This summer, $34 million of FEMA funding came through and was approved by St. Johns County to enhance 11.5 miles of beachfront property which lost considerable amounts of protective sand dunes due to the extensive damage from storms Irma and Matthew in 2017 and 2018. The FEMA Dune Enhancement Project is already underway in Crescent Beach and crews will work their way north to South Ponte Vedra Beach and eventually Ponte Vedra Beach, to create a more resilient natural barrier in the event of future storms. There will be temporary closures to the parts of the beach where work is happening, like Mickler’s Landing. Homeowners who receive sand will do so at no additional cost.
- The northern 9 miles of Ponte Vedra from the Duval County line to the GTMNERR northern boundary
- The GTMNERR southern boundary to 2537 S Ponte Vedra Blvd
- Fort Matanzas Ramp North to 8324 A1A S
- Project Map Link
There were properties that lost significantly more sand during the back-to-back year hurricanes. Those oceanfront homes are part of the South Ponte Vedra Beach Dune Restoration Project. The project extends from the Serenata Ocean Villas to 1 1/3 miles north of Guana River Road. St. Johns County is putting out bids right now for this separate project slated to begin winter 2021 or early spring 2022 to restore the dunes.
This one-time dune restoration requires so much more sand than the FEMA project, as such, the county is hiring a construction company to scrape the ocean floor 8 miles out to bring in enough sand to restore the dunes to these devastated beaches. The bulldozers and other track vehicles used to transfer the sand will be more noticeable, too, generally running 24 hours a day for 5 months. The county’s coastal project manager says while the activity will be pretty loud, the work is being done in construction increments of about 2000 feet, so the noise will be prevalent 7-10 days at a time, becoming less of a factor as the crews keep moving down the beach. The end game, they say, is to create more resilience from extreme tidal events for owners of these oceanfront properties.
While this is a one-time county project, it’s estimated to take 10 years for homeowners to pay off their portion of the project. The county is still considering what millage rate to apply to each homeowner’s portion of the costs for the multi-million dollar project through a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU). Right now the proposed levy of 4 mil per year for 10 years on the taxable value of the properties in the MSTU. If you live in the section of the project in front of Serenata, the county’s proposal is to levy 1.5 mils. There are some variables that might change the proposed levy. For one, property values have risen considerably in South Ponte Vedra Beach since 2019, when county leaders first proposed the levy. The levy alone will not cover all costs, the funding is also coming from a mix of state and local funds.
For more information about both projects, click here.