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Erosion on Vilano Beach makes homeowners nervous

6:28 PM, Dec 2, 2013   |    comments
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VILANO BEACH, Fla. -- Some rapid erosion in Vilano Beach has homeowners worried.

The nor'easters this autumn really pounded the coastline. People who live on or near the coast estimate that about 5- to 8-feet of sand dune just disappeared over the weekend.
Now some houses are much closer than they were to the edge of a cliff.

"We've never had as bad as this. This is the worst we've had it," Scott Pacetti said. He lives on Vilano Beach and his walkway to the beach is about to give way after feet of sand dune underneath it has eroded.

One neighborhood beach access point across from Boating Club Road used to slope down and there were stairs going down to the beach. However, now those stairs are gone and a 10- to 15-foot cliff is there instead.

Linda Dettlings said, "It's awful. It's devastation."

She doesn't live on the beach, but she has a home just down the road. She, like many other people, would use the beach access point by Boating Club Road to get to the sand.

"We came down Saturday. The stairs were there but Sunday it was all gone," Dettlings recalled.

Someone has temporarily placed a plank of wood at the end of the path by the edge of the cliff, warning of the steep drop.

Roy Antigua's green house has come closer to the edge in a matter of weeks he said. "We're getting worried about it."

Monday, St. Johns County engineers assessed the erosion situation which spans the length of approximately 5 to 7 lots in Vilano Beach near North Beach.

"I want them to do something," resident Brian Fedor said. "It seems like they care a lot about St. Augustine Beach but not about North Beach or Vilano Beach."

A St. Johns County spokesperson said Vilano Beach is a part of a study to determine what - if anything - can be done to help control erosion.

Many residents here believe the offshore dredging every five years -- to put sand on St. Augustine Beach -- worsens the erosion on Vilano and South Ponte Vedra Beach.

Pacetti supports that idea, "In the fall, after the dredging, the storms come and we get the sand washing away."

However, county engineers have said, science doesn't support that idea.

Pacetti added, "If it's just Mother Nature, we'll deal with it. If it's a manmade thing, I think the homeowners need to have a say in what happens."

He's concerned about what the next nor'easter could do to his backyard and his home.

The county says the state owns the beach, and it's up to homeowners to apply to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for permits to build bulkheads or seawalls.

First Coast News

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