What's Going On At Eastern Lake

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by GVM, May 6, 2005.

  1. GVM

    GVM Beach Lover

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    Kurt...Maybe you know the background on this. I noticed today on the west side of the beach where Eastern Lake spilled into the Gulf pre-Ivan...survey stakes are in place...as if a small section of the beach is being claimed. San Roy Drive has been 'extended'...and dump truck loads of sand have been placed within this surveyed area...as if to build it up. AND, Walton County has posted STOP WORK orders all over the place. Any idea what's up?
     
  2. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    Sorry GVM, I don't know anything about it.

    I would speculate that if it is right at the end of the road then it could be a lot that someone is preparing to build on. The stop work order could be any number of things, including improper fill, setback violations, improper permits, etc.

    Contact the building planning and/or department on Monday and they'll give you the scoop.
     
  3. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    It certainly could be a number of things, but if they are putting dirt on the Beach, the most likely problem is with the sand itself. The County is rewriting policy regarding replinishing Beach sand.
     
  4. SoWalSally

    SoWalSally Beach Fanatic

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    Here's your answer from the Walton Sun (amazed at the the arrogance):

    A dune on Eastern Lake has survived Hurricanes Eloise, Opal and Ivan and many lesser storms, but not a decision by the Department of Environmental Protection Agency that allowed homeowners to remove part of one dune while building another to increase protection of their home.
    For Eastern Lake residents that watched the arrival of bright yellow earth-moving equipment on April 29 as a path was cleared through the dune, some thought it must be a mistake. But Code Enforcement officials visited the site and a DEP permit was produced, so residents watched while truckloads of sand was dumped on a flat section of the beach.
    ?How could it be?? said Eastern Lake resident Billy Mancil. ?Someone from DEP has done a bad thing.?
    The permit that expired on April 30 was obtained by Dune Doctor Frederique Perret for Worth and Dana Williams. The couple owns the last home on the eastern side of the lake?s outfall on San Roy Road.
    After a second Code Enforcement visit on May 5, a stop work order was posted at the end of the road and on a pile of sand on the beach.
    ?The permit from DEP, that?s the major permit, had expired,? said Code Enforcement Coordinator Kevin Hargett. ?But there was no development order.?
    Greg Scovill, senior manager of systems and processes for Walton County Planning and Development said the county had no record of a request for a development order from Williams or Perret.
    The homeowners, in a response faxed to the Walton Sun dated May 2, said they were in the process of dune restoration, and had followed the guidelines provided by the DEP and Walton County.
    Their objective was, ?To turn back the clock in time and restore the property to the uniqueness of its former natural splendor of decades ago prior to the destructive hurricanes. It is their desire to bring the dunes unique to the coastal environment and gorgeous native vegetation back to the property.?
    The Williams? said Walton County officials recommended Perret who had worked on local dune restoration projects at WaterColor, WaterSound and Alys Beach, to oversee the project.
    ?Under the direction of the Dune Doctor, the project was supposed to start Wednesday (April 27), but there was inclement weather and we had to stop,? Worth Williams said after visiting the site on May 5. Williams said he envisioned small Bobcats would be used to finish the project that would use the sand deposited on the beach to create the new dune.
    Perret described dune as an L-shaped configuration with a height of three to four feet and length of 250 feet. The dune would be placed on a flat area of the beach, ?as a sacrificial structure to reduce storm impact,? Perret said.
    As to the dune that was cut through, ?That sand will come back to where it was. There was a good strand of sea oats, but not on the side where it was cut,? she said.
    The Dune Doctor said by using a water-retaining gel when planting the sea oats they should have roots 10 to 15 feet deep by the end of summer.
    Residents were concerned that the project seemed to be hastily done, however Perret said the Williams had contacted her after Hurricane Ivan.
    ?They lost all protection on the south side of their house. The only remaining dune was on the west side,? Perret said. ?The couple wanted to initiate a dune replacement to provide protection for their home.?
    The sand, which the county approved, was placed on the beach at the end San Roy Road to facilitate the rebuilding of the dune.
    Residents worried that sand dumped on the outfall corridor of the lake could mean the end for the lake.
    ?One bad storm and all the sand will wash into Eastern Lake and endanger it,? said resident Harold Smith.
    ?Where the sand is piled is a no-no,? said Earl Day, Eastern Lake Homeowners Association president and a member of Walton County?s Coastal Dune Lake Advisory Board.
    ?I?ll tell you one thing, if it?s not moved, Mother Nature will and that sand will go in the lake,? he said.
    ?The lake used to be 15 feet deep. Now it averages six feet. We are losing depth of the lake,? Day said.
    ?The field engineer (Reginald Bradley) said that he didn?t see anything that was a violation of the specifications of the permit,? Sarah Williams of the DEP press office said. ?The sand is stockpiled to be used for the project, any unused sand will be spread out over the beach.?
    Bradley, who signed the field permit and reinspected the site on May 6, said someone associated with the project said they planned to request an extension to finish.
    ?A field permit cannot be extended,? the press officer said. ?For the project to resume, a new permit would have to be issued, which involves the approval of all parties.?
    To resume work the Williams or their agent will have to seek permits from the county, DEP and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
     
  5. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    How ironic it is to plow through an existing piece of nature, the dunes, using heavy yellow equipment in order to create a "natural" looking setting? How "natural" is a man-made anything?

    I just don't understand.
     
  6. GVM

    GVM Beach Lover

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    Thanks for the info, SJ. I expect they'll run into some resistance when the new permit is requested.
     
  7. GVM

    GVM Beach Lover

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    And thanks to SoWalSally, for posting the newpaper article.
     
  8. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    Here's one from today:


    Code Enforcement steps in at Eastern Lake


    BY JOYCE OWEN SUN REPORTER



    Residents on Eastern Lake got the action they hoped for June 7 when Walton County Code Enforcement officials posted a notice at the end of San Roy Road advising that a damaged dune must be repaired and mounds of sand deposited on the outfall must be removed.
    Homeowners Worth and Dana Williams hired contractors that were suggested by the county and said they followed all the rules to create additional protection for their home near the Eastern Lake outfall.
    Members of the Eastern Lake Neighborhood Association said the work being done, which included cutting through an established dune to dump truckloads of sand on the lake?s outflow area, would cause great damage to the lake and other homes on the lake. The residents argued several points: in a storm the new sand could be deposited into the rare coastal dune lake, and that man-made dunes shaped from trucked-in sand could inhibit the east to west meandering of the lake?s outflow.
    The residents also expressed concern that the customary use of the beach would be restricted by Williams? intention to add additional sand and a fence around his property.
    Code Enforcement Coordinator Kevin Hargett said the county had tried to cooperate with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the agency that issued the field permit, but ?We can?t wait,? he said.
    Hargett verbally contacted the Williams and gave them 10 days to remove the sand, and advised them to contact the Planning Department to restore the damaged sand dune.
    A certified letter was also sent to the Williams in Dallas, Texas.
    Dana Williams, who was visiting in the area, said they wanted to do the right thing and just found out this morning (June 7) about the stop work order. She said she talked with Dune Doctor Frederique Perrett who had obtained the DEP permit, but the couple was waiting to gather the information needed before determining what they would do next.
    The Williams will have to seek approval from the county, DEP and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to get the appropriate permits to resume work on the beach during turtle nesting season.
     
  9. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    A photo of the offense during TS Arlene, washing into the lake as residents feared:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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  11. FoX

    FoX Beach Fanatic

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    All I can say is "Jeez what idiots"! Who the %$&^%$ do they think they are?

    But - we are the idiots that let them live so close to the water. :roll:
     
  12. lenzoe

    lenzoe Beach Fanatic

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    If the DEP is unable to prevent destruction of dunes within the coastal construction zone, what exactly do they do?

    Also, anybody know where I can buy some of that water-retaining gel the Dune Doctor refers to in the article above?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2005
  13. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    You should be able to find it in a plant nursery.
     
  14. FoX

    FoX Beach Fanatic

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    I believe the answer would be - "count our money". :sosad:
     
  15. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    One of the beach service guys said that newly created sand berm caused the waves and outflow to move farther to the west, causing damage on that side - seen here:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    Can you say "lawsuit?"
     
  17. Paula

    Paula Beach Fanatic

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    Hmmm, my husband and I looked at the picture and couldn't figure out what the lawsuit could be... what would the problem be? Thanks.
     
  18. Smiling JOe

    Smiling JOe SoWal Expert

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    If the addition of the sand on the east side of the outflow caused the outflow to move even farther west, eventually taking out the house in the photo, I think the owners who dumped the sand could be liable. I am not an attorney, but I think they would have a good case.
     
  19. GVM

    GVM Beach Lover

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    Actually...Eastern Lake was 'headed West' long before the sand got moved...otherwise those people wouldn't have had a place to put the sand...cause where they put it is approximately where Eastern Lake formerly emptied into the Gulf.
     

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