Beach vehicle permit ordinance changes

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Yzarctoo, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    Historically, vehicles have always been allowed on Walton County's beaches. Several decades ago, vehicles were banned, except at Grayton Beach, the access by One Seagrove Place, and Inlet Beach. The accesses at One Seagrove Place and Inlet Beach have been closed for years. Grayton Beach is the only access left.

    Actually going to the beach at Grayton is difficult, if not impossible, unless you live in Grayton, or have a beach driving permit. Yes it is flat, but it is a very long way to walk. It is not a matter of "four-wheeling" as we used to do. It is going more-or-less straight down and straight back up.

    The biggest single argument for continuation for driving at Grayton is not the primary reason most people want a permit, but it is because there is no other way to launch a boat into the Gulf in Walton County. The only other option is to launch into Choctawhatchee Bay and go around, which is inconvenient and costly.

    And then, there are those for which having a driving permit is sort of a status symbol. I think it is these for whom the ordinance tolls.

    I don't have one, and I do well without it. However, it is the only way my 80-year-old uncle is able to go down to the beach and fish. It's a way of life.
     
  2. NotDeadYet

    NotDeadYet Beach Fanatic

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    Here is something interesting, from WZEP email news:

    Walton County Tax Collector Rhonda Skipper will soon return issuance authority for Beach Driving, Vessel Launch, Charter and Dog on the Beach Permits back to the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC). Skipper notified Commissioners last week of the decision citing the operational expenses involved with issuing the permits.

    The Walton County Tax Collector?s Office is currently the sole issuing authority on behalf of the BCC for the Beach Driving, Beach Vessel Launch, Charter and Dog on the Beach permits. Recent changes to the Beach Permitting Ordinance and the operational costs involved with issuing requirements played a role in Skipper?s decision to no longer serve as the issuance authority.

    During an earlier commissioner meeting, employees with the Tax Collector?s Office asked the commissioners to increase the fee slightly to make sure the cost to process applications is covered.

    In a release, the Tax Collector says a Primary reason for the business decision was the provision allowing all registered voters in Walton County to apply for a lottery of 150 permits. This provision creates the potential for thousands of applications to be accepted, and each one must be processed, verified, and archived for public records. The Tax Collector says the staff time required to comply with the ordinance is not fiscally sound for the $1,500 annual revenue generated for the Tax Collector?s Office which was already processing beach permits at a fiscal deficit. Transition of the services to a new issuing authority will occur before the renewal period for Beach Driving, Vessel Launch, and Charter permits opens in April.

    Tax Collector Rhonda Skipper says recent ordinance changes caused concern about the operational expenses involved with issuing permits in accordance to the new requirements. She says her office is gearing up to begin offering Drivers License services early next year, and says it seemed now would be an appropriate time to discontinue serving as the issuing authority for beach permits.

    Skipper expressed to Commissioners that she and her staff would work closely with the County to ensure a smooth transition to the succeeding issuing authority.
     
  3. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Who does the tax collector work for?
     
  4. DuneAHH

    DuneAHH Beach Fanatic

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    uhhhh... the people?
    Oh silly me... maybe not s'much.

    Skipper came up with a clever way of raising this point as a way of covering the tax collector dept.'s fiscal accountability.
     
  5. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    I'm amazed the Tax Collector's office has put up with the beach driving and dog permits as long as they have. Rhonda's office has gone above and beyond.
     
  6. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    I guess I don't understand why the government has to "put up with" the government. Isn't the tax collector a county employee? It sounds like an employee saying they don't want to do part of their job any longer because it got harder. :dunno:
     
  7. DuneAHH

    DuneAHH Beach Fanatic

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    Politics are politics and exist everywhere... even amongst families & friends.
     
  8. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter got any pics?

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    Can someone give me the Readers Digest version?

    I currently have a Permit. Will I have trouble renewing it?
     
  9. Franny

    Franny Beach Fanatic

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    RO if you had a permit last year you are grandfathered and will have no problem with renewal. Those that did not have a permit for 2010 will go into the lottery. Hope this helps.
     
  10. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter got any pics?

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    Whew! Thanks Franny. Hope to see y'all on Grayton in June :cool:
     
  11. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    Tax Collector is a constitutional officer with a myriad of functions they are assigned by the State of Florida. Just like the Clerk, Property Appraiser and Sheriff. They do not work for the BCC. AND they are gearing up to offer DL functions - far more pressing than beach permits. At least IMHO.
     
  12. Franny

    Franny Beach Fanatic

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    You betcha!
     
  13. seafolly

    seafolly Guest

    In regards to driving on the beach. There are several beaches in the area that have handicap and beach wheel chairs so would not that be a better solution? Also, why not pay a small fee--perhaps $1.00 to the life guards or best of all free to launch your boat. Have we looked at how many people have been injured or even killed by some one driving on the beach?
     
  14. scooterbug44

    scooterbug44 SoWal Expert

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    I don't know of anyone hurt or killed recently from driving on the beach. And there aren't any lifeguards there.

    There is a whole lot to it besides just easy access for handicapped people - it's a major part of the local culture and how charter boats access the water.
     
  15. seafolly

    seafolly Guest

    Charter Boats-they are a business- launch the boat and park your truck. Just like everyone else who doesn't have a permit. At least they are not driving up and down the beach. SOWal, needs to be more friendly to part time residents and visitors or they will GO some place else. And let's not forget we already have 1 strike against us the BP Spill.
     
  16. scooterbug44

    scooterbug44 SoWal Expert

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    No offense, but do you know what we are talking about?

    Noone is driving up and down the beach except county staff (Sheriff etc.) and BP.

    Beach driving by permit holders only is confined to a section of the beach at Grayton - nowhere else.

    The charter boats typically DO launch their boat, then take the vehicle off. There is no way for them to launch without driving on the beach.

    Visitors aren't going to go elsewhere because of the beach driving policy. I bet 95% of our visitors don't even know it exists.
     
  17. DuneAHH

    DuneAHH Beach Fanatic

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    Are there lots of beaches around the country that allow part-time residents and visitors to drive onto the beach? :dunno:
     
  18. John R

    John R needs to get out more

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    Are you implying that the businesses launching boats from the beach don't need a permit? If so, you are wrong. If not, what are you implying?
     
  19. Beach Runner

    Beach Runner beats on hood

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    I need Cliff Notes too. If I am a property owner in Walton County and have a Georgia handicapped hang-tag because I have a torn meniscus in my left knee from runner's knee and am frequently on crutches, can I get a beach vehicle permit?
     
  20. Morning Glory

    Morning Glory Beach Comber

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    Beach Driving permit

    There are other beaches that you can drive on but they do not compare with ours as far as beauty and protection.
     

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