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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    Please read carefully.

    I read the above post without paying attention to which post it was a reply. As I read the narrative, I kept thinking, wow, someone really attacked Dave R and got under his skin. Someone hit a nerve. As I read further, I more anticipated looking back up to discover the original poster out of curiosity. Then, without warning, The Shiner Bock line hit with a bang!

    You thought that post was directed at you? You really take credit for all those misdeeds mentioned in the narrative? I’m sorry, and quite amused, that you thought that it was directed entirely at you. It surely sir, was not. Go back and read it again, you’ll see the potential players more clearly.

    However, your personal behavior here was quite enlightening. And I gotta admit, more than a little entertaining.

    We will have that beer together, if we haven’t already...
     
  2. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    Whether it was directed at me or not I have clearly stated my opinions on each issue. That is all I have to say. Good by.
     
  3. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Mputnal or any CU believer, to understand the beliefs for The People’s customary use rights of private property; does the doctrine of public customary use only apply only to highly desirable private beachfront property or can customary use be claimed by The People for bay front, lake front, river front, or deer-dog hunting properties[1]?

    If me and my friends or anyone, walked an established trail or kayaked in the Choctawhatchee Bay held in Public Trust by the State of Florida with our tents, ice coolers, and chairs to private owned waterfront property on Choctawhatchee Bay; could we or anyone setup on private bay front, rest, recreate/enjoy for the day, and claim customary use of the Bay front private property and not be trespassing? If not; why not?

    Walton Commissioners historical expert, Dr. James Miller, has “testified” that Native Americans have occupied this area since ancient times. Before the “memory of man”? Dr. Miller’s archeological map shows more archeological sites around the Choctawhatchee Bay than the Gulf beaches. I think it is reasonable as many or more archeological sites, not displayed by Dr. Miller’s map, are around the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay and Hwy 331 too.
    Walton Archaeological Native American Sites Dr. James Miller.jpg

    [1] Judge: FWC must keep Blackwater deer-dog hunters off private property
    “People have been hunting there for years and you decide to buy property right in the middle of it in 2005 and start drama. Shame on the hunters who allegedly threatened the property owners because they make the rest of us look bad. One of the things we were taught is to respect the land and the people who own it. For most of us it is tradition [custom?] and we want to continue that tradition with our children.” The prevailing private property owner’s attorney? Walton’s customary use attorney David Theriaque! Would have been interesting if the State had claimed deer-dog customary of private property.
     
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  4. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Just shows that some attorneys play both sides of an issue as long as money is involved. And BFOs are called greedy.
     
  5. SUP View

    SUP View Beach Comber

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    Interesting that the WCC, when asked, could not provide an approximate number of people that are adversely affected by the perceived lack of public beach access. Should be an easy answer if you are prepared to spend millions in a lawsuit on that point. If corporate development were to grow exponentially in the 30A area, which is the likely true motive behind the CU issue, there would be many days where our beach area looks like Daytona during Easter break.

    Raise your hand if you want that scenario.
     
  6. Auburn Fan

    Auburn Fan Beach Lover

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    S.O.S.
    The whole point of a "neighborhood beach access" is so that local neighbors would have a way to walk/run the foreshore, to take a sunset walk or do a private sunrise yoga session at the water's edge or peacefully launch a kayak or paddle board, or access the foreshore for some quiet fishing, and merely be emotionally and spiritually uplifted by the serene broad sweeping vista views, and enjoying captivating shoreline photography and shoreline birdwatching.

    And these forms of ambulatory recreation are NOT insignificant! The availability of these types of recreation by the public are almost completely obliterated where there are hordes of day camps set up on the beaches.

    Standing firm on blocking public daycamping use on private property actually helps maintain the TRUE customary use of the shoreline that IS ancient, reasonable, undisputed, and uninterrupted. It protects these OTHER less vocal and less profitable but very much desirable types of recreation that are enjoyed by many of the local full time residents.

    Allowing the tourists to bring furniture and wagons and tents and umbrellas and meals and mounds of trash and yet without life-saving supervision and toilet facilities is a complete travesty!

    Public behavior is anything but customary these days. My God, just read the news. Licking ice cream lids and peeing on potatoes when nobody's looking?!? The general public cannot be allowed unmonitored free reign willy-nilly up and down 26 miles of these beautiful dry sandy beaches.

    Some lands deserve to be protected from unsupervised crowded public irregardless of who owns it. These beautiful shores fall into that category.

    In reality, beach owners are being sued to eliminate their right to maintain the truly ancient customary shoreline use in order to be eclipsed by modern, highly profitable, exploitative use allowing forced occupation by hordes of day camping crowds. Which is completely destructive. On all facets. Except the pocketbooks of a few.

    The local taxpayers and voters who actually have enjoyed decades of the ambulatory forms of customary recreational use along these private properties deserve a voice. Ahhh ... but they are drowned out (or intimidated into silence or censored) by the greedy owners of the monster rentals, investors and developers, restaurateurs and realtors, and of course, their paid advertisers...

    Those who want to "park" your group on the beach, should go to a "park", a designated area where the public is allowed to occupy space.
    Managing beach use density is imperative.

    The point of "recreation" is to RE- Create. Not just to make a buck.

    And humanity needs these other, less profitable forms of quiet, reflective "RE - Creation", now more than ever.

    S.O.S.
    SAVE OUR SHORELINE
    It's sacred.
     
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  7. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Beach Fanatic

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    While I agree visitor behavior and quantity have crossed a point we would like, we can't turn back the clock. To pound this forum with such an idea is nonsense. And what you describe are extreme examples. The beach is quite often enjoyable at different places, times of day, times of year. I bet you own next to a bad public access. Maybe consider moving? Instead of suffer so from your principles, accept that there are things in life that are going to make us miserable if we allow them to.

    People cry for enforcement and forcing people off the beach. Are they that miserable and that authoritarian? If so they don't deserve to live on the beach. And after all is said and done, that is the bottom line. The beach is for relaxing. If you can't enjoy it, find another beach or a large spread somewhere with less population and no visitors. REAL SoWal locals, the ones that love the beach and honor it, would prefer you go elsewhere.

    As they say, "Love it or leave it."
     
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  8. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    Behaviors CAN change and will if the County makes well thought out decisions about beach use and then ENFORCES them. I cannot believe the number of times, people use the excuse that you can't change people's behavior. Yes, you can. Most people will cooperate if they just understand the rules and know what to expect. For the others: Tony Robbins — 'Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change. People WILL and DO change. The ones that truly won't......do we really need them on our beaches?
     
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  9. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    You can bet we love it and we’re not leaving it. Nor will we allow the Walton County Commissioners to get away with an uncompensated land grab.
     
  10. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Beach Fanatic

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    I have no trust that we will have any competent or willing leadership that could change the way we do business in SoWal, what we expect of our visitors. But if you're ina war with the county why would anyone want to listen to you?

    I believe to make effective change we have to raise expectations and coordinate citizens, groups, business, etc. It would take a lot of concerted effort to turn the rudder on this Titanic. Kind of seems with chains and ropes beachfront owners are making the iceberg bigger.
     
  11. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    I'm not in a war with the county. Why would you come to that conclusion just because I think people are capable of better behavior? Granted some people require more "motivation" than others. I actually participate regularly to try to understand and improve issues in the county.
     
  12. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    upload_2019-8-1_17-15-33.jpeg
     
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  13. Mike Jones

    Mike Jones Beach Fanatic

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    Sorry I was lumping you in with beachaffront owners. From other posts on this thread apparently every single one is at war with the county. Surely that's not simply propaganda. :dunno:
     
  14. bob bob

    bob bob Beach Fanatic

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    I would ban all tents also.

    The beach wagon has become the latest must have for tourists. I see them piled high with chairs, tents, coolers, etc.

    Ridiculous.

    A towel and a beach bag people. A small cooler even. If you can't carry it, don't bring it. :nono:
     
  15. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    "Beachaffront Owners"!! my new favorite word!!
     
  16. Dave Rauschkolb

    Dave Rauschkolb Beach Fanatic

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    Easy tiger
     
  17. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    I was just curious. No harm, no foul. And, yeah, "every single one" is a real stretch!
     
  18. mputnal

    mputnal Beach Fanatic

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    I really do not want to open this thread back up for more "lessons" in Constitutional Rights or Property Rights or Human Rights. However I did want to respond to FBB regarding the doctrine of Customary Use and Traditional Values. I only speak for myself FBB so I believe that a Judge will need to narrow the definition of "Beach Front" property. I do understand your point regarding a broad definition of CU. I think we both know that a lower court decision will likely be challenged so the issue will not be decided for a long time and with volumes of legal work. Again it is just my opinion but I believe that Beach Property has a unique definition because of the powerful economic engine of tourism. Waterfront property not considered to be Beach Property in terms of CU "probably" should be the same but I don't think it will. Dog hunting and other traditional uses of property may be case to case issues. Honestly I really don't know. I will not have time to follow this in court but it will be interesting for sure.

    As for as this thread goes I believe both sides have made it clear where they stand. I really do understand both sides but after reading the cold hard facts of a few beach front owners I have changed my mind and will support Customary Use. My reasons are really simple. I believe that building large buildings on the Sand Dunes already give you exclusive views and therefore exclusive use. I believe that wealth would continue to build these large buildings and exclude The People from the beach. The BFO attitudes that I read in this forum is not much interested in working with The People and seem to indicate that wealth gives them a superiority over The People. I prefer to have a voice and the dialogue in this forum suggests that BFO's focus on Constitutional Rights will not allow me a voice because there is only the one voice. Customary Use supporters seem to understand that behavior, density and vending are issues on the beach and willing to address those issues but it is not enough for BFO's who want their right to exclude people from the beach. I really believe that there is common ground between the two positions and the only reason why there is no compromise is because in this political climate compromise is a dirty word...
     
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  19. Bob Hudson

    Bob Hudson Beach Fanatic

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    Daily News Article
    By Tom McLaughlin

    David Theriaque, the county’s land use attorney, said at a Monday hearing that while his client at this time continues to consider a single ruling on its customary use petition the preferable option, recent discussions had focused on holding individual hearings on “smaller sections.”

    DeFUNIAK SPRINGS – For the first time since Walton County filed a legal complaint seeking a declaration of recreational customary use on its beaches, its attorneys have conceded they could consider something less than a blanket declaration along all 26 miles of coastline.

    County commissioners and the attorneys had previously argued that all of the beaches in the county should be public by virtue of customary use.

    David Theriaque, the county’s land use attorney, said at a Monday hearing that while his client at this time continues to consider a single ruling on its customary use petition the preferable option, recent discussions had focused on holding individual hearings on “smaller sections.”

    The decision on whether to differentiate between beach properties based on the unique nature of the many communities represented along the Walton County coast could be a critical one. It will not be made, however, for quite some time.

    Theriaque also commented that the county does not accept the premise that if one or two privately owned properties along the beach are declared not to fit the definition of customary use – public by means of having been accessed by humankind since time immemorial – that its legal action should be thrown out in its entirety.

    The first item determined at a case management conference held to streamline hearing schedules and other procedural issues, was that the handful of motions to dismiss the customary use action must be heard before any others.

    “Their resolution will determine what steps we will take next,” County Court Judge David Green said of the dismissal motions before turning the hearing over to the 28 attorneys assembled before him either in person or over the phone.

    Motions to dismiss will be heard on Oct. 21 and Nov. 12.

    The lawsuit over which Green has been tasked with presiding originated on Dec. 11 when attorneys representing Walton County filed four documents, including a complaint for declaration of recreational customary use.

    It was filed to conform to the dictates of the controversial H.B. 631, which in 2018 wiped a customary use ordinance passed by the Walton County Commission off the map and created a beach environment pitting some beach property owners against some beachgoers.

    Some beach owners have gone so far as to rope off their properties, put up no trespassing signs and hire security guards to keep visitors off of the dry sand areas of the land they own.

    Green also ruled that Walton County’s attorneys had done all they need to do to insure that all people listed as beach property owners -- County Attorney Sidney Noyes estimated the number at around 4,700 -- had been notified of the customary use proceedings.

    Noyes said there were just 24 residences the county had attempted to notify for which no evidence existed that the mailing had arrived at the targeted address, and she vowed to keep trying to find them.

    Also at the hearing, Green committed to, at some point, work with attorneys to define some of the obscure terms by which customary use is described. Attorney Kent Sefriet suggested the court case would move more smoothly forward if terms like “ancient,” “free from dispute” and “time immemorial” were clearly defined.

    The hearing itself went surprisingly smoothly, given the complexity of the issues before the court and the number of attorneys present. Scheduled for two hours, it was over in just more than one hour.

    Exiting attorneys gave credit for the smooth running hearing to Green.

    “Keeping up with everything that has been brought up is a challenge, but he’s up to it,” attorney David Pleat said.
     
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  20. Reggie Gaskins

    Reggie Gaskins Beach Lover

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    The realization of deposing 14,000 affidavit submitters that will virtually all fold instead of testify under the threat of penalty of purgery as soon as put under oath has finally surfaced.

    The realization that the majority of BPO's are hunkered down and preparing for the long haul has surprised everyone, but the BPO's. You see, the court and public were falsely led to believe only "a handful" of land owners would object to a public taking of their property. When in fact, that number is now in the thousands; people defending their property from a frivolous lawsuit forced upon them by the county. You can't blame them.

    The realization that the economy will continue to explode here, given that numbers are up, flies in the face of loud prognosticators.

    The realization of the public - recognizing that the real problem is beach chair vendors, has many discussions of immediate solutions. Much of Walton's shoreline will open up for public enjoyment as soon as chair problem is fixed.

    The realization that most BPO's aren't one eyed green monsters, and that they actually want harmony back on our beaches as much as everyone else, has many folks talking about real solutions. One of them no longer is stealing their neighbors' property.

    The realization that the county cannot afford this lawsuit, well, it's not like that wasn't spelled out in the beginning. Why was it ignored? Do the math.

    Hopefully calm and intelligent minds of yet unknown leaders will now help bring this to a sensible track forward.
     
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