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Longboat Key seeks path around troublesome seawalls

Pedestrian access to the beach has been compromised in areas of Longboat Key, and there doesn't seem to be a simple solution.

Longboat Key leaders remain perplexed about the best method to ensure pedestrian access to the beach due to a pair of private properties that jut out beyond the erosion control line.

The Longboat Key Town Commission heard presentations from coastal engineer Al Browder and Public Works Director Isaac Brownman Monday about the difficulties beach walkers have had navigating around seawalls at 6633 Gulf of Mexico Drive and 6541 Gulfside Road.

The presentations yielded no easy solutions.

The Town Commission can consider spending money to continually renourish the beach near those protruding properties, but state statute dictates that it cannot add a parallel walk or promenade in front of the seawall. Brownman also said he has investigated building additional public beach access points, but that effort does not appear to be feasible.

The presentation led the town commissioners to question the overall strategy for Longboat Key going forward: Does it make sense to renourish the beach if the town will be tending to private property?