NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Residents in parts of Volusia County are still looking for answers as to what will be done next following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.
$858 million worth of damages were reported in the county from Nicole and Ian. $51 million of that is in New Smyrna Beach.
The hurricane season is over, but the fact remains that much of what needs to be done before the next one won’t be. It’s a reality many residents are now dealing with and one their county commissioner is trying to help guide them through.
Four years ago, Bob Boyle moved from St. Louis to his New Smyrna Beach home at The Sea Dunes. “It’s a special place,” Doyle, the HOA President for The Dunes Dolphin Phase, said. “To come down here and see what happened makes me sick to my stomach.”
Hurricane Ian was the first hurricane he and his wife experienced. A learning experience. “The sound was horrific,” Doyle recalls. “Lost a part of our roof. Lot of people had it worse than that, of course, so for Nicole, we bailed.”
His community, like so many along the coast in New Smyrna Beach, now trying to put the pieces back together again. County Commissioner Danny Robins, whose district includes this portion of New Smyrna Beach, admits many challenges lie ahead.
“It’s still too early between permitting and all the hoops we have to jump through in other agencies,” District Three County Commissioner Danny Robins beings to explain. “We have to go through because it involves the beach. It is a very lengthy process.”
Tuesday evening Robins is meeting with residents at New Smyrna Beach City Hall to outline how the county is trying to progress in the next few months. This includes how to build back both environmentally and structurally sound.
“Sometimes the turtles actually have a little more rights than we the people do, so it gets frustrating,” Robins says. Back at The Dunes; there is no seawall, there’s still a home not where it should be, and dunes gone for good.
“If we lose another 10 horizontal feet, there will be more homes sitting on the beach in the water,” an alert Boyle said while looking at the ocean.
Bob and his wife are staying.
They are hopeful to have not just answers soon but solutions on the near horizon.
Commissioner Robins also says the county right now has about $5 million dollars in grant funds set aside for helping to rebuild, but knows that it is nowhere near the amount needed. The county is hoping FEMA will help since it will cost so much money to rebuild.