Flagler County feels pressure as dune projects slow down

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, August 07, 2017

Flagler County is updating community leaders and members on where it stands with dune projects.

  • Work to replenish Flagler Beach dunes slow
  • County, city feeling pressure from community
  • County says it's dealing with roadblocks

Many of the dunes were wiped out nearly a year ago after Hurricane Matthew but the county said it still needs more money to get the job done.

Community leaders said the questions have not stopped since Hurricane Matthew hit about when there will be more dune protection.

"The hurricane was October 7 and I'm getting emails saying what are you doing," said Flagler County District 2 Commissioner Greg Hansen. "Because there has been no appreciable effort to replenish the dunes and the dunes are gone."

"If the dunes aren't built up enough then the water is going to come through again and do more damage," said resident Barbara Deeks.

Hansen said they're faced with several issues with the dune projects.

"There are so many roadblocks standing in our way to actually start work," Hansen said. "Three major ones are turtles. We're in turtle season. Getting easements from each of the property owners. As you know Flagler County doesn't own the dunes."

He said another issue is the money. Between the expensive sand, transporting and the construction phase, they're estimating the projects will cost $20 million. But county leaders said they currently only have about $10 million in their budget for the project.
Hansen said they went to Washington to talk to federal leaders about funding and now FEMA tells them the dunes will be a priority.

"We just don't look good because it's been since October and appears we hadn't done anything. But we've been working daily to try to solve these problems. It's frustrating," said Hansen.

Hansen said more bids will likely go out this week for more affordable sand, but his earliest guess to start moving it may be October. Hammock homeowner Barbara Deeks said they'll just have to wait.

"I guess they have to be patient. But it doesn't hurt to inquire and write to their representatives to try to get something worked out," said Deeks.

Some residents asked the county administrator to send out consistent updates on the dune projects. The county said it will work on either email blasts or will post to their website to keep more people informed.