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Condo News Online Local News Page


Condos of 

South Ocean Blvd., 

Palm Beach

By Madelyn Greenberg

Last Updated 04/15/2016

Condos of So. Ocean Blvd.  

view from Intracoastal at Lake Worth Bridge

Photos by Jimmy Shirley

Palm Beach Voters Discover Gulf Stream's Undergrounding Debacle


The Town of Palm Beach Referendum bond vote on Undergrounding Utilities just squeaked by. Approximately one-half of the voters, 49.3%, opposed this project. Latest Update: According to Palm Beach County Civil Court records it has been confirmed that a lawsuit has been filed against the Town of Palm Beach regarding the bond referendum.

Just after the March 15th referendum vote, information was published that directly challenges Palm Beach’s "Undergrounding Success Stories" advertising campaign. Palm Beach had repeatedly used the small municipality of Gulf Stream as a successful "Poster Child" to encourage undergrounding the utilities in the Town of Palm Beach. The facts regarding Gulf Stream’s undergrounding utilities project, which is far from finished, has turned out to be quite the opposite of what the Town of Palm Beach led voters to believe.

An article in The Coastal Star newspaper, entitled: "Gulf Stream More Delays, Higher costs for Town’s Underground Utilities Project" (3/30/16), showed that there is a parallel between the two Towns’ paths. In 2014 a similar article was written. It’s now apparent that this horror story about a community converting to undergrounding and their unbelievable problems were kept from the voters by the Town of Palm Beach prior to the election. At the 4/5/16 Town Undergrounding Task Force Meeting, the topic was brushed past as if it is insignificant, which is startling!

Gulf Stream Mayor, Steve Morgan, was very forthright during my interview about the issues that they have encountered. The Mayor raised the potential similarities that are likely on a much larger scale when Palm Beach undertakes its own conversion.

The Mayor of Gulf Stream describes the assortment of problematic conditions in his municipality as "a sign of what will happen in Palm Beach, too." His candor and concern is prophetic and as the Coastal Star recently reported, "an ominous sign to surrounding communities", such as a massive 45 mile Palm Beach Undergrounding Project with far more complications and problems on their horizon!

Undergrounding utilities in Gulf Stream has been riddled with major problems which they have encountered, including continual delays. Their proposed three year project dragged on and, according to Gulf Stream officials the project’s completion will be more like six years, double the original estimated time. They must continue to deal with staggering cost increases. The work that was to have cost $2.8M will now approach $4M. This will put the total cost of undergrounding Gulf Stream’s utilities at about $6.5M.

Besides their cost overruns, there are also problems with the assessments. Confusion has resulted for those who have prepaid together with bookkeeping complications. It is necessary to remember that Palm Beach, which has over 8,500 properties to be assessed in its undergrounding project, far exceeds the assessments of only several hundred properties in Gulf Stream.

According to Mayor Morgan, Gulf Stream has 2-3 miles of undergrounding compared to the Town of Palm Beach, which has over 45 miles of wires to bury! Palm Beach has advertised that its project will take six to ten years to complete. If Gulf Stream’s 2-3 miles of undergrounding is requiring almost six years, how can residents of Palm Beach expect 45 miles of undergrounding to be done in the same or slightly more time? Seems like an unrealistic expectation!

In addition, Gulf Stream still has not completed phase one of its two phase project. There are construction issues and problems with FPL, AT&T and Comcast, "who do not work together", according to town officials. This causes delays in taking the poles down.

Another factor which Gulf Stream’s Mayor explained is that, although (as Palm Beach also plans to do) they hired engineers and contractors to design and then implement the project, they had a major issue dealing with FPL. Gulf Stream learned that FPL must review and agree to every aspect of the plan and implementation. Also, the Mayor said that "FPL does the actual drawings." This process was extremely time consuming because FPL’s response time is lengthy.

The Gulf Stream Mayor stands by his description of the construction site as resembling "a Benghazi suburb"! These sites remain in an unfinished state for long periods of time until FPL, AT&T and Comcast work together, the poles are taken down and everything is put back as it should be. The logical question is, "Why would Palm Beach be any different?"

Therefore, the similar pattern of delays, unfinished construction sites, traffic congestion, escalating costs of the project over the years, assessment issues that remain, problems from property owners who do not want transformers or switch boxes on their properties, missteps and mishaps, will create an even more fragmented Town of Palm Beach than resulted from the split vote the referendum left behind.

Another interesting comparison between the two municipalities is that Gulf Stream had a "straw ballot." This means that all property owners participated, not just registered voters. This is in contrast to the Palm Beach situation in which only Florida voters were allowed to participate in the bond referendum to underground utilities.

Mayor Morgan pointed out that, unlike Gulf Stream, "Palm Beach doesn’t have a mandate for this from their people." He said, in his community, they base their decisions on projects using "consensus" from the entire community. The Mayor mentioned that, without those same assurances, he felt it possible that Palm Beach was more likely to encounter continual opposition or challenges from their residents as they move forward with their undergrounding project.

In contrast, in the Town of Palm Beach, the Mayor and Town Council, prior to the referendum, were asked several times at Council Meetings to follow what other communities did and allow a town-wide "straw ballot." Palm Beach officials refused! Gulf Stream’s officials have acknowledged that at this point they have no choice but to move forward, because the town is too far into the project to turn back. Hopefully, Palm Beach officials will change their path and move away from this town-wide conversion project to prevent a parallel of this type of future that seems inevitable for Palm Beach if they stay their course.


Should a Flood Prone Barrier Island Community Vote to Underground Utilities? Know the Facts!

A 3-Part Series

(2-3-16) Part 1 of 3:

The Town of Palm Beach is proposing through a referendum on a bond issue on March 15, 2016, that they underground their utility wires in a massive Town-wide, $152.4 Million ($90M plus $62.4M in interest) 10 year long Undergrounding Utility Project. It will be "…payable from Town’s full faith, credit, ad valorem taxing power and non ad valorem special assessments…". This Assessment (tax) will require payments each year for over 30 years. This is actually an increase in the taxes you pay every year. It will be added to property tax bills for Town property owners each year. However, unlike our property taxes, this Special Assessment WILL NOT BE TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

Before the vote on this immensely important referendum takes place the residents in Palm Beach, as well as our Condo News readership, are entitled to know ALL the facts and implications of converting from overhead wiring to undergrounding. These impacts are important to all Town residents and property owners, whether they vote or not. It is unfortunate that the Town Officials rejected the recommendation by concerned residents to allow a "straw ballot" for non voter property owners who are equally impacted by the decision that Town voters will make on March 15th. The facts, implications and revelations that you will learn from this series will make everyone more aware of the important details that need to be understood before they are voted upon.

It is interesting to note that the Town has paid a political consultant $125,000, in taxpayer funds, to promote the passage of this referendum. The consultant at a public meeting stated, "We have … days to sell this thing."

If this Undergrounding Referendum gets 51% favorable votes, this will be the first Town wide Special Assessment within the Town of Palm Beach. Many property owners find that fact alarming because it will set a precedent that can lead to other Town-wide non tax deductible assessments for other projects going forward.

This proposed Town-wide Special Assessment is a rejection of pure Ad Valorem taxation which has been the standard of the American taxation system which began in 1812. Our property tax bills are normally based on assessed property values. In Florida the Homesteading benefit is an optional choice for every Florida property owner. With this Special Assessment however, the Homesteaders are deprived of their statutory benefits!!

The Town’s Special Assessment methodology is based on a perception of "benefits" that the Town claims will be calculated based on the Aesthetics, Reliability and Safety benefits that each property owner is believed to realize from the Town converting to undergrounding the utility lines.

Let’s begin with some important facts about RELIABILITY. I’ll pose questions that readers should answer after you have read the following facts about Reliability issues. These facts have been derived directly from FPL.

1- FPL states that "hardening" our overhead poles and lines withstands 145 mph winds. "Our strengthened power lines and poles have already performed better both during storms and when skies are blue. Our experience with tropical storms in the past few years shows that strengthened main power lines are roughly half as likely to experience an outage during severe weather. Under normal weather conditions, hardening a power line reduces frequency of daily outages by up to 40%."

2- Palm Beach Island is a low lying barrier island and is in the "Flood Plain", thereby making it Flood Prone. It doesn’t take a hurricane to flood many areas on the island. Sometimes a nor’easter or just a heavy rain storm will flood the streets within the Town of Palm Beach. Also, the Intracoastal is rising every year. It often floods the banks and the properties.

3- According to FPL, "While underground facilities are not as susceptible to wind and debris-blown damage, they are MORE susceptible to water intrusion and local FLOOD DAMAGE, which can make repairs more time consuming and costly." "UNDERGROUND INTERRUPTIONS…typically last longer due to more complex repair requirements. Following …hurricanes, we’ve found that areas that took the longest to repair were generally those served by underground facilities still flooded days after the storm passes. Damage and corrosion of underground electrical systems often shows up days or even months later, causing additional outages and inconvenience to customers."

With what you have just read, is it worth paying a Non Tax Deductible Special Assessment every year for over 30 years and endure 10 years of massive construction for a non-essential undergrounding project that will cost a minimum of $152.4 Million?

Does this sound like a good investment?

On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Town voters will be asked to vote for or against this Undergrounding Referendum. Knowing what you now know, why wouldn’t you "VOTE AGAINST" the Bond Referendum?


(2-17-16) Part 2 of 3:

Photo by Maddy Greenberg

Overhead "hardened" poles and wires south of Lake Ave in Palm Beach. Cement poles and coated wires that will withstand 145mph winds, quick repairs, free of charge to Town residents, no additional tax on property tax bills, made to blend in with trees and not obstructive to the view. Why spend $152.4M to get rid of them and pay up to a 10-15% tax increase for new underground utility reliability flood type problems?

Photo from the Florida Public Service Commission Undergrounding Report (FLPSC)


This transformer is underwater and the utility wires are underground. Is this something that we want to have happen to us on a "flood plain barrier island?


As was discussed in Part 1 of this 3 part series, the Town of Palm Beach is asking the voters to approve a referendum on March 15, 2016, to issue bonds that would pay to underground the Town’s utility wires in a massive 10 year Town-wide Undergrounding Utility Project.

According to one of the Town’s pamphlets, labeled "Information Guide", "Longboat Key" is identified as a success story. The following report is from the newspaper in Longboat Key, Your Observer, entitled "Power Outage Sparks Concern", dated 7-22-15, http://www.yourobserver.com/article/power-outage-sparks-concern, "Altogether, 3,500 Longboat Key homes lost power that night … some lost power for a few hours, while others were in the dark for up to 10 hours." "The main culprit for those 10-hour outages was an underground powerline … that fizzled out and needed to be replaced …" "The outage was a firsthand lesson for Long Boaters on one of the disadvantages of underground utilities."

The article goes on to say, "... when a line goes out underground, it takes longer to determine where the problem is coming from, to dig up the problem and repair it."

In addition, "...two above ground switch cabinets, which sit in metal boxes above ground and transfer power … malfunctioned. One of them smoked, prompting Longboat Key firefighters/ police to respond…"

FPL spokesman Bill Orlove stated, "It takes time to dig up a new wire and replace it". "It’s not the only con that comes with burying the island’s power lines…"

There is a similarity about Longboat Key and the proposed undergrounding utility project that the Town of Palm Beach is promoting. They are both barrier islands. Therefore, the major outage problems and impacts that undergrounded Longboat Key had suffered can easily be what the Town of Palm Beach would incur if the voters allow this referendum to pass.

Most significant is the statement regarding barrier island Longboat Key’s undergrounding problems, that "A severe weather event, such as a hurricane, could leave the island without power for a longer amount of time." "The island is susceptible to flooding after a severe storm, and crews can’t restore power until water recedes, so it delays the time it takes to restore power", Orlove said, "Water and electricity don’t mix."

A resident of Longboat Key said something quite applicable for Palm Beachers, "For people who live here year-round in the summer months, power outages that last this long are a real concern"…"The cons of underground service are real." Which the resident summed up with, "This may be wrong for this island."

The Town of Palm Beach is on a "Flood Plain" barrier island. Although the Town listed Longboat Key as a success, it appears that if we follow in their footsteps, the outcome would be equally sad and similar.

In contrast to Undergrounding, Orlove also stated that, Overhead "hardening efforts increase service reliability to critical community facilities, identified through our collaboration with local officials… These critical community facilities include hospitals, police and fire stations and emergency communication systems."

Therefore, the claim by the Town of Palm Beach that undergrounding utilities creates better reliability, is clearly taken out of context and not accurate as it relates to our flood plain and flood prone barrier island.

Town officials and staff have attempted to make statements of their own in order to counter the reliability "Cons" or "Disadvantages" from FPL, that tell us that "damage and corrosion of underground electrical systems often show up days or even months after, causing additional outages…". Town of Palm Beach staff have defended their claims of reliability by telling the electorate and putting it in writing that the cable under the Intracoastal doesn’t get wet inside and corrode, therefore neither would the undergrounded utility wires. That statement by Town staff reflects a lack of electrical and engineering expertise on this issue.

According to Izak Teller, Palm Beach resident, President of 2600 Condominium on South Ocean Blvd. and experienced electrical and construction engineer by trade, who worked on Manhattan island with overhead and underground utilities for many years; there is a very real difference between the cable that runs across the floor of the Intracoastal and underground utility wires. Mr. Teller explains that, "The wire under the Intracoastal is continuous, without connections or transformers. The wires laid underground for our utilities have ‘taps’ at every four houses to connect to transformers and the transformers are above ground. The transformers have additional ‘taps’ to feed the four houses it serves. These taps have to be made ‘accessible’… and they are more difficult to seal. IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SEAL ALL THE ‘TAPS’ OR CONNECTIONS REQUIRED. EACH CONNECTION IS A POTENTIAL AREA FOR WATER INFILTRATION. The lines under the Intracoastal are by definition more resistant than those placed underground for the utilities on our barrier island."

This major problem with corrosion and damage to the wires due to our flood prone barrier island and the power outage incident and consequences on barrier island Longboat Key, should make all Palm Beach voters’ common sense kick into gear. Common Sense tells us that regardless of the cost, significant or not, all voters should VOTE "AGAINST BONDS" and the Underground Utility Project Referendum on March 15, 2016. It just doesn’t make sense to do anything else.


(3-2-16) Part 3 of 3:

Photo by Maddy Greenberg

How would you like this new undergrounding equipment placed in front of your property? Why trade safe poles that are replaced for free for an underground system and HIGHER TAXES for the next 30 years?

The Town of Palm Beach is proposing a massive town-wide expenditure to be financed by all the property owners for the purpose of undergrounding utility wires. This town-wide project will go before the voters as a bond referendum on March 15th in order to finance a $152.4 Million ($90M plus another $62.4M in interest).

If this referendum succeeds, there will be a 10 year long construction and disruption within the Town, where the roads and parts of properties will be torn up. I heard testimony at a town meeting which indicated that there will be interruption of service, installation delays over problems that come from unexpected causes and power outages during the construction phase. Endless construction will become a way of life for a decade in the Town in order to underground utilities so that those who don’t like looking at overhead poles and wires will be satisfied.

In doing this series, I reviewed the Florida Public Service Commission Reports on Undergrounding as well as many other studies and reports; including FPL’s website. I interviewed Florida Public Service Commission, FEMA and FPL representatives. I learned a great deal about the advantages and disadvantages of both overhead wiring and undergrounding our utilities. Based on my research and the experts I consulted there appears to conclusive evidence that there are too many unknowns and disadvantages to favor a project that is so flawed both in its presentation by the Town, the difficulty with a conversion in an established community and, most of all, the construction and implementation of undergrouding utility wires in a flood plain, flood prone barrier island!

As a voter myself, I can not in good conscience support this referendum because of the many impacts it will create for the Town of Palm Beach. Among them tax increases on our property tax bills of up to 20% and more. Without the ability to take a tax deduction on the increase that would be levied upon us for a non essential luxury item, it will be a hardship for many and an unnecessary increase for those who pay enough taxes already.

In addition, there will be many other major inconveniences that this project will cause. There will be fights over which properties will allow the placement of transformer boxes, their size and also the larger switch boxes. Since there is no design or plan no one really knows what size the equipment will be in front of either single family homes or multi family condominiums.

With our flood prone issues and the realities that we know about the corrosion that takes place with the salt air and salt water intrusion, plus the flood issues that we have suffered from historically, which will only get worse with the rising seas. It makes for a flawed undergrounding utilities project, which is, in essence, like buying a pig in a poke with a blank check!

These facts make Town-wide undergrounding of utility lines for so many miles and thousands of property units a very different project than other undergrounding projects that have been constructed in other locations.

The question I have repeatedly been asked is why? Why are we being pushed so hard to do this? We know that the hardened poles and wires that already exist in the Town are not the monstrosities that we are seeing in the ads that the Town is showing! We also know that FPL will, in fact, replace wooden poles with hardened poles free and as part of the fees you already pay them! There are much more important issues and matters that need our attention. According to FPL Spokesperson Bill Orlove, "Hardening efforts increase service reliability to critical community facilities, which are identified though collaboration with local officials…"

FPL’s Bill Orlove said, "Undergrounding power lines is NOT a ‘silver bullet’." That same thing had been echoed by FPL Regional Manager, Ethel Isaacs Williams and John Lehr, who came to speak before the Town’s task force in October. They all acknowledged that undergrounding utilities means power would be "susceptible to flooding. The power outages in some areas may be on good days less frequent, but the outages from undergrounding are much longer to restore."

FPL’s Orlove said, "…in terms of overhead wiring, our strengthened power lines and poles have already performed better both during storms and when skies are blue. Our experience with tropical storms in the past few years show that strengthened main power lines are roughly half as likely to experience an outage during severe weather. Under normal conditions, hardening a power line reduces frequency of daily outages by up to 40%."

Logic and common sense tells a reasonable individual that we have little choice but to VOTE AGAINST BONDS in this undergrounding referendum. It is just not good, sound business to blindly buy an item and hope for the best! We need to get to the polls and VOTE AGAINST THE BONDS ON MARCH 15th!


Hurricanes, Their Strength and The History of These Storms Should Jolt Us Into Non-complacency

~ a 10-part series ~

(7-8-15) Part 1

The other night we had a booming thunder storm that went on for several hours. It sounded quite close to my apartment. The winds picked up and the rain came down quite heavily. At around midnight, for a few short minutes we lost power. All of this made me think about the fact that we are in hurricane season and although it is ten years this October since Hurricane Wilma, we should always be vigilant about the possibilities of being hit head on by a hurricane.

A couple of years ago, Tropical Storm Sandy was 250 miles offshore here in Palm Beach County, yet that one Tropical Storm which was so far away did its share of damage.

Let’s not forget the dangers of hurricanes and remind ourselves that we should be prepared during this season, whether by purchasing supplies or promoting shoreline protection, such as beach nourishment projects designed to protect ourselves from at least a Category 2 hurricane.

Let me give you a better idea as to what these "categories" mean to us laymen. There is a Wind Scale for hurricanes that goes from one to five. Category 1: have sustained winds of 74 up to 95 mph. Sometimes a Cat 1 storm is even more dangerous than a 4 or 5 storm, because if the storm stays in the area and moves very slowly, which is not likely with a Cat 4 or 5, it creates more damage. A Category 2 hurricane: has sustained winds of 96 up to 110 mph. This is considered a dangerous storm because of the winds causing more damage. Category 3: have sustained winds of 111 up to 129 mph. This level of a hurricane can cause devastating damage and loss of life. Category 4 which has winds that sustain at 130 to 156 mph is considered catastrophic in its magnitude. God forbid we are ever hit by a CAT 5 hurricane, with winds of 157 mph and higher, it will be a major catastrophe that despite shutters, hurricane glass and beach nourishment, the upland properties and those of us living in its path, will be devastated. The wind scale I describe is from the National Hurricane Center.

Aside from the strong winds, there is the damage that is caused by flooding in many of our low lying flood areas, plus the horrendous impacts of the wave action which will cause destruction to any shoreline that is unprotected, and cause a loss of property and create an unsafe situation resulting in millions of dollars of damage. As I recall since I was in my condo with my sweet parents during Hurricane Wilma besides everything else during the hurricane it sprouted tornadoes as well. Any of these storms can cause multi billions of dollars in damage to the infrastructure we have along the coastline and it will also do damage inland as we saw in other hurricane of the past.

That is most definitely a scary possibility and so we have to advocate for better shoreline protection projects so that a mere Tropical Storm does not cause unnecessary harm and we have the right to expect shoreline protection from a the very least up to a CAT 3 hurricane. For inland properties and infrastructure, better building codes, shutters and impact glass is something we need to make sure is taken care of.

Next issue I will talk a bit more about some of our historical hurricanes and what we should have learned since then.



(7-22-15) Part 2 

The last major hurricane to hit Palm Beach County, had no name, but this storm which hit the County back in 1949 hit the Town of Palm Beach in the south end, just north of what is now the Four Seasons. The storm made landfall on August 28th. In those days storms were not given names. Ironically, that began the following year. The storm was upgraded last year to a Category 4 hurricane by the Atlantic Hurricane Database.

Back then, there wasn’t that much of a population here in Palm Beach County, like we have today. If that storm hit us now, just on Palm Beach Island alone, it would cause many billions of dollars in damage with all the infrastructure along and adjacent to the coastline, which includes condos, homes, stores, the many buildings so close to the shoreline.

That doesn’t include the life and safety issues that would greatly endanger our populace. Isn’t that scary? I think it is actually terrifying. Especially, since we are greatly unprepared for such a storm. Just the flood areas alone, let alone that our buildings (our condos and homes) are not built or prepared to with stand such high wind velocities, nor the hotels and motels we will take shelter in.

Let’s pray, that doesn’t happen during any of our lifetimes. The loss of life would be more tragic than the loss of property, in my opinion. Especially because of the complacency that has become so common among all of us. I must admit, that includes me. Ten years is a long time and we forget or just choose to. I can’t even imagine what could happen to those that do not evacuate in such a storm, or choose poorly built structures to take shelter in. I remember how impossible it was to get reservations in hotels or motels at that time and how so many residents were trapped out on the roads in traffic jams on I-95 or the turnpike.

The 1949 hurricane had sustained winds of 132 mph when it hit the land. That made it a CAT 4 storm. It is said that according to an anemometer reading from Palm Beach recorded gusts were up to 155mph. Can you just imagine that and what the damage that would do throughout Palm Beach County? North of Palm Beach up in Jupiter and Stuart, the anemometer stopped after reaching 153 mph. The storm battered Palm Beach island for two hours and wreaked havoc, even in those days.

Let’s compare that to our most recent hurricanes, Frances, which hit on September 5, 2004, and a few weeks later on September, 25th, Hurricane Jeanne followed. This year is the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Wilma, which hit in October of 2005.

According to the National Weather Service, Frances’ winds were 64 mph in Palm Beach County, with highest gusts of 91 mph. The peak gust was measured at the Jupiter Inlet. Frances made landfall in Martin County at Seawall’s Point. The eye of the storm did move into northeastern Palm Beach County though.

Hurricane Jeanne’s strongest official sustained wind was recorded at 60 mph at the Lake Worth Pier, with an unofficial peak gust that was as high as 125 mph.

Hurricane Wilma, our most recent hurricane to hit us in Florida, has been 10 years ago.

For those of us, like me, just think how much our lives have changed since Frances, Jeanne and Wilma. Unbelievable! I know where I was in each of those storms. Who I was with and what I was doing. If you were here in Florida, what were you doing and how has your life changed since then?

Think about it and we will continue this in our next issue. Until then, be well, stay safe and make a prayer that we will have another year free of those hurricanes and hopefully free of a Tropical Storm, even one that hits 250 miles offshore.



(8-5-15) Part 3

In our last issue I mentioned the unnamed 1949 Hurricane that hit Palm Beach just north of the Four Seasons resort. That storm was thus far the most powerful hurricane to hit Palm Beach. The previous powerful hurricane to hit the island was in 1928. Some argue that it was the worse storm to hit the island, because of the damage it did. Luckily though for Palm Beach there were no deaths, unlike the thousands that it killed in the Glades after the dike south of Lake Okeechobee burst. Among the damage that the 1928 storm left in Palm Beach, it completely washed out entire sections of A1A. It took 20 years before Palm Beach was hit by second major storms, in 1947 and 1949, which apparently also washed away other parts of A1A or South Ocean Boulevard.

Jim Williams of Delray Beach, hosts a website called HurricaneCity.com. Apparently Mr. Williams who put together various data on cities along the East Coast and the Gulf coastline, claims that the Town of Palm Beach gets hit or is affected by tropical storms or hurricanes about every 2.07 years and hit directly with hurricane winds once every 5.56 years.

Yet it has been 10 years since Hurricane Wilma hit, so there must be other things that affect hurricanes and where they come ashore. They say that the water temperature being cooler and a weak El Nino have an affect on things. As we all know, even a tropical storm, 250 miles offshore can have a terrible impact on our shoreline. Isn’t that what Tropical Storm Sandy taught us just a few years ago? She damaged our coastline and reeked havoc as Super Storm Sandy when she went up the coastline.

When Hurricane Wilma impacted and struck Palm Beach, 54 years after the August 26, 1949 hurricane, Wilma was a (borderline) CAT2, there are some who say it was a CAT 1 storm. Either way, regardless of which category Wilma was, just look at all the damage she did.

God forbid we should get a 1949 type CAT 4 hurricane, then the hurricanes of Frances, Jeanne and Wilma will look like a picnic and we will find ourselves totally unprepared. Yes, we have better building codes and even our insurance has been upgraded with mandatory shutters in most condos and many people now have impact hurricane glass windows and doors, but remember, our buildings were built years before Frances, Jeanne and Wilma. Therefore our homes and condos may have the proper glass and shutters, but that doesn’t mean we are protected from storm surge and just because your home may be standing, doesn’t make it habitable. Think of the damage that flooding can do.

I am not attempting to scare anybody, just think about the fact that the storms are coming from the ocean and the storm surges and the impacts to our properties and homes comes from that direction, therefore the condition of our shoreline is of utmost importance to our survival.

At times like these, the lake level rises and floods, but our major issue and concern comes from the ocean side and without the proper shoreline protection we are all in peril.

Let me tell you a story when I was in my condo years ago, with my two sweet loving parents during Hurricanes Jeanne and later during Wilma. My mom had fallen in a motel where we were staying when we were evacuated during Frances. As a result, my dad refused to leave during the next two hurricanes. You may recall that I was a caregiver for my two elderly parents and I certainly would never leave them alone to fend for themselves, so we stayed in our condo.

Actually during Wilma, the Town of Palm Beach did not call for an evacuation until too close to the hurricane coming ashore and it was in the middle of the night.

Back in 2000, I was one of the pioneers along South Ocean Boulevard who had Hurricane glass and sliding doors installed in my unit. I do not have hurricane shutters and therefore I observed the two hurricanes while I stayed in my condo with my parents.

What I experienced in my observations was quite frightening. I watched the waves rise and the hurricane force wind driven rain and water came over the dunes and flooded our pool deck and came into the first floor in certain areas, which is on the pool deck level. My apartment faces both the ocean and the Intracoastal. From the lake side on the other side of A1A, I watched as the water rose and came east, flooding the land on the west side and coming onto A1A or South Ocean Boulevard. Luckily, it wasn’t that bad in those storms from that side. Although, during the height of the storms, I remember thinking that the ocean and the lake might meet and I could see my hurricane windows were slightly bowed by the hurricane force winds and the driven rain.

To be prepared in the future, because even in quiet hurricane season and periods of time, there is still the possibility of a major storm or even a "Super Storm". We have to think about the buffer that is imperative to protect us. That buffer and best protection from Mother Nature, is our shoreline. What that means is it is even more essential to renourish our beaches that over these years have become critically eroded. The renourishment projects must be done in a manner that are most effective for the long term and help shield us against hurricanes. Without that, we are going to be sitting ducks and that just isn’t acceptable, because it can be prevented.

There is more to come on this subject in our next issue. Until then, be well and stay safe.



(8-19-15) Part 4

This aerial photo taken from a 1940s postcard shows the Lake Worth Casino in the center with A1A running the entire distance north and south of the casino right along the beach. The road in this area was later moved away from the water. 

Photo courtesy: 

Florida Photographic Collection.

As to the Hurricanes of the 1940s in Palm Beach, there were several that came one year after another. The first came in 1945 on September 15th and it had 130 mph winds. In 1947 a CAT 4 hurricane came on September 17th with 155 mph winds and then in 1948 on September 22nd another 85 mph hurricane came along. The 1949 hurricane came in August on the 26th and the eye passed directly over Palm Beach with 150 mph winds. During those hurricanes, Lewis Kapner was a young boy who lived with his family on Seaview Ave. across the street from where the Palm Beach Day School is in the Town of Palm Beach. His parents owned a grocery store in town.

Dawn & Lewis Kapner


File photo by Maddy Greenberg

Lew Kapner, along with his lovely wife Dawn, are now my neighbors at my condominium in the south end of the Town of Palm Beach on South Ocean Boulevard. But, in the 1940s, Lew lived with his parents in midtown Palm Beach. He is a native Palm Beacher, who grew up in the Town of Palm Beach and then later his family moved to the north end of town. So, he knows exactly what it was like to live through a series of hurricanes, pre-doppler radar, hurricane planes, mass evacuations and air conditioning in the heat of the summer in Palm Beach, Florida. Can’t imagine how difficult that was.

As Lew remembers, back in the ‘40s he was not evacuated and stayed on the barrier island for all the hurricanes. As a kid, Lew said he did not realize the seriousness and life and safety issues that come along with a hurricane. Especially, living on a barrier island and instead he thought that flooded streets and downed trees were rather fun to play in after the storm subsided. Lewis said he remembered the high winds and heavy rain, but luckily his family home did not get flooded or torn apart, which I am sure was not true for everyone living in the Town of Palm Beach throughout those series of storms. Considering the severity of those storms, Lew and his family were rather lucky to have pulled through unscathed. A good possibility which saved many lives and homes at that time was the fact that the beaches in those areas of town were not eroded and the beaches and dunes saved them from catastrophic damages.

As a homegrown Palm Beacher and Floridian, Lew stayed in the area and as an adult lived with his wife in his family home in the north end of Palm Beach where the couple raised their children. Lew is a retired Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Palm Beach County and Mr. Kapner is currently an attorney with a practice in marriage and family law, where his daughter, who is also a homegrown Palm Beacher, practices law by her dad’s side.

Unfortunately, even with modern technology and the pre-knowledge of a coming storm in today’s world, in many ways we could be worse off if those types of hurricanes battered us today.

Why you wonder? Those answers will come as this series continues.

More on this series in our next issue, so stay tuned. Find out why in many ways if we don’t get the proper beach nourishment on all of those badly (critically) eroded beaches we are worse off today here on South Ocean Boulevard if we had those same types of hurricanes.

Most importantly we will cover why beach nourishment is so important to protect our lives and properties not only on the shoreline but inland too.

Until then, be well and stay safe.


(9-2-15) Part 5

As all Condo News readers are aware, through my series on "Hurricanes: Their Strength & the History of These Storms & What It Should Mean to Us", I had mentioned that since we have not had a hit by a hurricane since Wilma ten years ago, we have become overly complacent. I wrote that although it was predicted by the experts that this would be a quiet hurricane season for us, that doesn’t mean that one big storm either "brushing the coastline", "hitting us head on" or even coming in the State from the west, can’t cause hardship and or worse.

My articles also talked about the prospect of flooding. Now as of Friday, August 28th when I am writing this article, we are not sure whether "Erika" will be a powerful Tropical Storm or speed up and go back to a CAT 1 hurricane. According to the weather experts and TV that have reported that Erika keeps changing from hour to hour. As of yet no one knows exactly how or if Erika is going to affect all of our homes and our lives.

In this part 5 of my series we are going to take a short break from the history of our hurricanes and what is necessary to take place on our coastline areas that have been critically eroded; instead we are going to talk about "Erika", which has put much of Southeast Florida into a panic for several days now.

I don’t recall until this particular storm, ever hearing about the "cone of uncertainty". Which is layman’s terms means to me that with all their fancy technological equipment, they still don’t know where or if this storm will strike South east Florida. Not too comforting. It appears to our good fortune at the moment of my writing this article that the storm might weaken. Let us pray.

Another thing that this storm has proven to be so is that in the past 10 years, two things have taken place: 1- Many new people have moved here to Florida and they are totally unaware and have no real idea how to prepare for a hurricane. 2- Although there are many like me that lived through the more recent hurricanes and tropical storms, it has been a long time and we have become complacent. Both types of folks are dangerous, because none of us really know when that one storm that hits us head on and hangs out for any length of time and causes some sort of devastation could take place.

We need to stay vigilant and prepare and take the necessary measures to prevent the onslaught of catastrophic erosion on beaches that have been allowed to deteriorate, so that it doesn’t cause the loss of infrastructure, homes, buildings and lives.

We must also be prepared so that, flooding and wind damage doesn’t cause cataclysmic conditions because the population having been too complacent and ignoring the signs and the need to prepare themselves and their properties.

A hurricane can come along when we least expect it and when we are unprepared. One such imperative measure to avoid catastrophe is to develop and construct beach nourishment projects designed to take the brunt of hurricanes, instead of what exists now in some areas of the coastline where there is nothing to buffer the onslaught of the wave energy caused by the hurricane which typically comes from the ocean side.

Another thing to get ready for is preparing for the loss of power due to high winds and the deluge of heavy duty rains.

All of these possibilities exist and preventative measures need to take place before tragedy becomes the outcome, some of it which could have been avoided.

I hope that when you read this article on Wednesday, Erika will be a distant bump in the radar. Most importantly it is this writer’s hope that people realize preventative measures to ensure life and safety which are a must when you live in Southeast Florida.

This series will continue, because there is a lot more to learn about when it comes to hurricanes, their strength, the history of these storms and what it should mean to us.

Be safe, stay well and pray that we avoid any hurricanes this season.


(9-16-15) Part 6:

When you live in Florida it is understandable, intelligent and necessary to have concerns about the impacts of hurricanes on safety, on homes and on surrounding areas. It is what we do to resolve these valid concerns that really matters to be able to maintain and protect our way of life and our future.

As this series has progressed and we have learned about some of the significant hurricanes and storms and how they can affect us, you will, hopefully, come to the same conclusion as I have. In order for that to take place you need to follow this series to its completion.

If you would like to catch up on any previous articles in my series, go to http://www.condonewsonline.com/ Condos of S. Ocean Blvd., PB.

In my series, you have read about some of the most significant hurricanes to hit Palm Beach County and specifically Palm Beach Island, starting with the unnamed storm in the 1920s and the series of storms that hit in the mid to late 1940s.

You have seen a photo of the south end of Palm Beach Island back in the ‘20s and early ‘40s, when State Road A1A was located on the ocean and had to be moved west to where it is today because of the constant sand erosion from the hurricanes that kept damaging it. You saw in that same photo, how large those beaches were, prior to the critical erosion which has been allowed to exacerbate due to neglect which has diminished those beaches over the years to narrow eroded slivers that endanger the upland properties as well as the inland properties behind them.

In Part 5 of this series, I stopped my usual history and educational direction to talk about "Erika" and how our complacency regarding storms here is foolish. We may have dodged the bullet this time and hopefully we will escape unscathed for yet another hurricane season. However, that does not mean that there will not come a time when our luck will run out and we will be hit by hurricanes one year after another. We are talking about safety, survival, environmental maintenance and proactive measures to protect all of our investments in our coastal sunshine State.

There are those who might say, "The beach has nothing to do with me. Who cares about the beaches of Palm Beach or any beaches in Palm Beach County?" I have heard people say, "Beaches don’t protect us; we don’t live on the beach so that is the problem for those living directly on the beach-front, not ours." They are WRONG!! Everyone should care, because those beaches and their condition have a definite impact on all of us here in southeast Florida and also those beaches in Palm Beach County where our readers live. Keep reading my series and learn why you, too, should become an advocate of beach nourishment and the appropriate measures to protect one of our most important resources and investments as well as our safety.

It is a known fact that heavily populated areas with coastal development much like what we have here on the barrier island of Palm Beach, without significant sand volume to create a sloped beach with dunes, are at great risk of damage from hurricanes and storms. When a barrier island has been completely developed, as we have for example in the Town of Palm Beach, the entire island, whether you think you live off the beach or not, from east to west, from the north to south- are all affected by a hurricane that comes ashore when there are still beaches on the island that are critically eroded and have not gone through contiguous adequate beach nourishment projects in order to protect and hold back the wave action that comes ashore.

As to the inland properties, when the island no longer serves to protect those on the mainland west of them, they will be flooded and have severe impacts as well.

According to sources like The Journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), which has been in existence since 1926:

"People are driven by a strong desire to protect life and property. Trillions of dollars in property, structures, (like condos, co-ops, hotels, private homes and businesses), and infrastructure overlook our nation’s shorelines."

"Eroding beaches left alone, will continue to put people, as well as our cultural, historic, economic and environmental resources at risk for damages from hurricanes and coastal storms."

"The physical characteristics of the coastline, tides and other factors can affect what happens when a storm makes landfall on an eroding beach. While the width of the beach affects wave attack, the elevation of the beach affects storm surge, which is a higher than normal rise in sea level caused by high winds topped by waves. Storm surge can inundate and destroy coastal areas (and barrier islands). The higher the storm surge, the closer the water and waves are to more people and property."

"On an eroding beach at a low elevation, even a modest storm surge can cause significant damage."

To be continued.


I would also like to thank Daniel Bates, Deputy Director of Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners Department of Environmental Resource Management, Environmental Enhancement & Restoration. Deputy Director Bates’s assistance with providing me resources and information has and continues to be invaluable to this series.


(9-30-15) Part 7:

During this series we have learned a great deal about our coastline, the risks that we face because of the critical erosion of our beachfront and the necessity of restoring it for our protection.

In order to reverse the critical erosion of our beaches, adequate amounts of appropriate quality sand must be placed on our beaches. These beach nourishment projects must be accomplished to protect the life and safety of the residents who live on barrier islands and the mainland as well as the natural and irreplaceable resources and financial investments contained within.

We need to be proactive instead of reactive in protecting our shoreline. Those of us who have lived in this locale of Florida for over 10 years still have vivid memories of Hurricane Wilma! We may have been fortunate in some of our situations because the category and severity of Wilma could have been so much worse. However, we still experienced great damage to our homes and investments.

Saving our barrier island shoreline should be a TOP Priority for the State, Municipality and Town’s "Wants and Needs List". Tax Money that is spent on inadequate and "quick fix" beach nourishment projects is wasteful and totally ineffective!

In Part 6 of my series, I explained that if you live anywhere on a barrier island, you are endangered by poor maintenance of the beaches of the coastline here in southeast Florida.

In addition, those who live inland are negatively impacted if the barrier islands, which nature created to protect the mainland, do not have enough beach quality compatible sand placed through properly designed beach nourishment projects onto the beaches as the ultimate protection required for the various levels of hurricanes and coastal storms.

As my series winds down I will present additional information to support why beach nourishment is a necessity for all local shorelines.

The Journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association, (ASBPA) adequately states that, "Healthy beaches not only are important to our quality of life, but also protect people and property along the coasts from hurricanes and coastal storms."

More explicitly ASBPA says that, "A beach’s size, shape and sand volume help determine how well the beach can protect the developed area during a storm. All the various elements of a beach, such as …..dunes….even the width and slope of the beach itself, offer a level of natural protection against hurricanes and coastal storms by absorbing and dissipating the energy of breaking waves, either seaward or on the beach itself."

Obstructions to the sand moving downdrift — like man-made inlets, large piers, groins with downdrift beaches that have never been renourished — cause sand and sediment to be taken far off shore where waves can not return it to the beach! The result is the shoreline recedes or moves inward becoming more and more eroded until it is left in a critical condition.

Experts have concluded that these facts along with a combination of sea level rise produce larger waves that break closer to land. An example of the severity of this condition is in the south end of the Town of Palm Beach. Some of the beaches in this area have NEVER received beach nourishment. In addition, there are areas that received inadequate nourishment. Erosion and shoreline recession occurs as a result of inadequate beach nourishment. This situation causes tremendous negative consequences for property, investments, and life and safety conditions. Unless our local Municipalities, the County or the State, along with our Federal Government, take action before we are hit with hurricanes, our shoreline and homes are vulnerable.

As has been stated so perfectly in ASBPA Journal, "Measures designed to protect our nation’s coasts and prevent and reduce damages ultimately cost less than federal disaster assistance and insurance payouts if overwhelming economic losses occur after a natural catastrophe."

My question is, "WHY ARE THESE BEACH NOURISHMENT PROJECTS NOT DONE PROPERLY SO AS TO AVOID A CATASTROPHE?" Instead of wasting tax dollars on inadequate piecemeal projects, responsibility must be taken to adequately protect with a contiguously nourished coastline. Climate Change demands it! Beach nourishment is a NECESSITY not a choice!

To be continued. Be well and stay safe.


(10-14-15) Part 8:

In Part 7 of this series, I mentioned that I plan to present to you, our readers, additional information to support my assertion that contiguous, adequate beach nourishment projects are a necessity for our local shoreline and for the safety and survival of the residents and tourists as well as for the preservation of the environment.

We are living in a time of Climate Change. Beach nourishment on a barrier island that has a critically eroded shoreline is a NECESSITY, not a choice!

Municipalities need to acknowledge that it is more cost effective, in the long term, to conduct beach projects that use sand sources which are compatible with the native beach sand! This sand will adhere to the shoreline, accumulate faster and be less subject to erosion. This also will enable a municipality to spend less on the back end while maintaining the restoration of the beaches and also the dunes that accompany them.

This process would replace the spending of our tax dollars by municipalities on inadequate piecemeal, "quick fix" projects, which have been instituted to placate the public. These are not only wasteful, but proved ineffective!

Just last week, Hurricane Joaquin passed by our area, but pretty far offshore as it moved northward. Locally, along the ocean and Intracoastal, there were areas on both the east shore and west bank of the island, where the tides were high creating areas of minor flooding and standing water. Some areas even experienced beach erosion! The message here is that we need to realize that we are totally vulnerable to a category storm or hurricane and the negative impacts that follow. We need to consider the major flooding and damage that has occurred in South Carolina from this storm. We were lucky this time. Can we be so sure the next time?

In Part 7 of this series, I described how barrier islands protect the mainland. The Journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) says, "Rising water can inundate low barrier islands, cut a new inlet and wash sediment inland." This type of inlet is commonly referred to a "breach". On the island of Palm Beach, residents should be aware that a "breach" could occur at the narrowest parts of the island, such as Sloan’s Curve or even south of the Lake Worth Pier.

The Journal (ASBPA) also states that "Waves can attack the base of a dune or create vertical cuts that erode the dune completely, exposing people and property to potential damage. Waves can scour sediment from around structures and pilings and strip bricks off of homes."

Whether we are talking about the possibility of a "breach" or water intrusion, the fact is as confirmed by the Journal of ASBPA, that "Erosion can undermine slabs, which can fail and damage homes. Even property farther inland is at risk as shorelines (beaches) continue to recede and dunes collapse, since the storm surge’s fast moving water can rapidly inundate and destroy structures behind the beach."

The proof that this is not just theoretical rhetoric was cited graphically in the ASBPA Journal, that, in 2004, Hurricane Ivan caused the shoreline on both the Alabama and Florida Panhandle coasts to recede 40 feet and produced up to 165 feet of erosion in some areas! The Journal then describes how dunes that were 30 feet high were eroded to just 2 feet! "Ivan’s storm surge washed over the low-lying barrier islands near Gulf Shores, Alabama, transporting sediment and cutting a new inlet! SEVERAL MILES EAST, WHERE BARRIER ISLANDS RODE HIGHER, DUNES ERODED, UNDERCUTTING AND TOPPLING FIVE-STORY CONDOMINIUM BUILDINGS."!!

The direct parallel is, according to all the flood maps, the barrier island of Palm Beach that includes the entire Town of Palm Beach, is a "low-lying barrier island"! This means that the Town of Palm Beach, which manages its own shoreline, must confront the reality that this scenario which took place in the Panhandle can unfortunately occur right here! This can occur because of the many existing critically eroded areas of Palm Beach shoreline that have either never received beach nourishment or been provided insufficient nourishment of the beaches.

Let’s prevent such a catastrophe before it is too late!

Until next time, be well and stay safe. More to come next time, so, stay tuned!


(10-25-15) Part 9:

Just as the hurricane season is coming to a close, the largest hurricane to hit the western hemisphere, Hurricane Patricia, made land fall in Mexico. When it came ashore it had 165 mph winds and was a CAT 5 storm. Fortunately, the mountain ranges Patricia encountered caused it to break apart, becoming a tropical storm as it headed towards Texas! With our flat terrain here, what would it have been like if it hit southeast Florida? Ironically, this was the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Wilma! Many of us recall that Wilma was a mere CAT 1, although some say it was a borderline CAT 2 storm! As we all might remember, Wilma did great damage here in Florida!

According to the Journal of the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA), "Beach Nourishment adds sand to the coastal system, protects people and properties from the effects of hurricanes and coastal storms by widening a beach and advancing the shoreline seaward". The Journal says that "outside sources" are used to "restore an eroding beach". That could mean many things, including in some areas of shoreline, the use of upland sand sources as Palm Beach County plans to use in the Towns of South Palm Beach and Lantana. Let’s awaken the Town of Palm Beach to use this source in some areas of their shoreline.

Also, the ASBPA Journal says that through nourishment, "a beach is constructed where only a small beach or no beach existed. Ultimately, beach nourishment widens a beach and advances the shoreline seaward." "The wider, nourished beach which slopes gently downward below the water and the taller sand dunes protect the shore by acting as naturally protective buffers. The gradual slope of the nourished beach causes waves to break in shallow water as they begin to feel bottom. As water rushes up the beach, wave energy dissipates." "To ensure that a nourished beach continues to provide protection and mitigate the effects of hurricanes and coastal storms, the project must be supplemented with additional quantities of sand, called periodic renourishment."

Of course, without ever making the attempt to adequately and contiguously nourish these critically eroded beaches, our officials are leaving not only the coastline, which is a huge natural resource in Florida, but the population and tax payers extremely vulnerable to harm.

Daniel Bates, Deputy Director of the Palm Beach County Dept. of Environmental Resources Mgmt., Environmental Enhancement & Restoration, told me that: "The more sand, the more protection for buildings beyond." According to Bates, "Dunes are a storehouse of sand providing the extra protection to the beach." But, he says, "Dunes alone are not enough!" He says, "The most efficient and effective is a dune and a berm. "(Deputy Director Bates defined that "a berm is the flat portion of the beach.")

I would hope that the Town of Palm Beach, who does its own shore protection outside of the auspices of Palm Beach County, would realize that, a dune alone project in any stretch of critically eroded shoreline, especially those that have never received any beach nourishment, is totally ineffective and unacceptable for the shoreline, the properties and resident’s investments against hurricanes and coastal storms.

According to the ASBPA Journal, "without beach nourishment, the starting point for damage would be farther onshore: a nourished beach, with sufficient sand volume and healthy dunes, absorbs the storm’s energy, even during slow-moving storms and helps prevent damage to structures and infrastructure."

"Beach nourishment projects can have multiple benefits. Besides mitigating coastal erosion and protecting life and property, through hurricane and storm damage reduction, beach nourishment projects can provide environmental, recreational and aesthetic benefits. For example, nourishing and widening an eroding beach can 1- Protect threatened or endangered plants in the dune area; 2- Protect habitat behind the dunes or next to the beaches; 3- Create or restore habitat lost through erosion, for sea turtles, shorebirds and other beach organisms; and 3- Create new nesting areas for endangered sea turtles and spawning grounds for other species. Beach nourishment projects also can create and sustain wider beaches for recreational activities … and protect infrastructure enjoyed by tourists. Healthy beaches not only are crucial to the nation’s travel and tourism industry, but also can help revitalize local economies by increasing property values, condominium rentals, retail sales and demand for services" in the hotels, jobs, etc.


We are painfully aware through this series, that our shoreline is indeed "highly developed" on these low lying barrier islands and also on the mainland. Adequate and effective contiguous beach nourishment is essential and paramount in order to protect life, safety and our economy.

Due to the fact that this series has been detailed and covered several critical points, it will close summarizing and reviewing things to tie this imperative subject up for you, our Condo News readers. Until then, be well and stay safe.


(11-11-15) Part 10 CONCLUSION.

This journalist was stunned and outraged when I read that this week the Town Council of Palm Beach will consider their Town staff’s "bare bones" shore protection option to save monies at the expense of those that have never received beach nourishment for their critically eroded beaches!

In areas such as the south end of the Town of Palm Beach, where the beaches have been designated by the State of Florida as "Critically Eroded", it is essential to provide adequate beach nourishment using quality sand sources that match the native beach sand! This is a situation which exists in areas along the south end shoreline that is a life and safety issue as well as an environmental one, which requires a beach nourishment project that will be engineered and constructed properly and periodically renourished. It is neither prudent nor long term cost effective to consider a "bare bones" shore protection option in an area that has been designated "critically eroded" and has never been nourished!

It is hoped that the Town officials will have the wisdom and the courage to recognize that there are no short cuts in shore protection. The solution lies in finding better, more sound coastal engineering options that are proven to prevent erosion and, most importantly, protect the upland properties. This option of adequate beach nourishment will be more cost effective in the long run.

In addition, at the narrowest areas at the south end of the Town of Palm Beach, as explained in Part 8 of this series, rising water can inundate and cut new inlets or a "breach" because of areas of shoreline that have never been nourished or have had piecemeal or quick-fix ineffective projects.

Proof that beach nourishment is the only sound and responsible answer to protection is cited in the Journal of American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA): "During Hurricane Fran in 1996, no structures were destroyed and no oceanfront development endured significant damage at Wrightsville Beach, N.C." the site of a nourishment project. However, the ASBPA Journal also describes that in contrast, "On Topsail Island, an unprotected area, the shoreline eroded and the dunes and hundreds of structures were destroyed."

According to the Journal, "beach nourishment projects work by allowing the destructive forces of waves to strike the beach instead of the structures and infrastructure behind the beach."

This series has described the different levels of hurricanes and has provided the documentation that supports the necessity for properly designed adequate beach nourishment to protect Palm Beach Island a low lying barrier island with thousands of residents, their properties and infrastructure.

If you have missed any parts of this MUST READ SERIES, with its documentation of the need to support beach nourishment to prevent storm damage, I urge you to go online at: Condos of S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, FL



Photos below by Madelyn Greenberg unless otherwise stated

The Purple Bus Rides Around PBC and Honors Our Local War Heroes

Purple Bus -- both sides

Donald Mates’ family, l-r: Twin granddaughter Annmarie Morris, granddaughter Mary Wooddruff, daughter Barbara Morris, Donald Mates, daughter Carol Caneela, granddaughter (mom) Audra Smith, adorable great granddaughter, Sunny Smith, 

twin granddaughter Lucy Morris, 

son-in-law Kevin Morris.

(l-r) Erick Ahronheim, 

Purple Heart Commander 

Donald Mates, 

PB County Commissioner 

Mary Lou Berger 

and Patrick Varone


Three local war veterans, who are each recipients of a "Purple Heart", live along South Ocean Boulevard. Donald Mates, Eric Ahronheim and George Fisher are among the 24 veterans who have their photos lining a purple Palm Tran Bus, that makes rounds in Palm Beach County, to honor our Purple Heart recipients.

The "Purple Bus" is dedicated to local Palm Beach County veterans who were awarded the Purple Heart. The head shots that line the outside of the bus as giant billboards, each represent different branches of the military spanning from WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, Afghanistan to Iraq. The bus does not list names of each veteran, but rather their branch of service and what war/conflict they fought in.

The "Purple Bus" is advertising that there are many services out there, with phone numbers which are listed and other info about the County’s services in this regard.

This is an important goal, because Palm Beach County still has veterans who seem unaware of the various service afforded to them.

It just so happens that three of these valiant heroes are neighbors of mine on the Boulevard. Donald Mates lives at my condominium association at 3360 S. Ocean Blvd.

Donald is a World War II veteran who was in the battle of Iowa Jima, was severely wounded and is not only lucky to be alive, but at 89 years young. I can attest to the fact that he works out in our condo gym six days a week for three hours a clip and puts me to shame in his endurance and determination. That makes sense, because Don is a Marine, who survived ungodly wounds and years of surgery and went on to lead an active and successful life in business and politics.

Don Mates is the Commander of the Division of Human & Veteran Services and the local Military Order of the Purple Heart. Mates is enthusiastic about the "Purple Bus" and the reason it is on the road. The bus is part of a public service announcement, but this one is "on wheels". Palm Beach County is home to almost 100,000 veterans that span from WWII, all the way to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Out of those many vets, 222 of them were awarded the Purple Heart.

George Fisher who lives at the Claridges on South Ocean Boulevard, is often featured in the Condo News articles about veterans and was awarded the Purple Heart. George said that the "Purple Bus is just a fabulous piece of work." He is pleased to have his face on the side of the bus and told me with pride that the inscription on the bus says, "This is Purple Heart Country." George was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII and, the branch of service he was part of was the US Army, under George Patton. George Fisher told me how he lost many of his comrades in the war and they will continue to "march with him, but their footsteps make no sounds." George says that those soldiers that he fought with that never made it home, but "will always be with him".

George is 90 years old and told me with pride that he has been married for 68 years. Like Mates, Fisher volunteers his time and leads groups of veterans. All of these men share camaraderie with each other, which only veterans can understand.

The third S. Ocean Blvd. condoite that lives nearby at the Barclay, is Eric Ahronheim. Eric served in the US Army infantry and was awarded the Purple Heart after he was wounded at Luzon in the SW Pacific in the Philippines during WWII. Eric as the others I’ve described was 18 years old when he went into battle. He is now 90 years old. At one point Eric Ahronheim was like Donald Mates is now, the Commander of the local Purple Heart chapter.

Eric said that the Purple Bus "is great to advertise the Purple Heart chapter and let veterans know they can get help. It brings it to people’s attention and that is always a good thing". Ahroneim is referring to the fact that the bus also shows that there are services available and phone numbers to call.

Donald Mates, George Fisher and Erick Ahronheim are all lucky that they survived the war and lucky to still be kicking. It is my hope that they are doing just as well seven to ten years from now. We have to make sure as a nation not to forget all of our war heroes and the "Purple Bus" is a way of saluting our veterans and showing respect for the Purple Heart survivors.

Some Suggestions/Reminders for the Snowbirds Headed Out of Town- Part 1


As those of us who reside in Florida know, at this time of the year the snowbirds fly north. For those full-timers like me, that means no long lines at the restaurants, and less traffic on the roads. There are most definitely advantages, to having an easier time making doctor’s appointments and avoiding the crowds. The down side is that many businesses have a tough time keeping their heads above water.

As the snowbirds leave there are off-season layoffs. Most negative of all, is the fact that we have to endure the stress of another hurricane season. We have been extremely lucky for years, but lets hope that our luck holds out for another year.

As for our neighboring snowbirds, there is a need to make a plan for leaving your condominium for the many months of our hot summer. It is not as simple as closing the door, turning out the lights and having no worries until you come back in October, November. There are homes left vacant for up to six long hot months during hurricane season. You have got to have as detailed a plan as those of us evacuating or hunkering down during a foreboding hurricane.

I have some suggestions that come from years of being a flake, (snowflake that is), prior to my moving down here full time around eighteen years ago. Plus, having been on the board of my condominium, serving two years as president with the worst timing of anyone, during those two years of infamy, Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne & Wilma. I can honestly say that those homes that were left vacant needed pre-planning and attention during not only hurricanes, but just as much during the many months that homes are left vacant.

What I present to you our readers, are just suggestions not mandates. The following information comes from personal experience from over twenty eight years that I have been coming back and forth, first as a snowflake, before becoming a full timer. I have found that when leaving my apartment for months at a time, that whether you have a humidistat on the wall that can be set so that the a/c goes on if the humidity level reaches a certain point or not, the very best thing to do, (though not as economical) is to keep your air on all of the time. Run you’re a/c at least 78 degrees and keep the fan on auto. When I used our humidistat, the apartment was hot as can be, and mildew grew on some of our carpeting. Damp Rid helps, but the best thing for your furniture, mirrors and such is to keep the a/c running.

Shut the water off with a cut-off valve. Unplug your hot water heater, or shut it off, and do the same with its fuse in your fuse box. Make sure to change you’re a/c filter and use a high performance pleated one that can last for up to three months. Buy a few extras and leave them close by your return. Purchase some of those absorber noodles that we discussed during my hurricane series, and put them in your interior sliding glass door tracks to suck up the water that might come in from wind driven rain.

In part 2, I will continue with some suggestions and reminders for snowbirds that are on their way out of town.

Stay safe and be well.


Top Rated Town of Palm Beach Fire Rescue Among the Country’s Finest Rated


As some of you may know already, the Town of Palm Beach’s essential services are independent of Palm Beach County. Their Fire Rescue and paramedics are employees of the Town of Palm Beach. Over the years I have written many articles about the programs that they have had, just like the Police Department, and the exemplary services they provide for the residents of the Town.

Recently during an evaluation by Insurance Services Office, a company that provides underwriting and rating information for the insurance industry, the Town of Palm Beach Fire Rescue received the elite Class 1 status. The Town’s Fire Rescue were among the 102 fire protection areas out of 48,000 surveyed in the country that received the highest rating available.

Congratulations to the Town of Palm Beach and the Fire Rescue.

As a result of this public protection classification, it helps establish appropriate fire insurance premiums for commercial, industrial and residential properties. It also provides an objective countrywide standard which assists fire departments budget and plan for equipment, training and their facilities. The fact the Town of Palm Beach scored 91.32 points out of 105.5 points during an insurance audit, is something to be extremely proud of.

The advantage to property owners in the Town of Palm Beach is that this rating will give them access to some of the lowest insurance rates from fire-loss insurance because of the Town’s excellent fire protection services.

The new rating will take effect on August 1, 2015.

I personally have a soft spot for the Fire Rescue, because my wonderful Dad was a New York City Fireman in his younger days. As you may recall if you have been reading my column over the years, I used to avail myself of the services that the fire rescue provides to Town residents. I called the non-emergency number so many times over the years as a caregiver for my sweet parents, I lost count. They always came swiftly and, besides their life saving skills, these men and women always showed immense compassion when continually helping to either lift my mom or dad and when it became necessary and I called 911, they did an exceptional job in their paramedic capacity.

This may have been a minor detail to the fire fighters that answered my calls, but in those non emergency responses, what I still find so heart warming is the fact that the fire rescue paramedics always remembered that my dad was "one of us." They always stayed just a little bit long and spent time talking to him about the old times for firemen like my dad. They listened to his stories and showed him the utmost respect and treated him like a firefighter brother and colleague. That was special to me and I will always remember their kindness.

My personal story demonstrates not only the professionalism of our fire rescue employees, but also their commitment to provide the highest level of service to our community and our residents. What my personal story demonstrates is the fact that it is not just a job for our Town’s essential services employees, like our fire rescue. They really care about the residents of our Town. That says a great deal to me about these men and women.

I have always said, and over the years spoken before the Town Council, that the Town of Palm Beach’s essential services set the bar for all others and provide Town residents with a "Platinum Standard" of services. I am proud to see that with their newest top rating of the Town’s Fire Rescue, that I have been proven right.

Just to remind you all, if you are a property owner or resident of the Town of Palm Beach, don’t forget to let your insurance company know about this newest top rating and see if you can take advantage of a lower insurance rate for fire-loss because of the Town’s exception fire protection rating.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.


New Identity Theft E-mail Scam Making The Rounds


It appears that everyday a new scam or attempt at identity theft comes our way. Some come from phone calls that claim to be after you for something you did not do properly with claimed criminal consequences. Others come through e-mails. With e-mails there are all different types of scams and also attempts to get you to click on a link and release a computer virus that will do immense damage.

It seems that in today’s technologically advanced world, varying identity theft crimes and scams are constantly perpetrated on the hapless public. We have to be ever vigilant. Sometimes it makes us overly suspicious. When it comes to e-mails, we become so negative about these things, that we can delete an e-mail that might be harmless. I believe though, although this overly suspicious concern can make you delete some things unnecessarily, it is better though to be safe than sorry, especially in this day and age.

When ever I get an e-mail, especially ones without subjects and they have a link included in the body of the e-mail itself, which encourages the recipient to click on the link. The words within the link don’t appear to make sense that the sender would send this to the recipient. I am afraid to click on the link because I might gum up my computer with a major destructive virus. So, I just delete the e-mail altogether. One has to wonder how these scammers get the contacts from the sender’s e-mail lists. That is obviously where the identity theft and technological advanced skill set by these hackers comes in.

The other week I received something rather unusual from my neighbor, Arlene Kutis on my e-mail. The subject title was a bit alarming and when I opened the e-mail there was no link to click on, but instead a letter was pasted into the body of the e-mail signed by Arlene. I knew immediately it was a scam in order to get those on her contact list to send money to supposedly help Arlene out of a predicament while she was traveling in a foreign country. The e-mail’s subject was: "Awful Trip!!!" But you see I knew that Arlene was currently in her condo in Palm Beach, safe and sound. So, obviously this letter was entirely false. The following is a copy of the scam content.

"I am sorry for reaching you rather too late due to the situation of things right now. I had a trip visiting to Philippines, everything was going on fine until last night when I was attacked by some unknown gunmen. All my money, phones and credit cards was stolen away including some valuable items, It was a terrible experience but the good thing is they didn’t hurt me or made away with my passports.

I’ve reported the incident to the local authorities and the consulate but their response was too casual, I was ask to come back in 2 weeks time for investigations to be made proper. But the truth is I can’t wait till then as I have just got my return flight booked and is leaving in few hours from now but presently having problems sorting out the bills here and also getting a cab down to the airport, Right now I’m financially strapped due to the unexpected robbery attack, Wondering if you can help with a quick loan to sort the bills and get back home. All I need is ($2,450.00 USD) or anything you can afford, I promise to refund you in full as soon as I return hopefully tomorrow or next. write back now to let me know what you can do. Thank you, Arlene.

Luckily, I had recently seen and spoken with Arlene and knew she was not traveling abroad. I wondered how the scammers got her e-mail address as well as mine. When I was speaking with another neighbor, he told me that he too received this same e-mail, as did our condo office. I had no idea who received this bogus e-mail from a couple of weeks ago. I had left a message on Arlene’s machine warning her and forwarded the e-mail to her. First of all, even the content seemed unlike Arlene, because she is an author and a skilled writer, therefore it did not appear like anything she would write. As you may recall, I interviewed Arlene Kurtis some months back and wrote an article and review of her novel, "Lila’s Hamsa." Although Arlene’s novel was a riveting story about love and deception, I knew that this e-mail was in no way written by the same person as who penned the novel. It was a poorly written scam letter and something that someone with Arlene’s fine character would never get involved in, even if she were, God forbid, in that type of predicament.

In recent conversation with Arlene this past weekend, she told me that she never received so many calls from people that she had not heard from in years, even distant relatives who contacted her when they received this e-mail and called to check if Arlene was okay. Arlene’s son got the same scam from his mom and of course knew right away his mother would never sign her name to him like that, aside from anything else. Arlene told me that for weeks she has been receiving calls from neighbors, friends, relatives and acquaintances, which apparently were in her e-mail contact list. Still wonder, how do the scanners hack into that information, when we have passwords and protection on our computers?

Mrs. Kurtis told me that ironically the other week she received a phone call from some one in broken English who claimed to be with the Internal Revenue Service and told her that they had been trying to reach her for months and if she doesn’t respond then the Sheriff’s Department is going to arrest her. It appears that in a short time, Arlene Kurtis was part of a second scam. This double scam experience shows how often anyone of us can be scammed in a short period of time. Some time ago I had written an article about this exact same type of scam which happened to me as well as a friend or two of mine. I venture to guess that this IRS telephone call scam must be paying off for the crooks, if they are doing the identical scam that I experienced over a year ago.

The point being, we must stay ever watchful, even suspicious and, be wary that we can be scammed at any time and in many different ways. It can make one a bit neurotic about giving personal information out on the Internet.

Until next time, be well, stay safe and be careful not to get scammed.


Riveting Story of Survival And Jewish Refugees In Shanghai, China


A couple of years ago I went on a trip to China. Among the interesting sites, one of the special places that I arranged to visit, was a former Jewish community that became a ghetto. 18,000 refugees who found a safe haven and a home in Shanghai, China during WWII. The refugees escaped the Nazi’s and they came from Eastern and Western Europe, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Germany.

Although the area is still there, all of the Jewish families that lived there for years, have all left and moved on. I went for a tour and there was a chapel where the refugees worshiped freely. There is a museum run by the Chinese and my tour guide told me in broken English all sorts of information about those times. The older Chinese tour guide who led me through the area and museum showed reverence for the former community and artifacts, clothing and the religion he does not follow. I found this tour where Holocaust refugees found safety, an exceptional part of my trip.

The stories of these refugees and their survival during a terrible time in the history of the world and the realization that the Far East in China, treated those that could not easily find a safe haven, with respect, is a story that I believe regardless of your religion should be extremely riveting to hear about.

This coming Saturday morning, April 18th, Helen Bix, who at 4 years of age living in Celle, Germany, escaped with her family to Shanghai, where she lived for the next ten years of her life. Helen will speak about her experiences at Temple Emanu-El, Palm Beach, on North County Rd. at about 10:30am.

This speaker is presented as part of a Holocaust Remembrance Day event during Sabbath services which begin at 9:15am.

Mrs. Bix will tell her riveting story of all the difficult times and how the refugees built themselves a community where hundreds of thousands of Jews subdivided living quarters and bought bombed out buildings and fixed them up, These refugees even built a day school for their children under the auspices of the British schooling system.

Although the refugees made themselves a community life, outside of their self-made community, there was danger from crime and there was the risk of catching a disease because epidemics were rampant. Yet, these refugees found safety when they were able to escape the Nazis, because they found that Shanghai was an open city.

Temple Emanu-El welcomes those interested in hearing Bix’s story of her experiences. Helen Bix is now 80 years old. Helen and her family said that the Jewish ghetto life did not come until the Japanese took over and all the stateless Jews had to move into a ghetto area run by a less than pleasant Japanese administrator.

As Helen says, the war years left an impact on those that were lucky enough to survive those years. Helen will tell you that as a result of her experiences she values every day that she is alive. Mrs. Bix tries to do as much as she can for everyone. That is quite astounding, considering what Helen has been through in her life.

For more information if you are interested in attending and listening to Helen’s story, call 832-0804 or e-mail Helen at helenbix@aol.com. You will find her story riveting and this is something little known and needs to be heard directly from the survivors before the opportunity to speak with them first hand disappears.


Door to Door Solicitors Need Permits, ID Cards before Approaching Residents


In the Town of Palm Beach, door to door salespersons’ need solicitation permits and a Town issued solicitation identification ID cards with their photo on it in order to be legal. Apparently, in Palm Beach there recently have been some problems with unauthorized people trying to sell things without being investigated properly and being approved and sanctioned by the Town.

If you encounter a solicitor and he can not provide a proper permit and show you his Town of Palm Beach ID card, direct him to contact the Code Enforcement Unit at Palm Beach Police Headquarters at 345 S. County Rd, where the individual can apply for a permit.

In my opinion, being approached on the street is far different than someone knocking on your door. If a stranger knocks on your door and you didn’t expect them, I would be careful before opening the door. If you do open the door, it is best not to invite a stranger into your home in this day and age. In addition, if you have any doubts be polite and tell them that you are going to check and get back to them, so please wait outside. At that point just close the door and check with the police by calling the Police non-emergency number at: 561-838-5454 if you live in the Town of Palm Beach. All other municipalities have their own non emergency police numbers where you can call and ask as to whether these solicitors are legal. If you are alarmed by someone that approaches you because you feel endangered in some way, just call 9-1-1 for an immediate response.

Interestingly enough, just like with solicitation phone calls, there is actually a "no solicitation list" for door to door salespeople that you can register and then be placed on to hinder those types of attempts to contact you. Your name will be on a list of those that can not be solicited. If your address is on the list and someone comes to the door anyway, they will be in violation of a town ordinance. Then you should call the police or the Code Enforcement section of the department and report it with all the information you were able to get. I do know in the Town of Palm Beach, they respond rather quickly to your call in order to catch any illegal solicitors.

The only exemption from being required to obtain a permit due to federal laws is provided to religious organizations. If you are approached by members of religious organizations at your residence, it is entirely up to you as whether you make a donation or not. You should not feel that you are obligated to give any money to anyone for any reason; it is totally a personal decision. In my opinion, it is important to see literature and it would be safest to get an address and check out the religious organization before sending a check by snail mail to them to assure that they are legit. You can’t be too careful in this world today.

Have a Happy Passover and Easter holiday. Until next time say safe and be well.


Startling Revelations about the Costs of Sand

(February 4, 2015)

SOS Coastal Engineer Karyn Erickson brought up startling information at last Friday’s Town of Palm Beach Shore Board Meeting.

Ms. Erickson, who is President of Erickson Consulting Engineers, Inc. explained at a public meeting that the Town of Palm Beach is currently paying a premium price of $45 a cubic yard for fine grey/black dredged sand. It is important to note that twice as much dredged sand is required because of its finer texture.

According to the latest information, the cost of coarse mined sand, which is clean and consistent in texture and size, is less expensive than the incompatible fine dredged sand. Palm Beach County is paying $28 a cubic yard for Stuart minded sand. Mined Ortona sand, which is the most compatible to the Reach 8 beach’s native sand, cost between $35-$40 a cubic yard.

The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline, Inc.(SOS) Beach Nourishment Plan which was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the federal Environmental Impact Study (EIS) which is in draft form during the public comment period, requires mined Ortona sand.

Newly appointed Town Manager, Thomas G. Bradford is recommending to the Town Council and their ad hoc committee, the Shore Board, that the USACE consider the following items while finalizing the Reach 8 EIS.

Mr. Bradford wants the Army Corps to complete the modeling of the project with Ortona sand and structures proposed by the SOS. He also wants to have the Town’s Preferred Projects performance evaluated using upland grain sand sizes from both the Stuart and Ortona sand mines. A comparison will then be made of the cost and performance of those alternatives with the cost and performance of the same project using the originally proposed fine dredged sand.

In response to claims that this would delay the Reach 8 project, Coastal Engineer Erickson said, "We’re not delaying it to 2017. The process is set right now for 2017. There’s not a chance in the world you’ll get a permit in four to six months from those agencies. This project will, under any circumstances not be built in 2016."

The Coalition to Save Our Shoreline (SOS) Puts Their Issues on the Record with the Town of Palm Beach

Photos by Andy Frame Photography

Atriums at 3400 in Reach 8. 

Dunes and property collapsing 

from severe erosion.

La Renaissance in Reach 8. 

Parts of pool deck collapsing 

and severely eroded dunes.

The Reef Condo in Reach 7.

2100 Condo at Sloan's Curve. Seaweed shows water line 

at the base of the eroded dunes.

The Town of Palm Beach, in a recent decision, determined that it was necessary to add "Coastal Matters" to their regular agenda items at monthly Town Council Meetings. The March 11, 2014 Meeting was the first Town Council Meeting to initiate this. Council President Pro-Tem, William Diamond, presided over this Town Council Meeting.

At the "Coastal Matters" portion of the Agenda, President Pro-Tem Diamond gave permission to a town, civilian based organization, the Coalition to Save Our Shoreline (SOS) to make a slide show presentation with photos of the critically eroded shoreline in the southern part of the Town. The southern shoreline parts of the Town of Palm Beach are designated as Reaches 7 and 8. SOS Chairman, Richard G. Hunegs, introduced the thirteen photos taken by independent professional photographer, Andy Frame, by citing that "thousands of Palm Beach residents live in condominium buildings that once were protected by wide beaches which fortified the dunes and shielded the upland properties from irreparable damage". Mr. Hunegs said that these photos demonstrate the serious vulnerability of the shoreline as we approach another hurricane season!

President Pro-Tem Diamond and the Council Members proceeded to question the Town Manager, Peter Elwell, regarding his explanation for this situation and how the Town could best cooperate with the SOS which had financed a beach nourishment plan. This SOS Plan, which is in an area of shoreline called Reach 8, is currently being considered along with the Town’s alternative as part of a federal Environmental Impact Study.

The photos revealed the serious erosion at Sloan’s Curve to the Town’s boundary, which ends at La Bonne Vie. Reach 7 begins at Sloan’s Curve and ends just north of the Lake Worth beach. Reach 8 begins just south of the Lake Worth pier at Bellaria Condo and ends at the Town’s boundary at La Bonne Vie.

The SOS resident based group formally requested the Town Council, for the first time, to make the SOS Plan the Town’s "Preferred Alternative" in the Environmental Impact Study. The SOS Plan would provide 25 year protection for upland properties as opposed to the 15 year protection (the equivalent of one Tropical Storm), afforded by the Town Plan.
The SOS also requested that the Town initiate and implement the SOS Reach 7 Beach Restoration Project Alternative with Coastal Structures developed by Coastal Engineer Erickson or the alternative plan developed by Taylor Engineering, the Town’s Consultant.

The SOS statement to the Council Members also strongly objected to the omission of funding in the Town’s $85M coastal plan for beach nourishment in Reach 8 as well as for an Environmental Impact Study and plan for beach nourishment with coastal structures in northern Reach 7 at Sloan’s Curve.

As Richard Hunegs said, after the Meeting, Town Council President Pro-Tem William Diamond "made it clear that our positions are in sync, that is, we all have the same goal to develop the best possible plan and allocate the necessary resources to obtain the finest results".

This was a long-awaited, productive and positive Town Council Meeting for those residents whose properties are at risk and endangered by severely eroded beaches. Let us stay tuned for results!

Flag Flown Over US Capitol Building Commemorating USMC Anniversary Now Flies in Palm Beach

Story and photos by Madelyn Greenberg

This U. S. Flag flew over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC, honoring the 238th anniversary of the founding of the U. S. Marine Corps in 1775.

(L-r) Donald Mates & Richard Hunegs.

Mr. Hunegs is president of the 3360 Condominium Association.

3360 Condominium is proud that the American Flag that flies along South Ocean Boulevard is no ordinary flag.

The US Flag that flew over the Capital Building in Washington D.C. honoring the two hundred and thirty eighth anniversary commemorating the founding of the United States Marine Corps, (1775), is now flying at 3360 S. Ocean Boulevard.

The flag was presented to Donald A. Mates on November 10, 2013 and was donated by Mr. Mates.

Donald Mates was born on February 10, 1926 in Cleveland, OH. He committed to the Marine Corps in high school and was inducted into service upon graduation in June 1943.

During combat on Iwo Jima, Mates served as a personal body guard for the commanding general, 3rd Marine Division, General Graves Erskine. While one night-time patrol on February 28, 1945 and March 1, 1945, Don Mates was wounded by hand grenades and a machine gun. During the next 30 years he underwent a series of operations for removal of shrapnel and riddance of leg braces.

Donald Mates has been awarded the Purple Heart, Marine Combat Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, American Defense Medal, Pacific Theatre of War, Victory Medal and Marine Corps League Recognition Award.

Don is the Founder and Chairman of the Jimmy Trimble Scholarship Fund dedicated to his friend and fellow Marine who was killed by a Japanese soldier suicide bomber.

He teaches at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, is a former volunteer for the Town of Palm Beach Police Department in the Crime Scene division. Don Mates is also the Treasurer for the Military Order of the Purple Heart and a finance officer for his church.

In 2009, Donald Mates was awarded the Pentagon Combat Service Award for valor during World War II.

Don Mates is a resident of 3360.

US Representative Lois Frankel Talks About Beaches and Other Matters

By Madelyn Greenberg

US Representative Lois Frankel (center) with Claire Levine (right), 2500 S. Ocean Blvd. & Maddy Greenberg (left), 3360 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach. Photo taken by the Congresswoman’s District Director, Felicia Goldstein.

At a community forum meeting at Bethesda-by-the-Sea, Congresswoman Lois Frankel spoke. She opened with telling the audience how important beaches are and that she felt very strongly that "beaches help to protect the shoreline." Frankel said that beaches are "magnets for tourism." She also said that "Nobody should say oh, it’s just about the beaches." Frankel is clearly a proponent for beach nourishment projects and as she has said before, "beaches are the economic engine for the State of Florida and the different municipalities that are upland of them."

The Congresswoman explained to the audience that she serves on a very important, bipartisan committee in Washington, the Transportation Committee. She is also on a subcommittee that oversees the US Army Corps of Engineers. Frankel explained that her committee "has the ability to get things done." US Rep. Frankel said that she and her subcommittee are "trying to streamline the permitting process for beach nourishment projects."

What was not said by Frankel at this meeting is that she walked the beaches at the south end of the Town of Palm Beach last spring with a Coalition To Save Our Shoreline, Inc. (SOS) board member. When Frankel viewed the severe erosion of the beaches and dunes, she said that she was pleased that she "got to see first hand what she was fighting for." She also gave her word to the SOS board member that she would keep her eye on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) study where the SOS Beach Nourishment Plan and Design, developed by Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson, is a plan being studied right alongside of the Town of Palm Beach’s alternative. The EIS is a federal study under the direction of the Corps of Engineers for Reach 8, south of the Lake Worth pier in the Town of Palm Beach and South Palm Beach and Lantana under Palm Beach County’s auspice. Frankel promised to assist with the permitting process for the beach nourishment project that would result from the EIS. Palm Beach County, Dept. of Environmental Resources Mgmt., Deputy Director Dan Bates was also present on the beach with Congresswoman Frankel and the SOS Board Member. At that time, Frankel showed a keen interest in the SOS Beach Nourishment Plan.

At the community forum last week, Frankel also spoke about the fact that she served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and that although she has traveled with her colleagues from the opposite end of the spectrum in the "tea party", she said that they were all "very collegial" although their political views were so different. Frankel described that she discovered during her travels to Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Brussels and other locals, that people around the world actually had a favorable view of America and see us as a "Superpower."

Frankel spoke candidly about the fact that she felt that tea party members of Congress using the debt ceiling vote to defund the Affordable Care Act, did not help America’s world wide reputation. Frankel said that "the shutdown did not do us any good in terms of our interests." The US Rep said that she felt that when you go to other countries and try to tell them how to run their governments, you lose "credibility when you can’t even keep your own government open."

Responding to the audience about the glitches in Obamacare and the fact that over 300,000 Floridians had their policies cancelled by Blue Cross/Blue Shield because the Affordable Care Act coverage requirements would not be met. Ms. Frankel said that those residents "need to buy policies that include the benefits required by the act." This would include free wellness check-ups.

The Congresswoman said she felt that there is a "moral obligation to provide health care to the millions of Americans now without access." She explained that the act will prohibit insurers from denying coverage because of preexisting conditions, among other benefits. Frankel said that she felt that "If the program isn’t working well after it is fully deployed, legislators should get together and fix it." The US Representative said she felt that first people need to give the program a chance and then see what can be done to rectify any problem issues.

Frankel spoke to her constituents in a relaxed and confident manner, yet very friendly and accessible. She seemed unperturbed by the fact that she was a Democrat speaking before an audience of constituents that in the part of the Town of Palm Beach she spoke in, were mostly Republicans. She made a point of speaking of how well she works with Republicans and believes that much can be accomplished with bipartisanship. Frankel even spoke about a bill that she and a fellow Congressional Republican got passed by working together.

This journalist found Frankel’s candid and honest talk as well as her serious intent to make strides to assist us in obtaining adequate beach nourishment projects, a refreshing and welcome change from those that preceded her.

Reflections on the Anniversary of Tropical/Super Storm Sandy

By Madelyn Greenberg

Last year around this time, Sandy blew some 250 miles offshore of the east coast of Florida and left decimated dunes and added to the already severe beach erosion in her wake. She worked her way up the eastern seaboard and became Super Storm Sandy that caused so much devastation and havoc on the northeastern coast.

For most of the municipalities that suffered Sandy’s wrath, there was a hard lesson that was learned about "vulnerability" and the importance of righting situations on the shoreline in order to better protect the beaches and the upland properties beyond.

When most people hear that they are getting "sand" they think that all the answers to their problems of "vulnerability" are solved. I am here to tell you that that just isn’t so. Sand is a part, an important part as it may be, to the solution of protection from the advent of storm events that can put life as we know it in jeopardy. It is not sand alone, but how much and how it is placed on the shoreline that really gives the protection that we all seek.

Translation: To scatter, dump or bulldoze an inadequate amount of sand onto already severely eroded shoreline or on a scarped and collapsed dune system, accomplishes little more than visual satisfaction for the unknowing layman. Because, the protection needed by the adequate number of cubic yards of sand per foot, is not being provided. There are formulas for a properly designed beach and dune system which must be adhered to if we want to get our money’s worth out of our tax dollars. There are municipalities, especially in the northeast, like New Jersey and New York, where we can read in articles such as the NY Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal and local New Jersey papers and magazines, reports about their revelations of what must be done to protect their shorelines and upland properties.

Whether every municipality on the shoreline in Florida believes that adequate sand supply designed for protection is a priority, has yet to be seen. What can be clearly seen, are the scarped dunes that have been neglected and one has to wonder whether adequate amounts of sand will be placed strategically on the beaches and dunes throughout the hardest hit areas, in order to best shield the upland properties from harm.

We were indeed very lucky this hurricane season. We were fortunately spared any storms of "mother nature’s wrath." That does not mean we are not "vulnerable." Will a municipality like the Town of Palm Beach, place adequate amounts of sand on the severely damaged dune systems during their "Interim" Beach Nourishment project that will be constructed on the south end this winter season? One can only surmise that a responsible party would indeed and assuredly accomplish that. Because, if we don’t, we are wasting everyone’s time and tax dollars.

The SOS Presents Graphics of the EIS "Alternatives"

By Madelyn Greenberg


At the August meeting of the Town Council of South Palm Beach, two of the agenda items consisted of the important need for beaches which safeguard the health of the towns in which they are located and also their role in preserving the coastline of the State.

The Mayor of the Town of Palm Beach and a board member of the Coalition To Save Our Shoreline (SOS) were the guest speakers.

The Town of Palm Beach Mayor spoke about the Florida Department of Environment Protection (FDEP) Beach Management Agreement (BMA) and told South Palm Beach Council members that the BMA will "revolutionize" the process of permitting "from north to south" and "from one project to another". Mayor Coniglio also brought out a change in the Town of Palm Beach’s plan. The Mayor said that the projects that will come out of the current federal Environmental Impact Study (EIS) in Reaches 8, 9 and 10 will now both use "upland sand" sources, such as Ortona sand for Reach 8 and the shoreline project, that will constructed by Palm Beach County. This is a departure for the Town of Palm Beach who up until recently refused "upland sand" for their modified "Alternative" in Reach 8.

During the SOS presentation that followed, mention was made that the organization was pleased that the Town of Palm Beach had finally agreed to use an "upland sand" source for their part of the Reach 8 project. South Palm Beach Council Members were informed that the SOS and their coastal engineer, Karyn Erickson, had consistently recommended, for more than two years, that Palm Beach needed to use "upland sand" because environmental benefits as well as because it lasts longer. The Town of Palm Beach had continued to reject it until just prior to the Army Corps’ p;ublic meeting in August. The SOS Beach Nourishment Plan for Reach 8, which is now an "Alternative" to be studied in the EIS by the US Army Corps of Engineers was designed as a large scale beach nourishment plan based on the use of "upland sand".

The SOS is now confident that their "Alternative" will serve everyone best because it would begin south of the Lake Worth pier and stabilize a "contiguous beach the entire length of the project and protect those living in Reach 8 while serving as a feeder beach for their southern neighbors on the coastline". The Council was told that this was the essence of what the BMA and the Inlet to Inlet Pilot Project was created to accomplish.

The SOS supplied graphic visuals which showed the three "Alternatives" to be studied in the EIS process. It was evident in the graph visual that the SOS "Alternative" plan stretched the entire length of the beach and would merge into the County "Alternative" that abuts Reach 8.

The subsequent graphic showed the Town of Palm Beach’s "Alternative" and the County "Alternative". Palm Beach’s "Alternative" begins with a slim line of dunes only. It contains beach fill at different levels that partially front some upland property condos while fully fronting others, totaling 4 to 5 condos. This leaves the major stretch of shoreline in Reach 8 with dunes only.

It was pointed out by the SOS that, in this scenario, the County beach nourishment project adjoining Palm Beach’s current "Alternative" would begin in the middle of nowhere and would destabilize this entire coastline area. The graphic shows that the County "Alternative" had illustrations of beach fill with groins running the entire length of the Town of South Palm Beach and Lantana to the former Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The SOS large scale beach nourishment "Alternative" plan had carefully placed two groins in the southernmost section of Reach 8 to hold the sand in place, while allowing for littoral movement of sand southward to South Palm Beach.

For more details on all three "Alternatives", Google the "USACE EIS Southern Palm Beach Island". You will find under the Army Corps website both PDF links for the Town and County "Alternative" slide presentation from the public meeting and the Coalition To Save Our Shoreline Proposed "Alternative" for Reach 8.


The US Army Corps of Engineers Recognizes the SOS!

By Madelyn Greenberg


The US Army Corps of Engineers conducted a public meeting on August 12, 2013 at the Town Hall in the Town of Palm Beach. The meeting was advertised as a "scoping meeting" which would provide opportunity for public comments regarding the long awaited Environmental Impact Study (EIS). This study is essential to the process of finding the best solution for the critically eroded beaches in the Town of Palm Beach, south of the Lake Worth pier and extending to the shorelines of South Palm Beach, Lantana and the former Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manalapan.

The beaches that will be included in this EIS cover a wide area of shoreline that is managed, in part, by the Town of Palm Beach and the remainder by Palm Beach County. In this situation, the Army Corps of Engineers requires the Town of Palm Beach and Palm Beach County to each submit its own "Alternative" plan for beach nourishment, to be studied under the EIS.

However, the Army Corps of Engineers announced at the August 12th meeting that the EIS will also be studying a third "Alternative" plan. This third "Alternative" plan will be "The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline, Inc. (SOS) Plan & Design for Reach 8" in the Town of Palm Beach. It was submitted to the Army Corps of Engineers by the SOS. The Army Corps of Engineers announced, also, that the SOS Plan, designed by coastal engineer, Karyn Erickson, P.E., D.CE, will be studied by the EIS and will receive the same consideration and attention, as if it were submitted by a municipality.

The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline, Inc. (SOS) has indeed achieved a high level of recognition and distinction for its efforts to seek storm protection through beach nourishment for the thousands of residents whose properties are at severe risk. The SOS is a resident based, privately funded organization that financed a large scale beach nourishment plan and design by a coastal engineer that they had retained. The members of the organization supported this beach nourishment plan even though they pay taxes that funded the Town’s "Alternative."

The EIS will now study two "Alternatives" for Reach 8 and one "Alternative" for Reaches 9 & 10 offered for study in the EIS and submitted by Palm Beach County.

According to the SOS statement read at the EIS public meeting, the SOS "respectfully submits" that their plan for Reach 8 "meets the standards and criteria that are necessary to prevail." Also, the SOS statement maintains that their plan is "feasible, responsible, affordable, balanced and effective for the long term benefits for all. No other submitted proposals or plans can be said to accomplish this nor do they constitute the interests of everyone."

The SOS brought out that "endangered sea turtles that come to nest on our beaches and, because of the scarps and cliffs and the continually diminishing beach, they lay their eggs and the tide comes up and washes the eggs away or they lay under the water and are destroyed. These sea turtles will continue to be lost to us if man does not restore the wide beaches that sea turtles seek to lay their eggs, nest, hatch their young and return to the sea."

The SOS said, "they are confident that the Army Corps will find the Beach Nourishment Plan which was designed by Ms. Erickson, to be thoroughly researched, environmentally suitable and, most importantly, permitable." They also told the Corps and the public that their plan, "will stand on its own merit" and "fulfill the need to correct severe erosion, satisfy environmental concerns and be a prototype for other successful beach nourishment and erosion control projects in the future."

Town of Palm Beach resident, Larry Goldberg, spoke during public comments and stated that the Town of Palm Beach’s modified "Alternative" would give beach fill for only several upland properties and dunes for the majority of the length of Reach 8, was totally inadequate and would not protect the properties of the Town sufficiently, if at all. An SOS spokesperson stated that their organization agrees with Mr. Goldberg’s appraisal of the Town’s alternative that was submitted for study by the EIS. It was also mentioned that the SOS, since its inception, has maintained that the inadequate plans that the Town has developed, constructed and now are proposing, are a waste of their tax dollars and will not protect the environment nor provide for the safety and protection of those that are at risk.

Another Palm Beach resident, Pat Cooper suggested that the Army Corps also look at the Lake Worth pier and its obstruction to sand flow.

Kudos to the SOS for their continual advocacy and proactive tenacity to protect the thousands of property owners at risk. This EIS and the three "Alternatives" that will be studied, is positive and forward movement that hopefully "should result in a joint project that will serve the needs of the public for now and also for the future."


The Long Awaited Study To Find Erosion Solutions For Palm Beach Island

By Madelyn Greenberg


The long awaited federal EIS process for the "Southern Palm Beach Island Comprehensive Shoreline Stabilization Project" will begin at a "public meeting" on August 12th, at 5:30 pm, at the Town Hall of the Town of Palm Beach. At this public meeting, residents will have the opportunity to comment on the scope of the EIS. The Environmental Impact Study, which will cover the areas south of the Lake Worth pier, in Reach 8, in Palm Beach through Reaches 9 & 10 in South Palm Beach, Lantana to the former Ritz Carlton, Manalapan.

The public notice for this meeting was recently sent by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Condo Managers along the entire coastline of Reaches 8, 9 & 10. This is welcome news for thousands of residents that have been living in jeopardy, since the EIS process could very well lead to a joint project between the Town of Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. The Town of Palm Beach manages their own coastal projects and funding, while the Town of South Palm Beach, Lantana and Manalapan are under the beach management of Palm Beach County.

This upcoming public meeting and the federal EIS process will be directed by Mr. Garett Lips, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Project Manager. At the Monday, August 12th 5:30 pm meeting, the public will have the opportunity to listen and to make comments and recommendations about the proposed study and what they believe it should incorporate. There will also be information provided about where the public can send their written comments.

Readers of The Condo News will recall the eleven part series on Beach Erosion and Condos in Peril. You may still catch up with the series below on this page. The series explained the severity of the erosion situation that has taken place in the southern areas in the Town of Palm Beach, South Palm Beach, Lantana and parts of Manalapan with photos that demonstrated the seriousness of the beach erosion and dunes from south of Sloan’s Curve in Palm Beach down to Manalapan.

Throughout the series it was stressed that for these areas of shoreline that are critically eroded, the ultimate solutions will be derived through a federal process, the Environmental Impact Study, which is directed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. An EIS is a description and analysis of all environmentally-related aspects of a project. This EIS will review a range of alternatives and actions such as beach nourishment projects that can take place after the selection of options are studied thoroughly to determine what will serve environmental concerns and the best interests of the public.

Because of the dire needs of this entire stretch of critically eroded beach, an organization comprised of concerned property owners in the Town of Palm Beach, financed a beach nourishment plan. This organization, the SOS, has requested that the Army Corps of Engineers will study their plan as one of the alternatives which they believe will best serve to protect the environment and to protect the entire area of shoreline. The name of this plan is: "The Coalition to Save Our Shoreline, Inc. (SOS) Beach Nourishment Plan & Design for Reach 8". This large scale beach nourishment plan was designed by Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson, and will become an alternative that will be studied in the EIS process.

This Environmental Impact Study is extremely important. According to FDEP Deputy Division Director, Danielle Irwin, "This process will make it possible for Reach 7, Reach 8 and the southern municipalities to get projects". Specifically, Fondren said that "the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for Reach 8 and Central Palm Beach (South Palm Beach, Lantana to Manalapan) will help guide the future direction in the Beach Management Agreement (BMA) with projects such as north of Phipps Ocean Park, at Sloan’s Curve" in Reach 7. This EIS is therefore of great significance to those who live at risk with critical erosion and the fear of Mother Nature’s wrath striking and causing irrevocable harm to them and their upland properties.


Beach Erosion from T.S. Sandy Severe; Condos in Peril 

A Series 

by Maddy Greenberg

Devastating damage up and down the south end strip of The Town of Palm Beach on S. Ocean Blvd. from Sloan’s Curve south to the town’s boundary. Some photos demonstrate the severity of Tropical Storm Sandy’s beach and dune erosion and the imminent danger residents are in without adequate shoreline beach nourishment and protection.

Beaches are the Economic Engine for Florida

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel with SOS Board Members Carla Herwitz of 2275 S. Ocean (left) & 

Eileen Curran (right) 

of 2778 S. Ocean. Blvd.,

Palm Beach

Rep. Lois Frankel 

with Arlene Kurtis 

of 3360 S. Ocean Blvd.

U.S. House Representative Lois Frankel (D-Fla) spoke with residents of the Town of Palm Beach at a meeting hosted by the Harbour House on South Ocean Blvd. The opportunity to meet and ask questions of our Representative came about through Dr. Max Rosenbaum.

Harbour House President, Stewart Tabakin, introduced Rep. Frankel to an audience about 100 people.

The focal point of her discussion was the importance of the beaches in Florida and their source of revenue. The economic engine in Florida according to the Congresswoman is driven by the property taxes from the residents, especially those properties along the shoreline. Wide beaches and dunes attract people to live on the shoreline and bring tourism to Florida. Frankel explained that the property taxes from the coastline residents are a large revenue apparatus as well as the tourism and hospitality. She said that the monies derived from property taxes, tourism and hospitality in communities along the coast fund the fire, police and school departments throughout the State.

Frankel said that "these are the reasons why the beach issues, such as erosion and the need for shoreline protection for upland properties, are not just local issues." It affects all those residing in the State of Florida, on the shore and inland.

When asked if the Town of Palm Beach uses federal monies to restore its beaches, Frankel said, that "The Town did not want federal money to renourish the beaches." The Town of Palm Beach is unique from the rest of Palm Beach County because they do their own coastal management which did not include federal monies in the funding of their projects.

Arlene Kurtis, resident at 3360 S. Ocean Blvd., expressed her concerns and said that her local government has refused to restore the severely eroded dunes for this upcoming hurricane season. Mrs. Kurtis wanted Frankel to know about the seriousness of this situation in the south end of the Town of Palm Beach.

Eileen Curran, a Coalition To Save Our Shoreline (SOS) board member and resident of 2778 S. Ocean Blvd., described how the inlets cause interruption to the natural flow of sand from north to south. She described how the Army Corp of Engineers dredges the Lake Worth Inlet and it dumps the sand 15 to 20 miles out to sea, instead of placing it on the shoreline south of the inlet. This resulted in the loss of sand showing in the severe erosion of our beaches. Mrs. Curran asked for Rep. Frankel’s help in correcting this situation to get the Army Corps to dump the sand at no cost on the beaches in the Town of Palm Beach. Frankel said she appreciated this information and it gave her weaponry to use.

Lewis Katz, Reef Condo on S. Ocean Blvd., said that there is a debate over who should pay for protection of Condo/Co-op shoreline properties in the Town of Palm Beach. He said the new notion by the Town is that taxpayers should be "self sufficient" and rely totally on seawalls for protection from the wrath of Mother Nature and the ocean. Katz said sea walls cause erosion issues. He stated that coastal structures, wide beaches and dunes need to be considered before building giant seawalls to armor the shoreline. Katz asserted that the upland properties and buildings serve as protection for the properties behind them and therefore designing environmentally suitable beach nourishment projects with coastal structures, wide beaches and dunes in front of the existing seawalls will serve to not only protect the beachfront properties, but all those behind it.

This writer asked Rep. Frankel for her assistance in areas of our shoreline that have never had beach nourishment. These areas have severe, critical erosion and as a result of these conditions, many of the properties in those areas are in jeopardy. A Federal Environmental Impact Study must be done before beach projects can be permitted and constructed. Frankel asked what areas were referred to that had not had beach nourishment, are being eroded and were not proposed to get it without an EIS. She was told in northern Reach 7, or Sloan’s Curve and Reach 8, south of the Lake Worth Pier. Frankel said that she would do her best to help us with the EIS process and our beach issues.

Lastly, Congresswoman advised the audience of residents to "keep pounding and pounding your officials about the beach issues." She said "this issue is much too important and residents and taxpayers should keep it at the forefront." An SOS board member’s response to me was that they totally agree with Frankel.

Until next time, be well and stay safe.

State, Town of P.B. officials, Coastal Engineers Speak with Residents

Residents expressed their frustration regarding the serious erosion of the beaches, jeopardizing their properties

Severe shoreline Erosion and loss of dunes shown in photo taken on 3/10/13 looking toward the Lake Worth Pier. This photo was not taken during a storm.

SOS Coastal Engineer Karyn Erickson, President of Erickson Consulting Engineers; Richard Hunegs, Chairman of the SOS & resident & President of 3360 Condo on S. Ocean Blvd.; FDEP Deputy Director Danielle Fondren Irwin, Beach Management

Overflowing audience of residents at the SOS Public Service Meeting, (flowing out to the hallways and standing room only)

The March 21st Public Service Meeting sponsored by The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline Inc. (SOS) was successful in bringing over 300 residents, standing room only to speak with State, Town officials and Coastal Engineering expertise.

The spontaneous response of the overflowing audience of residents to the presentations led the meeting to a different level. The residents expressed their bitter frustration and despair to the long unresolved severe erosion conditions of the beaches and the loss of their dunes, which they clearly felt put their homes and safety in jeopardy. There were numerous rallying cries of "What can be done NOW to protect our homes against this summer’s storms?" and "How SOON can we have beach nourishment and groins to protect our homes?"!!

The momentum that this meeting took on was quite remarkable. For the first time, residents had the opportunity to express their total frustration and, most importantly, they demonstrated the pent up anger which sent a powerful message to the Town of Palm Beach. The State, whose Inlet to Inlet regional project is proposed to cover these areas of shoreline, clearly heard the desperate need of the residents to obtain large scale beach nourishment projects with groins.

In response to the residents frustration at their dire situation and their dissatisfaction by the lack of action on a beach fix, Richard Hunegs, Chairman of the SOS said, "This requires political action because, as the Town of Palm Beach demonstrated with the Flagler Bridge, to get things done at higher levels, you have to take action now!"

The SOS has declared that this is the time for taxpayers to sound a rallying cry to save their properties and make a large impact on the Town Council in The Town of Palm Beach. Mr. Hunegs believes that shoreline erosion and the jeopardy that exists for the safety of the residents and the protection of their properties is at the "apex of all of the Town’s issues"!

Mr. Hunegs first called upon Town of Palm Beach Councilman Richard Kleid, who told residents that if there was a storm threat there would be sand bags on the way. The residents rejected Kleid’s statement and were displeased with Mr. Kleid’s announcement that the Town of Palm Beach could not restore the dunes or put sand on the beaches during the current turtle season. SOS’s Coastal Engineer Karyn Erickson, who was a presenter at this meeting, responded to Councilman Kleid that during turtle season it is possible to obtain an emergency extension until June 1st.

As a result of the anger vented by the residents, Town of Palm Beach Councilman William Diamond advised that "This meeting should be transported to the next Town Council Meeting on April 9th and I will place the SOS on the agenda."

To transport the SOS’s Public Service Meeting’s momentum, the SOS has prepared a Petition to be signed by each resident and taxpayer. This Petition, which will be submitted to the Town of Palm Beach Town Council, demands that the town act immediately to restore the dunes in the south end of the town in order to protect homes and properties from this summer’s storms and hurricanes. This is an effort to address the emergency situation that exists. The Petition also requests that the Town of Palm Beach apply for the necessary permits to undertake beach nourishment projects for those areas in the south end of the town that so desperately need adequate, long-term shoreline protection.

It appears that the SOS has immediately responded to the outcry of the residents at the Public Service Meeting and is actively going forward to have the Town of Palm Beach obtain the necessary shoreline protection for their residents.

Part 8: Benefits from the Palm Beach Island 

BMA Pilot Project 

Aerial Photo taken by Brian Lee for the SOS; shows the eroded beaches and dunes south of the Lake Worth Pier at low tide in the Town of Palm Beach. Much like their neighbors north of the pier, south of Sloan’s Curve. South of Palm Beach, those municipalities have NO beaches due to armoring of their shoreline.

Condos l-r are the Palm Beach Hampton, the Palm Beacher and Bellaria

It is necessary for all shoreline residents who live in the Town of Palm Beach, Lake Worth, South Palm Beach, Lantana & Manalapan to realize that they share a coastline from the Palm Beach Inlet to the Boynton Beach Inlet. These communities became an island, the Palm Beach Island, when the two inlets were created.

As a result, the coastline of each of these towns becomes interdependent on the other since sand flows past town boundaries in a north to south direction, unless interrupted by obstacles.

Due to the critically eroded beaches on Palm Beach Island and in recognition of the dependency of every town shoreline/beach within Palm Beach Island, the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), under its Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, has established the Palm Beach Island Beach Management Agreement (BMA) as their "Pilot Project".

To accomplish the goals of this Palm Beach Island BMA "Pilot Project", the State has outlined their plan for meeting the needs of the shoreline of each of the communities involved. The Agreement will improve the permitting process by monitoring sand drift, ocean current, sea turtle nesting and near-shore hard-bottom environments.

This Agreement will impact 15.7 miles of shoreline from inlet to inlet. Each community will be required to contribute to the cost of monitoring in accordance with the percentage of shoreline that their town occupies. According to the FDEP, "the BMA is designed to be a cooperative effort among the municipalities within the coastal cell, (from Palm Beach Inlet to Boynton Beach Inlet) and the success of the BMA is dependent on the participation of all the municipalities and implementation of the cell-wide monitoring plans."

The FDEP proposed this regional approach to shoreline protection in March, 2012. A series of Stakeholder Meetings was held with representatives of the Town of Palm Beach, South Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Lantana, Manalapan, Palm Beach County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers.

As a journalist, I attended each of the all day meetings which took place from last spring to late fall of 2012. During the first two Stakeholder Meetings, it appeared that the Palm Beach BMA "Pilot Project" would consist of nothing more than to streamline the permitting process for the renourishment of shoreline areas where projects had already been done. However, after the power point presentation by Coastal Engineer Karyn Erickson, there was a shift in the direction of the BMA.

Karyn Erickson, the Coastal Engineer retained by The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline (SOS) developed a large scale beach nourishment plan and design with limited coastal structures south of Sloan’s Curve in the Town of Palm Beach. This plan will also benefit the coastline of communities that are south of the Town of Palm Beach.

Following the SOS/Erickson presentation, the FDEP BMA Meetings took on another dimension. The original draft of the BMA would now include "Proposed Activities" which are the new construction of environmentally suitable beach restoration designs and plans for critically eroded areas along the shoreline that, previously, did not have projects and would now be a part of the beach management draft. Deputy Director Danielle Fondren said that "as a result of the SOS’s ‘bulldog tenacity’ the Department decided to include ‘Proposed Activities’ which would, at a later time, be added to the document under ‘Projects Listed’".

A large scale beach nourishment plan such as the SOS/Erickson plan with limited coastal structures, will not only give adequate protection to the entire section of Reach 8, south of the Lake Worth Pier, but it will provide sand to the system for their southern neighboring municipalities.

Richard G. Hunegs, Esq., Leader of the SOS has stated that "As residents and taxpayers, we need to put emphasis on the need for our municipalities on Palm Beach Island to fully cooperate with the FDEP BMA ‘Pilot Project’. This is a one time opportunity that we have at our doorsteps to protect the most important asset that we have, our beaches. This is an investment in the value of our properties. As Florida property owners, we all will be affected by the outcome of this ‘Pilot Project’ being offered to us by the FDEP".

Hunegs stresses that "We now have a rare opportunity that the State of Florida’s Beaches and Coastal Systems, under the leadership of Deputy Director Danielle Fondren, has provided us. We, as individuals and residents of municipalities on Palm Beach Island must support the BMA in every way possible. We understand that financial concerns are great but we must look at the long term. Investing in our future and the protection of our beaches, environment and upland properties is of the utmost importance and will be cost effective in the long run".

"We must strongly urge our municipalities to become proactive participants in the protection of our shoreline and upland properties. As taxpayers, we must not tolerate the usual reactive stance that puts all of us in jeopardy."

Part 7: More Good News Regarding Beach Nourishment

Photo taken by The Town of South Palm Beach Police Officer, Mark McKirchy from the pool deck of Horizon’s East condominium with Ocean Front Inn’s Tide’s Bar & Grill and the Tuscany Condominium in the background  demonstrates the CRITICALLY ERODED SHORELINE and lack of beach in the Town of South Palm Beach. Notice that the wave has receded in the forefront, but it hits the seawalls. South Palm Beach, needs sand desperately from the beaches north of them. They are in jeopardy, which is easily seen here. No beach remains for South Palm Beach, unless their northern neighboring municipality gets a large scale beach nourishment, which will also feed those beaches to the south of them. What is needed here is to work together to protect the shoreline and the homes beyond it.

At the January 22, 2013 South Palm Beach Town Council Meeting, the Town Council, in a motion passed unanimously, publicly gave their support to the Coalition To Save Our Shoreline (SOS) and their efforts for beach nourishment.

South Palm Beach Council Member Bonnie Fischer introduced this agenda item and spoke about the goals that the SOS is pursuing to gain adequate shoreline protection. These include, among other things, the foresight and vision of the SOS to retain Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson, President of Erickson Consulting Engineers, Inc. to develop an environmentally sound full beach nourishment plan combined with limited coastal structures, such as groins, that will continue down the shoreline and benefit towns like South Palm Beach".

There was a positive and lengthy discussion between the Town Council, South Palm Beach residents and Richard Hunegs, Esq., who is the Leader of the SOS. Conversation ensued regarding the common interests of the Town of South Palm Beach and the residents who live in the Town of Palm Beach, on the dire need for adequate shoreline protection in these long neglected areas of Palm Beach Island. The Town Council and the audience agreed with Mr. Hunegs, who said that "due to the severe beach and dune erosion that exists, the risk to our environment and to our condos is staggering".

The Town Council and the audience all reacted positively to the SOS for their "tenacity", as Councilwoman Fischer described this "proactive" organization. Fischer spoke highly of the SOS and Coastal Engineer, Erickson. Fischer said that she "has looked at the SOS/Erickson plan and believes it is a good one for Reach 8 and the Town of South Palm Beach". She said that the plan is a "very viable plan" and that it is "the only one that makes sense".

Hunegs spent a great deal of time promoting and encouraging the Town Council Members to become signatories on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Beach Management Agreement (BMA) for the pilot program that will extend from Palm Beach Inlet to the Boynton Inlet along Palm Beach Island.

Council Member Stella Jordan said that she "fully supports the SOS and the BMA and that South Palm Beach should get involved with the BMA". Council Member Fischer whole heartedly agreed. Councilwoman Jordan also said that she is "thankful for everything the SOS has done and continues to do for all the residents along Palm Beach Island".

The second item of good news on adequate shoreline protection came during an interview with FDEP Bureau of Beaches & Coastal Systems, Beach Management Deputy Director Danielle Fondren. Fondren said that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Beach Management, endorses "flexible structures like beach nourishment" and "hard coastal structures like groins". Fondren said that her Department is in favor of combined projects and will permit coastal structures like groins. She said, "Coastal structures such as groins are an appropriate action". Fondren said that the best results come when a plan "pinpoints coastal structures, like groins, in areas where they are needed, like ‘hot spots’".

This is exciting news for areas along the coastline that have not previously had groins or hard coastal structures to hold the beach sand on the shores. Groins are perpendicular coastal structures that are meant to slow the loss of sand and the currents and would still allow for movement southward in the littoral drift.

According to FDEP, Beach Management Deputy Director Fondren, "The Department wants to do what makes sense for the longevity of a project". This is welcome news to the many severely eroded areas on the south end of the Town of Palm Beach, the Town of South Palm Beach, Lantana & Manalapan.

More to come in Part 8 of this series. Stay tuned.


Part 6: Beach Nourishment & The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Aerial photo taken by Brian Lee for the SOS, demonstrates how the eroded 

beaches even at low tide in Reach 8 at the south end of the Town of Palm Beach, (not too dissimilar from their neighbors to the north of them in Reach 7), provide little or no protection for the upland properties that lay beyond them. This photo shows 3200 Condo who is representative of the major problem that currently exists; where one decent storm could mean a catastrophe. South Palm Beach and southward, have even less or no beaches due to their armored shoreline. For the south end of Palm Beach Island, their only hope is finally receiving the adequate shoreline protection through a "large scale beach nourishment project" with limited coastal structures to give it "longevity." This journalist, hopes that the LIGHT at the End of the this Tunnel, shines brightly and these proposed activities BECOME a BEACON of light for Palm Beach Island.

Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those critically eroded areas along the shoreline on the south end of Palm Beach Island!

This article will address "Who" is responsible for the planning of such monumentally positive action. Also, in this article, there will be a discussion of "How" adequate shoreline protection for these long neglected beaches will be achieved and finally, "What" produced the light at the end of the tunnel?

Under the Leadership of Deputy Director Danielle Fondren, the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and its Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, Beach Management, will now include a LARGE (environmentally suitable) beach nourishment project at the south end of Palm Beach Island. Such a project has never been entertained before. It will be included in the Department’s adopted Statewide Strategic Beach Management Plan strategy for proposed activities within the Agreement area.

As to the "light at the end of the tunnel", Deputy Director Fondren " attributes the extra attention, the new policy concepts, the large scale beach nourishment plan concept in Reach 8 and the prospect of coastal structures like groins incorporated into such a project, to the Coalition To Save Our Shoreline (SOS)". During this interview, Fondren repeatedly praised the continual efforts of the SOS as the instigation for this forward motion and the FDEP’s participation in guiding the Town of Palm Beach and Palm Beach County in initiating these "proposed activities".

Fondren referred to the civic-minded advocacy group, SOS, as a "bulldog" organization "that had and continues to have the wisdom to retain Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson, to develop a full scale Beach Nourishment Plan & Design for Reach 8," (which is environmentally suitable and has never been developed before) "and a second coastal alternative for Reach 7, including the Sloan’s Curve area", which is critically eroded as well. Deputy Director Fondren "welcomes Karyn Erickson’s continual involvement in this process". She said she "respects new ideas like those of Karyn Erickson" and was "happy to provide a venue for the SOS to have Karyn Erickson present the beach nourishment plan and alternative". Fondren stressed that if not for the "advocacy and persistence" and hands on "involvement of the SOS, none of this extra attention to these areas of shoreline that had not been previously nourished, would be happening".

This is great news for areas such as those that have previously been denied the proper nourishment and protection of their shoreline and their homes in this State. According to SOS Leadership, Richard Hunegs, Esq., "These areas of shoreline have been sorely neglected by the Township and Palm Beach County for years and it is time that they rectify this." An excerpt from the BMA, "The completion of feasibility/design studies and associated environmental impact statements for Reach 8 and Central Palm Beach projects," will be "eligible for State funding assistance in accordance with the Beach Management Funding Assistance Program." The Beach Management Division of the FDEP, besides sharing funding, will therefore become an active "participant in the entire process;" as Robert Brantly, FDEP, Beach Management, Coastal Engineer Program Administrator, said to this journalist in an interview. Brantly said that this is "something significant" having a "large scale project tied to Central Palm Beach." Brantly said that, they "are stepping forward for a project in Reach 8 through the BMA process to develop a joint project."

According to Deputy Director Danielle Fondren, this process will make it possible for Reach 7, Reach 8 and the southern municipalities to get projects. Specifically, Fondren said that " the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for Reach 8 and Central Palm Beach (South Palm Beach, Lantana & Manalapan) will help guide the future direction in the BMA with projects such as north of Phipps Ocean Park, at Sloan’s Curve" in Reach 7. Finally, through the Beach Management Agreement (BMA), a pilot project in the State of Florida that extends from Palm Beach Inlet to Boynton Inlet, light at the end of the tunnel is within our sights.

Richard Hunegs, Leadership of the Coalition To Save Our Shoreline (SOS), was proud and pleased by Fondren’s praise and the progress that we have made. He said that the SOS will continue to retain Karyn Erickson’s services so that she will actively be engaged in the process and will make sure that her environmentally sensitive plans and strategies are included in the final projects that are constructed on Palm Beach Island.

More important information is coming in Part 7 of this series. So stay tuned.

Part 5: Historical Beach Data a Key to Protection

Aerial view of the south end beaches in the Town of Palm Beach taken at low tide by photographer, Brian Lee. It shows the beaches in front of the Meridian Condo at 3300 S. Ocean Blvd. going northward to the Dorchester Condo. This photo is representative of all the eroded and shallow beaches in the south end of the Town of Palm Beach, even at low tide. The photo was taken from a helicopter for the Coalition SOS by Mr. Lee.

The beaches and sunshine in Florida have historically been what has attracted people to visit and move to our state. The communities & hotels that line the shoreline also serve as major revenue and tax assets that make Florida and more specifically Palm Beach County an attraction for so many people.

Whether or not you live directly on the coast, most residents and visitors enjoy the beaches. The beaches serve much more than just a recreational function. The most significant function of the beaches is, or should be, protection for the upland properties and for the residents who live there and in the neighboring vicinity. Richard Hunegs, Esq., who serves as the Leadership for The Coalition to Save Our Shoreline (SOS), has consistently stressed, "that we are a society that loves the seashore. The preservation of our beaches must be the underlying rationale for properly designed beach nourishment projects that are environmentally sensitive while giving adequate protection for upland properties. It is our job as taxpayers to assure that our beaches, for which Florida is famous, are adequately nourished and maintained to protect sea turtles, our homes and our investments".

Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), Deputy Director Danielle H. Fondren and her staff are working on the Palm Beach Island Beach Management Agreement (BMA) pilot project with Palm Beach County and the municipalities between Lake Worth Inlet and the Boynton Beach Inlet. Through this pilot project the Department is coordinating its regulatory responsibilities with other state and federal agencies, local municipalities, the county and the public, "to streamline a program to protect the environment and to provide net ecosystem benefits". According to Fondren, "The BMA was initiated in part to address coastal erosion and environmental resource protection on a regional basis. Palm Beach Island has experienced critical erosion along more than 75% of its shoreline".

The purpose of this series has been to educate and enlighten residents of Florida and to bring out issues and possible solutions to this serious crisis that exists on our shorelines. The problem of severe beach erosion on Palm Beach Island did not just appear after Tropical Storm Sandy. Local municipalities and Palm Beach County which are in charge of coastal management for these areas along the shoreline have watched this situation worsen over time.

Several months back, Richard Hunegs on behalf of the SOS, in conversation with Danielle Fondren, expressed his concern that the local Palm Beach shoreline has become so eroded that not only will our "friends from the sea" not be able to survive because of no beach, but he feared for the residents and their upland properties. He explained that this was "due to years of neglect in certain areas of the shoreline, particularly the south end of the Town of Palm Beach". Hunegs expressed that this "has led to a situation where it will take far less than a catastrophic storm to devastate and destroy."

At December’s BMA Meeting, FDEP Deputy Director, Fondren presented a "Historical Shoreline Policy" concept that would make it possible according to her to "recapture shoreline" in new beach nourishment projects using historical shoreline data. The Historical Shoreline Policy concept was presented as an idea of how the FDEP may balance the historical erosion with environmental resource protection. This "recapture of the shoreline" could benefit new beach nourishment project areas on Palm Beach Island according to Ms. Fondren, "given some areas have seen shoreline recession of more than 200 feet since the 1940s."

"The main benefit for any of the Beach Management Agreement municipalities, (Palm Beach, South Palm Beach, Lantana & Manalapan), may be in providing project engineers with flexibility to design a project that would afford storm protection to upland property. Any of the municipalities in the BMA may benefit from the policy".

Deputy Director Danielle Fondren also said that the FDEP Beach Management Agreement’s goal "is to use the historical analysis to improve our ability to manage coastal erosion and environmental resources. The pilot BMA provides the FDEP the opportunity to explore historical data and find a balance between the protection of Florida’s beaches from erosion and the protection of environmental resources".

Richard Hunegs Esq. serving as the Leadership for the Coalition to Save Our Shoreline said the SOS highly endorses the adoption of the Historical Shoreline Policy by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for Beach Management of our Beaches & Coastal Systems as a NECESSITY especially for those areas that have thus far been denied any real adequate beach nourishment projects. Hunegs commends Danielle Fondren and her staff for this innovative approach to balance and better protect our shoreline and the residents of Florida. He also urges all the municipalities that are involved in the BMA pilot project to give the FDEP and Ms. Fondren their complete support to initiate this Historical Shoreline Policy as soon as possible.

Part 4: Seawall "Quick-Fix" — 

More Harm Than Good?

Photo by Bonnie Fischer, SPB Councilwoman

Taken by South Palm Beach Town Councilwoman Bonnie Fischer, 

shows the waves in South Palm Beach pounding the seawalls. 

Where is the beach?

Bonnie Fischer, Town of South Palm Beach Councilwoman and resident, describes how her seawall armored shoreline is under water because the once deep luscious beaches of South Palm Beach are now so dramatically eroded that the beach is under the ocean and there isn’t any sand on which to put sand dunes up against the seawalls! The waves lap against the seawalls and the beaches which once were wide, no longer exist except for possibly a slim space on which to walk at low tide. The seawalls that line the beachfront properties of South Palm Beach have their own issues; some are cracked while others are collapsing. The seawall at the Imperial House, at the Town’s boundary, had to be shored up some years ago because it proved woefully inadequate.

To the south of Ms. Fischer’s municipality, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Manalapan/Lantana had serious problems when part of their seawall collapsed. The private homes in Manalapan, which have seawalls, suffered tremendous damage to their properties from the storm, Sandy. Their seawalls did not protect their shorefronts from the storm that was 200 miles offshore.

By definition, seawalls cause loss of sand because they provide a stationary object against which a retreating beach narrows and eventually disappears. It is also believed that seawalls may intensify certain wave action during storms that lead to beach loss. Wave action is intensified by seawalls rather than dissipated.

There has been much controversy over the role of seawalls. Most coastal engineers now agree that seawalls are destructive to the beaches.

The Corps of Engineers and Fla. Dept. Environmental Protection Beach Management Deputy Director, Danielle Fondren, both agree that beach nourishment is the environmentally preferable alternative to seawalls and as the method of choice in responding to beach erosion. Also, planting vegetation with beach replenishment nourishment instead of building seawalls has proven to be much more successful in halting beach erosion. Nourishing/re-nourishing beaches are a critical decision in this time of rising sea levels. Once a nourished beach is in place, storm waves must fight the sand absorption of the beach and dunes before they can reach the buildings.

Because the fate of sea turtles is a critical environmental issue, the renourished beach provides for new nesting areas for the turtles. Erosion, on the other hand, produces scarps or "cliffs" that present serious problems for nesting sea turtles which can not climb the scarps to lay their eggs.

It is the belief of Richard Hunegs, Esq. who serves as the Leadership for The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline, (SOS), that since we are a society that loves the seashore, we need to be certain that our beaches are receiving the best and most capable management possible. Representing the SOS, Mr. Hunegs has been dogmatic about his belief that in this time of rising sea levels, preservation of our beaches for future generations should always be the underlying rationale for properly designed beach nourishment projects that will be environmentally sensitive while giving adequate protection for upland properties that belong to the residents of this State.

Because of the concerns of Mr. Hunegs and the many residents that he represents, the SOS retained and financed Coastal Engineer Karyn Erickson to assist them in creating environmentally sensitive beach nourishment projects with limited coastal structures so that their town finally gives all areas that lie within it, the adequate protection that they deserve and require.

The seawalls of South Palm Beach have created a situation where the full beach nourishment project that Erickson designed for the SOS is needed to provide a feeder beach to give sand to their system. The seawall "Quick Fix" has proven to cause more harm than good.

Part 3: Positive Progress on Beaches & 

Coastal System, Thanks to FDEP 

Deputy Director Fondren


The above two photos were taken by South Palm Beach Councilwoman, Bonni Fischer. These photos, taken at the Imperial House, are representative of the entire shoreline and the perilous conditions that exist from Sloan’s Curve through La Bonnie Vie in Palm Beach and continues through South Palm Beach, Lantana and Manalapan. The properties with sea walls did not fair well, many cracked, collapsed, had seepage under the walls, and the waves, in some cases, went over towards the buildings. Sea walls are known to erode the beaches until there is little or no beach left. The entire strip of beaches with or without sea walls is in dire straits.

The purpose of this series has been to inform and enlighten local Florida residents of the important issues concerning our shoreline. This series continues to explain why things have gotten to this dangerous level; whose responsibility it is for protecting our coastline and the possible solutions for this major crisis.

At a recent Beach Management Meeting held by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, (FDEP), three important announcements were made that are a giant step toward adequate shoreline protection for our homes. Under the leadership of Danielle H. Fondren, Deputy Director of Beach Management at the FDEP, significant strides have been made. These three announcements that were made by the FDEP at last week’s meeting will have positive and beneficial ramifications for beach nourishment projects within the Town of Palm Beach, and will also be helpful to its neighboring municipalities along the coast. Southern neighbors like South Palm Beach, Lantana & Manalapan can reap positive results. Areas like Singer Island and northward can also utilize what has been presented at the Beach Management program.

Ms. Fondren & staff announced that they had decided that a policy change was necessary. This change has incorporated historical data on shoreline conditions dating as far back as 1940 which was retrieved through the cooperation of Palm Beach County. It is important to note that 1964 was the year that the State of Florida first recognized beach erosion as a statewide issue. Therefore, Fondren and staff have settled on 1964 for the retroactive date of shoreline conditions in order to ease permitting for new beach nourishment projects. Ms. Fondren explained that their concept "would affect future nourishment proposals in those areas that have not currently had nourishment projects". This new policy would "make it possible for future projects to be able to reflect back on the 1964 shoreline numbers for beach nourishment levels". Ms. Fondren also said that this "gives flexibility to the plans for potential shoreline projects going out into areas that have previously been unable to be permitted because of the resources in the area". This new policy concept is "allowing for some recapture of the shoreline to occur".

Richard Hunegs, Esq., Leadership for The Coalition SOS, believes that because of the persistence of his organization, in concert with others, the state agency, under the guidance of Ms. Fondren, has made tremendous strides with their intervention on behalf of the residents of this State. Hunegs believes the FDEP’s stand and new Historical Shoreline Policy concept will change the face of beach nourishment and the permitting process. It will allow better designed protective beaches with greater width to be created as they had existed years ago. Mr. Hunegs said that the SOS believes this type of policy shows great foresight and is highly commendable.

The next significant FDEP announcement by Deputy Director Fondren was that Florida has a world renowned reputation for their coastal policies. Fondren said that "the FDEP’s role is to sustain the beaches with balance". "Our job is to refine our methods and to find a continual balance". She said that their policy endorses "flexible structures and a combined effort of hard structures". When asked in conversation after her remark, Ms. Fondren explained that "flexible structures consist of beach nourishment which would also include dunes." "Hard structures," Fondren said, "are groins and or breakwaters." That would mean that the State of Florida FDEP Beach Management endorses both of these as a solution for our beach erosion problems. This is quite a revelation and it is most significant and positive.

Deputy Director Fondren also declared that the State Strategic Beach Management Plan is to incorporate beach nourishment plans and coastal alternatives that were presented to the FDEP, "such as those presented by Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson, with possible solutions in the Reach 7, Reach 8 area". (Reaches 7 & 8 are in the south-end of the Town of Palm Beach). She said that these are potential alternatives that can be appropriate.

These three announcements are significant for those living in perilous conditions along the shoreline. Richard Hunegs, the SOS Leadership, credits Danielle Fondren for these enormous accomplishments and forward motion. He also credits Robert Brantley, Coastal Engineering Program Administrator, Bureau of Beaches & Coastal Systems of the FDEP who works under Fondren’s leadership. Hunegs especially gives accolades and strongly compliments Coastal Engineer Karyn Erickson, whom the SOS has retained. It was the SOS that financed her development of a beach nourishment plan and second coastal alternative, both with limited coastal structures. Richard Hunegs says that this is all due to Erickson’s fine work. The SOS will continue to endorse and to utilize Erickson’s exceptional coastal engineering capabilities and knowledge for the benefit of all residents of the Town.

South Palm Beach Councilwoman, Bonni Fischer is also enthusiastic and supportive of the announcements made by FDEP Deputy Director Fondren. Fischer agrees that they can benefit South Palm Beach and their beaches.

Richard Hunegs believes that there are now reasons to be positive. He said that Danielle Fondren is "showing the way" and "it is now up to the Town of Palm Beach to put its oar in the water to get this accomplished by adopting the programs that Fondren and the FDEP have presented." "The Town has to adopt what has been presented by the FDEP without further delay."

Part 2: What All Residents Need To Know About Who Provides Shoreline Protection And How Each of Us Can Make A Difference


Photo taken from the rooftop of a condo after T.S. Sandy by Atriums Condo Manager, Marc Ritcher, shows fast and furious waves knocking the dunes out at the Halcyon, and overcoming the seawall at the Patrician and pounding the seawalls at the Claridges and La Bonne Vie. What looks like sand on all sides of the first sea wall is in fact the waves crashing over the wall towards the building. This was only a Tropical Storm. The sea wall does not appear to be doing much good. In Ft. Lauderdale is has been 

reported that a sea wall collapsed. The sea walls are known to cause tremendous beach erosion. This area has never been provided a beach nourishment project as of yet.

Photo taken by Residences at Sloan’s Curve Manager, Ivan Fraser. None of the condos and buildings within Sloan’s Curve have ever received a beach nourishment project and there is little beach left due to severe erosion. You can see that one small surge and these homes will be flooded out. Sloan’s Curve area is dire need

Photo taken by Atriums Manager, Marc Ritcher. Having never received a beach nourishment project and having a severely eroded beach and then little left of their dunes, the Atriums, like their neighbors, the Halcyon, the Emeraude, 3360 and like those north and south of them are in jeopardy when another storm strikes.

Dorchester Condo has the ocean up to what remains of their beach stairs. Severely eroded beach has never had a beach nourishment project and the dunes are now eroded as well. No protection here. Photo taken by Dorchester Manager, Ned Fleming.

It is about time that residents who live in the State of Florida and are taxpayers understand what we can do to help protect our shoreline.

The first thing you need to know is that neither the State of Florida nor the Federal government provides beach nourishment projects. That responsibility falls squarely on each municipality. For example, the Town of Palm Beach has its own coastal management department. Some shoreline municipalities are under the purview of their County for providing shoreline management, as is the case with Singer Island and South Palm Beach which are under the shore management of Palm Beach County.

The Town of Palm Beach will be used as an example for this scenario. The Town is responsible for the development of beach nourishment plans and designs that will adequately protect all of the Town of Palm Beach shoreline so that their taxpaying residents are protected from a storm event. The Town of Palm Beach should then proceed to develop the best projects. The Town of Palm Beach has been fortunate to have the assistance of a town organization, called The Coalition To Save Our Shoreline, (SOS) which as you already know is under the leadership of Richard G. Hunegs, Esq. The SOS has retained a well respected Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson, to design a beach nourishment plan and second coastal alternative for two areas of the Town. These plans include a limited number of coastal structures that will hold the sand in place. These types of plans in these specific areas have never been developed before by the Town for its residents. The SOS plans both provide adequate and environmentally sensitive beach nourishment and have been acknowledged by other coastal engineers to be viable. The plans have been submitted to the Town, the State and the County. It is the Town’s responsibility to develop beach nourishment projects. According to an SOS source, these beach nourishment plans were developed by the SOS because it appeared that the Town would otherwise continue to neglect those areas as they had done for so many years.

The process that follows is that the Town goes next to the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, (FDEP), to get a permit. The State approves the design and then the Army Corps of Engineers usually follows the State’s recommendation and would also approve the permit that the Town requests.

From there the permitted project goes back to the Town of Palm Beach, whose taxpayers finance these coastal management projects. Whether projects are done individually or jointly, neither the State nor the Federal government is responsible for developing the beach nourishment plans or implementing them. The State and Federal governments only grant permits for the projects presented to them.

Allen Wyett, former Town of Palm Beach Councilman for many years and currently adviser to the NAPB, a north end civic organization that is in agreement with the SOS, confirmed that the Town of Palm Beach is responsible, by tradition, for developing beach nourishment plans and projects which are submitted to the State for approval.

In situations such as the Town of Palm Beach, the municipality is responsible for implementing adequate projects that have been permitted by the State and or Federal government. Any belief or assertion that State or Federal red tape could prevent Town Officials from the development of a beach nourishment plan that has adequate protection would be erroneous.

Once the projects have been developed and permitted the taxpayers provide the revenue to protect the shoreline which in turn protects their entire town.

There seems to be some confusion between repairing the latest damages to the dune system and the development of adequate protective beach nourishment plans. It is significant to point out here that the dunes should not be the only defense against a storm. Constructing adequate beach nourishment projects would avoid this current crisis.

The Town of Palm Beach has asserted that their "level of adequate protection" is satisfied as long as the buildings are still standing, whether or not they are flooded and therefore unsafe and uninhabitable. This is the Town’s definition of adequate shoreline protection. In the Town of Palm Beach, two organizations, (both the SOS & the NAPB), are at odds with this level of protection as stated by the Town of Palm Beach and believe it is highly inadequate and unacceptable. It is a waste of tax dollars to promote projects that pursue the Town’s current "level of protection".

As a resident you can make a difference and find out the level of protection in your own municipality. Most importantly, stress that any beach nourishment plan must assure that the dunes will lie beyond the beach and are the last line of defense, not the properties and buildings where so many people live. We need to create beach nourishment projects that will not waste our tax dollars. We must protect our valuable shoreline and the homes that lie beyond it.


Part 1: Heed the warning that Sandy left in her wake before it is too late


Atriums Condo- 3400 S. Ocean, demonstrates the severe beach erosion, loss of dunes and beach steps. At high tide the ocean is pounding what is left of the dunes. One good surge and the damage will destroy valuable real estate and endanger residents.

Photo by 3400 Condo Manager:

Marc Richter.

Severe dune erosion in front of The Reef Condo, 2600 Condo and all their southern neighbors. Another storm and the buildings are in jeopardy. This portion of beach had been renourished in 2006 and the sand had washed away shortly afterwards and along with it, 

 tax dollars 

Photo taken by 2600 Condo Manager:

Hector Pintos.

Ambassador II Co-op. The Town claimed that the sand washed down from previously renourished beaches to their north to give the Ambassador a large beach. Sand on a flat beach is not designed to protect. Look how close to the buildings it is. One good wave and disaster would be forthcoming. 

Connie Dubé, Administrative Assistant checks out the damage.

Photo taken by Ambassador II Manager:

Donna Crandall

2100 at Sloan’s Curve. Nothing remains of the previously eroded beach and the dunes have been devastated as much as their beach steps. The waves are seriously too close. Another tropical storm could cause severe damage. In desperate need of much better shoreline protection.

Photo by 2100 Condo Manager:

Kristin Feesl

Tropical Storm Sandy, which became "Super Storm" as it moved up the coastline and struck the northeast, should ring all the alarm bells for those who live in Palm Beach County and any of the shoreline municipalities that suffered severe beach erosion from nothing more than a "Tropical Storm."

Up north, Sandy left behind "Catastrophic Devastation" in those shoreline communities that were wiped out and totally destroyed by a fluke "Super Storm" that caused so much tragedy for so many. The fact that locally, Sandy as nothing more than a slow moving Tropical Storm, completely wiped out dune systems, with already eroded beaches in front of them, should be a "WAKE-UP CALL" for all those shoreline municipalities’ where their residents’ homes at this point are hanging out in the abyss.

Hearing the reports of how some of the shoreline in the Town of Palm Beach has been left bare from merely a Tropical Storm, makes it essential that coastal management stops spending more and more tax dollars on repetitive reviews and studies around which continues the procrastination that keeps their residents in peril. It is the responsibility of government to protect the citizens and their properties before tragedy strikes and wipes out a community. We don’t want to need FEMA; we want proactive protection so that we don’t lose everything we value.

In the Town of Palm Beach , the most major issue that is little known by the public is what our Town considers their acceptable "Level of Protection." The Town thinks it is acceptable if everything is washed away, destroyed and "sacrificed" as long as the buildings are still standing. The buildings can be completely flooded and therefore uninhabitable, but according to Town standards this is their acceptable level of "Shoreline Protection."

A source from the Coalition to Save Our Shoreline (SOS) says that both the SOS organization and their ally organization from the north-end of Town, the NAPB, have a major bone of contention with the Town of Palm Beach’s failed level of protection for the thousands of residents that live in this peril. As Condo News readers are all aware from our last issue, the purpose of the SOS is to gain adequate shoreline protection for the residents living on or near the coast in the Town of Palm Beach. To that end, under the leadership of Richard G. Hunegs, Esq., the SOS retained and financed well respected Coastal Engineer, Karyn Erickson’s development of an environmentally sensitive and permitable beach nourishment plan and design with an additional coastal beach alternative in two areas of coastline in the town to rectify the neglect and impending catastrophic conditions that have been allowed to exist for so many years.

As a resident in a local municipality who now understands the implicit need for adequate shoreline protection, you each need to contact your municipality and make sure that they know the beaches should be adequately renourished and designed to be our first line of defense. The dunes should be the last line of defense, not the properties and buildings where so many live. You can play a part in avoiding certain disaster. Contact your municipality and let them know your thoughts on this matter.

More to come ...


Palm Beach County Drenched by T.S. Isaac

Outer band from T.S. Isaac churned up the ocean -- 

view from 3360 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach, FL

Photo by Maddy Greenberg


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The Condo News print newspaper is published every other Wednesday. It is circulated throughout Palm Beach County, from Delray to North Palm Beach, and from Singer Island, Palm Beach and South Palm Beach to Royal Palm Beach, in Condominium, Cooperative and Home Owner Association Communities. For more information, or to have the Condo News  brought to your community, e-mail us or write to: P.O. Box 109, West Palm Beach, FL 33409. Tel:(561) 471-0329