Beach projects de­ci­sion months away

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY - By ALEESE KOPF

Res­i­dents must wait sev­eral more months be­fore the fed­eral gov­ern­ment tells them what beach projects are allowed on the far south end of town.

The U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers likely won’t is­sue its “record of de­ci­sion” re­gard­ing Reach 8 coastal stud­ies un­til late this year, Coastal Co­or­di­na­tor Rob We­ber told the Town Coun­cil last week.

“It prob­a­bly will be many months from now,” he said of the time­line. “They need to do more co­or­di­na­tion with the ad­vi­sory agen­cies. There’s still a lot of work re­lated to mit­i­ga­tion and im­pacts.”

It’s a de­lay that likely means no sand project would be ready un­til 2018-19.

The Corps pub­lished the fi­nal draft of a long-awaited study last sum­mer that cri­tiques pro­pos­als from the town and Palm Beach County to place sand on the shore and in the wa­ter south of the Lake Worth Pier. The en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact state­ment eval­u­ates how the pro­posed projects will af­fect marine life and their habitat and other ocean re­sources.

The Corps’ record of de­ci­sion is a state­ment list­ing its fi­nal find­ings. The town had ex­pected to re­ceive that de­ci­sion last fall.

Once the de­ci­sion is is­sued, staff will re­view it and present it to the Shore Pro­tec­tion Board for a rec­om­men­da­tion to the coun­cil. Then the coun­cil would ap­prove it and staff would be­gin the per­mit­ting process with state and fed­eral agen­cies, which could take months. Since projects must be per­formed in late fall/early win­ter be­fore sea tur­tle nest­ing sea­son, it’s un­likely a project would be ready un­til 2018-19.

Reach 8 ex­tends from Lake Worth Mu­nic­i­pal Beach to the south­ern town limit at the La Bonne Vie con­do­minium. Since en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists legally blocked a town plan to nour­ish Reach 8 in 2009, the town has pe­ri­od­i­cally pro­vided shore pro­tec­tion by restor­ing the dunes. .—

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