This a transcript of Alan Pierce’s Restore Coordinator Report to the Franklin County Board of Commission meeting on December 18, 2018
At this point the Alligator Point St Teresa Association has been contacted by FCMC Consulting and we are jointly working on a communication tool to keep property owners in the loop. We are also looking to plan a community meeting in January to update everyone.
APSTA will cooperate in every way to expedite this road repair process.
RESTORE Coordinator Report
December 18, 2018
1- Board update on Alligator Drive. I attended the Dec. 8 APTA meeting and provided the following information. In response to Franklin County’s request for assistance, and Alligator Point property owners, the state of Florida has engaged Mr. Frank C. McColm, of FCMC Consulting, to provide the guidance and leadership to an Integrated Recovery Group (IRG) to develop a comprehensive solution for Alligator Drive. Mr. McColm is under contract to the state at no expense to the county. Mr. McColm has experience in the county as he was one of the state representatives during the Eastpoint fire.
On Wednesday, Dec. 5, I met Mr. McColm and 12 representatives of various state and federal agencies on Alligator Point as a kick-off meeting for this IRG. Commissioner Boldt joined us, and together we provided the attendees with a history of the road, and the make-up of the community that uses the road. Mr. McColm will be responsible for coordinating meetings and information with all the governmental agencies, and he will also create a communication link to the Alligator Point community so that he can keep the community informed.
Commissioner Boldt stated that the preferred goal is for the state to take back ownership of the road. Mr. McColm said he understood that was the preferred goal but his direction from the state was to assist the county in repairing and protecting the road.
The group spent a total of about 4 hours on the Point, and we walked various segments of the road to get a sense of the problem. Mr. McColm is aware we need assistance in maintaining the road where it is, which would be called emergency repair work, while a permanent solution is developed. Mr. McColm wants to make sure everyone understands that Hurricane Michael did so much damage to the road that from a response viewpoint we are essentially starting all over again. At this time there are no shortcuts or quick solutions so the community needs to be aware that there will be more months and months of driving on the existing road.
The consensus of the IRG is that the road needs to be relocated in the manner the county has already started. Relocating the road north will provide additional buffer as well as space to create some additional protection from storm surge and wave action. Relocating the road north also reduces some of the hurdles the county is currently facing trying to rebuild a road that is currently on the beach. The state of Florida has very strong rules against building permanent roads in locations such as where the washout is, so for public safety and environmental reasons the road needs to be moved north. The relocation will require the acquisition of all of the lots on the north side of Alligator Drive from Tom Roberts going east for 1500 to 2000 feet. I say again, the acquisition of ALL of the lots on the north side of Alligator Drive from Tom Roberts going east for 1500 to 2000 feet. The lots on the south side should be acquired in this same area but the road is moving north, and the lots on the south side are of value mainly to remove them from the threat of continued hurricane damage. There will also be an acquisition of lots in the Chip Morrison area but that specific need has not been developed yet.
I advised everyone that this is a voluntary acquisition process. The offers made to the property owners will be based upon market value, but the IRG is not going to initiate any condemnation proceedings. If a property owner does not want to sell it is going to slow down the redevelopment of the road, and of the Point itself. There is no way to avoid the impact the road relocation is going have on the lots on the north side of Alligator Drive, and the people that own them. I understand this, the IRG understands this, and I know the Alligator Point community understands this. This is a tough message to give but if the Alligator Point community wants a safe, protected road it has to be moved. For once, the state of Florida is providing the resources for this to happen, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of this offer.
At some point in the near future, Mr. McColm and his will be in contact with APTA leadership about making some sort of website where he would post information related to the project. I did talk to the staff on Monday, Dec. 10, and they are planning on holding a community workshop on Alligator Point some time in early January. They will work with the county and APTA on the schedule for the meeting.