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Flagler County Invokes Eminent Domain to Acquire Beach Properties for Dune Restoration

ⓒ Stephen Helfrich
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FLAGLER BEACH – The Flagler County government is suing two property owners in Flagler Beach who’re holding up a dune restoration project which has been in the works for over a decade. If the suits are successful, the county will acquire the property temporarily, for the purposes of carrying out the restoration project. It represents the first invocation of eminent domain since Flagler County’s inception in 1917.

City Commission Chair Eric Cooley has received updates from County Attorney Al Hadeed on the matter for some months. ⓒ AskFlagler

All private landowners in the affected 2.6-mile area of beach have granted the county permission to work except these two, Cynthia D’Angiolini and Leonard Surles. The urgency to get resolve the dispute stems from an ultimatum handed down by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is contributing $17 million to the project. The Army Corps told the county two and a half weeks ago that it had until early February to get the land accounted for, or risk losing the $17 million.

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After working with the Flagler Beach City Commission on the matter, County Attorney Al Hadeed wrote an email to Drew Smith, Flagler Beach’s City Attorney, announcing the county would be pursuing acquisition via litigation. The Board of County Commissioners authorized the use of eminent domain at a previous date.

Eminent domain is a process described in the Bill of Rights which gives the government the power to acquire private property for public use, provided it gives fair compensation. The county will not be acquiring the land for longer than it takes to do what’s needed.

If the county is able to move forward with the project, the Army Corp of Engineers will dredge up sand from an offshore site to redress the lost sediment which has been eroded over the years. In addition to the dunes project, the City of Flagler Beach also looks to potentially entirely replace its iconic fishing pier at some point in the first half of the 20’s decade.

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joseph Esposito

    February 4, 2022 at 10:59 pm

    I live in Rockaway Beach Queens in New York. I have lived at this beach community my whole life(46 years) and I have seen Beach erosion. After Sandy was when we saw it at its peak. We noticed as a community that wherever there were groins/rock jetties that jut out into the ocean the beach was spared. The beach areas that did not have the jetties or groins lost over 50 to 100 feet of beach. Over the years the Army Corps of Engineers did extensive dredging to replenish the sand. But after they replaced the sand eventually storms came and took it all back away.Studies showed that we needed rock jetties to keep the sand and to soften the blow of storm surges. We also have a boardwalk with a sea wall. I feel Flagler needs to put rock jetties like we are getting more of to save the sand. Dredging works only if the jetties are in place to keep the replenished sand in place. We have seen this in our beach community and it works.

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