Palm Beach Shore Board Wants To Hear Breakers Erosion Plan

Palm Beach Shore Board Wants To Hear Breakers Erosion Plan

The Shore Protection Board has waited months for The Breakers to appear before it to discuss a plan to combat erosion at the nearby Clarke Avenue and Midtown public beaches.

But the resort has not come before the panel since canceling an appearance in November.

“It’s been two months since they were supposed to make a presentation,” Commissioner Lee Goldstein said Monday. “I don’t think it’s fair to the town.”

The board voted 6-1, with Lewis Katz dissenting, to request The Breakers appear at the board’s Feb. 23 for a “full report.” Breakers President Paul Leone said Monday that The Breakers plans to attend the meeting, but had no further comment. The resort has hired a consultant to study the erosion and present a solution, and Leone has been in contact with Town Manager Tom Bradford.

The Clarke and Midtown beaches are just south of rock groins the hotel has deployed to trap sand and protect the beach in front of the resort. Shore board members are concerned that those groins may be interfering with the natural north-to-south drift of sand onto the two public beaches.

The groins were most recently modified in 2012, after The Breakers received a Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit to supplement six groins with additional granite boulders.

In 2015, the town spent $17.6 million to place 900,000 cubic yards of sand along the 2.8-mile stretch from Casa Bendita to Banyan Road. That project also was permitted by the DEP.

Jerry Frank, vice chairman of the shore board, said the town has a responsibility to protect its shore from erosion and upland properties from storm damage as well as safeguarding the taxpayers’ financial investment in the beaches.

The Breakers hired consulting firm Humiston and Moore to develop a plan. Town consultant Mike Jenkins, coastal engineering principal at Applied Technology and Management, has reviewed the report, and Leone and Bradford have had phone discussions and one meeting to discuss the issue, Bradford said.

Bradford said The Breakers has not taken responsibility for the erosion, but has presented a plan for the town, the resort and the Lauder family, which owns two oceanfront homes immediately south of the Breakers, to jointly pursue.

“They are trying to figure out how, if at all, to proceed with their proposed project,” Bradford said.

The Breakers’ proposal is “a tweaking of the southernmost [groin] and to put in two rock revetments off the Leonard Lauder property, and put in a T-groin towards the southern end of the Clarke Avenue beach.”

Bradford said he is attempting to arrange a meeting with Leone but would not publicly discuss the town’s position on the plan until after he and Leone have talked.

Public Works Director Paul Brazil said the town could hire a consultant and come up with its own solution, but the Town Council would have to authorize that.

“There is a problem,” Bradford said. “We’re having faster erosion than one would ordinarily expect. The question is, would their project solve the problem, [or] would some other solution be needed to solve the problem?”

Victor DeFrisco Headshot
Phone: 561-951-3759
Dated: February 3rd 2017
Views: 122
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