Highland Beach Plans to Tighten Seawall Regulations

In a recent meeting of the Highland Beach Planning Board, the debate over the town’s seawall regulations emerged as a concern. The board discussed a development order application for a special exception request to install a seawall cap and a concrete dock on Tranquility Drive. This conversation sparked a broader discussion about the town code and led to the board considering changes to clarify and tighten regulations regarding stem walls to prevent potential exploitation.

The town planner introduced the application detailing the proposed seawall and dock, highlighting the necessity of a stem wall for the property in question due to its elevation and the condition of the existing seawall. The building official contributed information on the structural importance of the project. The discussion that ensued among the board members centered around the difference between a retaining wall and a stem wall, the purposes of each, and the possible loopholes in the current code that might allow builders to bypass planning board approval. The board members expressed a strong desire to ensure that any changes made to the regulations would be effective in preventing abuse while still accommodating necessary property improvements.

During the meeting, the testimony of Norman Weinstein, a resident, was taken into account. Weinstein raised concerns about potential damage to his own seawall due to construction activities on an adjacent property. The board addressed his apprehensions, assuring him that his points would be considered in their deliberations.

Further into the session, the planning board reviewed a development application involving an amendment to a previously approved major modification request for an existing building. The applicant outlined changes to the building’s exterior facade, footprint, and roofline, which included a reduction in square footage and the removal of approved garages and entertainment spaces. After a examination of the proposed alterations, the board gave its approval, subject to certain conditions.

The discussion on seawall and stem wall regulation took precedence over other matters due to the potential long-term impact on the structural integrity of properties within the town and the conservation of the coastal environment.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Natasha Moore
Planning Board Officials:
Eric Goldenberg, Ilyne Mendelson, David Axelrod, David Powell, Jason Chudnofsky, Roger Brown

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