What saved Seaside? After Sandy, New Jersey community studies South Walton

Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 08:00 AM.

“Really, that’s all that you’re looking for in a sand dune is to be able provide a supply of sand during storm events because if you have the sand, it provides that buffer,” said Dombrowski.

He said Seaside was designed “with nature,” using the attributes of the site — not destroying it but incorporating it into the theme of the development. The designers incorporated a substantial setback from the Gulf of Mexico for all buildings.

While Cape May’s homes date back well into the 1800s, Seaside was built beginning in 1981. The 80-acre unincorporated beach town has 480 privately owned homes of which 350 are available for vacation rentals. It has more than a dozen restaurants and 41 shops and galleries.

If you saw Jim Carrey in the movie, “The Truman Show,” you’ve seen Seaside.

Each beach access path is set far enough away from the gulf not to be affected by storms, said Dombrowski. Some beach accesses in Cape May provided a conduit for seawater during Hurricane Sandy, sending water onto Beach Avenue.

A big difference between Seaside and Cape May is elevation with Seaside’s bluffs topping out at 20 plus feet.

A plus for Florida’s Panhandle was a state-implemented and “very aggressive” coastal regulation program through DEP.

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