Vanishing beachfront: County’s Coastal Advisory Committee denies emergency funds for Hideaway Beach

Less than 30 feet from Hideaway Beach's 5000 and 6000 building foundations, a beach losing 12 feet of frontage per year puts two structures dangerously close to needing emergency renourishment and additional T-groins. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Less than 30 feet from Hideaway Beach's 5000 and 6000 building foundations, a beach losing 12 feet of frontage per year puts two structures dangerously close to needing emergency renourishment and additional T-groins. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Erik Brechnitz, chairman of Hideaway Beach's Tax District Board, asks Collier County's Coastal Advisory Committee Friday for emergency money from the TDC catastrophe fund to rebuild a beach buffer for two Hideaway condominiums. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Erik Brechnitz, chairman of Hideaway Beach's Tax District Board, asks Collier County's Coastal Advisory Committee Friday for emergency money from the TDC catastrophe fund to rebuild a beach buffer for two Hideaway condominiums. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Hideaway Beach's Tax District Board meets Thursday on Marco Island hoping to come up with a plan to shore up the beach and T-groins in front of the gated community's 5000 and 6000 buildings. From left are Tom Talbot, Joe Gardner, Erik Brechnitz and Paul Fernstrum. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

Hideaway Beach's Tax District Board meets Thursday on Marco Island hoping to come up with a plan to shore up the beach and T-groins in front of the gated community's 5000 and 6000 buildings. From left are Tom Talbot, Joe Gardner, Erik Brechnitz and Paul Fernstrum. Cheryl Ferrara / Eagle Correspondent

— On Thursday, Erik Brechnitz, chairman of Hideaway Beach’s Tax District Board, told his group there was a glimmer of hope for funds to prevent a disaster at the gated community’s 5000 and 6000 high-rise condominiums. On Friday, that hope was gone.

Between a rock and a hard place, the board attempted to request Tourist Development Council (TDC) catastrophe funds for T-groin structures to abate sand loss in front of the two buildings. Onshore waves have washed away nearly 12 feet of sand per year in front of the condominiums since the disappearance of Coconut and Sand Dollar islands.

The area is buffeted by waves lapping within 30 feet of buildings. Its sandy beach is gone, and the mangroves in a narrow strip holding what’s left of the dunes are dying from salt water incursion. In certain heavy surfs, salt water breaches the buffer and floods first floor parking garages, Brechnitz told Collier County’s Coastal Advisory Committee on Friday.

Although an urgent situation, CAC members questioned the project’s ability to qualify for catastrophe funds. Marco Island City Manager Jim Riviere spoke before the committee explaining Marco Island City Council had declared the situation a state of emergency.

Brechnitz asked where the line could be drawn. If not at 30 feet, was it 15 feet? Eight feet? Committee member Randolph Moity agreed the two structures were one storm away from catastrophe.

“If there’s a hurricane in the Gulf, the owners could be very concerned about their property,” he said.

The Hideaway Beach community raises funds through a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU). Under Florida law, it taxes itself to the allowed 2.6 mils limit and uses the money for beach renourishment.

The project to save buildings 5000 and 6000 with hard structures and replacement sand would cost $2.35 million. On Thursday, the Hideaway Beach Tax Board reported it had $469,797 in cash. The community’s MSTU is expected to raise $860,000 this year.

The board asked the CAC Friday for TDC funds of $950,000 to build T-groins, promising to fund the additional $1.4 million sand renourishment with its tax assessments. Brechnitz said the community would be short of money for the project without funding from another source.

The CAC’s attorney said TDC money could be used in the public interest if the entire beach system would benefit.

Moity pointed out that adding the T-groins now would help put off another dredging of Collier Creek. The county just completed a clean up of the creek in early 2012 costing $260,000. Hideaway Beach received about 9,000 cubic yards of sand from the dredging.

CAC members hesitated to fund work on what they called a private beach or to set precedent for using the TDC catastrophe fund in advance of an actual catastrophe. CAC representative Victor Rios said the county was facing more at stake than buildings. The destruction of protected mangroves and the habitat they provided also should be considered.

Committee member Joseph Moreland said using that definition of a catastrophe put public property at Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs at greater risk of becoming a catastrophe.

Calling for a vote to deny the petition, Naples Councilman John Sorey, chairman of the CAC, asked: “How can we use tourist dollars for a beach tourists can’t get to?”

Funds were denied by a vote of 4-3 with Anthony Pires, Jr., abstaining and Robert Raymond absent.

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Comments » 18

marcofriend writes:

I'll bet those at Hideaway Beach that complained about the Australian pines on Coconut Island wished those pines were never cut down now. Unfortunately, it is hard to justify using public money for that private beach. Open a road to the beach and you will have the support of the whole island.

captnjimbo writes:

And provide parking.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Dont forget the Restrooms they promised YEARS ago for the beach work they ALREADY GOT at our expense.
Could it be that the Chairman of the Marco City Council lives in the effected Buildings ?
Politics as usual.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

I have a nice laugh every time I pass Hideaway omw to Keewaydin

Mayor_McCheese writes:

They could solve the South Beach parking problem and get their beach fixed in one fell swoop. But they won't. They will let their condo crash into the Gulf and then cry for FEMA and insurance funds. A private beach is great as long as someone else is there to re-nourish it for you I guess.

deltarome writes:

I predict Larry Magel will get council to authorize taxing single family homeowners to fund this too.

bigkillsh writes:

thats so bad the mangroves are washing away .

happy6 writes:

the bathrooms are in marcoman...along with a beautiful boardwalk...get your facts straight please...and hideaway is not the reason that the pines on coconut were cut down...call the treehuggers at rookery preserve if you want to find the culprit...same folks that screwed the mackles 40 years ago...and yes anyone can use the beach...walk or come by boat.

deltarome writes:

Coconut island has nothing to do with the present erosion. That sand has been moving since the beginning of time and no small trees are going to stop forces of nature. The islands are gone for same reason the beaches are now eroding. For HWB to blame the present erosion for acts of some others, is rediculous. The beaches have been eroding way before HWB was built and they have no one to blame but themselves for not having enough money set aside to fund the lost cause of moving sand. All the dredging and beach restoration done down by Key Marco after Wilma is almost reversed itself. Constant funding will be needed to slow the progress of nature. Belize and Cozumel buildings put up their own seawalls and rocks to slow the erosion but it is almost being tested as the sand is almost all eroded away. Sand is too easy to erode. Rock is needed and way more expensive than pumped sand.

bigkillsh writes:

in the early 90's the selling point was " we can have those trees removed " meaning coconut island . so unless you have some point to make shadow make sure it's truthful . you probabley just came to marco during the boom and payed to much for some of HBA property that will someday look like cape romano . good luck getting the sand . HBA will be bankrupt soon becouse of the members on a fixed income can't fund the sand or rock needed .
oh by the way the bathrooms are great make sure they are cleaned again for my next visit .

happy6 writes:

first of all ..i don't live in HBA..2nd, bigkill...you're full of it...i've probably been here longer than you..20 years...and i guess you need someone to clean up after you...stay off the beach.
the environmentalists in naples removed the freakin trees...period.why are you so jealous of the people that do live in hideaway....get a life.

bigkillsh writes:

in response to happy6:

first of all ..i don't live in HBA..2nd, bigkill...you're full of it...i've probably been here longer than you..20 years...and i guess you need someone to clean up after you...stay off the beach.
the environmentalists in naples removed the freakin trees...period.why are you so jealous of the people that do live in hideaway....get a life.

first of all YOU should live in H B A . the way you stick up for them spending our tax $ . 2nd a lot longer than your 20 years . the enviromentalist loved the dollars given to them from H B A . to " improve the view " while building 4 and 5000 buildings . jealous of HIDEAWAY ha stuck up old cronies ( 90 % of them ) running the place like a k-mart and burger king . spending a dollar to save a nickle .

Pursuit writes:

We used to live near Doctor's pass in Naples & it seemed like about every 5 year's or so there was erosion very near beachfront condo's & re nourishment was necessary I imagine it must have been taxpayer funded but my point is that the problem will only get a temporary fix "Nature Rule's" Future planning for a re-ocurrance is necessary No easy answer on this one I feel that the Hideaway beach assoc. must bear some responsibility as they have pretty much exclusive use Which i very much doubt they want to relinquish Open up those wallet's or become the future Cape Romano Dome houses

happy6 writes:

in response to bigkillsh:

first of all YOU should live in H B A . the way you stick up for them spending our tax $ . 2nd a lot longer than your 20 years . the enviromentalist loved the dollars given to them from H B A . to " improve the view " while building 4 and 5000 buildings . jealous of HIDEAWAY ha stuck up old cronies ( 90 % of them ) running the place like a k-mart and burger king . spending a dollar to save a nickle .

you're a genius.

bigkillsh writes:

in response to happy6:

you're a genius.

you'll learn too someday .

marcoredeagle writes:

I have walked Tigertail 100 times. There is no beach access I can walk to. Please respond how you walk to it?

Walking Tigertail ... I see the fence wire keeping people from the HB area and get hot.

Where is the bathrooms? How do I get to them?

No Way they should get a dime of my tax dollars. They have had plenty of time to play fair and the have chosen not to. I wish them well ... but NOT a dime of my tax money.

Slackdaddy writes:

I've been a homeowner on Marco Island these past eight years. My wife & I come here on and off all year. We think it's really sad that there is such bitter political infighting between various "groups". Condo owners vs homeowners, Seniors vs younger folks with families & so on. You all fight so much you are willing to watch this gift destruct rather than work together. Dialogue & compromise is the only answer. I love this place. I'm hoping you all will see we are all in this together. Hideaway Beach is eroding like the rest of the island. Too much back biting! Support our global interests. Paradise!

Northerner writes:

"Support our global interests. Paradise!" Right on Slackdaddy!!!!!!

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