St. Johns lacks beach management plan


Editor: The Sept. 24 story, “Beach Erosion is a problem in St. Johns County,” focuses on the critically eroded beaches north of the St. Augustine Inlet, but fails to address an important side of the story. The beaches in this area have been eroding for years. The only way to ensure the long-term restoration and protection of these beaches is through sand placement.

Many coastal counties impacted by Irma are already placing sand on their beaches and rebuilding dunes. This is what usually happens around Florida after erosive events; the local governments and their beach management programs act quickly to restore the beach, protect upland structures and discourage seawalls.

But St. Johns County lacks a beach management program, has no coastal engineers on staff and has no dedicated funding source for beach management or sand. It is one of the few coastal counties in Florida whose beaches have been designated as critically eroded, but lack a long-term program to address the problem.

It gets worse.

The county has failed to adequately address the management of the St. Augustine Inlet and its erosive impacts to the northern beaches. Also the county has not done enough to increase public access to these beaches.

Without adequate public access the county is unable to qualify for available state and federal dollars that is routinely made available to other coastal counties. When a home is condemned the county could try to buy the property and develop access.

The county’s concern for these beaches seems to only be reactive after storms instead of proactive.

The lack of commitment to a beach management strategy will probably result in the longest continuous seawall in Florida.

And without future sand placement, the memory of the beach will be submerged under the waves crashing against the walls.

Gary Appelson


Appelson is Policy Coordinator for the Sea Turtle Conservancy

Extended bridge closures unnecessary

Editor: Thank you Len Cayce. Your letter to the editor on Sunday stated it perfectly. Being patient last year meant, by the time we called the remediation companies they were no longer answering the phones. Eventually we got through to a company that brought in crews and equipment from another state.

They did a great job, but the cost was much higher than many local companies were charging. Someone has to pay for their transportation, lodging and meals. We had two days to clear out the first floor, the movers were booked and our wonderful neighbors and friends stepped up to help us.

Others had to check gas lines to be sure they were not compromised. They went by boat.

This year I know someone who drove to J. Turner Butler and down to his home on Vilano as soon as the Jacksonville bridges were open, he had no problem with downed trees or power lines.

Others who stayed had no problem driving around and checking our homes for us as soon as the wind subsided. Can you imagine the stress level of the people who saw their walls ripped away or their homes tilting into the ocean on TV and were not allowed to go back and save what few things might be salvaged?

We should not be slammed for asking the reasons why our bridges were not open and everyone else’s were. We will not evacuate next time either.

Jackie Piontek

St Augustine

Timberlin shelter was ‘phenomenal’

Editor: My wife and I have tried to come up with words of praise for the good people of Timberlin Creek Elementary School. This was the pet-friendly shelter we stayed at during Hurricane Irma.

The folks that took care of use were phenomenal; Principal Adel, the teachers, staff, volunteers, the EMTs, Sheriff’s deputies and the National Guard were amazing and treated us like we were their family. Linda, Connie and Travis — we will love you forever. Travis and his wife were from St. Augustine High School and had their beautiful daughter with them.

May God continue to bless them and their families.

Ann &John Cooney

St. Augustine

Relax building codes … ?

Editor: In August, Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature passed a new law to make it easier to make changes to the Florida Building Code and to break the link between the Florida Building Code and the International Building Code.

This might make it easier to relax Florida building codes and build houses faster and cheaper.

In view of recent events, this action might be premature.

Ray Adman

St. Augustine

NFL disrespects American veterans

Editor: I am a veteran of the United States Army and the United States Navy. I fought for your rights. It is true that the NFL players and their owners have a right to display their protest in any civil and peaceful manner they choose.

Those who fought for, died for and defended our great nation were, and are, from every ethnic background in the U.S.

So go ahead and disrespect us all through your misguided antics. We all recognize that much of it comes from the fact that the majority of you are not the sharpest knives in the drawer to begin with.

Yes, you can say you attended college but did you learn anything, or did you merely attend so that you could play football?

Yes you have the right — but along those same lines, we have rights too. We have the right to disagree with you, to not attend your games, to not watch them on TV, to not frequent your businesses and to disrespect you the same way you disrespect us. The citizens and the police have their rights too.

Stop disrespecting their rights and start showing respect for the laws of our communities and our nation and then maybe, just maybe, there will be nothing to protest.

Side note: Nobody wearing a helmet playing a sport or game should be paid more than the one wearing a helmet defending our nation with his or her life.

Glen Tilley

St. Augustine Beach