With less than two months to go until the beginning of the 2014 hurricane season, the Siesta Key Association met Thursday for a meeting, which inclduded discussion about Sarasota County's post-disaster redevelopment plans.
Sarasota County Coastal Resources Manager Laird Wreford presented to the group of Siesta homeowners the county’s plans for housing and redevelopment in the case of a major disaster such as a hurricane or powerful tropical storm.
The county's plans, titled the Post Disaster Redevelopment Plan (PDRP), are a set of guidelines county staff prepared to enable the long-term recovery process after a major storm. The plan focuses on initiatives such as streamlining the permitting process in the wake of catastrophic property damage, guiding redevepment to minimize repeat losses and putting in place policies to allow residents to faciltate residents returning to their homes.
Work on the PDRP began in 2007, Wreford said, but the project stalled for several years after the 2010 BP oil spill diverted the attention of Sarasota County Coastal Resources staff to deal with the potential effects of that crisis.
The PDRP incorporates findings from other U.S. barrier islands systems that have suffered catastrophic hurricane damage, such as Galveston, Texas, and areas affected by Superstorm Sandy, to determine what policies and systems should be in place before a storm hits.
"Making planning decisions pre-disaster, in a blue sky situation, to the degree that you can, is far preferable to making those kinds of decisions in the midst of chaos and trying to recover," Wreford said.
Thursday’s meeting was the first led by one incoming SKA President Michael Shay, who stepped into the post last month.
Other items discussed Thursday:
- SKA board member Catherine Luckner said the association had no official affiliation with the recently founded nonprofit, Save Our Siesta Sands 2, which is raising funds to oppose the Army Corps of Engineers' project to dredge Big Pass. "It may be needed at some point, but we're not involved with them," Luckner said.
- The SKA reiterated its opposition to the use of stand-up paddleboards at the designated swim-area portion of Siesta Beach. The group's contrarian position is echoed by Siesta Key lifeguards and EMTs. "It's not like you can't paddleboard on Siesta Key," said Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson, who attended Thursday's meeting. "It's a question of who's going to patrol to make sure people aren't infringing on the swim areas."
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