The Coastal Star

Sea grape dispute: Delray Beach — mid-August

The iconic sea grape tunnels near the Atlantic Avenue pavilion likely will be spared from the chain saw, following an outcry from some Delray Beach residents. Conflicting environmental views and a wish to keep the beachscape character in place are the main issues. ABOVE: Elsewhere in the public beach dune, trimmed sea grapes soon will sprout branches and limbs. The trims kept with the decades-long belief that the sea grapes shade out other native plants that provide a more diverse habitat. BELOW: One of the tunnels. At the end of a 61/2-hour meeting on Aug. 18, one commissioner brought up a Beach Property Owners Association’s email that supported trimming all sea grapes. Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston and two other commissioners agreed to this, but the next day Boylston asked the commission to reconsider the height of sea grapes, which it plans to do Sept. 10. In February an Aptim Environmental study advised leaving the tall sea grapes uncut to provide habitat for migrating songbirds and a buffer from streetlights for sea turtles. — Jane Smith

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