SINGER ISLAND, Fla. - Extensive beach erosion caused by Hurricane Sandy has led to renewed calls for a permanent solution to the decades-old problem.
"We've lost pretty much all of the beach," said Fran Leist, a Singer Island resident who watched the hurricane's winds and waves tear away at the coastline from the seventeenth floor of a condominium. "It's a major concern. Your real estate values. People are not going to buy in a building where, you know, the ocean is about to come into the building."
The erosion is especially worrisome ten blocks north of her home where seven to twelve feet separate high rise condominiums from a fifteen-foot drop to the ocean.
Calls to build jetties or breakwaters have fallen flat over the years -- tied up in bureaucratic in red tape -- and worries over their potential impact on the sea turtles that nest on Singer Island beaches.
County commissioners most recently rejected plans for a breakwater in 2011.
"The sand we put there a year and a half ago is pretty much all gone and now the waves are cutting into the landscaping and getting close to the buildings," said Daniel Bates, a deputy director at the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management. "There are several buildings there that … have every right to worry about what's going to happen over the next few days."
A multi-million dollar dune restoration project that had been planned to begin in January is now scheduled to begin as early as next week.
Bates said 40,000 cubic yards of sand would be trucked into Singer Island.
But that, some residents worried, wouldn't be a long-term solution.
Bates said the construction of sea walls, another alternative, would be expensive and the costs would have to be absorbed by property owners.