Commission picks two types of sand


Commission picks two types of sand


Date: June 9, 2010
by: Kurt Schultheis | City Editor


The subject of each e-mail from 37 Key residents to town commissioners last week was the same: We want white sand. Only two e-mails advocated darker sand.

Residents were responding to a memo Town Manager Bruce St. Denis issued May 27 to all residents asking them for their input in the town’s sand-selection process for its beach project.

Apparently, the residents’ messages weren’t clear enough.

At its June 7 regular meeting, the commission chose both types of sand for its 2011 beach renourishment project.

The commission was conflicted over whether to spend $40 million to $50 million for fine, white sand for the Key’s beaches.

The caveat is that if the commission decided not to use the slightly darker, coarser sand, the town would not be eligible for a reimbursement of up to $5 million from Port Dolphin LLC.

Port Dolphin, which has plans to lay a liquefied natural-gas pipeline in the Gulf and connect it to Port Manatee, has agreed to pay the town up to $5 million if it takes (by June 2012) the slightly darker sand that now lies in the pipeline’s future corridor.

Sands Point resident Todd Stern was upset with commissioners for even considering the darker sand option.

“There is no question from the input you received that everyone wants this white sandy beach and people are willing to pay for it,” Stern said. “The community wants the white sugary sand and that’s what we should get.”

L’Ambiance resident Bob White agreed.

“The whiter, finer sand is what people want,” White said.

But the majority of the commission couldn’t let go of the $5 million reimbursement incentive.

Commissioner Robert Siekmann voiced support for using the white sand, while using the slightly darker sand in high-erosion areas.

“I don’t want to lose the chance to be reimbursed by Port Dolphin,” Siekmann said. “Those guys owe us. “

The cost of using both types of sand for the project is expected to cost approximately $40 million to $50 million — the same cost for using white sand only.

But Town Manager Bruce St. Denis noted that the town will be eligible for the $5 million reimbursement by using both types of sand.

Although Mayor George Spoll urged his fellow commissioners to vote for what residents asked for, there was not a consensus for using white sand island-wide.

Commissioner Phillip Younger called the difference in sand “minute in color.”

And Commissioner David Brenner worried about the beach’s cost.

By comparison, St. Denis said that the slightly darker option that would be used for this beach project is not as dark as what was placed on the beach in 2006.

When Commissioner Lynn Larson made a motion for the whitest sand island-wide, only Spoll supported her motion.

Vice Mayor Jim Brown and Commissioners Hal Lenobel, Younger, Larson and Siekmann eventually voted for using both types of sand. Spoll and Brenner did not support the option.

The slightly darker sand, St. Denis said, will mostly be used on the north end of the island from North Shore Road just south of Broadway because the sand will hold there longer.

The rest of the island, for the most part, will receive the whiter sand.

David Miller, a Village resident and the owner of Cannons Marina, was disappointed to learn the north end will get darker sand.

“The white sand is what it’s all about out here,” Miller said. “But I’m glad this option won’t be near as dark as what’s sitting out there now.”

Dave Reploeg, a 33-year resident of Longbeach condominiums, says he is less concerned with the color of the sand.

“White is always nice,” Reploeg said. “But, at this point, I just want a beach back behind my property.”
But not everyone feels that way.

In an e-mail sent to St. Denis on Monday, north-end residents Jim and Gail Sherer wrote: “We believe the town owes the people of the north end of the island the white sand that was promised after the last renourishment.”

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Currently 2 Responses

  • 1.
  • Re: Commision picks two types of sand.

    I am an owner in the much mentioned Longbeach Condominium Group on the eroding North end of the Key. I first visited Longboat in the late 1950’s.

    It has been well documented in your, and other papers, that a major contributor to the erosion on the north end, including the expansion of Beer Can Island, is due to the lack of inlet dredging and the resultant beach restoration that the Army Corps of Engineers were performing regularly during the 1980’s on Beer Can Island and the immediate North end beaches.

    Absent that, throw in the apparently contentious relationship between the Town and Manatee County which caused stagnation in dealing with the erosion on Beer Can beginning at least five years ago, and lastly the advent of storms that naturally take advantage of any unprotected land, and the result is the erosion that we see.

    I have been following the actions of the Town through the Town Manager, and the Commissioners. I find their treatment of the owners of property on the North end to be appalling.

    Here is an area where our beach has been left to decay and what do we receive? Threats of breakwaters that would trash our views but save money for everyone else then to be spent on their southerly needs, threats of cell phone towers because the south end doesn’t want them even though they are the ones who have the highest population hence the most cell phones, threats of inferior darker sand because after all, the north end is apparently populated by undeserving residents.

    Building permits were originally issued to Longbeach in 1974-75 creating 89 property tax paying units that the Town/County were hungry to receive the revenue from. The building locations haven’t changed nor been added to since then. So, what did the Town/County think was going to be required in order to keep the beach healthy there, just like all the beaches on the key? The north end residents pay just as much as everyone else for the sand, and all the services on this Island.

    If the north end of the Key is allowed to erode away, the beaches southerly would become the north end just like we did when Beer Can was allowed to degrade, and then the beaches below them would erode and eventually there would be no key at all, or there would be one long breakwater surrounding, and affecting the views of, the entire Island. Wonder how IPOC and the rest of the Key residents would respond to that.

    Recently the Town arranged for a minimal amount of dark, coarse sand for a small area on the north end which was intended to buy time until the decision to do the job properly could be made at the State level. I am not aware of any decision in that regard.

    So, the thanks we get for putting up with endless dump trucks, bulldozers, soft and impossible to walk on sand, not to mention the equipment noise from dawn past dusk, is the insult of potential breakwaters and darker, coarser sand, all because we have the unenviable task of protecting the rest of the key from the conditions that endlessly plague us. Oh, and by the way, all this regular beach work is conveniently scheduled during the fall and winter right when we are here to use our condo’s.

    Shame on those at the Town who present themselves as our representatives and who subject us to both the insults of their actions, and the lack of respect for our contribution to the rest of the Key. If I understand it correctly, the north end alone is to get inferior sand, but pay the same amount for it as if we had actually gotten the prime sand. Is this another way of thanking us for the sacrifice we make for everyone else?

    I want to pay the same as everyone else, and I want to get the same sand as everyone else. In addition I want the people who think it is acceptable to split the Island into residents who are treated better than others, to resign from their positions and go back to wherever it is that it is acceptable to create class warfare, discrimination and indifference.


    David Baughman
  • david baughman
    Thu 17th Jun 2010
    at 11:23am
  • 2.
  • Isn't the white sand also mainly quartz crystal?
  • RC Summers
    Wed 9th Jun 2010
    at 10:43am
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