To all those interested in preserving and protecting our fragile coastal ecosystem from ridiculous dredge and fill projects (allegedly beach restoration), we need your help.
The Breaker's Hotel in Palm Beach has received a permit to "rehabilitate" and add additional T-groins in the ocean seaward of their property. In order to receive a notice to proceed, they must get a sovereign submerged land easement from DEP.
We believe the project is outrageous and poses substantial, irretrievable and irreparable harm to our fragile ocean ecosystem including endangered and threatened species. There is absolutely no doubt that this project will seriously jeopardize the resources observed on the infamous Breaker's Pier/Rock Pile including corals, turtles, fish and wildlife and their habitats.
We consider this project nothing more than a land grab (of public land) by the upland private property owners at the expense of the resources.
In an attempt to ensure that this project does not receive a notice to proceed, we are asking the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection to elevate this issue to the Governor and the Cabinet so that we may receive due process (notice and opportunity to be heard). We simply wish to share our concerns with the decisionmakers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Below is a letter that I have sent off to Michael Sole. We are hoping that you can help us by sending a letter as well. Every echo of our request will help. So, please take a few moments to send a note off to the Secretary. We'd appreciate if you would send us a copy as well.
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH.
Sent via email to Michael.Sole@dep.state.fl.us
January 28, 2009
The Honorable Michael W. Sole
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Building
3900 Commonwealth Boulevard, MS #35
Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000
RE: Breaker's Application for Sovereign Submerged Lands Easement BOT 500222499, Easement #30606A, DEP File No. 0173170-003-JC, Breakers T-Groin Reconditioning, Palm Beach County
Dear Mr. Secretary:
In a nutshell, we are writing to you today to respectfully request that you elevate this matter to the Governor and Cabinet acting as the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida given the heightened public concern about the irreplaceable and irreparable harm that will ensue to our precious natural ocean resources and water quality at the project site and inherent negative impacts to both the public and private portions of the coastal
ecosystem as they will be denied necessary natural drifts of sand and therefore suffer increased erosion thereby diminishing the use and enjoyment of these public waters and public land.
As you may know, your Department, in your notice of intent, determined that the proposed activity (because of its size, potential effect on the environment or the public, controversial nature or
location) is likely to have a heightened public concern. As people become aware of this project and the application for Sovereign Submerged Lands Easement, there is indeed this heightened public
As you may also know, the permit and sovereign submerged lands easement applications have gone through many iterations since it was originally filed back in 2001 (or before). The modifications to thisproject over the years to its current proposed activity has changed dramatically. However, since the changes were dealt with as modifications (not a new application), due process (notice and opportunity to be heard) was unfortunately not provided.
Additionally, since the original application was filed so long ago, much of the information provided to you has changed and is now outdated and stale. For example, consultants for the Breakers stated that the Breakers Rock Pile/Pier was exposed starting at approximately 350 feet from shore when in fact surveys of the area conducted November 28, 2008 show the Breakers Rock Pile/Pier exposed starting at 35 feet from shore. It is essential that the information provided to you be updated accordingly to avert burial and/or damage of the resources.
For the following "top ten" reasons we respectfully request an opportunity to be heard by the Board of Trustees.
We believe this project, among other things:
1. is contrary to the public interest as it will interfere with public access and the public use, enjoyment, recreation and navigation of this public land
2. will cause significant irreplaceable and irreparable harm to marine turtles and/or their nests and/or nesting habitat as well as the coastal ecosystem
3. will adversely affect the conservation of fish and wildlife resources, including endangered and threatened species and/or their habitats
4. will adversely affect fishing and/or fishing or recreational values or marine productivity
5. will cause significant irreplaceable and irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem
6. is not consistent with the goals and objectives of the "Conceptual State Lands Management Plan" adopted by the Board of Trustees on March 17, 1981 as modified on March 15, 1983
7. will adversely affect the public health, safety and/or welfare on both public and private property
8. will dramatically increase turbidity in the area substantially reducing water quality and thereby adversely affecting the coastal ecosystem
9. will adversely affect navigation and/or the flow of water and/or cause harmful erosion or shoaling
10. will disturb and/or destroy existing beach topography thereby not maintaining essentially natural conditions, and interfering with littoral rights of adjacent and downdrift property owners
Mr. Secretary, while we appreciate the work your Department has done on this project, we fear that the modifications made along the way do not provide the best protection for our public land and our coastal ecosystem. We simply request a public vetting of the issues so that those of us who have grave concerns about the project can share them with you and the Board of Trustees.
Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to a favorable reply to our request.
On behalf of the environment that we strive to preserve and protect every day,
Brenda Lee Chalifour, Esq.
2001 S. Surf Road, Suite 4B
Hollywood, FL 33019