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Holmes Beach warned coastal erosion issues are ‘real’

The cost of the rising tide will be “painful” and “sobering.”

Half of Holmes Beach will be inundated by coastal waters by the year 2040 if nothing is done to stem the tide through improved stormwater management and other solutions, according to city engineer Lynn Burnett.

Storm evacuation routes would be swallowed up, too, Burnett told city commissioners at their April 10 work session.

Since 1984, the water level surrounding Holmes Beach has risen 8 inches, according to Burnett, and it’s not expected to recede.

“This isn’t a fallacy,” said Burnett, a Holmes Beach native. “This isn’t some theory. This has nothing to do with the global-warming dispute. It has to do with the reality of times that I’ve watched high tide come over our existing seawalls and flood our evacuation routes.”

Commissioner Jim Kihm asked how much water will be in his yard by the year 2060.

“Is it all dry land?” Kihm asked. “Do we still have wet streets?”

Holmes Beach is a coastal community bounded on the west by the Gulf of Mexico and the east by Anna Maria Sound and Sarasota Bay. Yet its antiquated stormwater system is inadequate to handle runoff within the incorporated limits, said Burnett.

Making the problem more acute, the three Anna Maria Island cities are millions of dollars short of implementing needed defenses. You need revenue sources to pay for solutions, she said.