Plans for breakwaters designed to halt erosion on the sand-starved beaches of South Palm Beach and Lantana were cancelled, in effect, by Palm Beach County commissioners at a June 28 workshop.
Faced with the inability to get a federal permit for above-water structures off the Singer Island beach after three decades of discussion, commissioners were not willing to pursue a project of submerged breakwaters, which county officials said would be far less effective and more expensive.
The decision also affects breakwater projects for Lantana-South Palm Beach and Jupiter. “If we can’t do this one (Singer Island), there’s no sense pursuing the others,” said Commission Chairwoman Karen Marcus.
Instead, commissioners urged county engineers and federal and state agencies to work together on projects focusing on T-shaped groins to help hold the sand on the beaches.
Commissioner Steven Abrams, who represents the south county district, was unable to attend the meeting because of his wife’s surgery. No public comment was allowed at the workshop, although both South Palm Beach and Lantana sent letters supporting the breakwater project, which would have cost an estimated $15 million to $25 million.
— Tim O’Meilia