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dragonflycafe

Beach Lover
Apr 17, 2009
54
35
Can anyone explain the new Customary Use changes from HB 631 that take place in July? As a longtime tourist, it’s the first I’ve heard about it. Will visitors still be able to, say, walk the beach from Rosemary to Alys or Seacrest to Watersound, etc? Will there be roped off areas like I’ve seen in the past (that were taken down). I wonder how this will affect contracted and uncontracted beaches.

Just wondering how this will affect South Walton.

Thanks!
 

Kurt Lischka

Admin
Staff member
Oct 15, 2004
12,457,794
4,564
SoWal
mooncreek.com
From what I have read and heard:
  1. There are beachfront owners in Walton County who relax on their porch and have a cocktail, as it has been since the middle ages.
  2. There are beachfront owners who have posted signs on the advice of their lawyers.
  3. There are beachfront owners who have made it their life mission to keep people from enjoying the beach.
Thankfully the 3rd group is small. Years ago Walton County banned dogs from the beach (excepting a permit system and leashed dogs for residents). The dog ordinance was created because a small percentage of dogs are problem dogs that pee on beach blankets and snatch hot dogs from the hands of toddlers (occasionally taking a hand with it). I don't see why we can't ban problem owners from owning beachfront property.

Meanwhile If anyone tries to keep you from walking along the water line, please let us and the Sheriff know.

The Sheriff says property owners must prove they own the property when lodging a complaint. The new county rules involve removing signs and obstructions at night, for safety and wildlife (sea turtles), and limiting the size of signs to 24"x18" and specifying colors to be used.

The Sheriff also said that it was against the law for beachfront owners to shoot beachgoers and if they did they would spend the rest of their life in jail.

Their is also the issue of some beachfront owners objecting to vehicles crossing their property - including emergency vehicles and beach maintenance vehicles (garbage collection). The county argues that ropes and chains impede their ability to carry out needed services.

Here are some relevant threads:
Proposed bill could void Walton County's customary use ordinance
Walton County Customary Use: Where do we go from here?
Customary Use Will Happen On Sowal Beaches
Customary Use of SoWal Beaches: Contact Governor Scott
Gee, not one person supports the ban on customary use......I wonder why?
 

miznotebook

Beach Fanatic
Jul 8, 2009
923
552
Stone's throw from Inlet Bch
New ordinance revisions set to be finalized next week would disallow obstructions like chains, fences, etc., on the beach, day or night. Signs on the beach were put in a separate category. With some conditions for colors, size, number, and placement, signs would be allowed during the day but not in the evening.
 

steel1man

Beach Fanatic
Jan 10, 2013
2,298
655
Line of the year...obviously a "follow the law"Sheriff .. not snowflakes here:
"The Sheriff also said that it was against the law for beachfront owners to shoot beachgoers and if they did they would spend the rest of their life in jail."
 

FactorFiction

Beach Fanatic
Feb 18, 2016
494
409
Can anyone explain the new Customary Use changes from HB 631 that take place in July? As a longtime tourist, it’s the first I’ve heard about it. Will visitors still be able to, say, walk the beach from Rosemary to Alys or Seacrest to Watersound, etc? Will there be roped off areas like I’ve seen in the past (that were taken down). I wonder how this will affect contracted and uncontracted beaches.

Just wondering how this will affect South Walton.

Thanks!
The state of Florida has designated the "foreshore" or wet sand area as part of the public trust. You can walk along the shoreline even along private properties. The issue arises when people decide to stop and set up beach equipment on said private properties. How that is handled will likely vary from area to area or even from property to property. My prediction is that this will not be the disaster that the fear mongers are anticipating, but that there will be some property owners that will not allow anything on their property besides walking along the shoreline.

The use of fear mongering and scare tactics has many people in an absolute frenzy and/or panic over the beach. Many beachfront owners are perfectly willing to share, but there is a vast difference between being willing to share and being forced to share, especially without consistent and timely enforcement of rules/ordinances governing the beaches.
 

Jenksy

Beach Fanatic
Oct 25, 2012
896
434
South Walton used to be a paradise. Then they built on the dunes and sold the beach. And then they advertised.
 

JBBeached

Beach Comber
Jun 11, 2008
20
27
The state of Florida has designated the "foreshore" or wet sand area as part of the public trust. You can walk along the shoreline even along private properties. The issue arises when people decide to stop and set up beach equipment on said private properties. How that is handled will likely vary from area to area or even from property to property. My prediction is that this will not be the disaster that the fear mongers are anticipating, but that there will be some property owners that will not allow anything on their property besides walking along the shoreline.

The use of fear mongering and scare tactics has many people in an absolute frenzy and/or panic over the beach. Many beachfront owners are perfectly willing to share, but there is a vast difference between being willing to share and being forced to share, especially without consistent and timely enforcement of rules/ordinances governing the beaches.

Very well said! I wish people would sit at a beachfront property for a week or two in the height of tourist season and see what all goes on. It would be an eye opening experience. I miss the days of the polite tourist that didn't think that because they are on vacation that there are absolutely no rules and anything goes. And with the locals pitted against beachfront property owners it makes that attitude even worse. A lot of people have become very rude and I'm not even going to get into the trash left everywhere.
 

bob bob

Beach Fanatic
Mar 29, 2017
468
229
SRB
Very well said! I wish people would sit at a beachfront property for a week or two in the height of tourist season and see what all goes on. It would be an eye opening experience. I miss the days of the polite tourist that didn't think that because they are on vacation that there are absolutely no rules and anything goes. And with the locals pitted against beachfront property owners it makes that attitude even worse. A lot of people have become very rude and I'm not even going to get into the trash left everywhere.
This is true but it is fact and won't change. Signs and fences won't make any difference Just makes the beach ugly. It can also be true that beachfront owners are ruining the natural world as much as hole diggers and litter bugs. It's called cutting off your nose to spite your face.
 

30A Skunkape

Mr. Small Box
Jan 18, 2006
10,170
2,187
50
Backatown Seagrove
Can anyone explain the new Customary Use changes from HB 631 that take place in July? As a longtime tourist, it’s the first I’ve heard about it. Will visitors still be able to, say, walk the beach from Rosemary to Alys or Seacrest to Watersound, etc? Will there be roped off areas like I’ve seen in the past (that were taken down). I wonder how this will affect contracted and uncontracted beaches.

Just wondering how this will affect South Walton.

Thanks!

I suggest you simply go ahead and do what you are used to doing. If someone asks you to move along, go ahead and do so (but never from wet sand, tell them to drop dead if they try to claim wet sand as theirs). The good thing is that this law will "go live" right as July 4 crowds are here, allowing us to learn pretty quickly who is going to be going crazy defending 'their' beach and who isn't.
 

FactorFiction

Beach Fanatic
Feb 18, 2016
494
409
I suggest you simply go ahead and do what you are used to doing. If someone asks you to move along, go ahead and do so (but never from wet sand, tell them to drop dead if they try to claim wet sand as theirs). The good thing is that this law will "go live" right as July 4 crowds are here, allowing us to learn pretty quickly who is going to be going crazy defending 'their' beach and who isn't.

If you use a tent, Sheriff Adkinson did say that beachgoers cannot set up tents in the set sand. Tents can be used on public beaches 15 feet from the toe of the dune on the landward section of public beaches.
 
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