By Mary Thurwachter
The Imperial House lost its beach stairs to Hurricane Sandy in October and has plans to replace them. But first, the South Palm Beach co-op needed — and received — a go-ahead from the Lantana Town Council.
A six-story, 58-unit building adjacent to Lantana’s public beach, the Imperial House has been fighting a slowly encroaching ocean for years, and the stairs are just the latest wound.
The stairs are being moved to the west side of the Imperial House beach entryway that has one foot between Lantana’s beach and the Imperial House.
Bonnie Fischer, president of the co-op and a member of the South Palm Beach Council, appeared at the Lantana council meeting on Jan. 14 to ask for a 3-foot easement onto Lantana’s beach for the wooden stairs.
“I believe this (the yellow pine staircase) is the best solution,” she said. The stairs would provide access for co-op residents and any legal fees would be charged to the Imperial House.
Lantana council member Tom Deringer asked if Lantana residents would also have access to the stairs.
“Absolutely,” Fischer said.
But other council members didn’t want that because that would involve walking over sea oats.
“I don’t want to encourage people to cross over and destroy the dune,” council member Lynn Moorhouse said.
Moorhouse, Mayor Dave Stewart and council member Phil Aridas voted yes to the easement. Deringer voted no, since he wanted public access to the Imperial House stairs and his colleagues nixed the idea.
In other business, the Town Council got an update on replacing the lifeguard tower swept away by waves generated from Hurricane Sandy.
Town staff has been working to get a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection to build a temporary lifeguard stand.
Designs for the new tower are being sought, as is insurance money to pay for the new tower.