beach access points. These additional access points will increase the federal cost share for the project. More information will be forthcoming, however, Harvey encouraged Associations in the gap areas to contact Joshua Revord SLC (772/462-1269) to better understand both the impact and compensation.
Following the June 9th Informal SLC BOCC meeting regarding funding for the Federal Beach Project, there have been separate individual meetings with Commissioners and the County Assistant Administrator as the PC Board works to clarify the funding plans. The current “plan” continues to be finetuned and updated by the County. The current draft version will be placed on the website for information and will be updated as subsequent versions are received.
It is recognized the impact of additional beach access points on the project funding is significant. The PC Board has taken additional steps to help coordinate communication between the County and the property owners to help ensure clarity, so that decisions can be finalized before the deadline.
Summary of the Membership Meeting June 17th
Senator Gayle Harrell, Florida State Senator District 25, provided a very informative presentation identifying some of the key legislation passed in the last session and other issues currently impacting the state. Highlights of the discussion:
· The opening of the 2020 session in January was filled with optimism and plans to continue the focus on education, clean water and Everglades restoration.
· Covid-19 changed that. In February, Senator Harrell, Chair Health Policy Committee, met with committee members to review the budget in anticipation of the impacts of the virus. Additional funds were placed in the current year budget ($58M) and next year’s ($300M). However, the impact has been greater than anticipated at the time.
· Current initiatives in the budget: education including funds for safe schools and mental health resources in the schools; record funds focused on environmental issues including Legacy Florida funds for the Everglades to stop releases, Forever Florida funds for land conservation efforts including land buying programs, such as rights of way for public beach access points.
· State revenue is reduced dramatically ($878M in April), mostly due to reduction in sales tax receipts.
· The Governor will be reviewing the budget, but at this time it is not anticipated that a special session will be called.
· Bills passed in last session impacting Condo Associations: SB#476 cannot prohibit law enforcement vehicles parking on property; SB#1084 Emotional support animals must be permitted provided required documents from a physician are presented.
· CARES (Corona virus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) has dispersed federal funds to counties with a population over 500,000. However, local counties are less than 500,000 and do not qualify for these federal funds. Local counties may submit separately to gain additional funds.
· The State has addressed the virus through many initiatives primarily protecting the most vulnerable individuals: five Covid-19 only nursing homes have been set up throughout the state; established testing criteria for nursing home admittance; ensured adequate hospital beds and equipment; prepared to address “hotspots” when they develop, as demonstrated in Indiantown. The basics are essential: wear masks and wash hands.
· Discussed the killing of George Floyd and the response throughout the country. The senator indicated that we must engage in deeper conversation and listen to each other to come up with solutions to increase our cultural awareness. Major conversations in the state will continue.
We thank the Senator for her time with us and appreciate her efforts on our behalf in the State government. We gained increased awareness of the issues impacting our area, which were made apparent as Senator Harrell was asked to leave the meeting early to address the Roosevelt bridge closure.
Since the May 5th meeting with USACE and SLC regarding the beach project, PC has been engaged with the County as the project timeline was updated (currently posted on the website) and to better understand the funding of the local unfunded share that will be borne by SLC and/or island homeowners within the project area.
The PC Board requested the Commissioners for their support and action to reach consensus on the funding plan and direction on acquisition of the additional beach access points. Clarity is needed to ensure project milestones are achieved. (the letter sent to the Commissioners 6/3/2020 is available on the PC website)
PC Board representatives attended the BOCC Informal meeting on 6/9/2020 to hear further discussion regarding project funding and actions needed to prepare for the next steps. Further information from the meeting including the presentation package will be posted to the website, when available.
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