Sarasota County residents deemed eligible for individual disaster assistance

The Gulf of Mexico laps at the edge of a Manasota Key home as a result of damage from Tropical Storm Debby. Photo courtesy Sarasota County.

The federal government has approved five more counties, including Sarasota, to be included in the Tropical Storm Debby declaration for Individual Assistance (IA), the county has announced.

IA makes federal and state assistance available to individuals, families and businesses that have experienced uninsured losses from declared natural disasters, a county news release says.

FEMA IA community relations teams are to begin canvassing Sarasota County on today, July 18, and working through the weekend, the news release says. “Their mission is to talk to impacted residents and business owners who have reported uninsured losses from Tropical Storm Debby, and assist them with the initial registration process,” the release adds.

Residents and business owners who sustained losses in Sarasota County should begin applying for IA by registering online at or calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-467-7585 (TTY) between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., seven days a week.

To apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance, an application must be made by Aug. 16 for it to be considered, the news release adds.

In related news, Catherine Luckner, president of the Siesta Key Association, has obtained information from the Icard Merrill law firm in Sarasota to help coastal property owners who need to handle damage resulting from the effects of Tropical Storm Debby last month.

David Levin, who Luckner said is considered an expert in shoreline and coastal construction issues, has offered advice for people with emergency situations, Luckner said. If property owners feel they need to obtain emergency permits to handle problems seaward of the Coastal Construction Control Line, Levin recommends they consult the following information in the Florida Administrative Code (62B-33.014):

(1) A “shoreline emergency” declared by the Governor or the Department is any unusual incident resulting from a hurricane, storm, or other violent coastal disturbance that has resulted in erosion, beach or coastal damage, sudden and unpredictable hazards to navigation, damage to upland structures, or any other unusual incident from natural or unnatural causes that endangers the coastal system or health, safety, welfare, or resources of the citizens of the state. Permits approved under the emergency procedures described in this rule section are intended to alleviate conditions resulting from a shoreline emergency and for purposes of this rule section shall be referred to as “emergency permits.”

(2) Once a state of emergency is declared by either Executive Order of the Governor, pursuant to Section 252.36, F.S., or by the Secretary, pursuant to Section 120.569(2)(l), F.S., the following emergency procedures shall be followed:

(a) Designated representatives of the Department shall process emergency permits upon the request for an emergency field permit or the submittal of an emergency permit application. All construction shall be reasonably expected to be completed within ninety (90) days of permit issuance;

(b) Emergency field permits that are processed pursuant to subsection 62B-33.008(11), F.A.C., may be issued for construction, including but not limited to: temporary or remedial activities to protect structures; repair or replace minor structures, including dune walkovers, retaining walls, decks, and gazebos; dune restoration with beach compatible sand; repair or replacement of minor damages to coastal armoring structures, including bulkhead or seawall caps, return walls, tiebacks, individual sheet piles, and armor stone; and other similar activities;

(c) Emergency permit applications may be submitted for the following activities: permanent foundation repair to major structures, repair or reconstruction of major structures, or repair or reconstruction of major damages to coastal armoring structures. The request shall be submitted using the form entitled “Emergency Permit Application Pursuant to Section 161.052 or 161.053, F.S.” – DEP Form 73-303 (New 12/06), which is hereby adopted and incorporated by reference;

(d) Processing fees for emergency permits shall be waived;

(e) Information requirements of this rule chapter shall be deferred if the delay necessary to gather and submit the information will compound the emergency; and

(f) Public notice procedures shall be waived.

(3) Emergency permit processing procedures shall be designated for no longer than the period stated in the executive order. The Department shall authorize emergency permit processing extensions, of thirty (30) days each, not to exceed three extensions, concurrent with an emergency final order.

(4) Emergency permits shall expire 90 days after the date of issuance unless an earlier date is specified in the permit. If the permittee demonstrates that the emergency conditions still exist and that failure to complete the project was beyond the permittee’s control, the Department shall grant an extension of no more than 90 days after the initial expiration date.

(5) When the proposed activity is not for the purpose of alleviating conditions resulting from the shoreline emergency, permitting and authorization procedures set forth in the other sections of this rule chapter shall be followed.

(6) Emergency permits shall not be issued for the creation of new lands or permanent structures that did not exist before the emergency.

To obtain a permit application form, visit