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.