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St. Lucie County changing storm rules regarding barrier island access

Placards no longer required
Posted at 5:19 PM, May 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 04:26:26-04

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- Sean and Angie McNamara of Fort Pierce know hurricane season is around the corner, and Angie is a bit worried.

“If we didn’t have a tropical storm last year, I’m pretty sure we’re going to have it this year," said McNamara.

The McNamaras, who have lived up and down Florida’s east coast, have sometimes left town, but may stay in the future.

“We always get everything boarded up, and we get our food and water ahead of time," she added.

“The sheriff’s office wants all residents to get back as soon as possible, as soon as it’s safe," said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara Tuesday.

The sheriff says residents and property owners no longer need a Barrier Island re-entry placard, although it will still work. Instead, anyone approaching a roadblock will need to present two documents to justify their access like a utility bill or property tax statement to go along with their photo identification.

Another reason the placards won’t take on as much importance this storm season is because the neighboring counties, Indian River to the north and Martin to the south, did not have similar policies and Sheriff Mascara said it was important for everyone to be on the same page. “Condo owners on South Hutchinson Island, they shared with me it was easy to get into St. Lucie County with a placard but Martin County didn’t recognize it."

The Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit is contacting all condos and businesses on the island for a list of authorized workers so in the event of a storm, rebuilding or reopening can take place sooner.

If you have questions, you can contact the Crime Prevention Unit at 772-871-5303.