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Dredging, sand dispute could be resolved

In a major turn of events, Okaloosa County officials have made a “handshake” agreement with three residents on big, proposed changes to the county’s East Pass dredging/beach restoration project.

With the County Commission’s approval Jan. 15, the agreement could see the return of $1.5 million in federal funding for the project. And a section of Okaloosa Island beach might end up with a larger amount of dredged sand than what was earlier proposed.

In early December, Condo Alliance of Okaloosa Island officers David and Rebecca Sherry and John Donovan petitioned for an administrative hearing to dispute the Florida Department of Environmental Protection issuing dredging permits to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the project.

Among other concerns, they alleged that the Inlet Management Plan that determines where dredged sand is placed unfairly restricts areas west of Destin, such as Okaloosa Island.

County officials maintained that the Inlet Management Plan calls for sand to be placed where i is needed the most: In this case, on Holiday Isle.

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