Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando Beach channel dredging project facing obstacles

BROOKSVILLE — The permit needed to begin the long-awaited Hernando Beach channel dredging project will not be arriving as soon as county officials had hoped.

In fact, several recent developments indicate that the all-important state grant money that will pay for two-thirds of the work may again be in jeopardy because of possible delays in the time line.

The county now faces the same kind of legal challenge to their new spoils site as they did to the old one.

The county must spend $3-million of its own funds to receive another $6-million in a state grant to lengthen, straighten and deepen the Hernando Beach channel by June 1, 2010.

To meet that deadline, the county must have a permit in hand and the project ready to go probably by March, County Administrator David Hamilton said this week.

But several things stand in the way.

The state Department of Environmental Protection had planned to issue a permit for the county to dump the materials dredged up onto a property on Eagle Nest Drive owned by the prominent Manuel family.

Neighbors objected, landing the permit resolution in the hands of an administrative law judge with the Florida Department of Administrative Hearings. Hearings are set for January.

The residents have argued that the Manuel site is a bad choice for various environmental and flood management reasons. And they say that the Manuels stand to gain financially if the county leaves the sand on the site because it would help the family's plans to develop a waterfront subdivision.

Several months ago, county officials realized that the review process could last far longer than the time they have to get the dredge started. So, they picked a new site nearby to dump the dredged sand. They chose the county's former wastewater treatment plant on the east side of Shoal Line Boulevard.

The county began the permitting process with a hope that the DEP could expedite the permit. But earlier this month, the agency told county officials they needed more information.

County staff and consultants were meeting with the DEP officials in Tampa on Friday to make sure they knew exactly what technical details state environmental regulators need to move the permit along.

But there is now a new problem.

The attorney who represents the Manuel family has notified the state and the county that he now also represents a group of residents and members of a church that abuts the Shoal Line Boulevard dump site.

They are raising objections to the new site and will formally challenge the county's permit for that alternative site, Assistant County Attorney Jeff Kirk said at a recent meeting of the Hernando County Port Authority.

In an e-mail to the county, Manuel's attorney Jake Varn predicted that the new challenge could mean that the county will not be able to get its permit until late 2009 at the earliest.

In a follow-up e-mail, Varn details 18 concerns about the alternative spoils site on the county's land. Most of the technical questions involve wetlands on the site and potential environmental impacts including water quality questions on nearby Minnow Creek.

Gregg Sutton, assistant county engineer who has been heading up the dredge project, said he was hoping that the meeting with the DEP would give the county what it needs to answer those questions.

"We're working very aggressively'' to get the permit secured and the work started, he said.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando Beach channel dredging project facing obstacles 12/12/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:27am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]