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Flagler beaches remain closed after ocean water tests

Flagler County estimates Hurricane Matthew damage at $72M

StormPins photo shows heavy surf undermined State Road A1A.
StormPins photo shows heavy surf undermined State Road A1A.

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – Flagler beaches remain closed until ocean water tests return with normal levels of enterococci bacteria.

Tests are regularly taken at six locations within Flagler County by the Flagler Health Department, and some of the test results from samplings five days after Hurricane Matthew returned higher than normal levels of enterococci bacteria.

Results at Washington Oaks, Beverly Beach, and Gamble Rogers were high enough to warrant the issuance of an advisory. Samples both north and south of the pier were elevated.

“We recommend posting an advisory when the test results come back at 70 colony forming units per 100 milliliters of water,” said John Bey, Environmental Health Director.

The Health Department is re-testing water Friday, and the results of those tests are expected Saturday afternoon.

“We want to see what the new test results are before we reopen the beaches,” Flagler County Administrator Craig Coffey said. “We know people want to get back to the beaches they love -- they are one of our greatest assets here in Flagler. We need to make sure that everyone is safe.

Flagler Beach begins debris pickup

Yard waste pickup in Flagler Beach began Thursday with help from a contracted debris collection company.

The area reported an estimated $15 million in damage from Hurricane Matthew, including five homes destroyed and five more with major damage. Nearly 600 homes in all were affected by the storm.

The city of Flagler Beach has contracted with Crowder Gulf: Disaster Recovery & Relief Management to pick up debris left by Matthew.

The efforts started Thursday and removal will begin on the west side of the city. Crowder Gulf crews will work their efforts eastward and multiple passes will be made in the coming week to assist with yard waste debris removal.

Residents can put un-bagged yard waste to the side of the road for removal. Yard waste consists of the following; branches, leaves, trees limbs, underbrush, etc. The importance of separating yard waste debris associated with the storm from normal household waste/garbage (Class 1) and construction debris (treated wood, metal, aluminum siding, etc.) cannot be understated, officials said. At this time, Crowder Gulf will make multiple passes for yard waste only.

The city's sanitation crews will be picking up household garage (Class 1) as normal and crews along with Crowder Gulf may pick up construction debris in the very near future.

“We’re asking our citizens to separate waste into three categories; yard waste debris, house waste/garbage (Class 1) and construction debris. Our goal is to remove debris created by Hurricane Matthew as quickly as possible and the assistance of our residents is paramount to these efforts,” city manager Larry Newsom said.

If there are any questions regarding the removal or yard waste debris (or any other trash removal questions), please feel free to contact City Hall at 386-517-2000.

Damage estimated at $72M

Flagler County has furnished the state of Florida with its initial “individual” damage assessment reports from Hurricane Matthew in the amount $72,820,117.

State of Florida Department of Emergency Management will travel to Flagler County to perform its own assessment to ensure they are in agreement with our initial individual numbers.

Estimated residential damage totaled $66,124,679.

So far, 11 homes in Flagler County were destroyed. Another 164 received major damage, which -- by FEMA definition -- means that repairs are possible, but not within 30 days. These numbers will likely change.

Homes that received minor damage -- that which can be repaired in fewer than 30 days number 294. In total there were 1,276 with properties that were “affected,” which can include things like a fallen tree leaning on a house that has not penetrated it.

Unincorporated Flagler County suffered $49,659,830 in estimated total damages -- and $48,033,938 in residential damages. That includes 462 affected single-family homes, 242 with minor damage, 159 with major damage, and six that were destroyed.

Flagler Beach had total estimated total damages of $15,178,829 – and $13,166,109 residential. Five homes were destroyed, another five suffered major damage, 27 minor damage and 558 residential homes were affected.

One restaurant suffered major damage, one with minor damage and another five were affected. Damage to restaurants is estimated to be $426,402 and hotels suffered another $414,302 in damages.

Total estimated damages in Beverly Beach are estimated to be $4,001,517. Marineland suffered an estimated $135,515 in damages.

Palm Coast total damages are estimated to be $3,585,412. Total damages in Bunnell are estimated at $259,014.

IMAGES: Devastation along Matanzas, Flagler County coastline

Flagler County continues to operate a call center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 386-586-5111. The Red Cross has established a Hurricane Matthew hotline at 800-768-8048 to provide information about the resources available in every county.

Flagler County's beaches will be closed until further notice because of safety issues, including damage to the Flagler Beach Pier.

Crews are assessing the damage and will provide recommendations for repairs.

“Our pier is a landmark that draws thousands of visitors to our city, and we’re working to establish just how much damage was sustained as a result of Hurricane Matthew," Newsom said.

If there are any questions regarding the comprehensive assessment of the pier, please feel free to contact City Hall at 386-517-2000.

Most of State Road A1A in Flagler County is undriveable, with long sections of the highway washed out by the storm surge.

‘Farm Share’ provides food, goods Monday

Farm Share will be at the Flagler Executive Airport to provide meals and other goods to residents trying to restore order to their lives in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

Sen. Travis Hutson and Representative Paul Renner convinced Farm Share to clear a spot in its packed agenda to provide relief to Flagler residents. Both Hutson and Renner will also be at the airport Monday to assist with the distribution.

“We are getting wonderful support from our district representatives,” Flagler County Chair Barbara Revels said. “It means a lot to the residents of Flagler County to see so many people working so hard to make sure their needs are met.”

Distribution will begin at 9 a.m. and will continue as long as supplies last. It will provide a good opportunity for those who have been unable to get other food assistance.

The mission of Farm Share is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to non-perishable foods and other goods.

Typical distributions by Farm Share in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew include boxes that contain a day’s worth of food for a single person -- three meals and one snack -- water, and other necessary family needs, like baby food.

“There are areas of Flagler County that look fine now, but there are a lot of people for whom this storm was devastating,” Coffey said. “We are doing everything we can to take care of all of Flagler County’s residents.”

Farm Share has a public-private partnership with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Florida Department of Corrections.

Assistance Center closes physical location, virtual opens

Flagler County is closing its Assistance Center located at the Palm Coast Branch Library and opening a virtual center that can be accessed from any computer.

The virtual center is located at www.flaglerassist.com. That site is immediately available.

Links are available to various agencies on the site to ease the process for residents. 

Though a federal declaration has yet to be made to qualify Flagler County for Individual Assistance, residents can pre-register at www.disasterassistance.gov. This site is among those directly linked from the site.

Filling out the “address look-up” currently provides the message: “No disasters declared for Individual Assistance were found for this address.” Despite that message, residents can still apply for assistance: “The system will let you proceed if early registration is open for your state or county. Your application will proceed if your county is added to an active declaration.”

There is also a FEMA Helpline that is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. The number is 800-621-3362, TTY is 800-462-7585.

Call-in center open Saturday, Sunday

Flagler County’s call-in center will remain open on Saturday and Sunday.

Volunteers will answer phone lines from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The call volume has gone down daily as conditions stabilize,” Coffey said. “We want to keep the center open a little bit longer so we can continue to answer questions.”

The phone number to the call-in center is 386-586-5111.

Though a federal declaration has not been issued for Individual Assistance, residents can pre-register at www.disasterassistance.gov.

FEMA recommends residents begin or continue clean-up efforts, and make sure to keep repair receipts and document damages -- with pictures when possible.

FEMA officials state residents may receive the follow message before an Individual Assistance declaration is made, but residents do not need to re-register once one is: “FEMA has received and reviewed your application for disaster assistance.  Your application cannot be completely processed at this time with FEMA's IHP program.  If you believe this is incorrect or to make a correction to your application you must contact FEMA. If you have any questions, please call FEMA's helpline at 800-621-3362 or visit http://www.disasterassistance.gov.”

Those in need of shelter and those who have other emergency needs should call 211 for information.

Cleaning supplies being distributed

American Red Cross will have two roving vehicles distributing common household cleaning supplies and yard equipment in areas of Bunnell, Beverly Beach and Flagler Beach.

Residents who see the trucks will be provided with bleach and other basic cleaning supplies, as well as work gloves, shovels, rakes for both indoor and yard clean-up efforts. The trucks will be on the road until about 6 p.m.

Additionally, snacks and water will be available from these trucks.

“We greatly appreciate agencies like the Red Cross here assisting our residents,” Coffey said.

Flagler County waives some building permit fees 

Flagler County will be waiving some building permit fees to fast-track the permitting process for those whose properties were damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

The county will waive fees for permits that are related to hurricane damage until December 5. 

“We want to help people get their repairs made as quickly as possible,” Building Official Mark Boice said. “Certain things will not require a permit or inspection.”

Special exceptions will be made for the next 60 days in the following areas:

  • Roofing (one) 1 square of shingles – 10 feet by 10 feet or less – no permit or plan review required
  • Soffit and gutters – no permit required
  • Fence repair or replacement – no permit required if the previous one was issued between 2006 and 2016
  • Electrical repairs – permit required, but a plan review is not required
  • A/C change-out – permit required
  • Aluminum – permits are required

Contractors must be registered with Contractor Licensing to work in Flagler County. Proof of License and Liability Insurance is required.

Residents and business owners who have questions about either permits or inspections should call the Flagler County Building Department at 386-313-4002.

Flagler County Continues to operate a call center from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 386-586-5111.

The Red Cross has established a Hurricane Matthew hotline at 800-768-8048 to provide information about the resources available in every county.

Food distribution

American Red Cross and the Salvation Army will continue to serve meals Friday.

Meals will be served at 12:30 p.m. and again at 5 p.m. from the Palm Coast Branch Library at 2500 Palm Coast Parkway.

Lunch on Friday will be served at the Town Center Central Park and at the Hidden Trails Community Center at 6108 Mahogany Blvd. in Daytona North.

A roving vehicle will deliver meals in a variety of areas throughout Flagler County.

Boxed non-perishable foods intended to last families of four for two to three days will be delivered by the Salvation Army in the following areas: South Flagler Beach, Surfside Estates, Sanchez Place off State Road A1A in the Hammock; and, in Daytona North.

VIDEO: Sky 4 surveys Hurricane Matthew damage | Coverage of historic storm

City of Palm Coast phone lines restored

City of Palm Coast telephones came back up Tuesday morning. All city departments, including the Customer Service and Building Divisions, are now available at their regular phone numbers.

Customer Service can be reached at 386-986-2360. Representatives can assist with any calls about water and sewer (wastewater) service, pep tank alarms, and questions about debris pickup.

The Building Division can be reached at 386-986-3780 for permitting questions or to discuss whether the contractor you’re hiring has the right license.

State provides insurance, fraud tip lines

Representatives with the state of Florida met with local administrators and insurance companies Wednesday to ensure a response for Flagler County residents.

“Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier hosted the meeting to foster a discussion about Hurricane Matthew and its effect on our local community,” Deputy County Administrator Sally Sherman said. “The state is asking individuals to reach out to their insurance companies for assistance.”

Concerns about insurance representatives should be directed to one of the following numbers: 

  • Florida Department of Financial Services, 877-693-5336
  • Fraud Tip Hotline, 800-378-0445
  • Arson Tip Hotline, 877-662-7766
  • Public Assistance Fraud, 866-762-2237
  • Unclaimed Property, 888-258-2253

Additionally, Flagler officials caution residents that use caution when hiring for services and contractors.

Contractors must be registered with Contractor Licensing to work in Flagler County. Proof of License and Liability Insurance is required. For information, call Flagler County’s Contractor Licensing Department at 386-313-4076.