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Date of Issue: October 01, 2008

Bayside erosion worries homeowners

Big name storms sent big bruising waves crashing against property along North Shore Drive last month.

Last week, the local tropical storm forecast from the National Hurricane Center was clear, but the worries of homeowners in the Anna Maria neighborhood continued.

Just modest winds that blew in with the first day of fall brought water past the normal shoreline.

And brought homeowner Joan Dickinson to the city commission meeting Sept. 25. Commissioners Dale Woodland, Jo Ann Mattick and John Quam and Mayor Fran Barford attended the meeting. Commissioners Christine Tollette and Duke Miller were absent.

“I’m not asking for money,” Dickinson began. She then asked city officials to help find a solution to the situation in the neighborhood, which is not slated to get help from a 2011 beach renourishment effort despite critical erosion of the shore.

“We get saltwater and rainwater,” Dickinson said of flooding in the area. She said the area from Bean Point south to Bayfront Park is impacted and property owners need relief and protection.

“You are totally eroding,” Barford said, acknowledging the situation.

Barford said to get relief, legislation must be changed and she suggested to Dickinson that election season is a good time to lobby.

“We need a political effort,” the mayor said. “It’s going to take your neighborhood, everyone.”

“This is a big issue, a major issue to try to change,” Barford continued, adding, “Grassroots is where it’s at … and that’s what is going to make change.”

City officials will meet with county representatives at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 2 to discuss renourishment in Anna Maria.

The meeting was not called to focus on the bayside problem, but Barford urged residents concerned with erosion on North Shore to attend the meeting, which may take place at the Anna Maria Island Community Center.

Dickinson said she needs assistance in the lobbying effort.

She added that perhaps there were alternatives to beach renourishment to explore.

“I’m not just looking at sand,” Dickinson said.