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.