Any truth to the rumor?

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Rainlr, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    What kind of beach front property owner calls the police for people walking on the beach? I do believe our deputies can be used in better ways than keeping people off the beach.
     
  2. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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    Innocent until proven guilty? I like that!
     
  3. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    This past spring I witnessed an altercation between an individual who walked out of a gulf front property called "Salt Cake" (Gulf Trace neighborhood) to confront people who were sitting in chairs at or near the water line in front of his property. They refused to leave. I got the impression that they lived in the neighborhood.

    The "Salt Cake" property has placed a no trespassing sign which can be seen as you walk over the western neighborhood beach access in Gulf Trace. The "Salt Cake" sign warns against trespass and claims all beach property to the water line.

    On subsequent beach walks, I have observed the public complying with the signage, placing chairs and umbrellas away from his "property lines".

    Keep in mind that the property in question is directly adjacent to the neighborhood beach access. If additional beach front owners initiate the same tactics, beach access for the neighborhood could be in jeopardy.
     
  4. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Yes, this is called protecting your private property rights.

    The man was trying to keep tourists off his private property.

    How would you react if you lived next to a city or county park (public) and each weekend you had spill over from the park into your yard?

    That's the scenario here in Walton on the beaches. Also here in Walton, our law enforcement requires the private property owner to now compile a packet to Prove you own your " yard"...(political?).

    I understand both sides of the issue and currently side with those seeking to protect their private property.

    I place blame not on them, but squarely on the shoulders of the BCC (past & present) along with Dawn M., from TDC for the mega marketing, knee jerk reaction to the oil spill that has flooded our area and its beaches with more tourists than we could ever possibly handle.

    This is evidenced by beach access overcrowding, roads backed up for miles, unit occupancy out of control with closets turned into bunk rooms for children, etc.

    The chickens have come home to roost for sure.

    Paradise is lost. Enjoy while you can.
     
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  5. Garner

    Garner Beach Fanatic

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    The quiet title issue is on the agenda for this morning's county commission meeting in Defuniak
     
  6. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    20160223_073125.jpg

    This particular situation in Gulf Trace is a little bit different than the typical public beach accesses we see along 30A. This is a neighborhood access with NO public parking and is accessed by people in the Gulf Trace neighborhood. The people you refer to as "tourists" are the people that either own homes in the neighborhood or are renting those homes from the owners. My problem is that I foresee a trend where more and more Gulf front property owners will feel emboldened to claim their beach front all the way to the water line. When that happens, you will walk down the beach access and then have no where to fish, swim or sit in a lawn chair, etc.

    I have posted a couple of photos of the sign and access point. Imagine these types of signs at every beach access. Not very friendly and perhaps not even legal.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  7. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    You make some very good points Garner. And also point out that it's not an easy issue from either side.

    I still have a hard time thinking of any beach as being private and off limits to people walking or sitting down to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico. Many beaches are private at resorts and exclusive neighborhoods. And now individual gulf front property owners are claiming their own beach as private. Not sure the answer.
     
  8. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    In opposition to the comment of Sheriff Mike Adkinson this AM at the BCC meeting, this issue really isn't that "complicated". It may be complicated for him as he panders to numbers for votes, but if a property owner has the proper legal paperwork that shows they own land, be it sand or not, they they legally own it.

    That's the issue here. Do you (property owner) own the beach your property is on. If you can prove it, then you DO. If you thought you did and don't have any legal documentation, then you DON'T. What is so hard to understand?

    The sheriff was quick to pass the responsibility off to the BCC, which he is good at doing, blaming someone else and telling everyone how his hands are tied... He's become masterful at playing politics while serving as the sheriff, from the Beach Issues to Wedding Houses, etc. Have to give him credit, he's pretty slick.

    What was most interesting and what occurred after he (sheriff) left, was the bombshell from Larry Jones about the "Beach Mouse Police" coming to town and telling him how they will be enforcing the protection of the beach mouse habitat. This is going to drastically effect anyone looking to build on the beach front and it the habitat zone. Pushing the permit process back one to two years...
     
  9. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    The following is the conclusion portion of a paper written by S. Brent Spain entitled "FLORIDA BEACH ACCESS: NOTHING BUT WET SAND?"

    I have also included a link to this paper, which summaries recent court cases involving beach access, including a relevant Destin, Fl case. The TDC and BCC should start banking money, pass a customary use ordinance and prepare to defend it in court.

    BEACH ACCESS

    "Despite numerous calls during the past twenty-five years for legislation at the state level to protect the public's right to utilize the dry sand areas of Florida beaches,[141][142] In the absence of adequate state legislation, local governments and the judiciary have the burden and responsibility to protect public beach access. In City of Daytona Beach v. Tona-Rama, Inc.,[143] the Florida Supreme Court recognized the doctrine of customary use as a means by which the public may secure rights to utilize the dry sand areas of Florida beaches for traditional recreational activities.[144][145]

    In a state such as Florida, which is a favorite tourist destination[146][147] the issue of adequate public beach access should be a priority. Few, if any, of the state's tourists are probably aware that the majority of Florida beaches are privately owned.[148] One can easily imagine the surprise and shock of unsuspecting visitors to Florida who are threatened with arrest for trespassing because the beach they are enjoying is private property.[149] Indeed, the frequency of such incidents is likely to increase, absent adequate protective measures, as tourists and coastal residents place more and more pressure upon Florida's coastal resources. Florida and its residents should not, and cannot afford to, "bite the hand that feeds," so to speak. In light of the State Legislature's failure to adequately protect public beach access, local governments should adopt ordinances protecting the public's long-standing customary use of the dry sand areas of their beaches.[150] Without such measures, the Florida public may very well be left with nothing but wet sand"
     
  10. Jimmy T

    Jimmy T Beach Fanatic

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  11. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Unfortunately the Sheriff is an elected position and so very political. I've always felt that public safety programs and it's chief law officer should be professional and not elected. . Go beach mice!
     
  12. Misty

    Misty Banned

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    Commissioners voted to hold 3 public workshops in March to address beach access issues.
     
  13. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Go Mice Templar!!!

    Unfortunately, you are correct that the office of Sheriff is VERY political, not just here, but in most Florida Counties.

    Here in Walton, we have an Elected Official as Sheriff that is related to others very close and VERY involved in other facets of County and City Government. I don't see that in other Florida Counties, if it is, its not as obvious as it is here.

    The Adkinson Law Firm, composed of Clay and Clayton Adkinson have hands in most County, and City (DeFuniak and Freeport) business. Clay was also the TDC attorney. The sheriff, a direct and close relation is the elected sheriff that is supposed to provide unbiased enforcement of law. Go look at who raised the money for sheriff Mike when he ran for his first term. Must make his job very difficult.

    With childhood friends that are past BCC Members that were hit with ethics complaints, large donors that were indicted / investigated and family in high positions of power, is it any wonder there are questions?

    I think its fair to question the set up of our Entire County Government, not just the office of sheriff, although his kicking the can to the BCC was quite telling today.

    As the woman from DFS commented today at the BCC Meeting, and I'm paraphrasing; "all of the employees here are related". Yes ma'am they are...

    It was a classic moment and assuming its not edited out, is worth the view on the County Video. What's even better is that she is from DeFuniak Springs which threw many of the BCC off during the meeting.
     
  14. Garner

    Garner Beach Fanatic

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    to clarify Misty's post: there is to be one workshop with three proposed dates; the first choice being March 16th at Emerald Coast Middle School

    Thanks to all for continued support and vigilance for our beaches,
     
  15. joho

    joho Beach Fanatic

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    The sheriffs departments going to be very busy with nusance calls regarding trespassers instead of protecting and serving the county......
     
  16. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    Anyone know exactly how many beach owners have completed their WCSO SOP packet?

    That would give us a good number as to how "busy" they'll be. They won't enforce Trespassing if you don't have it.
     
  17. NotDeadYet

    NotDeadYet Beach Fanatic

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    BCC voted to hold ONE public workshop. They discussed three possible dates and settled on either March 16 or March 30 depending on the availability of Emerald Coast Middle School which is the location. They did this to avoid having to wait until the next BCC meeting to be certain of the date. Time set is 5-8 pm. The chosen date will be known soon and then advertised and will be on the county website
     
  18. hippiechick

    hippiechick Beach Fanatic

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    Statewide Reform Efforts
    Florida
    The state of Florida is currently attempting to apply the public trust doctrine to expand public beach access throughout the state. Unfortunately, no perfect method for doing this yet exists and the law is currently being applied on a case-by-case basis. Litigation has also been used in attempts to apply the customary use doctrine and prescriptive easements. However, these cases are rarely successful and when they are, they are only applied to the specific situation under review. Based on Florida’s case law, there does not seem to be a high likelihood of the expansion of the public trust doctrine, or any other law, to cover the dry sand beach in the foreseeable future.

    An excellent summary of beach access policy and case law in Florida is Sand for the People: The Continuing Controversy Over Public Access to Florida’s Beaches, by Erika Kranz, which appeared in the The Florida Bar Journal, June, 2009 Volume 83, No. 6. Here is an excerpt from the article’s conclusion:

    “Given the importance of Florida’s beaches to the state’s tourism-based economy, ensuring public access to this sandy asset is essential. Numerous legal tools are available that might provide more populist alternatives to Florida’s beach privatization trend, though no single existing tool has the capacity for broad utility in preserving public access to the state’s beaches.

    The state finds itself in a very tough place in its effort to preserve public access to one of its most valuable resources. Given Florida’s coastal access law today, the state is currently without any particularly effective tools to provide its citizens and visitors lasting access to its beaches. Florida’s best chance for a broadly applicable tool for beach access is to follow Oregon’s lead by broadening the customary use doctrine. Without such measures, the state and private property owners will likely be subjected to imperfect and expensive case-by-case litigation, a strategy too time consuming and expensive for the state to sustain over time.
     
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  19. alabama123

    alabama123 Beach Crab

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    Right on. The shuttles and drop offs will continue to get worse. Good idea on the State Parks. Plenty of room and amenities.
    The vacationers would actually enjoy being there more than at the over crowded public and private access beaches.

    There is no need for advertising South Walton Beaches. Over crowded and unsustainable as it is. If the TDC does advertise, they should limit to targeting the off season only. Everybody knows where this community is. They will find it.
    Use the TDC funds to improve the community. Buy properties for parking. Solar light the Bike Path. Light the Crosswalks in
    Seaside, Rosemary and Seagrove and any other areas where it is hard to see people at night crossing the road.
     
  20. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I think there is a place for the TDC but as with anything else the mission must change as circumstances change. They have been extremely successful at marketing and branding Walton County's beaches but we have reached the saturation point with the current infrastructure. So the goal needs to change to improving amenities and access before we seek increases in visitors again. It does no one any good to convince someone to visit and then they have an awful time due to parking, beach access and roadway inadequacy. Especially at the prices they are charged. Locals would be less irritated if those issues were addressed as well. Everyone benefits from finally addressing the issues instead of kicking them down the road as has been the practice for the last 10 years are so.
     
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