Retired Senator Burt Saunders made a surprise appearance at Friday afternoon’s Hideaway Beach District Board meeting to announce that the state has granted an easement that will give access to cross state property with equipment needed to commence with the beach re-nourishment project. With residents anxious to begin the work, this last necessary step had been delayed until two weeks ago when Saunders was asked to help move the process along.
Deemed an emergency situation, because of the on-going erosion of the beach ad and the need for urgent action, City Councilmen present were asked if the Hideaway Beach District Board might bring the matter to the City Council Meeting this coming Monday, to ask for the City’s assistance in the matter. Council members agreed to add the item to Monday’s meeting agenda.
Saunders’ announcement regarding the easement was welcome news for the large number of Hideaway Beach community residents who attended Friday afternoon’s meeting. They have serious concerns about the on-going beach erosion that is taking place at their shoreline. Their sense of urgency was evident in their questions as to when the project will actually begin, now that permits have been granted (in February) and now access allowed.
Hideaway Beach District Board of Directors, Joe Gardner, Dick Freeman, Erik Brechnitz, and Tom Talbot, as well as Attorney Bruce Anderson, presided over the meeting in which engineers Humiston and Moore gave an up-date on the permanent T-groin* project. (The first phase of which was completed in 2008 as part of the Hideaway Beach Erosion Control Project.)
There may still be hurdles to cross, as nesting season is imminent. If protected endangered species move to the part of the beach in question, large areas around nests will have to be left undisturbed until nesting season is over.
Representatives of Coastal Engineering Consultants, gave a detailed presentation of the North Beach Project Proposal, the second phase of the Hideaway Beach Erosion Project, which aims to extend the area of shoreline to be stabilized by adding six more T-groins. To curb waters that are fast approaching some of the Hideaway buildings, the project will start with a revetment wall that will be constructed on Hideaway property as soon as possible. Extensive bathymetric and topographic data will need to be gathered and submitted with designs to obtain an ERP (Environmental Resource Permit), and be submitted to the US Army Corps of Engineers. This means that realistically the earliest the revetment wall construction will begin is 3-4 months from now. The overall North Beach project is likely to take two to three years to complete.
There are about 620 households in the Hideaway Beach development. Hideaway has never been a private beach. It is called a private beach because it is so difficult to access.
*”T-groin” systems consist of steel and rock, and are specifically designed based on the current design in the area.