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Just two weeks left for property owners to approve beach project

STORY BY SUE COCKING (Week of September 3, 2020)

Indian River County officials are calling on oceanfront property owners on south beach to quickly sign agreements allowing access to their properties for a dune renourishment project this fall. If they don’t, the county risks losing millions in state and federal funds.

So far, the county has managed to secure only about 60 percent of the permissions it needs from property owners along a 2-mile stretch from Treasure Cove to Floralton Beach – an area known as Sector 7 – to shore up dunes and replace some 295,000 cubic yards of sand lost to recent storms.

The sign-up success rate is much better at the northern end of the island, Sector 3 – which spans 6.6 miles from Treasure Shores to Turtle Trail beach park. Nearly 80 percent of property owners there have signed permissions. 

County commissioners have set a deadline of Sept. 15 to decide whether to continue the project in both sectors or postpone it for a year, with the decision based on obtaining easement agreements from 90 percent of property owners. 

If the project is delayed, county officials say they risk losing some $15.7 million in federal and state funds.
“It’s possible if we don’t get out to construction by Nov. 1, some of the funding available to us right now might not be available later,” county natural resources manager Eric Charest said at a public webinar on Monday.