Manasota Key residents want county to pay for storm damage

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. All Charlotte County residents would have to pay for coastal storm cleanup if dozens who packed a meeting with a county commissioner Thursday get their way.

Two tornadoes with estimated winds of 100 mph or more ripped through Charlotte County on Monday causing damage not just on Manasota Key but in an area east of Interstate 75 as well. But Manasota Key bore the brunt of tropical storms Colin and Hermine last year, as crashing waves left behind erosion on the shore.

Residents in Manasota Key told Commissioner Bill Truex that everyone in the county should be required to help fund beach restoration.

“I truly, truly believe it’s a Charlotte County issue that affects all of the residents in Charlotte County,” South Gulf Cove resident Linda Harrison said.

The existing ordinance holds that only coastal residents have to pay, but Truex is in favor of change.

“I cannot support the current system, can not support it,” Truex said. “It’s not just a west county issue, it’s a countywide issue.”

Truex and those gathered Thursday at the Manasota Key Coffeehouse acknowledged the idea would be a hard sell for inland residents. But they insist beach issues affect everyone in the county.

“An intact beach is good for every Charlotte County resident,” Harrison said. “Property values would go down if they didn’t have a beach to come to. No one wants that. Tourism would drop…so we need to replace the beach.”

Charlotte County has been building a new seawall and working on a multimillion-dollar beach renourishment project since last year. Charlotte County commissioners believe they will be able to get more federal funding once the county has a beach management plan in order.

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