During a special meeting Tuesday the Board of County Commissioners put in place a local state of emergency to address coastal erosion problems,

During a special meeting Tuesday the Board of County Commissioners put in place a local state of emergency to address coastal erosion problems,

In addition to assisting the county and property owners with erosion from last month’s Tropical Storm Cindy, particularly at the Cape Shoals development, the state of emergency provides a framework for dealing with coastal erosion over the next 60 days.

“We could get another tropical storm,” said county administrator Don Butler. “It doesn’t even have to be a tropical system, just a weekend storm that causes erosion.

“We will be in a position to use any available assets.

The state of emergency evolved from Cindy and erosion caused at Cape Shoals, which resulted in county officials initially condemning the 16 or so units due to erosion below deck structures.

In some cases, there was feet of air between the remaining beach and any structure.

Last week, the BOCC approved an emergency appeal from the homeowners of Cape Shoals 2, or South, to seek a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit to place sand on the beach.

The homeowners of Cape Shoals 1, or North, proceeded, inadvertently, to bring in sand without a permit.

The FDEP came to the county and suggested the local state of emergency which would allow state and county staff to work directly on processing permits for work to protect private structures or public infrastructure.

The state of emergency continues for 60 days but can be extended.

And the broader state of emergency allows not only the homeowners at Cape Shoals the framework to bring sand to the beach, but also any coastal property owner similarly impacted.

“Anyone that had damage due to Cindy could be eligible,” said county attorney Jeremy Novak. “This will allow county staff to move forward and work with state officials.”

Novak continued that the state emergency means that “any and all available resources” would be brought to bear to protect coastal dune structure, public beach access and critical habitat.

Additionally, commissioners approved a resolution authorizing temporary 60-day permits for projects eligible under state rules and regulations to reinforce the beach and reduce erosion and property loss.

The resolution provides an expedited process for the Building Department to issue such permits and waives fees associated with the permitting.

As of this week, all but one unit at Cape Shoals was occupied.