The City of Cape Coral requires all canal properties to have a seawall built prior to the construction of a home. The purpose of the seawall is to prevent the water from eroding the property. Property owners have a few choices when it comes to the construction of a seawall. Following the proper steps prior to construction of the seawall is very important to ensure its integrity.
Prior to the start of construction on a seawall for your property you will want to have a licensed professional, specializing in seawall construction, do an analysis to determine what your site-specific property will require.
When Protected Plant and Animal Species are Present
An inspection of the property will help determine the scope of work and budget for the seawall. Some properties will need vegetation and rock removal, while others may need special permits for the removal of certain tree species that are protected in Florida.
An inspection may find burrowing owls, turtles, eagles, or trees. To comply with environmental regulations, owls and turtles must be kept at least 33ft away from any construction activity. If this is not possible, then a qualified agency will be called to relocate them.
An eagle nest must either be at least 1,100ft away from the build area or noisier exterior construction work must be done outside of the nesting season (between the beginning of May and through the end of September).
Which Options are Available to You?
Typically, the construction is cement with pilings, however the City also has plans in place for alternatives. Flat or corrugated vinyl alternatives are a less expensive option. If you are on a freshwater canal, you could opt for a rip rap slope, which can be sodded and protected with a barrier of rocks.
If you are on a gulf access canal, your lot is exposed to the rise and fall of the tides which means your lot will require more fortification than the rip rap slope can offer. Steel reinforcement within the concrete panels is the key for a strong, withstanding seawall. The lifespan of a seawall can be expected to exceed thirty years with concrete construction.
You can choose the height of your seawall. If you decide to go with concrete, typically you can have either 8ft or 10ft high concrete panels. The panels are 5ft wide, and will span the whole width of a standard waterfront lot.
Possible Pending Changes to Seawall Design
Hurricane Irma caused quite a few older seawalls (most built in the 60’s) to give way. In response to Irma, the city wants to further improve existing codes and standards. These changes will not apply to freshwater properties, but if your lot has gulf access, keep this in mind and be sure to get your seawall quote when you purchase your lot to avoid any surprises.
Love Waterfront Living
You are certain to love living on the water but protecting your home, land, and waterways with a solid seawall is a must. This will secure the longevity of your property and allow you to enjoy your personal paradise for years to come. Cape Coral has more canal miles than any other city in the world, even Venice, Italy. Don’t miss out on all that this beautiful place has to offer!