Manasota Key (Storch Report) — It appears that everybody seems to have a lot to say about the lack of sand on Manasota Key except for those directly impacted — the beachfront homeowners.
The governing body in Charlotte County didn’t care enough to ask, but they in Sarasota County did and are conducting a survey among beach front homeowners to see if there is support from those that will bare the brunt of the cost for a beach renourishment project. Sometimes you don’t ask the questions for fear of the answers.
But it sounds like a logical approach to me, for I am one of those beach front homeowners, but, unfortunately, in the northern part of Charlotte County where they didn’t bother to ask what my opinion was before spending tax payer dollars on consultants not knowing whether they had the support of home owners.
The cost for beach front renourishment in Charlotte County alone is estimated to be $28 million. It is questionable if it will work at all, it usually doesn’t even with ongoing renourishment at an extraordinary cost, and doubtful at all if Sarasota doesn’t participate. You see the island is divided by two counties and the sand is drifting north to south.
It is not an unusual dilemma it’s been going on for years in Florida up and down the east and west coast of the peninsula.
Charlotte County to the south is commercial compared to Sarasota to the north which is residential.
Everyone talks about sand, but little is said about the character or cultural change and cost it would bring to this sleepy, laid back island of quietude, transforming it to the likes of the commercialization of Longboat and Siesta Keys to the north and Naples and Marco Island to the south.
No one talks about the commercial impact it will bring to the key, primarily to the south, but eventually will significantly impact the north end of the island as well to become just another Miami Beach on the southwest coast. You see once the Camel’s head is in the tent, the rest of the body has a way of getting in.
That is not why residents settled here, it is why they escaped to here.
The driving force for this project is Charlotte County, but no one asks why. What is their motive? To further commercialize the southern portion of the island for tax revenue?
It couldn’t possibly be because a bunch of politicians are really concerned about the encroachment of the Gulf of Mexico on the property of homeowners with beach front property?
Or could it be because they see an opportunity in a crisis that they do not want to go to waste for county revenue, transforming an idyllic island to what exists everywhere else in Florida?
If it is not the latter, why is the permitting so delayed for the emergency and prophylactic protection of property with sea walls and rip rap?
The impact of beach front renourishment on homeowners is financially significant for funds in perpetuity and in loss of private land and privacy permanently, thus changing the character and culture of the island forever.
Private residential property will be sold to developers for condos, other land will be converted to retail commercial development.
The public will have access to all the beaches, or the island will not get State or Federal funds and this will require easements over what was once private property. Parking will be required, roads will have to be widened to accommodate the project and more land will be taken from home owners. Sidewalks will be needed along with jogging and bike lanes.
Residents will leave and the county will have a cash cow for revenue converting the island to tourism.
As a result only a few private islands will be left representing the likes of old Florida and they will be controlled by money much like Boca Grande, just 20 minutes south of Manasota Key, a conclave of the rich, the elitists of E. I. duPont’s and Bush’s wealth, where bridges for access to the island are controlled by the billionaires and when sand is needed for beaches, the residents provide it.
Islanders on Manasota Key should see beach renourishment from a realistic perspective, questioning the motives of those pushing it to seek support from beach front home owners that have more to lose than gain from the shifting sands of time.