Officials address erosion concerns in South Ponte Vedra

Residents say problem worsened since last week's nor'easter

By Marques White - Reporter

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Homeowners in South Ponte Vedra say beach erosion could take wash away their homes if something isn't done quickly.

Residents say the problem was already bad and got worse with last week's nor'easter.

"We felt it was serious then," homeowner Marge Herklotz said. "This is all the way back 15 feet now. I watched it at high tide. It was very frightening."

The assistant county engineer was surveying the damage Monday and telling homeowners what their options are.

Meanwhile, residents are hoping the erosion doesn't get any worse.

One homeowner said the situation was so bad he felt he needed to put danger tape outside of his home to alert people about the stairs that were washed away by high waters. Some are making repairs themselves.

Residents said this is the worst they've ever seen it.

"How far is it going to go?" homeowner Debbie Burke said. "And some day are we going to be washed down to the first floor?"

Residents said they've lost more and more feet of land around their home, and it's not the first time.

"Where we're standing now, our steps were washed out in January," Burke said.

Wood and cactus plants are washed up on other people's property.

The director of Public Works for St. Johns County said officials are assessing the situation.

The assistant county engineer told residents officials are working with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and said they'll be meeting with the county commission in about a week to discuss how homeowners can obtain emergency permits from the DEP to detail immediate problems.

Dealing with those problems may require the use of sand and bulkheads. Meanwhile, homeowners are just hoping to move forward after all of this erosion.

"We'll do the best we can," Herklotz said.

The Department of Public Works said it watches erosion regularly.

Erosion must be 20 feet from someone's home for people to be able to obtain an emergency permit to get immediate help.

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