Local residents and the Surfrider Foundation have joined forces to fight the Sandy Beach Apartments. The Sandy Beach Apartments complex received a number of variances that allowed for three additional stories, making it a six-story structure, and for the structure to be built in the Zona Marítimo Terrestre (ZMT).
The community was denied its right to public participation when this project was approved without the required public notification or public hearings. Furthermore, this project should not have been approved because it is built in an inappropriate location; the construction site is extremely close to the beach and within the proper ZMT. The project is also adjacent to a quebrada. In fact, this site is known to have been completely inundated during heavy seas. As a result of the scale and location of the project, SBA threatens the character of the neighborhood, is not consistent with the zoning in the area, threatens the water quality of the quebrada, beach access, threatens the condition of the beach, and could alter the recreational surfing areas immediately offshore.
The inappropriate siting of the project creates a serious public risk that will likely result in a request for coastal armoring that will have deleterious effects of the local beach system and could perpetuate further erosion and armoring along Sandy Beach. The beach is an important public and economic resource for the people of Puerto Rico and also a critical sea turtle nesting habitat for Leatherback turtles, which are an endangered species.