County, feds seek property owners' permission to re-nourish Vilano Beach

Sand from dredging to help beaches impacted by Hurricane Matthew

By Heather Leigh - Reporter

VILANO BEACH, Fla. - For the first time ever, sand from a nearby dredging project may be placed on Vilano Beach and North Beach to help replace sand and dunes washed away during Hurricane Matthew.

The goal is to re-nourish a two-mile stretch of beach to help protect homes in the area from further damage, but workers must get permission within the next 10 days from all 154 owners of beachfront property between Third Street and Pelayo Court in order to start the project.

The Army Corps of Engineers, along with St. Johns County and Florida Inland Navigation District, are hoping to use sand from dredging projects in the Matanzas and St. Augustine inlets that begin next month. But since it requires a 30-foot pipeline across private property, it can't be done without all homeowners' permission.

Meetings were held Thursday afternoon and evening at the North Shores Improvement Association Community Center to explain the project.

Some beachfront residents said they desperately need the sand to keep their homes from falling into the Atlantic Ocean.

“We did have almost a 100-foot boardwalk, but we’re only going to be able to put 40 feet back," said Connie Lohr. "I was really proud of our house. The roof we just had put on, it held up. We have 100 mph winds bracing against the doors. We left, but we had plywood up, which helped."

Lohr and her husband, Kenneth, said water reaches their back door at high tide, and their home fared far better than others.

"The sea takes away and gives back, so we could put all this sand up on our dunes, and if we have a nor’easter, it could take it away in one day. We need to protect these dunes as much as we can," Connie Lohr said.

Anyone who would like more information can call 904-209-0794.

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