Owners of coastal property which will be included in an upcoming restoration project along St. Joseph Peninsula are being urged to ensure they have the proper easement paperwork on file.

Owners of coastal property which will be included in an upcoming restoration project along St. Joseph Peninsula are being urged to ensure they have the proper easement paperwork on file.

If not, the sand may not reach their property.

A mandatory bid conference was held last week on the restoration project, with representatives from four companies in attendance.

Bid packages are due back Oct. 13 and the bids will be opened during a special meeting of the Board of County Commissioners Oct. 17.

The hope is that sand will begin to be placed on beaches sometime in December with a deadline for project completion in late May.

But the project construction, as well as the overall success of restoration, will, at least in part, hinge on property owners.

Michael Dombrowski, the county’s consulting engineer, noted during last week’s conference the role property owners will play in the overall success of the physical portion of the project.

The crucial aspect is that all “Construction and Maintenance Easements” executed in 2007 for the original restoration project will expire Nov. 1.

They do not, as some property owners may believe, last in perpetuity.

As of last week more than 400 letters had been sent from MRD Engineering to owners of property fronting the water.

The letter contained a new “Construction and Maintenance Easement.”

To date, less than 100 of those 400 have been returned, signed and notarized, to the county.

“All front water property owners must sign and have the easement documents notarized, and received by the county by Oct. 15,” said Pat Hardman, president of the Coastal Community Association of Gulf County.

“Only the legal property owner or Power of Attorney can sign the easement.”

If the property is jointly-owned, only one of the listed owners need execute the easement which must also be signed by two witnesses.

Dombrowski indicated that in the case of properties where an easement has not been received, the sand will be placed from the ECL line seaward into the water.

Sand will be placed on the beach, but not up to the property line.

On properties where an easement is in place, the sand will be placed from the property to the water, including dunes where applicable, Dombrowski indicated.

“This is not a time to wait until the last minute,” Hardman said, “to not get your executed documents in by the deadline and not have sand placed on your property.”

The project description is for the placement of 1.156 million cubic yards of sand to “renourish 5.18 miles of beach and the partial replacement of the dune,” according to the bid documents.

The work will be done in two major segments as the two state parks, Billy Joe Rish and T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula, are not participating in the project.

The project is expected to begin at the Stump Hole rock revetment, moving north.

The two segments are 2.10 miles, Rish Park to the peninsula state park, and 3.08 miles, from the Stump Hole to Rish Park.

Property owners are encouraged to visit the project website www.SJPBeach.com for answers to questions.