Florida residents demand answers on Volusia County beach restoration

People in Volusia County are demanding answers. They've been asking about beach restoration efforts following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, but feel they get the run-around when they ask about it. 

Many stormed out of a heated meeting in New Smyrna Beach Tuesday night when they realized they weren’t going to get the answers they were after. John Overchuck was one of them. 

"I respect the fact that they came out and looked us in the face, but I was under the assumption that when you say, ‘Oceanfront houses answers and questions,’ that you’re going to be able to get that done," he said. 

The main problem for that City meeting was, many of the issues people are facing have to be solved by the County and the State.

"When you talk to the City, they’re like, ‘Oh, our hands are tied, we don’t have any control, we don’t have any authority over the beach," said Nancy Davis, another person who left the New Smyrna meeting early.

Many people had questions about permits. Volusia County told FOX 35 it’s expediting emergency permits. It's also hosting a meeting with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Thursday to answer questions about permits for temporary and permanent repairs.

"We’ll pay for it, we just need a way to protect our properties," said Overchuck. "This is our family’s hard-earned money for our homes that I want to pass on to my daughter one day. And all of a sudden, I’m seeing it getting destroyed. We were literally feet from the entire thing falling into the water. We just want to be able to protect it."

FOX 35 News also asked the County what work is being done.

The State is putting up "Tiger Dams" as they’re called, to serve as temporary sea walls. They're the same product that was used outside the HCA Florida Lake Monroe Hospital in Sanford following Hurricane Ian. 

The County also says it has started repairs on coastal parks, walkovers, and beach ramps and approaches. It keeps updated information about coastal repairs here

So will they be bringing in sand to restore the beach? 

A spokesperson from Volusia County told FOX 35 News in a statement, 

"Unfortunately, there is no quick and simple short-term solution to the problem of severe beach erosion. The County is not able to bring back the sand immediately and does not have a funding source dedicated to assist private oceanfront owners with the expense of protecting or rebuilding private property."

New Smyrna Beach Zone 2 Commissioner Lisa Martin is hosting another meeting Wednesday to talk about flooding and standing water issues. That's at 6 p.m. in the Coronado Civic Center at 150 N. Pine St.