Charlotte, Sarasota team for sand

Charlotte, Sarasota team for sand



ENGLEWOOD — Sarasota and Charlotte counties may be ready for a joint effort to fight beach erosion on Manasota Key. "That’s very good news," said Joan Dunham-Card, president of the South Manasota/Sandpiper Key Association.

"The Gulf has no clue where the county line is," Dunham-Card said.

Charlotte County commissioners will be asked Tuesday to approve a joint agreement allowing Sarasota to join its beach renourishment effort. Last month, Sarasota commissioners approved $70,000 for an engineering study, design and permitting for a beach project! .

The agreement also calls for Sarasota County to hire Coastal Engineering Consultants, the firm that’s been overseeing Charlotte’s beach renourishment project.

In the South Manasota/ Sandpiper Key Association’s December newsletter, Dunham-Card wrote, "Manasota Key shoreline is seriously eroded, and it is clear that the beach will not restore itself. The need for restoration has been clearly established."


Charlotte County is still working on a multiyear funding strategy to pay what could be a $28-million initial beach renourishment project.

The project includes a one time, $7 million cost to re-create the habitat of more than 4.25 acres of hard bottom that’s been scoured out by erosion.

In November, Peter Ravella and his consulting team shelved a proposed funding strategy where property owners on the Charlotte portion of Manasota Key and Sandpiper Key would pay 30.5 percent of the costs annually through a property taxing unit.

The county would contribute another 30.5 percent, $1.65 million, annually. The plan also anticipated 39 percent of the funding from the State of Florida, based upon public access and other factors on Manasota Key.

"I think we are down to a couple of issues," Ravella said Friday, describing discussions on the methodology with county attorneys and staff.

"I think it’s going to look familiar to people," he said of the components in the revised funding methodology.

Ideal! ly, his team may be ready to present a proposed methodology to county commissioners and the public later this month.

Sarasota County commissioners will have to decide upon their long-term funding strategy. But to get started, they committed nearly $70,000 of Tourist Development Tax funds that will eventually have to be reimbursed.

Like Dunham-Card, Ravella welcomed a joint effort. They believe the state might increase its contribution into a more regional project — as well as reducing mobilization and other costs for beach renourishment.

Email: reilly@sun-herald.com


Charlotte County breaks out numbers for beaches


ENGLEWOOD — Peter Ravella and his consulting team could not bring final figures to public workshops this week for what Manasota Key property owners and other taxpayers will pay for a beach re-nourishment.

The team has developed formulas that will allow island home and other property owners to calculate preliminary estimates of what they might pay into taxing units. Charlotte County hired Ravella’s team to devise a funding methodology for long-term maintenance of the Gulf shoreline fr om Don Pedro Island north to the Sarasota-Charlotte county line on Manasota Key.

Consulting finance attorneys are still working with Ravella’s team to determine how to assess restaurants and other commercial properties, condominium common areas and other miscellaneous properties on the barrier islands.

Basically, the funding strategy links three "freestanding" components:

  • The existing taxing unit for Don Pedro and Knight islands.
  • An existing taxing unit for Stump Pass management.
  • A new taxing unit for Manasota Key.

"You don’t want to rob Peter to pay Paul, but you do want to have, in certain (emergency) circumstances, where Peter can borrow from Paul," Ravella said. "An integrated shoreline management overlay is important because it gives the county flexibility."

Calculating contributions

Ravella’s team proposes a point system from which island properties could be assessed.

With the exclusion of commercial properties like restaurants, Gulf front assessments will be based upon one point per every 10th of an acre of a property’s lot size, plus one point for every 10 feet of Gulf beach front. They multiply that by the number of residential or rental units on the property.

Gulf-front property owners will also pa y a recreational component per residential unit in their assessments.

Other islanders — those whose properties don’t front on the Gulf — also will pay a recreational component per residential unit.

These properties may not be on the beach, but have easy access to it.

On Knight and Don Pedro islands, only Gulf front property owners are now paying into a taxing unit. They pay $15.71 per linear foot fronting on the Gulf.

That will change with all islanders contributing into the taxing unit.

For the Gulf-front Knight and Don Pedro taxing unit, one point equates to $92, plus or minus $25. The recreational component on Knight and Don Pedro islands is $165 per residential or rental unit, plus or minus $25.

On Manasota Key, a point equals $200, plus or minus $25. The recreational unit is estimated at $215 per unit, plus or minus $25.

The county will add $1.65 million annually as a "countywide contribution" that will match what island property owners contribute into the two taxing units.

All of West County property owners pay into a taxing unit for the maintenance of Stump Pass — $19 per $100,000 of taxable value. They will continue to pay into the taxing unit for Stump Pass. The "countywide" contribution is already collected through county tourist tax, state boating fees and West Coast Inland Navigation District funds.

Any taxing strategy will need final approval from county commissioners, and no assessments will appear on tax bills until the commission gives those approvals.

Other funding

The ultimate goal is to raise $4.2 million annually in local funding for beach renourishment — but local property owners aren’t the only ones who will help maintain the Gulf shoreline.

The county and its consultants remain confident that the county could garner from the state as much as 39 percent for the costs of a beach nourishment project.

Actual beach renourishment isn’t expected until the winter of 2019, according to the county’s website. The county now plans to renourish the Gulf shoreline every eight years.

The first Manasota Key beach renourishment will c ost more than $21.3 million, but that includes $7 million or more to mitigate a stretch of expose rock "hard bottom," which will be a one-time cost.

For more information, visit "Manasota Key North Beach Erosion Project" under Project Status on the county website at www.


Email: reilly@sun-herald.com

Please participate: write to our state legislators about beach re-nourishment.

Sample letter to Marco Rubio

Sample letter to Tom Rooney

Sample letter to Bill Nelson

Please participate: email Charlotte county legislators about beach re-nourishment.

Sample Letter to email Our Commissioners: ( click on addresses below)

  I am a resident/homeowner on Manasota Key. I urge the Commissioners to expand the boundaries of the Integrated Shorelines Management MSTU beyond West County to include all of Charlotte County. The beaches, both public and private, on Manasota Key are a prime economic contributor and asset to Charlotte County. Our beaches are the reason people come to visit, play and live here.

Even the City of Punta Gorda advertises Englewood Beach as a prime tourist attraction. The South Gulf Cove Homeowners Association, Cape Haze Homeowners Association, Rotonda Homeowners Association and the South Manasota Sandpiper Key Association all support the idea of a tiered tax structure with those directly on the beach paying the most and so on down the line. I believe this is the most equitable approach. It addresses the fact that the beaches of Manasota Key are vital to the lifestyle we enjoy here in Charlotte County.  






BEACH RE-NOURISHMENT Funds hard to come by (01/05/2017 Englewood Sun Article)

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