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

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

“It’s not a prohibition but you develop your buildings and structures with much higher design standards to be able to withstand up to a 100-year storm event and all of those buildings that were typically destroyed during Hurricane Opal were those structures built prior to implementation of this coastal program,” said Dombrowski. “It really showed that it works.”

Florida’s DEP has a Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) which regulates where homes can be sited on a beachfront lot.

“Basically, every open gulf shoreline in the state has one of those lines,” he said.

Property owners submit an application to DEP which examines such items as the depth of pilings and if the structure is high enough. Dombrowski said it doesn’t necessarily reflect the design standards of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) but DEP looks at more details such as siting of the structure to minimize damage to the beach and dune.
If 50 percent or more of a home is damaged by a storm, the homeowner would be required to rebuild the home to current storm standards, he said.

The Florida Panhandle does not receive dredging or federal beach renourishment. Walton County is undertaking a feasibility study to determine if a federal project is warranted and if so, the cost involved, said Dombrowski.

If your building a house on the beach, he said a question to ask is “Do you have enough dry beach in front of your house to construct a dune in the first place?” If you have a narrow beach, the dune will provide some protection but during even a small storm, water may overtop and erode the dune, said Dombrowski. He said an alternative is to construct a seawall or revetments.

Seaside spokeswoman Lori Leath Smith said Seaside was the dream of Robert S. Davis and Daryl Rose Davis. Robert Davis inherited the land from his grandfather.

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