by: Cole Heath, Action News Jax Updated:
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - An emergency meeting is set for Wednesday to find new ways to protect miles of local beaches and homes that were damaged by Hurricane Matthew.
St. Johns County officials tell Action News Jax a new plan is needed because one property owner along Vilano Beach is blocking the county’s current plan.
County officials tell Action News Jax 153 property owners gave the OK for crews to come onto their beachfront property to replenish the sands, but the county is required to get permission from 154 property owners.
“If we get another storm, it will wash along A1A and undermine it,” Vilano Beach homeowner Bill White said.
“The properties are devastated,” neighbor Scott Singleton said about the many beachfront homes that were severely damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October.
Singleton lives a few miles down the Coastal Highway from an empty beachfront lot. Both county officials and public records show the property is the land behind stalling of the restoration plan.
The county needed permission from 154 property owners along a stretch of Vilano Beach to run pipe and place sand by homes beginning in a few weeks.
The plan is to use dredged sand from the St. Augustine Inlet and Intracoastal Waterway to replenish about 2 miles of damaged beachfront.
“It will provide a lot of protection for the homeowners on the beachline,” St. Johns County Public Works director Neal Shinkre said about the project on March 1.
The deadline to get the required approval from property owners was supposed to expire at 5 p.m. Monday, but a county spokesperson said the deadline has been extended by 48 hours.
Now, an emergency meeting is set for Wednesday to look at possible legal actions to get the work started and ease some minds.
Action News Jax spoke with the Florida Inland Navigational District, an organization that’s part of this project.
A member of the Navigation District said a possible contingency plan is to work around the property that is not giving permission.
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