Amending Ordinance to Ban Signs, Ropes, Fences on the Beach

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by WMW, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    Bob Wells is right on target, we need to start enforcing the law because that is the right thing to do. Hopefully it is not too late and some of these issues will work themselves out. If it is too late then Bob Hudson is right on target, the courts will decide who is right.
     
  2. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    If this Ban is a law, why is it called an ordinance? School House Rocky didn't cover this on Saturday mornings.
     
  3. LarsAtTheBeach

    LarsAtTheBeach Beach Fanatic

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    God would agree. :D
     
  4. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    Ordinances are local laws, statutes are state laws.
     
  5. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    And local laws cannot conflict with state law.

    Danny I personally believe the changes to the Beach Activities Ordinance that dealth with removing chains and fences was sustainable when challenged.

    I believe the removal of monopole boundary markers will be overturned by the courts until such time as the county proves customary use.

    The drumbeat of those who "sing songs" and claim the "sand is mine" have drawn a line in the sand by galvanizing both sides of the issue.

    Add a lack of enforcement by law enforcement and you have the perfect "legal storm" with both sides ready to seek a legal ruling.

    Everyone has "lawyered up" on both sides and I know personally that suits will be filed and a injunction will be requested while the issue is litigated.

    No one was willing to seek a solution agreeable to both sides of the issues.
     
  6. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    The thing is that when you go all in and force a ruling, you better win because either side will be in a much worse position if they lose. If customary use loses then it could wreck our economy and if the property owners lose then it is basically the wild, wild west on the white sand and they will have little say in what happens. Either way there will be bitterness and harsh words said on both sides and the community will take years to heal. Too bad.
     
  7. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    Agreed Danny
     
  8. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    A couple of observations. First, the county is paying Theriaque $425 an hour as I recall, not a mere 375.

    Second, Danny’s suggestion that a loss by the county on the issue of customary use could wreck our economy is speculative, as evidenced by his choice of the word could. More than a few others have declared that it would, not could, wreck the local economy. Funny thing that tourism, in case nobody has noticed, has exploded here despite there being no customary use ordinance. Facts are indeed funny things. Somehow, in distinct contradiction of those declarations and speculations, the local economy continues to prosper.

    It is in fact the continued explosion in the numbers of tourists that has provoked our present state of affairs and this battle over private property rights. Should the county grandees succeed in increasing the number of tourists coming here annually by a couple of million as they hope to do, it will be that explosion that wrecks many parts of the local economy. As Yogi famously said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

    I was running some errands in my car Tuesday of this week. 45 minutes to go 3 miles in Miramar Beach on the west-bound leg. Ended up on the return trip at Skippers fish store in the old Winn Dixie shopping center now dominated by Chik Fil A. Traffic on Scenic 98 was backed up at least a quarter mile back to the west, and was backed up to Emerald Coast Parkway for those of us heading west. I was the only car parked in front of Skippers and the other businesses adjacent, and Iwas the only customer in Skippers for a while before one the came in briefly. Cars were backed up in both lanes of Chik Fil A, and cars were backed up in the local cut through from Emerald Coast to Scenic 98 from in front of CVS all the way to Scenic 98. Absolute gridlock.

    And what impact do you suppose these hordes in cars choking our streets and parking lots are having on the businesses like Skippers et al that can’t be easily accessed any more? How do you suppose the construction period of widening Emerald Coast and Scenic 98 and Poinciana will affect those businesses’ bottom lines? You better be careful what you wish for, especially if you’re not as likely as Dave Rauschkolb and some other tourist-related business owners, developers, realtors, lawyers and politicians to quickly make enough money to immunize yourself against the situation being created.

    There are two physical forces of nature — sex and money. When there is enough money is at stake, someone is about to get screwed. Easy enough to figure out who gets the money and who gets the shaft.

    And Danny sums it up accurately. Whichever side wins, the bitterness will persist, and the county at large will take years to heal, if ever it does. And all for power and money. Some things just never change. Greed remains a deadly sin.
     
  9. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    People continue to blame the TDC for the current situation when those folks have only done what they are told to do and they have done the job well, which is unusual for government. Now we have too many visitors for the infrastructure we have. The remedy is to shift gears and begin to build the needed roadways, storm water handlers, water, sewage, schools and most of all parking and beach accesses. Each of those items that can be provided with bed tax dollars should be built using those assets and build the rest with regular tax revenues. Instead of raising taxes cut advertising temporarily to pay for the TDC items and fully fund the TIFF to fund those items not funded by utilities and the school district. Most of all, start TODAY.
     
  10. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    I don't recall seeing in writing that it requires an annual survey, although you have mentioned it a number of times. Please share the part of the SOP or other documentation that requires the survey to be done annually. Thank you.
     
  11. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Please cite your source. Thank you.
     
  12. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    The only way to determine the MHWL is by a topographical survey. They are usually only valid for a year because they are based on an 18 year average of the tides. Please dont make me go back and read the entire 161st. chapter of the Florida Statutes to find that paragraph.. LOL

    OOPS my bad that is in section 177....... and this one sentence should put the matter to rest but I doubt it will..
    177.28 Legal significance of the mean high-water line
    .
    --
    (1) Mean high-water line along the shores of land immediately bordering on navigable waters is
    recognized and declared to be the boundary between the foreshore owned by the state in its sovereign
    capacity and upland subject to private ownership. However, no provision of this part shall be deemed to
    constitute a waiver of state ownership of sovereignty submerged lands, nor shall any provision of this part
    be deemed to impair the title to privately owned submerged lands validly alienated by the State of Florida
    or its legal predecessors.
    (2) No provision of this part shall be deemed to modify the common law of this state with respect to the
    legal effects of accretion,
    reliction, erosion, or avulsion.
    History
    .
    --s. 4,
    ch. 74-56.
     
  13. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    The only statement that I am questioning is the requirement to produce an updated MHWL survey every single year for beachfront property right enforcement (assuming anything would be enforced). I have only seen the annual "requirement" stated on this site, but not in the Sheriff's SOP or any other official source pertaining to enforcement of property rights on Walton County beaches. Doesn't mean it isn't accurate, but I'd like to have the OFFICIAL document that states the annual requirement.
     
  14. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    The SOP that I found on here (PDF attachment) doesnt say "annual" but I am pretty sure the TOPO surveys have an "expiration date" (for lack of a better term). The document has to be current in order for them to be able to accurately determine where the MHWL is. If the survey is from 3 years ago or 10 years ago that imaginary line in the sand isnt going to be in the same place. As with any other piece of property that the owner is trying have someone arrested for trespass on, the owner is required to prove they actually own said property. But UNLIKE most, they have one boundary line that is not fixed or can be determined by measuring so many feet from a marker.
    EDIT: I just checked mine and it is stamped by the surveyor with his FL. registration # as being valid one year from such and such date. Mine is long expired but I dont have a boundary line that fluctuates.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  15. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    LETTER: Law on side of beachfront owners


    Posted Jun 19, 2016 at 1:00 AM

    Re: Story, June 16, “Walton votes to remove barriers from the beach”

    As in Destin, most beachfront property owners in Walton County have deeds showing they own to the mean high-water line, indicating their beach is private and the only public right is to traverse the wet sand foreshore area. For Walton County to attempt to prevent an owner from taking steps to protect his private property from trespassers goes counter to the ruling of courts.

    In April 2012, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling on appeal that affirmed that although owners could not sue for federal civil rights violations, the court expressly recognized that owners could adopt their own “private security measures” to protect their property; could sue trespassers; and might even sue the City for an uncompensated “taking” of their property. The court also implied that a federal civil rights violation would occur if the Sheriff or the City were to prevent owners from applying their own security measures against trespass.


    A logical person would conclude that signage would be an acceptable “private security measure” available to land owners.

    The bottom line is that private ownership of unrestored beachfront property extends all the way to the mean high-water line, as the Florida Supreme Court has recognized. Indeed, some beachfront owners have surveys showing that the mean high-water line since Hurricane Opal is out in the water due to the legal concept of avulsion. The legally recognized concept of avulsion states that a sudden and perceptible change in a coast line (e.g. Opal) does not change a property line. The avulsion concept was affirmed by the Florida Supreme Court with Opal stated as an example of an avulsive event.

    Adding to the confusion in Okaloosa County is the so-called “20-foot rule.” The Sheriff’s 20-foot non-enforcement policy has no effect on the owners’ legal rights to protect their own property and to exclude trespassers in that 20-foot zone. The policy certainly cannot convert private property to public property.

    - ROLAND GUIDRY, Destin
     
  16. Johnny Z

    Johnny Z Beach Crab

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    Daytona Beach v Tona-Rama, 303 So 2d 9 (1974)
     
  17. bmazer

    bmazer Beach Crab

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    Would be helpful for those who keep referencing that decision to actually go and read it. The only reason that that sand was ruled "customary use" was because the owner had been encouraging visitors to visit his pay for use pier that was on the property. I don't believe any of the owners who are currently trying to protect their property rights are also running a lemonade stand on it to encourage visitors to trespass. That decision supports property rights on the beach.
     
  18. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    Far be it from you to state the obvious Bob. Of course "time will tell and the courts will decide." To the extent that I and others may sway any public influence on the courts I/we will certainly try to do so on the County, State and Federal level if necessary. This issue is far too important to the well being of our coastal economy and our way of beach life than the "property rights" of a few. It has been proven in other States and it may well be proven in our State; if not our beaches will continue to be a place of conflict instead of joy which is unthinkable in my view. Until a few years ago everyone and anyone walked and played on all of our sand without harassment. I and many, many others are willing to fight to keep it that way. "Time will tell"
    Time to make a stand in the sand ( All this further expanded upon in this Tallahassee Democrat opinion piece)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  19. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    I know some beachfront owners who are really nice people and apparently you do, too. No signs, no running people off the beach or even asking them to move. The worst they have done is to ask people to stay off the dunes they are working on re-building out of their own pockets. I also know some that have put up signs because they were overrun by people due to being near a regional or even a neighborhood access. They are nice people, too, they just want to be respected by the people who use the beach and by the county personnel who make and enforce the rules.

    Since you are a leader in this movement, would you please define what customary use means to you? I'm not sure that there has been a definition established from a legal standpoint. Would the Walton County BCC then make (or not) all the rules and handle all the enforcement for everything on the entire beach (except state parks)? For instance, could or would customary use entitle vendors anywhere and everywhere? Would the public be able to set up wall-to-wall tents, chairs, and umbrellas anywhere they choose? Could weddings and events be held anywhere on the beach? Could hotdog or snow cone vendors eventually be allowed to use property that someone is paying premium taxes on to run a commercial enterprise (actually I suppose that applies to all vendors)? If a beachfront owner's lot (let's say near an access) is full to the brim with beachgoer "equipment", does that mean the owner who pays taxes doesn't even have priority to have a spot on the beach in front of their house? If I put myself in a beachfront owner's shoes, these are just a few questions that immediately pop into my head (and from concerns I've heard expressed). Some of the things that seem to genuinely concern the people I know, concern me, too. What are your views on these concerns?
     
  20. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    I have read it and I agree that the case is very different than our situation here in Walton County. If Tona-Rama had been as clear cut as people represent it, I believe there would already be customary use throughout the state of Florida.
     

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