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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 2, 2009 8 years ago

Venice sand site rejected

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Could sand that sits east of Interstate 75 be trucked to Longboat Key for use on the north end of the island?

Longboat Key officials sure hope so.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) concluded that 600 cubic yards of coarse, white sand near the Venice shore cannot be placed on the north end of Longboat Key because it contains too much shell.

Public Works Director Juan Florensa received the news last week, but has not given up hope that sand will be found somewhere to replace some of the beach that disappeared this year near the North Shore Road beach access.

Florensa said the town is still exploring three other sand sites, which include two sites near the shores of Manatee County and south Hillsborough County.

And, a new sand site is being explored in East Manatee County.

“A borrow pit that Schroeder-Manatee Ranch uses to extract rock, shell and sand in the Lakewood Ranch area looks very promising,” said Florensa, who is hopeful the state will approve a permit to take 600 cubic yards of coarse, white sand for placement near the beach access.

The beach access at North Shore Road was closed in March because the lack of a beach there created dangerous conditions for beachgoers.

FDEP, Florensa said, expedites permits for high-erosion areas when 600 cubic yards of sand or less is used for beach placement.

The town would like to renourish the hot-spot area until a major renourishment is performed in 2012 and a permit is approved for offshore breakwaters that will help stop the sand from eroding so quickly.

The cost of the potential project is unknown until a sand site is approved. But Florensa said the town could save some money by transporting the sand to Longboat Key using dump trucks.

West Coast Inland Navigation District would like to dredge sand this fall in Longboat Pass and east of Jewfish Key that is compatible for use on the island’s beach.

Both maintenance projects, which have been stalled because of permitting, funding and bureaucratic hurdles, will clear the waterways for safer boat traffic in that area, while dredging potential beach-quality sand for Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key.

But town officials are doubtful the sand is white and coarse enough for placement on the north end.

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