St. Johns County is one of the only counties along the entire coast of Florida without a beach restoration program. We spend nothing whatsoever to renourish our beach and replenish the sand, unlike nearly all coastal counties in Florida. We also are one of the only coastal counties for which there is no millage whatsoever in our property taxes to maintain and restore our beach. Years of neglect are destroying our most valuable asset – one that we all love and enjoy.
Our county has no plans to restore the devastation to our beach. However, they are supportive of our grassroots efforts to renourish and will help us with implementation of our plan. The state of Florida also wants our beach restored and is committed to matching the funds that we raise. All beach restoration programs in Florida are funded as a match.
Our property values will clearly suffer from the loss of our beach. If we do not restore the beach, the likelihood of property value depreciation is very high. Beach restoration will correct this imminent problem.
Other important facts that provide a context of the problem:
- Ponte Vedra’s beach has lost 135 feet of width since 1972 and 80 feet of width since 1986.
- 5 million cubic yards of sand have been lost since the 1980s, that’s equal to a massive 170,000 truckloads of sand.
- The problem predates Mathew and Irma which simply exacerbated a bad situation.
- One house had to be demolished after Irma and the storm put several more at risk.
- The beach has lowered by about 5-10 feet across Ponte Vedra and it is now down to the cocina that lies several feet beneath the sand.
- Ponte Vedra’s beach will never naturally rebuild what’s been lost as it has been in a net loss for decades.
- The implications are serious. South Ponte Vedra assessed property values are down about 50-60% in the past year as per the St Johns County property appraisers office. Ponte Vedra would be next. We can’t afford for that to happen to Ponte Vedra as Ponte Vedra blvd represents about 24% of the ad valorem tax base of St Johns County. We can’t allow that to happen and put our prized school system as risk.
- 60 properties (and growing) are currently for sale at the beach in Ponte Vedra. As inventory continues to build and the pace of sales has stalled, we worry about the resulting implications for property values.