Customary Use Changes July 1?

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by dragonflycafe, Jun 9, 2018.

  1. dragonflycafe

    dragonflycafe Beach Lover

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    Can anyone explain the new Customary Use changes from HB 631 that take place in July? As a longtime tourist, it’s the first I’ve heard about it. Will visitors still be able to, say, walk the beach from Rosemary to Alys or Seacrest to Watersound, etc? Will there be roped off areas like I’ve seen in the past (that were taken down). I wonder how this will affect contracted and uncontracted beaches.

    Just wondering how this will affect South Walton.

    Thanks!
     
  2. kurt

    kurt Admin Staff Member

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    From what I have read and heard:
    1. There are beachfront owners in Walton County who relax on their porch and have a cocktail, as it has been since the middle ages.
    2. There are beachfront owners who have posted signs on the advice of their lawyers.
    3. There are beachfront owners who have made it their life mission to keep people from enjoying the beach.
    Thankfully the 3rd group is small. Years ago Walton County banned dogs from the beach (excepting a permit system and leashed dogs for residents). The dog ordinance was created because a small percentage of dogs are problem dogs that pee on beach blankets and snatch hot dogs from the hands of toddlers (occasionally taking a hand with it). I don't see why we can't ban problem owners from owning beachfront property.

    Meanwhile If anyone tries to keep you from walking along the water line, please let us and the Sheriff know.

    The Sheriff says property owners must prove they own the property when lodging a complaint. The new county rules involve removing signs and obstructions at night, for safety and wildlife (sea turtles), and limiting the size of signs to 24"x18" and specifying colors to be used.

    The Sheriff also said that it was against the law for beachfront owners to shoot beachgoers and if they did they would spend the rest of their life in jail.

    Their is also the issue of some beachfront owners objecting to vehicles crossing their property - including emergency vehicles and beach maintenance vehicles (garbage collection). The county argues that ropes and chains impede their ability to carry out needed services.

    Here are some relevant threads:
    Proposed bill could void Walton County's customary use ordinance
    Walton County Customary Use: Where do we go from here?
    Customary Use Will Happen On Sowal Beaches
    Customary Use of SoWal Beaches: Contact Governor Scott
    Gee, not one person supports the ban on customary use......I wonder why?
     
  3. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    New ordinance revisions set to be finalized next week would disallow obstructions like chains, fences, etc., on the beach, day or night. Signs on the beach were put in a separate category. With some conditions for colors, size, number, and placement, signs would be allowed during the day but not in the evening.
     
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  4. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Line of the year...obviously a "follow the law"Sheriff .. not snowflakes here:
    "The Sheriff also said that it was against the law for beachfront owners to shoot beachgoers and if they did they would spend the rest of their life in jail."
     
  5. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    The state of Florida has designated the "foreshore" or wet sand area as part of the public trust. You can walk along the shoreline even along private properties. The issue arises when people decide to stop and set up beach equipment on said private properties. How that is handled will likely vary from area to area or even from property to property. My prediction is that this will not be the disaster that the fear mongers are anticipating, but that there will be some property owners that will not allow anything on their property besides walking along the shoreline.

    The use of fear mongering and scare tactics has many people in an absolute frenzy and/or panic over the beach. Many beachfront owners are perfectly willing to share, but there is a vast difference between being willing to share and being forced to share, especially without consistent and timely enforcement of rules/ordinances governing the beaches.
     
  6. Jenksy

    Jenksy Beach Fanatic

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    South Walton used to be a paradise. Then they built on the dunes and sold the beach. And then they advertised.
     
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  7. JBBeached

    JBBeached Beach Comber

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    Very well said! I wish people would sit at a beachfront property for a week or two in the height of tourist season and see what all goes on. It would be an eye opening experience. I miss the days of the polite tourist that didn't think that because they are on vacation that there are absolutely no rules and anything goes. And with the locals pitted against beachfront property owners it makes that attitude even worse. A lot of people have become very rude and I'm not even going to get into the trash left everywhere.
     
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  8. bob bob

    bob bob Beach Lover

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    This is true but it is fact and won't change. Signs and fences won't make any difference Just makes the beach ugly. It can also be true that beachfront owners are ruining the natural world as much as hole diggers and litter bugs. It's called cutting off your nose to spite your face.
     
  9. 30A Skunkape

    30A Skunkape Mr. Small Box

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    I suggest you simply go ahead and do what you are used to doing. If someone asks you to move along, go ahead and do so (but never from wet sand, tell them to drop dead if they try to claim wet sand as theirs). The good thing is that this law will "go live" right as July 4 crowds are here, allowing us to learn pretty quickly who is going to be going crazy defending 'their' beach and who isn't.
     
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  10. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    If you use a tent, Sheriff Adkinson did say that beachgoers cannot set up tents in the set sand. Tents can be used on public beaches 15 feet from the toe of the dune on the landward section of public beaches.
     
  11. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    That was supposed to say wet sand, not set sand. Duh!
     
  12. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Beach Fanatic

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    Customary Use Reminder
    • What is customary use?
      • Customary use is a common law term referring to the public access of the privately-owned beachfront property. Some Gulf-front properties in Florida have a property line that extends to the mean high water line. The mean high water line is calculated using the mean high water line tidal plane with the beach.
    • What is changing?
      • Beginning July 1st, when customary use changes go into effect, the Walton County Beach Operations and Code Enforcement officials will no longer have jurisdiction over property that is considered private based on the new customary use law. Essentially, a privately-owned beachfront property is considered the "dry sand area" and publically owned property is the "wet sand area". Now, Walton County Sherrif's Department will be the governing force for any conflicts or complications that may arise on the space in front of the properties since they would now be considered private property.
    • Does that mean I can't walk all 26 miles of our white sand beaches?
      • No, you can absolutely still walk our beautiful beaches for as far as you wish. There will still be plenty of space in the wet sand area for beach-walkers to enjoy.
    • Things to keep in mind:
      • South Walton currently has 8 Regional Public Beach Accesses complete with parking, restroom facilities, and lifeguards. The customary use changes do not affect our public beach accesses, only privately-owned beachfront property.
      • Several of our Regional Public Beach Accesses have recently undergone improvement projects to add more parking and make the access even more accessible and beautiful, as well as making your trip to the beach even easier. These accesses include Blue Mountain Beach Reginal Access 36, Ed Walline Regional Beach Access 39, and Fort Panic Regional Beach Access 43.
     
  13. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    All true I guess...EXCEPT the public beach accesses....only >50% of most accesses are free to the public...because the other 50%+ belongs to Vendor Mafia and believe me you have to PAY to be at the waters edge....
     
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  14. elgordoboy

    elgordoboy Beach Fanatic

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    What are some of the accesses where I can go and experience the Vendor Mafia?
    When I was younger I let myself be bullied by some at a condo in PCB. Now that I’m older I’m ready to rassle. Where?
     
  15. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Beach Fanatic

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    Visit the access nearest you today and set up an umbrella near the water for the full vendor experience.
     
  16. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    Grayton works. Get there early (6am) and set up your beach stuff in one of the "vendor zones." Make sure to take up lots of room and don't forget to wear your rasslin' costume.
     
  17. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    @Grayton the Mafia is BAD better be packing a knife. At lease once a rasslin match there has broken out into a knife fight. Ask WCSO????
     
  18. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Lover

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    Good effort Mike. Walton Beach Operations and Code Unenforcement still have jurisdiction to enforce public beach activities ordinance on private property after July 1st and the Sheriff is the governing force to enforce the laws on private property as well. About 19 miles of Walton's 26 miles is private beach parcels with a Mean High Water Line (MHWL) south boundary. The MHWL is .75 foot Elevation from the US NAVD88 datum plane. That's the law. Beachfront owners did not create the Gulf boundary with the State. The State did. The Sheriff just has to enforce the laws, not some "rule of thumb", or he is derelict in his duty. Private beachfront is NOT, "essentially" what is considered (by whom) the "dry sand area". Public property is the "foreshore" south of the MHWL between the ML(ow)WL and submerged sands under the Gulf. Sometimes referred to as the "wet sand"; but the wet sand also presumes NO prevailing south wind to push the water above the natural tide.

    The Walton Sheriff has proposed the "wet sand" beach as a convenience for his trespass SOP after July 1st because the MHWL is too hard to for him and the public to understand much less enforce, according to his recent FB video explanation. But it is NOT the law. Got this Seagrove Sky cam (thanks SoWal) from another person today. Red line is typical "wet sand". Prevailing winds today were nil. Wonder was code unenforcement was to enforce the non compliant tents on the beach in this photo? Where's the MHWL? Not sure without a survey, but bet it is about were the red line is. Me and many beachfront owners have MHWL surveys and can tell you and the Sheriff where our MHWL is. Or we can mark the MHWL with posts if the Sheriff requires, like he did in his 2105 standard operating procedure. That's essentially the law. Where would the Sheriff enforce Seagrove beach private property rights in this photo? The wet sand?
    upload_2018-6-18_17-39-15.png
    Live Webcam - Seagrove Beach SkyCam | SoWal.com
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018 at 6:09 PM

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