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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

DEP says no to Holmes Beach sand

The Palma Sola Causeway won't be getting any of that pile of beach-quality dredged sand from Holmes Beach for renourishment, thanks to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (The Islander, May 5).

A renourishment plan put together by Manatee County Environmental Systems Manager Charlie Hunsicker, Holmes Beach, Bradenton and members of the Palma Sola Scenic Highway Committee has been washed away in the bureaucratic storm after the DEP placed too many restrictions on use of the sand on the causeway.

"We would have been limited to filling just a few locations," under the DEP order, said Hunsicker. The DEP also quashed a request by Hunsicker for a general use permit that could have been issued in 30 days and would have allowed a quick renourishment.

The plan now is to haul some of the sand to the southern end of Leffis Key to be stockpiled for later use by the Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department, Hunsicker said.

"They won't be using it as beach renourishment, so there is no permit involved," he added.

Instead, most of the sand will be used as backfill material for county stormwater drainage projects in and around Coquina Beach. Some of the material will be used as replacement sand for volleyball courts and other county-managed park areas near Leffis Key.

The sand is the material dredged from Holmes Beach canal bottoms by Energy Resources Inc., and has been placed in a big pile on Flotilla Drive behind the Birdie Tebbetts baseball field until it dries out. Energy Resources has had trouble finding qualified users to haul the sand away, and the Palma Sola renourishment was to have been a major boost to the removal campaign.

In the absence of qualified users, Energy Resources will have to haul the sand to the county landfill.

Many city residents consider the sandpile both an eyesore and liability issue (The Islander, April 28).

Following citizen complaints that the sandpile posed a threat to children and consequently a liability issue for the city, Mayor Carol Whitmore promised to have the sand removed as quickly as possible.