Florida Homeowners ‘Nope Out’ of Beach Restoration Over Public Access

Red­ing­ton Shores, Flori­da, a “well-heeled beach town in Pinel­las Coun­ty” have a prob­lem: the beach between them and the Gulf of Mex­i­co is dis­ap­pear­ing fast. Accord­ing to a Grist arti­cle by Jake Bit­tle, “A series of storms, cul­mi­nat­ing in fal­l’s Hur­ri­cane Idalia, have erod­ed most of the sand that pro­tects Red­ing­ton Shores and the towns around it, leav­ing res­i­dents just one big wave away from water over­tak­ing their homes.”

The , specif­i­cal­ly the U.S. Corps of Engi­neers, has offered to haul in $42 mil­lion of new sand on the con­di­tion that 461 of water­front home­own­ers pro­vide pub­lic points of access to the beach­es behind their homes. Pin­nel­las Coun­ty tried to get home­own­ers to sign the ease­ments, but half of the home­own­ers refuse.

sit­u­a­tion high­lights grow­ing ten­sions between the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and home­own­ers in areas that are threat­ened by change. As sea lev­els have risen and strong storms have caused greater dam­age than ever before, the costs of pro­tect­ing and insur­ing beach­fronts in Flori­da and oth­er states have increased rapid­ly,” Bit­tle writes. He reports that the Corps put the ease­ment pol­i­cy in place decades ago so that it did­n’t spent pub­lic to restore pri­vate beach­es.

Local and fed­er­al offi­cials wor­ry that Red­ing­ton Shores, Flori­da, and areas like it home­own­ers are more con­cerned about views and pri­va­cy than their homes being dec­i­mat­ed are “sit­ting ducks for the next cli­mate-fueled storm.” But for now, nei­ther the Corps nor the coastal home­own­ers are will­ing to budge.

Updat­ed on June 7, 2024 at 4:30 East­ern to reflect that the sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by Grist. We attrib­uted it to Fast Com­pa­ny, which ran the it as a reprint.

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