INDIAN SHORES, Fla. (WFLA) — Tucked away off Gulf Boulevard in Indian Shores, Sand-Glo Villas sits quietly, a wooden structure consisting of six villas overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
While the guests come there to relax and recover, Katrena Hale keeps an eye on the coast.
“The beach, and having a beach, does impact me greatly,” Hale said. “Not just for protecting the infrastructure, but because I rent beach.”
For more than two decades, Hale has owned the rental villa business in the sand. And after Hurricane Idalia, a chunk of that sand was washed away, leaving a two or three foot cliff in the miniature dunes in front of the property.
But Hale won’t sign the easement from the Army Corps of Engineers allowing them to renourish the beaches. The easement is an agreement that allows the Corp to access the land. Hale said she doesn’t like the ‘public access’ and ‘perpetuity’ language in the agreement.
“I’m not giving you rights to my property forever,” Hale explained. “I will sign the rights for you to come in for a year or for six months or for however long it’s taken you to do this project.”
But the Army Corps said that language is necessary.
“The ‘perpetual’ allows us, even after the life of the project is over,” said Colonel James Booth. “To come back in, at full federal expense, and renourish a beach after a storm.”
Col. Booth told a packed crowd Friday at a beach renourishment meeting at the Indian Shores Town Hall that the Corps would not be renourishing any beaches until it gets 100% agreement from all beachfront property owners.
“We will hold to the policy that we need 100% of the real estate access,” Col. Booth said. “So that we can move forward with the projects.”
That disappoints some locals.
“You can’t get 10 people, 100% of 10 people,” said Jeff Cathey. “To agree what time the sun rose today.”
Cathey resides part-time in Indian Shores and part-time in Tampa.
“These are better beaches than they were before,” Cathey recalled. “And we need to appreciate that daily.”
Cathey and many neighbors said beaches are essential to Florida.
“Beaches mean freedom and access and recreation and fishing and swimming and outdoor engagement,” Cathey listed.
He didn’t understand why 100% agreement was necessary.
“I thought that was a brick wall that didn’t need to be there,” Cathey said. “The next storm that hit like last week is going to do more damage.”
If the Army Corps of Engineers does come in, they would bring sand in the form of 40 foot long by six foot wide berms along the coast. Col. Booth did say he would take the concerns about the language of the access agreement to his leadership, but it was unclear whether it would change or not.