The Lower Matecumbe Beach Status April 21, 2021

It has been a long and tedious process to get the required permits to install the buoys to delineate the swim zone in front of Port Antigua and White Marlin Beach that was approved by the Village Council on August 20, 2020.

The swim zone required authorizations or permits from four agencies: Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

As of April 21, 2021, eight months into the process, three of the four permits or authorizations have been finalized.  The FDEP permit proved to be the most difficult.  FDEP required a submerged land lease from the State of Florida.  In order to have the lease approved, numerous types of surveys were required as well as documentation on the makeup of the sea bottom where each anchor would be located.  FDEP also required authorization from every property owner along the beach. The process is now complete and all requirements have been met, but the Village is still awaiting finalization of the permit, expected in the next several weeks. 

The Village has the buoys, chains and anchors on order so they will be ready to install as soon as that last permit is finalized.

Peter Frezza, the Village Environmental Resources Manager, has been coordinating this permitting effort.  Councilman Dave Webb has stayed involved regularly, assuring the process continues in the right direction.

There was significant concern raised as the Senate bill 1086 had language that required that swim zones can only be created by municipalities if there is general public access by land to the beach, which is not the case on Lower Matecumbe.  Our representative in the Senate, Ana Maria Rodriguez, offered a late amendment on 4/21/2021 eliminating the “general public access by land” and the bill passed as amended.

Do you have an idea that you would like to submit to help with this issue? Please email us at info@Islamorada.org