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Teresa

SoWal Guide
Staff member
Nov 15, 2004
28,756
4,046
South Walton, FL
sowal.com
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 Except in Walton County, singled out as the one place where customary use is no longer valid.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
 

jodiFL

Beach Fanatic
Jul 28, 2007
2,479
709
SOWAL,FL
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.
 

Reggie Gaskins

Beach Lover
Oct 4, 2018
153
259
58
Blue Mountain Beach
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.
 

Reggie Gaskins

Beach Lover
Oct 4, 2018
153
259
58
Blue Mountain Beach
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?
Yes, forbidding trespassing by county trucks was a necessary legal defense against the lawsuit, otherwise resulting in forfeiting one’s property. The benefit? No more tire tracks and the wildlife and vegetation have thrived without them. They can pick up same trash from access points.

visitors ? By calling the sheriff on them to leave?
When belligerent trespassers abuse priveledge? YES!!!

and turtle nest. By constructing geotubes,seawalls and other obstructions to their nest areas?
You’re reaching here, those storm defense tactics are well north of turtle nesting.

They're the first ones to help vacationers with local information. ?By telling them to move and go somewhere else?
Again, only when someone abuses the guest privilege, and you would too

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.
Um, isn’t that the very point of an investment?

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?
You must mean those “buddies” that are suing them and costing them a fortune in legal defense from those buddies?

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?
No clue where you went there?

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
Nope, again, your facts are wrong. Private beaches aren’t new. Attacking private beaches is. There was no signage or removal of people prior to this emotional public onslaught attacking beach property. The Customary Use folks changed the game. They are to blame. You can’t expect someone to invest millions of dollars in private property, then tell them how they must use it. That goes against our Constitution. You keep ignoring private property rights, why?
 

jodiFL

Beach Fanatic
Jul 28, 2007
2,479
709
SOWAL,FL
What you see in these opposing remarks is the very emotional outbursts referenced in my original post.
:rotfl: Me? Emotional? :rotfl: I gave up being emotional decades ago...
 

ShallowsNole

Beach Fanatic
Jun 22, 2005
4,267
833
Pt Washington
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.
 

FactorFiction

Beach Fanatic
Feb 18, 2016
494
409
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.
 

mputnal

Beach Fanatic
Nov 10, 2009
2,169
563
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...
 

Dave Rauschkolb

Beach Fanatic
Jul 13, 2005
1,006
790
Santa Rosa Beach
View attachment 76395
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.


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.
 
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