Thursday, January 16, 2020

GUEST COLUMN | Geotube project an important discussion. (SAR)

Ponte Vedra's eloquent ethical environmental leader Ms. Nicole Crosby led the citizens who halted development of The Outpost by Gate Petroleum and its billionaire owners, Herbert Peyton and John Peyton (ex-Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida). While these two rich Temple Destroyers prevailed before the Planning and Zoning Board on a narrow vote, they dropped the oyster and left the wharf, dropping their project like a bad habit when they learned that St. Johns County Commissioners would vote to reject their greedy hare-brained scheme.

I thoroughly applaud and agree with Ms. Nicole Crosby's January 5, 2020 guest column in the St. Augustine Record on the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approval of geotubes on our beaches, paid for by private property owners. These questions require investigation and public hearings. Once again, money talks here in St. Johns County. As my late friend and mentor David Thundershield Queen would ask, "Does DEP stand for "Don't expect protection?"

But on November 19, 2019, a date that will shine in history, St. Johns County Commissioners voted 5-0 to fire sexist, misogynist developer tool, MICHAEL DAVID WANCHICK, whose disobedience on the closing of Mickler's Landing beach, the most popular beach in St. Johns County, to facilitate placement of geotubes for private landowners, was the last straw in a twelve year misanthropic Reign of Error.

Thank you Ms. Crosby and thank you Commissioners!

From The St. Augustine Record:

Photo credit: Ponte Vedra Recorder

GUEST COLUMN | Geotube project an important discussion

By Nicole Crosby, Ponte Vedra Beach
Posted Jan 5, 2020 at 11:18 AM
Thank you for the extensive coverage of the geotube issue in Ponte Vedra.

Thank you for the extensive coverage of the geotube issue in Ponte Vedra. It’s also worth noting that a lobbyist was hired for $10,000 per month by the 13 homeowners during the time they were seeking permits for the geotubes. The lobbyist, Herschel Vinyard, is the former secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection. His involvement explains their success in obtaining geotube permits despite their homes being landward of the CCCL (Coastal Construction Control Line). As a result, a precedent has been set that could negatively impact sea turtle nesting habitat statewide. An email signed by several of the 13 homeowners to their neighbors confirmed Vinyard’s role in the approval: “We currently have DEP onboard supporting the project, due in part to the efforts of our consultant.”

Also relevant is our county commissioners’ allocation of $3 million to beach renourishment of northern Ponte Vedra. The article only referenced beach renourishment planned for South Ponte Vedra and points south.

Finally, the article stated that Mickler Beach is now open seven days a week. However, it is not fully open. Weekday mornings before 11 have been off limits to the public for two months now, essentially shutting down the beach during the week for people who work 9 to 5; they cannot enjoy early morning beach walks. (In November, Mickler’s, the most-used beach in the county, was closed for the private geotube project for eight full days.)

Keeping the geotubes covered with three feet of sand without closing the beach to the public will be a challenge for as long as DEP allows them to remain in place. Their impact on nesting sea turtles remains to be seen.

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