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Navigation Project vs. Federal Project

December 21, 2011
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Discussion of the current navigation project with beach re-nourishment, a long overdue state and locally funded remedy for the management of Matanzas Pass and its erosive impacts on north end beaches, should not be confused with the very different project that had been proposed for 4.6 miles of our beach.

The proposed longer project was federally funded, which brought with it a drastic change in property rights. Required easements would have been attached to each property deed and allowed public access on all private land up to nearly the structures at the 1978 coastal construction line. People were basically being forced to yield large percentages of their valuable beachfront property and turn it over to public access.

That is far different than the simple construction easements that property owners were allowed to sign for the state navigation district project that is currently being done at the north end.

Mandatory vegetation was a part of both projects, and certainly some property owners have the right to refuse that on their private property. It brings constant maintenance if you wish to control the spread as well as the persistent infestation of sand burrs. Ask those of us who have voluntarily planted native vegetation on our beachfront properties.

The fact is that most of the re-nourished beach will wash away and then the local authorities will begin to look to us to pay for the next one, as has been reported recently for both Bonita Beach and Naples. This may be assessments on all properties in a community for a perpetual tourist project that washes away.

Should we all be paying higher taxes and giving up our property rights for tourism?

A better use of tax dollars is to use new technology that provides a permanent solution to erosion problems, as most property owners who refused to sign easements believe.

Joanne Shamp

Fort Myers Beach



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