Customary Use and Our 30A Legacy

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Reggie Gaskins, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. Reggie Gaskins

    Reggie Gaskins Beach Lover

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    upload_2019-4-25_8-30-52.jpeg
    When you see a PCB or Destin bumper sticker, what thought immediately comes to mind? Probably same for all of us with any time spent here - nice, but it ain’t 30A! Do you remember why you started renting/visiting here? What was it? Remember when you bought your first 30A property? Why here?
    Because it was DIFFERENT, right? Remember the words you used to describe it to family and friends as you invited them here? “Private” “Quiet” “Intimate” “Less crowded”. That wasn’t by accident. The entire genetic code of Sowal beaches is because of the private ownership and neighborhood beach personalities.
    You could rent “private beach”. You could buy “private beach”. There wasn’t a free for all frat party atmosphere because of unlimited public beach access on the sands. That behavior was regulated by the privately owned property where such behavior was immediately squelched. And yet, by custom, no one was ever “Kicked off” of private beaches because owners don’t do that unless bad actors abuse the privilege.
    Walton County has always had more than 50% PUBLIC beach. Still does. That hasn’t changed. There are now deliberately misleading fear tactics out there with scary words like “Quiet Title” and “Privatization”, neither of which have affected one single square inch of public beach, not one. Yet, the mob mentality, orchestrated by local carnival barkers eager for fame and notoriety, and dollars, have mislead the citizens and deliberately tried to divide the community in a shell game of Customary Use.
    The fact is that the county outran the capabilities of local Commissioners to plan for growth 20 years ago, and we haven’t improved that talent to deal with it even yet. So the County, in failing to plan beach availability, tried to illegally claim private property as public, without following the laws requiring judicial oversight. The local Good Ol’ Boys overreached their authority and got caught by the adults in Tallahassee. So they then decides to sue 4,800 of Sowal citizens to take their property. That’s right, your tax money is being spent, and a lot of it, to SUE almost 5,000 of your neighbors, and steal what they agreed to purchase at a premium, and have a deed to prove it.
    Don’t blame them please, they didn’t want or ask for this fight. They live here and care for these beaches just like you and me. Go meet them, they are truly the eclectic fabric of 30A. The signs they had to put up are just in defense of this new orchestrated public attack against them.
    The bottom line is this: The minute you release the public to occupy all of Sowal beaches, you IMMEDIATELY get nasty Destin and PCB problems. How will you feel about that 30A sticker then? Nostalgic? Me too.
     

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  2. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    WOW! Beautifully explained, Mr. Gaskins! I can't speak for the last 10 years, but 20, 30, 40 years ago and more, this area was a pristine little rural area with incredible charm to go with the beautiful beaches. Growth is expected and welcomed, but unbridled growth is a destroyer.
     
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  3. furymom

    furymom Beach Lover

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    Thank you so much for this post. Shame that people on both sides are causing trouble. Working together is the only solution.
     
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  4. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Reggie, that was a most EXCELLENT post! It exactly defines the way the beach was - and why the way the beach is now.

    It truly is indeed hard to stomach the claims from the carnival barkers (no question who they are) such as this so called stealing beach through quiet title for a mere $400?

    And the county just sits idly by letting this happen? REALLY?? Oh, and Mark Davis, our previous Walton County attorney, was the attorney of record for some of these beach front owners filing quiet title. I guess he must have helped in this thieving process.

    And yet time after time I hear people I know parrot (regurgitate) the same claim - not having a clue as to what they’re talking about when questioned. It just goes to show what the ignorant masses (not necessarily stupid) will believe when it shores up their viewpoint on CU. One would have to think (hope) they will eventually see the truth and understand that they are being duped by these carnival barkers.

    Another carnival barker’s favorite saying is that the sand of private beach front property is not taxed because you can’t build on it and therefore it has no value.

    I can’t build in my front and back yards because of setbacks here at home. Does that mean my yards have no value? Does that mean I should have to give up my yards to the government at no cost to them and lose my privacy? This is the most ludicrous concept presented by many on the CU front...a sign of desperation.

    Of course the judge must chuckle IF he were to hear either of those above nonmaterial arguments. It’s all just a carnival barker’s publicity stunt in hopes of swaying the masses to think that they as a group can sway judicial process.

    What’s that..? Yep, I (and many others) think they just love the limelight and will bark if they think there are any people out there who will listen.

    I have always professed here on SoWal, that one should be careful what one wishes for (regarding customary use).


    All this CU nonsense was stirred up not for the common man who lives in Walton County and wants to simply enjoy the beach with their family but for

    Developers who want to continue developing off beach property and advertise endless beach access - never mind parking and other facilities;

    Restaurants and businesses who continue to reap the rewards of more tourists;

    Commissioners who only want to follow the wishes of their constituents - most of the voters who believe in CU - otherwise they won’t get elected or re-elected;

    I almost forgot... the ECAR real estate association representing all the agents in our area - more residences that are built everywhere means more money for the industry. Can you spell hypocrite? Love the agencies who accept private beach front listings but then support CU. One agency had the guts to come down hard on the industry’s position for the absolute right reason.


    I’ve owned beach front for almost 20 years and have seen the changes where there was nobody on our beach except the people walking (BTW, no problem with sand walkers) and our own guests and owners. But it is a new day. The only thing that has remained the same is that our deed still shows we own to the MHWL.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
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  5. bob bob

    bob bob Beach Fanatic

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    You're off on your history. South Walton was charming and generous. The "30A" branding and "30A" people are greedy, entitled, spoiled... A different breed.
     
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  6. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    I said back in the 80s,when I saw those first listings that said "Private Beach" that it would come to this. The ones at fault here are those realtors that advertised that way just to get a couple hundred thousand more for that piece of beach front. I felt bad for those people duped into that pipe dream until I saw the type of people it was bringing into this area. They didnt care about anyone but themselves, had no desire to get to know the people that already were here "living the dream". All they wanted was to have that little blue 30A sticker and a "BEACH PERMIT" on their vehicle so they could flaunt it back in Birmingham,Atlanta,etc. Well now you have figured out that those friendly, welcoming people that where here first arent a bunch of doormats that are just here to serve your food/drinks,clean your houses, and fix your toilets. We arent going to stand by and let you ruin the dream we were living long before you found 30A.
     
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  7. Reggie Gaskins

    Reggie Gaskins Beach Lover

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    Jodi, Help us understand. How are beach front owners treating locals like "doormats"? In my neighborhood, we find that the beach front owners we know are indeed part of the community. They get involved with local charities. They look after the beaches, visitors, and turtle nests. They're the first ones to help vacationers with local information. We never have conflicts with them as long as we're respectful of their property. Most of them are the first ones to step up in time of need. And they're always keeping a low profile about that local philanthropy. They are just as upset about this county and local activist action against them as the rest of us. Remember, they didn't pick this fight. They didn't behave badly. Until people started deliberately coming onto their property and demanding it for themselves. How would you feel if it were your yard?
     
  8. James Bentwood

    James Bentwood Beach Fanatic

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    If your group is so thoughtful and kind then you would do what is right. Roping off a beach is indefensible under any circumstance. Period.
     
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  9. Jenksy

    Jenksy Beach Fanatic

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    The beach is not your yard. The beach belongs to mankind. If you don't believe it then you are part of the problem and should leave.
     
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  10. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Unfortunately, no customary use facts or rational reason to the contrary will persuade the ignorant. Does any legal doctrine of customary use include the affect on the local economy? What if beachfront property owners prevail? Our family have owned beachfront for many decades. I for one will enforce my property rights we have had (since Walton became a county and Florida a state) and have now (as shown by the 2015 Sheriff's trespass SOP) to the fullest extent of the law after beachfront owners have to spend their money, and millions of tax dollars, to defend Constitutionally protected property rights. I have never felt that way until 2015 when the Walton BCC and Larry Jones started this assault on private property rights by declaring customary use without due process - a process that was corrected by FL Statue 163.035.
    Without FS163.035 property owners would have had to be Plaintiffs defending their Constitutionally protected property rights with the burden of proof to show a negative - that customary use does not exist (because the BCC politicians said it did) instead of the proper legal due process that FS163.035 had to make this BCC (and any FL County that had done the same) do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
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  11. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    As to the title of this thread it feels like up is down and down is up. In reality CUSTOMARY USE is our legacy which many locals, visitors and business leaders feel must be preserved. Beaches belong to everyone. Except in Walton County, singled out as the one place where customary use is no longer valid.

    Thankful for the many locals, visitors and community members who stand for the people, our children and our legacy of enjoying the beautiful beaches.

    Florida Beaches for All
     
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  12. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    Jodi, Help us understand. How are beach front owners treating locals like "doormats"? In my neighborhood, we find that the beach front owners we know are indeed part of the community. They get involved with local charities.
    They look after the beaches, How? By forbidding trash collection?
    visitors ? By calling the sheriff on them to leave?
    and turtle nest. By constructing geotubes,seawalls and other obstructions to their nest areas?
    They're the first ones to help vacationers with local information. ?By telling them to move and go somewhere else?
    We never have conflicts with them as long as we're respectful of their property. Most of them are the first ones to step up in time of need. Most of them dont even live here. They just want to protect their investment property and keep those "Private beach" rates as high for as long as they can.
    And they're always keeping a low profile about that local philanthropy. Low profile to hide which county official they are buddies with to keep their agenda on the downlow?
    They are just as upset about this county and local activist action against them as the rest of us. Remember, they didn't pick this fight. They didn't behave badly. Until people started deliberately coming onto their property and demanding it for themselves. Those people that they flaunted 30A in front of who then had to come down here and show their true colors in order to get THEIR little blue sticker?
    How would you feel if it were your yard? If I lived next to a place that had been known forever as being somewhere that people came to recreate (i.e. beach, park, lake, racetrack or whatever) I wouldnt move there and expect everyone to just abandon it because I moved there. Thats kinda like all the people that moved in to Niceville/Valp then wanted to sue the airforce for plane noise.
     
  13. Reggie Gaskins

    Reggie Gaskins Beach Lover

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    So to the interested constituents reading this thread... What you see in these opposing remarks is the very emotional outbursts referenced in my original post. Facts don’t matter to the public anymore, just as the activists have orchestrated their misinformation campaign to spread the propaganda. The fact is, customary use has NOT ever been a “thing” in Sowal because of the deeded private property allocated since we moved indoors. Customary use entered our vocabulary quite recently to cover up county mismanagement. And yet, people WANT to believe that they can just wish their neighbors deeded property to be theirs because some slick slogan and Pied Piper told them so. I suggest some of these emotional responders go back and reread the post. The facts and timeline are simple to follow. The beach front owners are not evil, greedy people. I know dozens, not even one falls into that description. They have been duped and then attacked by the county. You should be upset about that if you put your logic hat on. Think about it. You’re next.
     
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  14. Reggie Gaskins

    Reggie Gaskins Beach Lover

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  15. jodiFL

    jodiFL Beach Fanatic

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    :floor: Me? Emotional? :floor: I gave up being emotional decades ago...
     
  16. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    Customary Use IS the 30A legacy. Has been since long before 30A was constructed.
    It is the locals, who work in the service industry or have responsibilities at home before they can head for the beach, who cannot find a place to park. (This is not to suggest that we park in your yard; it's just a reality.)
    It is the locals who would not dream of the raucous behavior that sometimes happens at the regional beach accesses. Reality is, we want to get as far away from that as possible.
    Those who do engage in unsavory behavior can be removed by the Sheriff's Office. But those people aren't us, or our families. We simply want to go to the beach.
     
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  17. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Exactly.
    And that would only get “better” with CU?
     
  18. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    What many do not seem to realize is that, for the most part, locals are not the problem. Most of us go to our neighborhood beaches with minimal "stuff". We walk or ride a bike. We walk the beach or stay down near the shore area and don't use dunes for bathrooms. We fish or sunbathe. If we use sun shelters at all, it is usually just a 4-6 foot umbrella. We don't leave trash. We don't play loud music with foul language. I could go on, but you get the idea. Most tourists are good people, but many come with every convenience so that they can set up a day camp on a prime spot (often in front of someone's home) and then reserve it all day while they come and go. I don't know where that mentality came from. I've been to beaches in many places and never thought that it was ok to set up a day camp and leave it set up all day for my and my family's convenience. What happened to pack it in, pack it out when you come and go? Any way you look at it, this ugly negativity that is now pervasive in our community is what is ruining 30A. It isn't any one group, it is individuals who are stirring up hate against whole groups.
     
  19. mputnal

    mputnal Beach Fanatic

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    The problem with private beach is there is not enough beach access for the public. The problem with customary use is that some people behave crude and rude. Apparently the problem with a solution is that there is not one because it comes down to principle and neither side is willing to compromise a principle. I have to say that I find some hypocrisy with the people who say that everyone should have access and then turn around and say NO to a public pier! You know who you are and I say BS on your principle...
     
  20. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    This is the most ridiculous comment. No one ever spoke of our beaches being private until a few years ago when this nonsense started. Growth will always come to any popular, special area. The loudest voices against CU come from beachfront owners who bought near a county beach access. Not from interior beachfront owners. You buy next to a cow pasture, get used to the cows. The beaches have always been shared and should be regardless of growth; anywhere, any beach and any community. Respect has and always is critical. There are laws that regulate behavior on our beaches and characterizing the beach behavior as all bad is a common tactic used by private property rights beach advocates. I recommended the Beach Ambassador program to help address the beachfront owners concerns. Most beachgoers are respectful regardless of the numbers.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2019
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