When Hurricane Matthew hit Northeast Florida, Clay Hansen knew his Ponte Vedra Beach home was as good as gone.
One week later, his home is still standing and Hansen is feeling fortunate.
“When my son and I pulled up and it was standing there I just felt blessed by God,” Hansen told Action News Jax.
While his home is still intact, he and his neighbors are facing another problem.
A quick tour of Hansen’s property and the issue is apparent.
Erosion has claimed a large portion of his backyard. Sand used to cover Hansen’s backyard bulk head, leading into the dunes. Now there’s nothing.
This is the scene up and down Ponte Vedra Beach, destroyed docks and dunes. According to Hansen, his home and the road behind would have sustained more damage if not for the protection provided by the water stopping wall.
Erosion is a constant concern for beach communities. These beach residents have been trying to get something done about it for years.
Hansen said environmental restrictions have blocked their efforts.
“If they were to look at the damage that occurred and people would have been able to ease those restrictions five years ago, then there would be no damage," Hansen said. "And you wouldn’t see the amount of refuse the water that’s here day."
Representative Cyndi Stevenson said the county, state and federal governments are working on a plan to prevent the problem.
“Some people are skeptical because they’ve tried over the years to protect their property," Stevenson said. "Now that the state of emergency has been declared, now is the time to address those issues.”
Stevenson is encouraging neighbors to join together and voice their concerns in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.
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