Public comment at the 11/3/21 City council meeting from the BTA
The topic is dune protection. Council needs to take a close look at the ordinances dealing with it, specifically regarding compliance, law enforcement and the wording of the ordinances. They are Chapter 101, Beach and Dune Protection, and Ordinance 23 of 2018 amending it.
Unfortunately, this amendment weakens, not strengthens, Chapter 101.
Ten permits under this amendment have been issued so far this year. There has also been cutting of trees etc. without permits. That’s a violation of Ordinance 23.
However, the key issue here is any cutting at all, and the lack of compliance with and enforcement of Chapter 101. It defines clearly the legal activities on the dunes. Removing vegetation to unblock an ocean view for a property owner is not one of them.
Ordinance 23 requires the permit applicant to state on the application the nature of the work to be done. However, the application does not include such a requirement, only space for estimated project cost and the amount of the permit fee. Without such written information how does the City know if this work complies with Chapter 101’s definition of a permitted activity?
We have two kinds of violations – no permit and an unpermitted activity. Private property owners have no authority to manage the City-owned dunes for their private benefit.
Councilman DeLucry expressed this fact at the 10/17/2018 City council meeting which approved the dune vegetation maintenance permit.
Under Ordinance 23 of 2018, it appears that the City is enabling, without a public purpose, private property owners to get such a benefit.