Hideaway Beach renourishment uncertain as county reconsiders funding

Attorney Bruce Anderson and Dick Freeman (in the background) consider the implications Thursday of Collier Countyís Board of County Commissionersí decision to reconsider funding for Hideaway Beachís erosion control project. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Attorney Bruce Anderson and Dick Freeman (in the background) consider the implications Thursday of Collier Countyís Board of County Commissionersí decision to reconsider funding for Hideaway Beachís erosion control project. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Dick Freeman, right, explains his impression Thursday of Collier Countyís Board of County Commissionersí position on using Tourist Development Council funds for Hideaway Beachís erosion control project. Listening from left are Hideaway tax board members Joe Gardner, Chairman Erik Brechnitz and Paul Fernstrum. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Dick Freeman, right, explains his impression Thursday of Collier Countyís Board of County Commissionersí position on using Tourist Development Council funds for Hideaway Beachís erosion control project. Listening from left are Hideaway tax board members Joe Gardner, Chairman Erik Brechnitz and Paul Fernstrum. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

— Hideaway Beach's Tax District Board thought it had gained ground for funding its $2.35 million beach erosion control project. The community voted to be taxed at the highest level allowed for Municipal Service Taxing Units but fell short of the necessary funds for the project.

The board applied for an out-of-cycle Tourist Development Council grant and was awarded $925,000 in October. Collier County's Board of County Commissioners granted the funds for three erosion control structures. Hideaway's MSTU would pay for the rest including engineering, permits, dredging and replacement sand.

In December and with a newly elected member, county commissioners decided to reconsider the grant putting the entire project on hold. Commissioners will hear the reconsideration on Jan. 8.

On Thursday, the Hideaway board discussed the effects of the delay and possible loss of $925,000 if county commissioners rescind the grant. The project was planned to begin in the first quarter of this year.

Work requires 90 days of shorebird monitoring before dredging can began. The Hideaway board discussed beginning monitoring immediately hoping structures will be funded through the TDC. Erosion control structures can be erected prior to the completion of monitoring.

The project will take four to five months to complete with sand being added to Hideaway's central beach northward. A late start means the City of Marco Island will need to approve work into turtle nesting season.

Tim Pinter, city public works director, told the board dredging 24 hours a day, seven days a week could be approved by the city manager. That would reduce the number of days needed to complete the project.

Bruce Anderson, attorney for the Hideaway Board, discussed his belief that a misstep in calling for reconsideration in December may have left an opening for action against county commissioners. Commissioner Donna Fiala moved for reconsideration in November and was turned down. According to county rules, if a vote comes up for reconsideration and fails, it can not be reconsidered again.

That should have been the end of the story, Anderson said, and no other motion could have been made. But some county commissioners questioned whether the project met legal considerations for TCD funds that require the project to be in the public interest.

Since Hideaway Beach is a gated community, public access to the beach is restricted and only approachable by water. But the Hideaway board said it has documents showing the county accepted a "quid pro quo," receiving improvements to Caxambas Park and boat ramp in lieu of a 200-foot wide pedestrian access through Hideaway.

With Tigertail Beach next door to Hideaway Beach, the Hideaway board concluded the county put more importance on the boat ramp than on pedestrian access. Tigertail Beach is the county's largest facility on Marco Island.

Hideaway's MSTU is administered by the City of Marco Island placing its erosion control project under the city's public works. Pinter told the Hideaway board he cannot proceed with the project or award a contract until funds are assured.

Paul Fernstrum, a board member and resident of Hideaway Beach, monitors beach erosion. On Friday, he reported the beach that began with 165 feet of sand from the high water mark to the closest building, currently has 83 feet at the worst spot.

That spot was down to 67 feet on March 4, 2011, Fernstrum said, but tropical storms during the summer added sand taking it to 104 feet. Northwest winds in the fall removed sand and reduced the beach to its current size.

That volatility is what worries Fernstrum who said he hopes reconsideration by county commissioners will still provide the money needed for the Hideaway project.

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Comments » 8

skulljockey writes:

Klaus, I totally agree with you. No more public money for private concerns.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Take the lock off the 'Public' Restroom and we will see.

Hear that Councilman ? Your supposed to represent ALL the Citizens not just Hideaway.

1Paradiselost writes:

We all remember it was this group of homeowners that cut down the trees on Coconut Island. Once the trees were cut, Coconut was gone within 3 years.

That island protected your private beach. Now you have hat in hand looking for money. Time to pass the hat to all the residents of Hideaway Beach...

Your really did not expect your conservative neighbors who have their first dime to bail you out, did yea?

We can only support your beach problem when the gates come down and we all can swim on your beach & play golf on your private course.

Mayor_McCheese writes:

Provide public access to the beach and the money would flow - and should. Otherwise, take care of it yourselves.

cyberk9doc writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

We all remember it was this group of homeowners that cut down the trees on Coconut Island. Once the trees were cut, Coconut was gone within 3 years.

That island protected your private beach. Now you have hat in hand looking for money. Time to pass the hat to all the residents of Hideaway Beach...

Your really did not expect your conservative neighbors who have their first dime to bail you out, did yea?

We can only support your beach problem when the gates come down and we all can swim on your beach & play golf on your private course.

EXACTLY!!!!!! 1Paradiselost has the FACTS IN ORDER. I do not expect to pay for Hideaways PRIVATE beach no more than I expect Hideaway residents to pay for my seawall repairs. You control it----You pay for it.

ajm3s writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

We all remember it was this group of homeowners that cut down the trees on Coconut Island. Once the trees were cut, Coconut was gone within 3 years.

That island protected your private beach. Now you have hat in hand looking for money. Time to pass the hat to all the residents of Hideaway Beach...

Your really did not expect your conservative neighbors who have their first dime to bail you out, did yea?

We can only support your beach problem when the gates come down and we all can swim on your beach & play golf on your private course.

Hideaway has a propensity for asking those outside its community to subsidize a gated community. Consider the amount of reclaimed water that is made available to Hideaway considering its initial investment.

As Mr. Magel, has so eloquently stated in so many water rate meetings, Hideaway Beach paid several million dollars to bring reclaimed water to this gated community.

What Mr. Magel fails to include in his analysis is data detailing the actual cost of reclaimed water. At the current rate based solely on a percentage value of water rates, Marco Island is subsidizing those who use reclaimed water.

Perhaps Mr. Magel could provide a Powerpoint presentation detailing the basis for establishing COS for reclaim water. I believe that was never established, but I may be misinformed. At the very least, a review of the assumptions would be enlightening if ever a document was provided.

So I guess, where you live can be both a blessing and a curse, unless you can convince the islanders and county that gated communities need your support.

It was a great down payment for Hideaway to get a subsidized reclaimed water rate, now lets see how the beach turns out.

My money says, Hideaway will get what they want in spite of mother nature.

I guess it comes down to how much the county and community at large is willing to support a private gated community that chose to isolate itself for ambiance.

MrBreeze writes:

I am shure people related to that gated community have friends. The power brokers usually get what they want off the taxpayer dime.

In return, the municipal powers defend by saying the tax revenue that is generated by such communities even out the spending. That makes the little guy pay more or get less services.

AGM3 No difference in other citys where gated communities want to build they have run all utilties to just that community. Extending water,sewer, power all for the "benefit" of the tax base that the high end housing pays.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

We all remember it was this group of homeowners that cut down the trees on Coconut Island. Once the trees were cut, Coconut was gone within 3 years.

That island protected your private beach. Now you have hat in hand looking for money. Time to pass the hat to all the residents of Hideaway Beach...

Your really did not expect your conservative neighbors who have their first dime to bail you out, did yea?

We can only support your beach problem when the gates come down and we all can swim on your beach & play golf on your private course.

Well put.

I do miss Coconut Island. Sandollar is making a hell of a comeback tho.

Bottom line - it's absurd how the Hideaway residents demand the county funds their private community woes. They're in the top 1%, they can surely afford it.

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