This vote passed today. I have tried to capture as much of the discussion as I could. As several of you know, I have discussed this with various local and state officials (non-elected) to understand the laws regarding beach restoration.
This is a vastly complex issue, and if you write your Commissioners, who want to hear from you, please consider all (or many) of the angles that went into this decision:
First, Jetty East is partially in the water. The NY Times will be here next week to publish an article about the Supreme Court case regarding beach ownership, (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121001681&ps=cprs) and this photo will probably be used. While the two issues are separate, that doesn’t matter in a good story. There is a national story forming that Destin no longer has beaches, and our tourism will suffer as a possible result.
Lower tourism leads to lower bed taxes.
This measure was paid for by bed taxes, and not out of county tax funds.
If the maximum sand is required the total bill will approximately $1.6 million paid for in the following manner:
- City of Destin – $200,000
- State of Florida DEP $200,000
- FEMA $100,000
- Tourist Development (bed tax) $415,000
- Holiday Isle Owners $685,000
We can argue whether or not property should have been built there, but it is there, and not going away. However, I think it is important to point out that the owners are paying for 40 to 60% of the total cost depending on the quantity of sand use.
However, I had a chance to put in my two cents worth and suggested that we ask for the “new” beach in front of Jetty East to be made into a public area. While there will have to be a final vote by the homeowners board, their leadership indicated they will make that vote to provide a benefit to the public for this restoration project.
I was initially opposed to the use of our dollars for this project, but upon gathering of more information, I think our Commissioners made the best decision at this time. I encourage everyone to contact their Commissioner and voice your support for their decision, or your opposition if that is the case.