Cape San Blas

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Gulf County's Cape San Blas might be getting a new coast construction control line, and some county officials aren't too thrilled about it. The line would limit property owners from building, remodeling and even reselling their property.

The Department of Environmental Protection is proposing a line shift that in some areas would affect about eight miles of strip property on Cape San Blas.

The DEP is looking very closely at construction in this area and trying to find a way to help minimize the financial impacts caused by the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.

Some homeowners and county officials want to compromise.

Compromise in Sight?
Gulf County's coast hasn't seen a coastal construction control line shift since October 1st 1985.

Because of the damage from the hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 the state wants to intervene to minimize the financial impact.

Property Owner Laurel Eiler says she's lucky she purchased her properties in 1984. "I have the ability to get what's called a permit and I can still do a lot of things with my home that other properties who were not platted prior that after that time can do," she said.

County Commissioner Bill Williams says he understands DEP's position but he's strongly against it. He says more than 200 homeowners won't be able to remodel or add-on to their home. And, vacant property owners will not be able to build on their lot."

"The problem is it's an area that's in process. I mean you have years of purchasing and development, but the state's looking at hurricane impacts," Williams said. "Additionally, we're in the process now of a beach re-nourishment project; a $22 million beach re-nourishment project. But more importantly, as well it has an impact to our taxes, I mean you’re talking about $148 million dollars of assessed value com[ing] off our tax rolls."

That means the county won't be able to issue a building permit to the affected areas in front of the line.

"So the only thing they have is a lot [so] that they have beautiful access to our beaches," Williams said. "So the impact to me would be less than some of my fellow homeowners here on the cape that I'm very concerned about, particularly the people with undeveloped land."

Reassessment to Come in Near Future
The Gulf County Commission will meet with the Department of Environmental Protection on March 29th.

At that time they will ask them to allow them to finish the beach nourishment so they can reassess the lines or exempt them from the coastal construction control line shift.