(1) The Legislature recognizes that coastal areas play an important role in protecting the ecology and the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the state; that in recent years the coastal areas have been subjected to increasing growth pressures; and that unless these pressures are controlled, the very features which make coastal areas economically, aesthetically, and ecologically rich will be destroyed.
(2) The Legislature further recognizes that coastal areas form the first line of defense for the mainland against both winter storms and hurricanes, that the dunes of coastal areas perform valuable protective functions for public and private property, and that placement of permanent structures in these protective areas may lead to increased risks to life and property and increased costs to the public. Coastal areas often protect lagoons, salt marshes, estuaries, bays, marine habitats, and the mainland from the direct action of ocean waves or storm surges; absorb the forces of oceanic activity on their seaward sides and protect calmer waters and stable shores to their landward sides; and are dynamic geologic systems with topography that is subject to alteration by waves, storm surges, flooding, or littoral currents.
(3) The Legislature further recognizes that these coastal areas are among Florida’s most valuable resources and have extremely high recreational and aesthetic value which should be preserved and enhanced. Coastal areas provide a unique habitat for birds, wildlife, marine life, and plant life and protect waters that are vital to the food chain.
(4) The Legislature further recognizes that there is a tremendous cost to the state for postdisaster redevelopment in the coastal areas and that preventive measures should be taken on a continuing basis in order to reduce the harmful consequences of natural and manmade disasters or emergencies.
(5) It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature that the most sensitive portion of the coastal area shall be managed through the imposition of strict construction standards in order to minimize damage to the natural environment, private property, and life.