Volusia oceanfront property owners face rebuilding deadline before turtle nesting season

Cleanup, construction deadline for Daytona Beach Shores properties is May 1

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. – With sea turtle nesting season starting on May 1 in Volusia County—where cleanup and reconstruction from last year’s hurricanes is still going on—that could mean a big problem for oceanfront property owners who haven’t started work yet.

According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission law for turtle nesting season, if the property owners don’t get the permits and work started by May 1, they’ll have to wait until the season ends in November. That means they would also be at even more risk this hurricane season.

“It’s a race against time at this point to May 1,” said John Caupp, of the Turtle Inn Beach Club.

Collapsed walls and bent rebar still scatter much of the dune area in Daytona Beach Shores. At the Turtle Inn Beach Club, Caupp said they’ve started construction on some of the damage but are waiting on materials to come in for part of the sea wall.

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“They should be here in four weeks. We should have our south wall up before the May 1 deadline and then we’re hoping the remainder of the work can be completed top side,” he said.

Four weeks puts them close to May 1 and if the materials come in any later and they can’t get the work started before that date, they will have to wait until the fall.

“You need to have a permit issued, as well construction started by May 1 as it stands today,” Daytona Beach Shores Mayor Nancy Miller said.

Miller and other leaders from across Volusia County are trying to find a workaround for this law while still keeping the turtles in mind.

“There is a lot of trying to get an engineer right now for construction because everyone on the beach needs the same thing,” she said.

The leaders met earlier this week to express this concern with dozens of properties still waiting for permits, workers or supplies. They hope FWC officials will find a way to ease the law for some construction.

“We’re hoping they would be a little bit more flexible, that if they got permits a little bit after May, but right now I want to make sure residents know, it’s a May 1 deadline,” Miller said.

If they don’t get it all in time, Mother Nature could add more insult to injury.

“There’s millions and millions of dollars and investments that people could lose if we get hit with another storm. These properties must get sealed up,” Caupp said.

After Hurricane Nicole hit this past November, Miller said 29 buildings in Daytona Beach Shores along the coast were deemed unsafe until a structural engineer said otherwise.

The mayor said Thursday, nearly five months after the storm, there are still five buildings listed as unsafe or at risk of collapse.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.