When the county approved acquiring the Stallworth property, don't recall it being stated that it would be just for beach mice. See page 16-21 of the BCC minutes: http://www.clerkofcourts.co.walton.fl.us/document_center/Minutes/Regular_Meetings/20021022.pdf
No mention of mice. So let's make it a real access. I'm tired of that neighborhood bullying us and the county with all their complaining about the public, adding barriers to the right of way and huge no parking signs.Here it is:
Mr. Greg Chelius, Trust for Public Land, appeared before the Board regarding the Lake Stallworth Preserve. The Trust for Public Land is a national non-profit land conservation organization that helps protect land in order to build better communities. Mr. Chelius stated that they are looking at the Stallworth property in South Walton County. He stated that their request is for the county to match $450,000.00 with a $2 million Federal match to acquire the property.
The property appraised at $2.6 million one year ago. Mr. Chelius stated that tourism is the county’s primary economic benefit. This property would provide public access too the beach. Ms. Lorna Patrick, Fish and Wildlife, stated that there are two accesses that could be used by the public. One on the east side of Stallworth Preserve, which has about four or five parking places. There is also an access through the Tops’l State Preserve. Mr. Chelius stated that this is unprecedented for the government to give a county this amount of money toward an acquisition of this nature.
Mr. Chelius explained that the Florida Communities Trust Program provides monies annually for the purchase of property to help counties protect their best land for the public. If the county makes application before spring of 2003, Mr. Chelius feels that there is a 95% chance of receiving a complete reimbursement of the $450,000.00 within two years.
Mr. Chelius stated that various organizations throughout the county have voiced their support: Tourist Development Council, Beach To Bay, South Walton Community Council, Coastal Dune Lake Task Force, Walton County Tax Payers Association and others. Commissioner Walker voiced concern with loosing the tax base that is currently coming from that property if the county were to purchase it. Mr. Chelius stated that there is a balance because of the protection the county could provide to the land enhancing tourism. He also stated that the land can be developed. Commissioner Walker also voiced concern with the lack of access. Commissioner Ryan stated that he is disappointed with the development in south Walton County and feels this property should be preserved.
He felt that the county should move forward with this opportunity. Commissioner Rees stated that he sees this as an opportunity to begin preserving the coastal lakes along the gulf. Mr. Chelius stated that they are willing to work with the county to preserve the coastal dune lakes in order to help find funding. Commissioner Pauls disclosed the fact that he currently resides on Stallworth Lake. He stated that he has been familiar with this property and its use for years. He also stated that he is aware of an offer that was recently made in the amount of $2.6 million which was denied. The property is currently on the market for $3.4 million.
Commissioner Pauls stated that he does not see any conflict and is not aware of any kind of financial benefit for himself if the county were to purchase the property. The entire Board agreed that this is not a conflict of interest. Commissioner Pauls stated that the current owner has a letter from the Planning Department that would allow them to develop the property without regards to the county’s new standards on coastal dune lakes. He feels that it will be a great opportunity for the county to develop the property and also feels that it will help the county avoid litigation otherwise. Commissioner Rees spoke about the possibility of potential litigation if the county purchases the land.
Attorney Vorbeck stated that the commissioners would have to make a determination that the purchase is in the best interest of the county. Ms. Cobena spoke about the accesses on the property and stated that she has seen many tourists using them, not only residents. Ms. James spoke in favor of the county purchasing the property. Mr. D’Autillia stated that the Coastal Dune Lake Task Board is in favor of the purchase and feels the county should take necessary action to proceed with the purchase. Further discussion occurred regarding the possibility of using Recreational Impact Fee funds, if it is allowed, to pay for the purchase. Mr. Imfeld felt that it would qualify, but would need to research it to make certain. Commissioner Pauls stated that funding should be the second issue of concern in this instance. Full title would be given to the county when purchased. Mr. Don Crim questioned if monies from the economic funds could be used.
Motion by Commissioner Ryan, second by Commissioner Pauls to approve to move forward with the acquisition of the Stallworth property in the amount of $450,000.00. Commissioner Jones commented that the Board should first identify where the monies will come from before agreeing to purchase the property. Ms. Muriel Adams spoke in favor of the purchase of the property in order to preserve the land and keep it pristine. Commissioner Walker motioned to amend the original motion to allow the funds to come from the Recreational Impact Fees if allowable. Ayes 2, Nayes 3. Pauls Naye, Jones Aye, Walker Aye, Rees Naye, Ryan Naye. The amended motion failed.
Commissioner Rees called for the vote on the original motion to proceed with the purchase without designating where the funds would come from at this point. Ayes 3, Nayes 2. Pauls Aye, Jones Naye, Walker Naye, Rees Aye, Ryan Aye.
The property is beach mouse habitat, was not disputing that. In fact U.S. Fish and Wildlife ended up providing $2.4 million to get the property for the county through a program for land acquisition to help beach mouse survival. Was just not sure how the part of no public use being possible on the property came in. That had not seemed to be part of the intent of the county getting the property. Humans and beach mice seem to co-exist successfully in many places. If there is information to the contrary would appreciate being enlightened.
Who said anything about Lorna Patrick and where was she? Her tenure of what? Why would we need other accesses to access an access that is owned by the county? None of this negates the fact that we own property that is behind a gate and we can't access. Can you or someone else post a gate code so we can go to our access?Those minutes are a summary and don't include everything. The sole reason Ms. Lorna Patrick was there was due to the fact that it's dune mouse habitat, her tenure covered endangered animals along the gulf coast. She points to the two accesses that can be used for those that wish to recreat on the property.
Who said anything about Lorna Patrick and where was she? Her tenure of what? Why would we need other accesses to access an access that is owned by the county? None of this negates the fact that we own property that is behind a gate and we can't access. Can you or someone else post a gate code so we can go to our access?
Your posts keep raising more questions than they answer.
Access through the state park is ridiculous - about 10 miles from parking. I suppose you or your friends live behind the gate. Why else would you be against the public access for a public access?Calm down before you blow a gasket.
You keep asking inane questions without reading and comprehending.
The accesses to that property are listed in the county meeting minutes.
Access through the state park is ridiculous - about 10 miles from parking. I suppose you or your friends live behind the gate. Why else would you be against the public access for a public access?