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Customary Use of SoWal Beaches: Contact Governor Scott

Discussion in 'Local Government and Groups' started by Teresa, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    You sure bring out the best in others...NOT!!!
     
  2. formosa64

    formosa64 Banned

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    While this is true - the bill is passed by both House/Senate, is now enrolled and is being sent to the Governor for signature.
    This is quibblng and just isn't correct.
     
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  3. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    FYI, the courts HAVE decided and the bill just passed statutorily commands what the FL Supreme Court had already decreed. The WBCC ignored the process demanded by existing law, state and federal. Had it not done so, taxpayers on both sides of the issue would have millions in their own and the public coffers that have been spent on litigation. That money and the other tens of millions of taxpayer funds Sara was willing to spend litigating this will be available to be better spent on greatly needed infrastructure

    If you disagree with the Constitution and Bill of Rights, you are privileged under those very documents to so do. If you wish to change them or other laws, you are required as a matter of law to respect the rights of others, no matter how much you abhor their having those God-given (i.e., inalienable) rights, and you and we all are required to follow the law in seeking perceived and desired redress.

    We all are subject to the same laws and requirements and ignore them at our peril. Allowing the WBCC to ignore the law and our rights as U.S. citizens is very dangerous for al of us. If you believe otherwise, bless your heart.
     
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  4. jkmason

    jkmason Beach Lover

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    Bill requiring courts to decide public access to private beaches heads to Gov. Rick Scott's desk

    If signed, the new legislation would go into effect July 1, mooting the Walton County ordinance.

    “It is a little bit of a letdown,” Walton County Administrator Larry Jones said. “However, the option of just having a statute that clearly eliminates the option of customary use was a reality we didn’t want to see. So, if this is signed by the governor, there is a path forward, although we’re not sure if it’s the best path.”

    The new process eliminates a situation where a dozen landowners sue a county. One suit will decide whether the beach fits the customary use criteria of being ancient, reasonable, without interruption and free from dispute.

    Two rounds of mailed notices would go to beachfront owners affected by a proposed customary use law, and a governmental hearing would be held. Finally, any landowners could intervene in the court proceeding.
     
  5. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    My feelings are not hurt. I took your bleeding heart comment more critically that you suggest you meant it. Passion and discussion are fine with me as long as it stays respectful. You clarified and I appreciate it.
     
  6. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    News-Press, The
    Senate measure restores rights to property owners
    March 12, 2018

    The Florida Senate has passed a bill that deserves the attention of property owners and government entities everywhere.

    Property owners in the United States are entitled, according to the U.S. Constitution, to the blessings of five rights regarding their property: possession, enjoyment, use, exclusion, and dispossession. Last year, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners approved an ordinance that denied local beach property owners their right of exclusion.

    The ordinance adopted by the commissioners opened privately owned beaches for recreational use by the public. The stated justification for this misguided decision was the "Doctrine of Customary Use." To understand the issue in Walton County, or anywhere else, one must understand this doctrine.

    Customary use dates back to British common law. It is law based on precedent, not statute. Consider a person who regularly travels from point A to point B by traversing across another person's private property. This repeated use of another's property for this purpose becomes undisputed over time. Such use thus becomes "customary use" and is considered a legal right, even though neither a king nor a government legalized it by decree or statute. Should a dispute arise in the future, the traveler must prove that his customary use is: (1) ancient; (2) reasonable; (3) without interruption; and (4) free from dispute. When disputes arise over a question of customary use, the issue must be decided in its proper and lawful place - in a court of law, where due process can be exercised.

    It is critical to understand that, when such a dispute arises, it is not something to be resolved legislatively. Rather, it is something to be litigated - an issue for a court to decide. When the Board of County Commissioners took the legislative step of enacting its ordinance, it circumvented the due process that is the purview of the judicial branch - a court of law.

    Such a case is not without precedent. A 1995 ruling by Florida's Fifth District Court of Appeal held that the customary use doctrine "requires the courts to ascertain in each case the degree of customary and ancient use the beach has been subject to and, in addition, to balance whether the proposed use of the land by the fee owners will interfere with such use enjoyed by the public in the past" (Reynolds v. County of Volusia, 659 So.2d 1186, 1190).

    Recently, state Rep. Katie Edwards-Walpole won approval of her bill (CS/HB 631) addressing this issue. That legislation includes language prohibiting local government entities from passing ordinances based upon customary use. The bill does not deny beach access to anyone, but it does direct disputes to the proper and lawful place where they should be settled: the courts. This week Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, saw her bill, SB 804, considered in the Senate chamber. The Senator substituted Edwards bill for hers and the Senate voted its approval. Now the bill has passed its final vote and will be sent to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.

    English philosopher John Locke observed, "The only task of the government is the protection of private property." It is good government policy to protect the rights of property owners, with a court system that is fair and objective to handle disputes that arise. Floridians and local government entities will be well-served by this important legislation because it will make sure misguided property rights violation perpetrated by Walton County is not duplicated elsewhere.

    Dan Peterson is the director for the Center for Property Rights at The James Madison Institute.
     
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  7. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    I've lived in South Walton for 21 years. Visited Grayton Beach for twice as long.. And enjoy visiting and spending time at several beaches on our coast. Customary Use is part of our community's culture.. Watching the chains, fences and private property signs pop up on the actual beaches over the last few years was just unreal to see happen here. What in the world? Yes I can understand the need for rules and regulations for beach goers, turtle lighting, no dogs, bonfires, etc as crowds grow. Beach vendors are taking over. But no trespassing?? I will never understand that.

    I do understand that some people have been told that they own the rights to the actual beach along the Gulf of Mexico and can do as they wish. I suppose it needs to be settled once and for all. Other communities have settled the issue in favor of the people and free access to our natural resources. Our community has done the same. Apparently we were too late for this Florida legislation and not grandfathered like other Beach towns.

    I do have family who own a beach front home in Inlet Beach.. I understand their frustration with their beach front being crowded during certain times of the year. But they wouldn't dream of claiming it as private, though they could be tempted when so many other owners were erecting signs. Instead they reserve their seats when they need to. Or they choose other times to visit. They aren't worried. Life is wonderful at the beach... May it always be.

    FB_IMG_1521417409853.jpg
     

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  8. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Lover

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    Our family has lived in this area since the 70s and have owned our beachfront to the MHWL property since the 80s. We've not had any beach fortification and don't intend to. Beachfront owners the Goodwins have lived here longer than that. Customary use is not a part of this community's culture. People's and Commissioner Anderson and C. Jones decades of using private property on the beach use do not qualify as ancient use IMO. There have been no metal or security chains or fences pop up on the beach to obstruct public access to the foreshore as many have claimed. Private property signs have been on some Walton private littoral property back decades. Walton County police powers regulate chains, fences, and signs on littoral private property. Not customary use. Walton County ordinances regulating signs violated property owner’s First Amendment Rights and was struck down by the court in 2017. What in the world was Walton County BCC thinking? Some property owners, especially next to public beach north-south access lanes, couldn’t enjoy or use their property they paid a premium for and pay Walton taxes on because Walton County said the public could and many in the community said they could or alternatively didn't say the public couldn't. Walton TDC said the beaches of Walton County are waiting for you! Owners wanted to protect their property rights and the only way the Sheriff said the only way they could was to post signs, have a survey to define your property boundaries, and mark you property bounties. So many property owners did.

    No person “told” property owners “they own the rights to the actual beach along the Gulf of Mexico and can do as they wish.” It’s is in their title to the land and protected by the 5th Amendment of the United States and hopefully soon to be Florida statue of due process BEFORE a county can declare a private property rights void. Other communities here in Florida have settled the issue in favor of the property owner. Since 1974 what Florida properties has custom applied that was not overturned by the courts or dismissed? There is no FREE access to our natural resources. Someone pays. Even the 5,000 acres of Walton state parks and miles of public beaches cost the public money or taxes to access. Walton was not “grandfathered” because the BCC failed to provide property owners due process and the other counties did.

    Before Walton's unmanaged public expectations and demand moved more people onto private properties without license or permission we didn’t dreamed of claiming private use of our property for our private enjoyment. We didn’t dream of claiming our property as private until some public threaten me physically when I asked them not to use our private property to access the beach from 30A (clear trespass) because they were too lazy to use the nearby public beach access and occupy, sometimes our chairs, but our special place our family has enjoyed for decades because that is our right (and we pay taxes on it). I didn’t dream of claiming our property as private until the BCC unilaterally declared our private property public beach. May we all respect each others private property like we would want others to respect your own property and enjoy the beach. May it always be please.
    5th Amendment.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  9. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    beach wo boundaries - blue.png
     
  10. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    But this bill is not about taking customary use away. It’s about both sides having their fair day in court.
     
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  11. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Lover

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    Could this be privately owned BEACH WITHOUT BOUNDARIES #customary use ; property owners pay Walton property taxes on??? Why not??
    Wonder where all those people park, use the restroom, leave their trash?
    Beach Without Boundaries.jpg
     

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  12. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    I know where they go to the bathroom because I’ve seen 4 people today, and counting, go under the stairs on the dune and potty. They are not spring breakers, but a family with glass bottles and metal shovels. So now the beach looks like Afghanisand and smells like it too. There are some priorities that should be met before customary use.
     
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  13. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Lover

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    No one takes better care of their property than the one who pays for it, owns it, and is responsible for it. That's why public restrooms are disgusting. Not mine; don't care, someone else will do it.
     
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  14. bob bob

    bob bob Beach Lover

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    Do you mean Afghanistan? When Were you there last?
     
  15. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    No need to be pugnacious pugnacious and petty petty, I will not engage.
     
  16. bob bob

    bob bob Beach Lover

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    Can't even find it on a map can you?
     
  17. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    Re the picture, the county customary use ordinance doesn't allow tents on the beach south of upland adjacent privately-owned properties, just umbrellas seven feet in diameter or less. Also a 15-foot buffer is required seaward of the toe of the dune or from any permanent habitable structure, whichever is more seaward, in customary use areas. Hope this is helpful.
     
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  18. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Our poor little pieces of public beach accesses will look like this soon if Customary Use goes away!
     
  19. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    Or it will look like Panama City Beach, where all the beaches are public
     
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  20. steel1man

    steel1man Beach Fanatic

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    Good idea...but chances of all the above regulations being enforce by Beach Police....Slim to none.....
     
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