Leave Our Beach Alone

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That’s what residents of Island Winds Condominiums told the Fort Myers Beach Town Council on Monday. Residents do not want the beach behind their condo building to be part of the town’s upcoming beach renourishment project. Here’s why…

When Island Winds was built back in 1974 they had 100 feet of beach behind their building. 48 years later, there is now over 800 feet of beach. Through hurricanes, Tropical Storms and the daily tides of the Gulf of Mexico, that area has become a beach of accretion, now nearly the size of three football fields from the building to the water line. According to Island Winds condo association president Dave Nusbaum, the beach, which runs from The Wyndham Hotel to The Outrigger, is growing about 8 feet per year.

The residents of Island Winds have taken care of the beach, at no cost to taxpayers, for the last 48 years. Nusbaum says they rake the beach, and they bring in sand to fill spots in when needed. He says the beach (pictured here) is not eroding and doesn’t need to be renourished.

On Thursday the town will get an update on the planned 2023 beach renourishment project. Part of that update will include a staff recommendation to request the state designate the area behind the Island Winds condo building as critically eroded, something the residents say is not true.

The town agenda item for Thursday states that critically eroded shoreline is defined as “a segment of the shoreline where natural processes or human activity have caused or contributed to erosion and recession of the beach or dune system to such a degree that upland development, recreational interests, wildlife habitat, or important cultural resources are threatened or lost.

During public comment on Monday several Isalnd Winds residents said there is no erosion and no new sand is needed.

The town is using the phrase “continuity of management” as a reason to ask the state for the designation.

Town staff gave the town council five reasons to request the designation from the state. They are: to solve a ponding issue, to expand the sea turtle nesting habitat, it enables the town to maintain a positive slope to drain the beach for the life of the permit, it categorizes the beach as an “engineered beach” which then qualifies the shoreline for FEMA funding should a hurricane wash the beach away and it satisfies one of the State and TDC’s requirement for cost share funding.

Nusbaum said Coastal Engineering showed the town council a disingenuous picture of the ponding issue. He says that area ponds only during the rainy season. He said it’s a nuisance but the town doesn’t need to worry about it. He says by raking and aerating the beach the residents can take care of the ponding themselves.

Nussbaum is also concerned that the town will use the designation to then add dune plantings to what is their private property.

Councilman Bill Veach said during Monday’s meeting, “if your dissing dunes, you’re not getting in my good graces.” Veach said it was only 15 feet of the 800 feet that would require dune plantings and he’s not even sure they would be required. He also criticized the raking the residents were doing. Veach said that if you are taking a large swath of the beach and raking it, it’s not a natural beach anymore. “You’re making artificial beach. Maybe in your eyes, it’s an idealized idea of what a beach is.”

Veach did say he thinks its unnecessary to be working on a part of the beach that is actively accruing.

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. We stopped crazy renourishment from going further than the business district after years of fighting many years ago.
    The towns own research clearly stated it would be of no use for hurricane protection.
    Yet town hall kept saying it was
    which was a frequent blatent lie. The same mantra prevails.
    There are survey maps going back to 1927 that show the true beach situation. The people talking about accretion are correct. Survey maps don’t lie. Politicos dont show the maps. Ask them.
    Tom merrill

  2. Veach is such a hypocrite. Dissing the Dunes? Says the guy who has a trail cut in the dunes behind his house. Not a small 1 person trail either. He needs to go in the worst way.

  3. Town Council should be thinking about what is best for all of our Town! Not their personal agendas. No resident should have to “get in the good graces” of a particular Council member.

  4. A Critical Wildlife Area, such as Little Estero Island on the south 2.5 miles of FMB, has different needs than other residential / recreational parts of our barrier island. By nature, sand accrues or gets washed away on barrier islands. So we see major erosion of the area around Leonardo Arms, and major sand expansion of the areas around the Outrigger / Wyndham and far south end. Where birds nest and rest in during migration, raking and human or animal disruption should be minimized. Island Winds doesn’t need beach renourishment and should refrain from raking during bird and turtle nesting season.

  5. “if your dissing dunes, you’re not getting in my good graces.”
    What on earth?
    I wonder how many Fort Myers Beach residents lay awake at night fretting about whether they are in this councilman’s good graces?!

  6. I think it’s interesting this has not been communicated to the residents of the south end until now. I think the residents at Island Winds have done their homework better than the town council.

  7. Not in his good graces? Is that what residents need to do to have their “elected” representatives work on their behalf? The TC needs to explain why “artificially” creating more turtle friendly areas (which we believe is the ultimate end goal for their plan, particularly considering that the other reasons are not justified on our stretch of beach as alluded to by Mr. Nussbaum in your article) is more important than the recreational opportunities afforded by this stretch of beach. Tens of thousands of visitors (not to mention the owners) each and every year for the past 50 (nearly)have considered our stretch of paradise to be a “destination” spot primarily due to the beach!! We do not want to see our rental income plummet when our renters decide to find another destination beach to recreate on and their associated financial contributions to the island’s economy. Oh, and as everyone agrees or admits to..it is not eroding. Where else on this island can you enjoy and have adequate space for sand athletics (baseball, soccer, volleyball, bocce, etc.)? The TC needs to stop blindly following staff recommendations and do their own due diligence with this matter. Come spend an afternoon among us and see for yourself why we feel that it is “critical” to rescind the request to have FDEC assign “critically-eroding” to our stretch of beach!!

  8. This is a multifaceted issue that really has me curious. The presenters in Monday’s Town Council meeting from Island Winds, were very well prepared and educated. I understand both sides of the issue. Very compelling arguments against….especially with such an enormous beach growing by 8 feet each year.

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