County Wants State Park Land at Topsail for Beach Access

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Truman, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Kurt Lischka

    Kurt Lischka Admin Staff Member

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    Commissioners will not move forward with the walkover as proposed.

    As reported on WZEP AM1460

    Should a new boardwalk near Topsail Preserve be built? This topic was taken up by the Walton County Commissioners in a special meeting Monday evening. Residents showed up and gave their input. Some say a dune walkover is needed to get more people on the beach and provide better access for the neighborhoods on 30-A. Those opposed feel a boardwalk would only distract from the wildlife of the preserve.

    Many who spoke were in favor of the walkover. A young resident, Jessie Beckers, said she wants the beach boardwalk because she sees people jumping the fence and says it is not right. Her dad said the Boardwalk was in the original plan approved in 2007. He says the reports talks about the number of people using the beach and being able to access or vacate the beach. He also talked about waiting for the tram. He called the boardwalk an environmentally friendly boardwalk.

    Carolyn Huff also said she is in favor of the plans going forward to the state. She said the accesses can be overflowing. Huff says she uses the annual pass, but does not use the tram due to the hassle. She said people do not come from the outside. She noted how boardwalks are used in other parks and areas with sensitive terrain.

    Dave Kennedy talked about reports showing where people are not the primary concern when protecting endangered species, rather predators. He said this will also take cars off 30-A. A resident who lives on the west end of 30-A, said their area is booming and is different in that they get people from other nearby areas. Other residents in support of the walkover talked about the use of them in parks across the nation, the second boardwalk in the management plan, said the wildlife is not in danger and the park is for public use.

    Many more spoke in opposition to the proposal. Mary Royce said she is passionately opposed and asked the commissioners to not forward the letter to the state. Edward Alexander said he is against access to the beach through Topsail and is opposed to what he called dissecting the beach. He asked if the width of 8 feet was for golf cart use. Staff said no plans are being made for carts to use the access. Another resident said he is against the proposal because of the nature preserve and the negative impact on his neighborhood. One man said the people who want this are not getting it in their neighborhood and he is against it. Sid Heath, also of Beachview Heights, said none has come up with parking issues. He said they do not have the roads for parking. Heath asked commissioners to not send the letter.

    A representative with the Audubon Society said Topsail Hill is special with important habitats. She said the boardwalk is of concern to them. She noted this will be an unrestricted access that could mean dogs and alcohol on the beach. She talked about the two routes mentioned. A representative of the Defenders of Wildlife recommends the commissioners not proceeded with the letter for the eastern access. He said the Defenders of Wildlife believe the boardwalk will cause problems as it creates an advantage for predators and encroaches on wildlife. A representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the Topsail Access is under no threat of developing. She told commissioners the leading threat is habitat fragmentation and this could create fragmentation if it goes through certain areas. Others talked about the lack of parking, lack of restrooms, the changes to the wildlife and the use by a small number of people.

    Commissioner Bill Chapman talked about the area and parking needs. Commissioner Cindy Meadows said, a corporation bought an access and asked if you have to be wealthy to get to the beach. She said people do not want to see others on the beach and feels that is what this is about. Commissioner Bill Imfeld talked about growth and development opportunities. He also pointed out only a small amount of the residences in the area submit bed taxes and questioned funding by the TDC. Commissioner Sara Comander also questioned the use of TDC funds in this case, talked about the lack of parking, law enforcement and no restrooms. She asked about other possible land. The motion to deny sending the letter passed. Commissioners will not move forward with the walkover as proposed.
     
  2. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    Reason prevailed!

    Let's move forward and try to solve the problems we know exist (and weren't going to be solved by that Topsail access)- find access land with room for parking and restroom facilities. If the problem put forth to be solved was so many people on that end of the beach without easy access, that Topsail option didn't have a chance in hell of solving it.
     
  3. DaleDalbey

    DaleDalbey Beach Fanatic

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    You are right, the Topsail situation is behind us. Any suggestions regarding available land for access that also has room for parking and bathrooms? Not that Topsail was a great idea, but I think a bad idea was borne out of desperation, not just greed.
     
  4. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    Bob, there is an email kicking this whole thing off from Tim Pauls to Meadows. Give me a hot minute and I'll post it.
     
  5. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    I know it's long, but if you read the email this information was solicited by Commissioner Meadows on May 1, 2014.
     
  6. Beach Runner

    Beach Runner beats on hood

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    Glad that the decision went this way!
     
  7. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    That it does. It appears that she was soliciting information from a constituent who would be able to provide her numbers which makes perfect sense. Although I opposed the boardwalk I think she was doing what she was asked to do to by either Mr Pauls or other constituents who wanted to see the boardwalk built. Seems, at least in my opinion, it was all above board.
    Thanks
     
  8. m1a1mg

    m1a1mg Beach Fanatic

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    EDIT: This was for seaducer. Not sure why the quote didn't show up.

    You certainly do think the worst of most people. I'm glad it lost, but agree with the sentiments of many that there needs to be more access on the east end. I live in BMB and the beach access is packed all the time. And it's not just with cars with FL plates.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  9. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    If the county wants more Public Access, then they need to buck up and buy some land on the coast.

    There was a time when it was being offered at a reasonable rate, but that time is gone.
     
  10. Suzanne Harris

    Suzanne Harris Beach Fanatic

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    I agree, the question is every time they approve new developments they need to be sure the prospective buyers know they have almost little if any beach access or parking. The BCC's in the past as well as this one have allowed building on every square foot of land with no plan for all of these people to access the beach or for drainage. Now we have a flooding problem with no plan on how to solve and we also have tourist fighting at Grayton for beach space to sit on and it will only get worse. There will be guards on the beach front owners beach property soon. GIVE US A PLAN, BCC before it is impossible to fix this mess . Knee jerk reactions will not solve these problems.
     
  11. Bob Wells

    Bob Wells Beach Fanatic

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    Not sure if that was directed at me, but ok.
     
  12. Jdarg

    Jdarg SoWal Expert

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    I agree with Bob. A commissioner is not doing the whole job unless all the information pertaining to an issue is gathered. Regardless of her vote, asking for and getting the information about the potential development and population growth on the west end of 30A and that area north to the bay highlights the importance that we do have an access issue at this end and it will get worse. The Topsail solution was not the right solution as the negative consequences on the environment would not be reversible.

    Yes, corporations have bought accesses in the past (Watersound West and the access by Deer Lake), but do we need to make the mistakes of the past? Should we look at what other coastal communities do when faced with these access issues?

    Instead of bashing the one county commissioner who goes to bat for South Walton most of the time, maybe we should try to be part of the solution and be constructive in our thought and words. It's time to put on our collective thinking caps.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014
  13. m1a1mg

    m1a1mg Beach Fanatic

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    It was not Bob. Sorry. I must have screwed up the quote part.
     
  14. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    To really address the problem the county is going to need to acquire land, both for access and for parking. Building walkovers and accesses with no parking attached is asking for problems. People want to go to the beach, see a nice place to gain access and next thing you know they are parking on someone's yard or on the roadway. One possible solution would be inland parking with shuttles to the accesses. Another would be to use some advertising money to promote our state parks and encourage their use. I am not sure what will work and what won't, but I am sure what has been done in the past doesn't work. As someone said, we need to work together to think of solutions instead of screaming at each other.
     
  15. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    We need to stop building more subdivisions with rental property that fail to disclose NO BEACH ACCESS.

    Beach Access is all taken up folks. Get up early and get a good spot or go somewhere else.

    There is little if any parking, so walk or bike please.

    Anyone consider some Bay Front Beach areas? Lots to do there too... If I recall, you have more boat launch options too.
     
  16. Seaducer

    Seaducer Banned

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    there's that attitude that 30A is famous for! I knew it was just under the surface.

    what I find amazing, though not surprising, is once again the blatant hypocrisy
    and chameleon worthy contortions you guys make. Here you all are lauding Cindy
    yet she was shouting down the envirobots and advocating for the walkover,
    she even voted yes before abruptly bolting out. Yet here you are licking her
    high heels and praising her for her abilities....
    if it weren't so pathetic it would be quite humorous.
     
  17. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    I thought this was one of the dumbest ideas ever entertained by any BCC. Thankfully it failed.

    For your info I don't live on 30a, but i respect the property rights of those that do. They made the investment, we didn't.

    I have used county beach access for years but have seen far too many Okalossa registrations (vehicles) coming to Walton county beaches. That accompanied with this new breed of "rougher" type tourist has made me seek access elsewhere, where I pay for it! (Had enough of tattooed faces, pot smoking, glass bottle beer drinking, dogs off leashes, foul mouth filth on the beach!)

    You want it, you can pay for it to. I'm not going to pay for you or anyone else.

    (Side note, if we actually Enforced Anything around here, except hitting locals with FHP tickets this past month, we might have some revenue to actually buy some additional land for more tourists to have beach access).

    There is no more room on the beach. We have occupancy in unit issues, beach vendor solicitation right issues, enforcement issues, parking issues, Wow do we have issues! But let's keep bringing more people!

    Yes, I have an issue! and its the class of tourist that has taken advantage of this area recently! Disrespectful and entitled, yet they are here on deep discounted rates that will drive down owners property value and turn 30a into Destin or PCB.

    You may want this but I don't.

    Yes, I do subscribe to NIMBY! At least I'm honest!
     
  18. Seaducer

    Seaducer Banned

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    [deleted: personal attacks are not allowed on SoWal.com]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2014
  19. John G

    John G Beach Fanatic

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    You are probably a small business owner that has your overflow parking, park where ever they want. You are entitled to a shuttle and every other opportunity you can grab.

    From what I can gather you don't live in Walton, but you pay big bucks in taxes and then complain about it. We actually have a lot in common...

    I might be wrong about you but I don't care about what you "made me look like", I'm honest and fed up with this batch of touron that's ruined our area. So are others that don't post on this site.

    Lots of condo owners will be too when they get their revenue vs. Income reports.

    Tide is rolling.
     
  20. Matt J

    Matt J SWGB

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    As a hippie I hate to bring down other hippies, but...

    I researched the Watersound West Beach walkover years ago and surprisingly it wasn't some magic mystery, large corporation or cash in a stump conspiracy.

    JOE owned the land to begin with, the state bought it along with Topsail, but if you read the agreement the walkover provided in that community was allowed back in 1996. Not the insanity that spewed out around 1:15:00 of last nights meeting.
     

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