Must Read: Vital questions Beach Project Permit / Hyatt / Settlement Agreement /$$$$$’s

From: Barry Stiger

Does anyone think we’d have received an update from the board on beach renourishment program had it not been for this blog site?  Congratulations to whoever set this blog site up!

I listened to the recording of the board session on this subject and was gratified to hear that the board intended to have a community meeting on the subject at some future time.  However, the board did not say that the project would be put up for a vote.  Also, the board did not explain how the expert attorneys and consultants handling our permit application misjudged the situation so badly.  We’ve now spend what – $500,000? – on the permitting alone, without a dime on actual implementation. Did our experts make us aware of this scenario as this process marched inexorably on?  Are they so married to the advice already given that they cannot provide a realistic viewpoint on the actual project costs, as well as the maintenance and other continuing liabilities that PLCA would be incurring?

I heard on the recording that perhaps part of providing public access to “our” beach might be sharing our shuttle service with the public.  Will the public be entitled to use our facilities on the island?  How could we stop them once they are there?

Fortunately the board seems to understand that we can still back out if we are not satisfied with the permit and its conditions.  Unfortunately, we don’t know the conditions yet, even though we have experts to advise us.      CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THIS VERY IMPORTANT BLOG POST: Surely other private owners have gone through this process.  I did hear on the recording that there could be a 30 year (or perhaps perpetual?) commitment to restore and maintain this public beach. This unlimited liability alone makes me quake.  At several million dollars a pop, we could go broke quickly in supporting this never-ending project.  It’s no wonder that public beaches are customarily maintained and restored by public entities that have the power to levy taxes to support the cost.  All PCLA can do is levy assessments on property owners. It’s a win/win for the State – a public beach paid for by private parties.

Our board states that “PLCA reserves are already funded to levels to meet half of the original project cost estimate. Hyatt Hotels and the Hyatt Coconut Plantation are obligated by existing agreements and commitment to fund the other half of the cost.”  I’d like to know whether Hyatt has actually paid for half the expenses to date, and precisely what those Hyatt “commitments” consist of (and what’s the difference between an “agreement” and a “commitment” – is either legally enforceable?).  Have the projected costs increased during the permit application process?  Has Hyatt really committed to restoring the groins and beach forever, or only once, or at all?  I thought the level of its “commitment” related to its use of the island.  If its use decreases or ceases (because of the costs, for example), would it have any further “commitment”?  And what Hyatt entity has issued a “commitment”; one with deep pockets or an operating affiliate or franchisee?  If the permit is held in PCLA’s name, we know who the State will look to for implementation.  Will we have to fund a reserve so that we have enough money to pay for a major restoration of the restored beach and groins after the next big storm?  And what about our liability to nearby property owners if our project adversely affects their properties?

Anyone interested in the costs, alternatives and scope of this project, including a survey showing the scope, should tune into the following link to attachment 38 of our application to the State:

http://bcs.dep.state.fl.us/env-prmt/lee/pending/0166092_Pelican_Landing_Beach_Restoraton_and_Groins/001_JC/Application/Attachment%20No.%2038%20-%20Analysis%20of%20Available%20Alternatives.pdf

To see a survey depiction of the magnitude of the groin installation, see this link:

http://bcs.dep.state.fl.us/env-prmt/lee/pending/0166092_Pelican_Landing_Beach_Restoraton_and_Groins/001_JC/Application/Attachment%20No.%2038%20-%20Analysis%20of%20Available%20Alternatives.pdf

To see where the proposed mean high water line has been proposed (where our property line would be established, which appears to me to be quite close to a gazebo), see:

http://bcs.dep.state.fl.us/env-prmt/lee/pending/0166092_Pelican_Landing_Beach_Restoraton_and_Groins/001_JC/Completeness%20Review/final%20response/Pelican_Landing_proprietary%20(item%2017).pdf

Can anyone give us a little history of the Hyatt/PLCA relationship and perhaps explain what Hyatt’s legal obligations might be?

Are there any civil engineers out there who can provide viewpoints on the project maps available from these links and our mapped mean high water line?