Customary Use of SoWal Beaches: Contact Governor Scott

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

  1. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    And those public beaches look gorgeous. I drove along Front Beach Road today for miles along the West End thought how fortunate those people are to not have to deal with a bunch of rich, old angry get-out-of-my-yarders when they just want to go to the beach.
     
  2. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    For information Walton Customary Use Ordinance 2017-10 does not say anything about tents or tent size. Walton’s 24 page Beach Activity Ordinance 2018-01 does. So imagine replacing the photo’s tent canopies with 10 foot umbrellas (what is in the code) OR click on the image below the photo for beach umbrellas. I figured someone would question the image. Was the best (or worse) image I had of an Emerald Coast beach that I had to make the point; “This sand is your sand, This sand is my sand!”.

    The Beach Activity Ordinance 2018-01 states;
    Sec. 22-54. - Regulation of use and conduct on the beach and water bodies.
    (q) It shall be unlawful for any person to use, erect, or possess a tent greater than ten feet by ten feet (10'x10') on the beach at any regional or neighborhood beach access owned, leased, dedicated to, or maintained by the County or TDC. [DOES NOT INCLUDE PUBLIC CUSTOMARY USE OF PRIVATE BEACHFRONT PROPERTY] Tent use as provided in this section shall be limited to the upland one-third (1/3) of the beach. In no event shall this provision prohibit a private property owner, or his or her guest or agent, from using, erecting, or possessing a tent of any size on his or her real property between one hour after sunrise and one hour after dusk.

    Tent means a portable shelter of skins [didn’t make that up], canvas, plastic, nylon, or the like, supported by more than one pole or a frame and often secured by ropes fastened to pegs in the ground. The term tent includes, but is not limited to, camping tents, beach tents, and sun shelters.

    (r) It shall be unlawful to place beach equipment on the beach within fifteen (15) feet of the water's edge or within fifteen (15) feet of the toe of the dune or line of permanent dune vegetation on any regional or neighborhood beach access.

    In my many decades at the beach the Walton Sheriff or Code [Non]Enforcement has NEVER enforced ordinance (r). Unsure why anyone would think Walton would enforce this on public or private property now.

    Hope this is helpful.

    More public beach use.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  3. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    The tax payers of the State of Florida and Walton County have title to over 32,000 linear feet of poor little beach front, according to the Army Corps, and over 5,000 acres of parking, camping, and bathrooms (but you have to pay admittance). My title and 900+ other property owners paid for the title to our property that we pay annual Walton property taxes on too. Our title does NOT include sharing our private property with the American public without our consent because of the BCC's FAILURE to manage growth for the supply of beaches they property rights to. Or for a Plaintiff (with the burden of proof) to present extraordinary evidence in court that their right of use is superior to the owner’s fee simple private property rights protected by the Constitution. The elements of customary use is ancient, reasonable, without interruption, and free from dispute. Not local economics, popular vote, or emotional pleas. It will only cost all Walton tax payers millions of dollars to try. What if private property owners prevail? I for one will now dare to protect my property rights to the fullest extent of the law if the BCC and customary-take advocates are going to cost me $$$ to protect my rights.
     
  4. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    I'm neither "rich". I am fortunate to have a property we have enjoyed for many decades but have to rent our property to pay exorbitant Walton property taxes. Nor old. I still work. I'm a local that has been here for many decades. I'm not angry and may consent to you being in my yard. Unless you want to declare my private property public without due process or if you feel so self entitled that you think you have the right to stay and tell me I can't occupy my property because you want to (that I pay Walton taxes on). You have 32,000 feet of Walton public beaches you can enjoy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  5. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    My post about tents, umbrellas and buffer zone was in reference to the Chapter 23 of the Walton County Land Development Code, which deals specifically with customary use and reads in part:

    Chapter 23 - Customary Use, Sec. 23-2 - Regulation of dry sand areas


    (c) The public at large, including the residents and visitors of the County, shall not utilize a 15-foot buffer zone located seaward from the toe of the dune or from any permanent habitable structure owned by a private entity that is located on, or adjacent to, the dry sand areas of the beach, whichever is more seaward, except as is necessary to utilize an existing or future public beach access point for ingress and egress to the beach. The foregoing buffer zone requirement shall not apply to the Walton County Sheriff's Office, the Walton County Tourist Development Council, the South Walton Fire District, and other emergency providers.


    (d) The following are the sole uses permitted for members of the public on the dry sand areas of the beach that are owned by private entities: traversing the beach; sitting on the sand, in a beach chair, or on a beach towel or blanket; using a beach umbrella that is seven feet or less in diameter; sunbathing; picnicking; fishing; swimming or surfing off the beach; placement of surfing or fishing equipment; and building sand creations.


    (e) The following are specifically prohibited for members of the public on the dry sand areas of the beach that are owned by private entities: use of tobacco; possession of animals; erection or use of tents.



    A link to the entire chapter follows: Municode Library
     
  6. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Good to know. You left off; (f) Activities on the beach are governed by the beach activities ordinance
    I'm amazed the code and ordinance don't match. Not. Wonder which prevails? I'm guessing the Sheriff has the duty to enforce the ordinance - unless he chooses not to like he has in the past. I will say Deputies I've met are great and the BCC and Sheriff put them between a rock and a hard place to do their duty to enforce all laws or do what County leadership deem expedient.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  7. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    The original form of the ordinance was different. A Customary Use Ordinance Committee composed of beachfront and nonbeachfront owners was appointed to review the ordinance, find common ground, and suggest revisions. The committee recommendations narrowed down allowable activities for customary use. The revisions were approved in March 2017, and the revised form of the ordinance was incorporated into county code.
     
  8. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Walton Beach Activity Ordinance 2018-01 is dated January 8, 2018.
    Beach Ordinances | Walton County, FL - Home Page

    I watched every hour of the Customary Use Ordinance Committee and the BCC rejected more recommendations than the BCC accepted as I recall.
     
  9. miznotebook

    miznotebook Beach Fanatic

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    I meant the Customary Use Ordinance, not the Beach Activities Ordinance. Did not watch all the committee meetings, so will defer to you on that.
     
  10. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    So the public can have a 10x10 foot tent canopy (ordinance 2018-01) on public beach property BUT the public can only have a 7x7 foot beach umbrella on customary use (ordinance 2017-10) of unmarked private property. Only Walton 50% public beach areas are marked, for the for profit vendors. Private property owners can have have any size tent or umbrella the owner wants on their property; as is the owner's right. Not confusing, easily enforceable, and will make everyone happy. Typical BCC ineptness.
    Maybe mark the 6+ miles of Walton public beaches and all the rest is private property. Then spend some of that $20,000,000 annual TDC tax money to educate the public and enforce the all the activity ordinances all the time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
  11. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    Let them traipse across the Comacho Estate, pi$$ in the yard, set up their tents, boom boxes, grills and kegs, leave their trash and lets see who qualifies as a "rich, old, angry, get-out-of-my-yarder" when they just wanna party and have a good time.
     
  12. FactorFiction

    FactorFiction Beach Fanatic

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    For starters, it is not at all clear that the Governor will sign HB631. Even if he does, I know this is hard to believe, but I don't think it will be the doomsday that everyone keeps predicting. Sure, there will be some owners/entities who will enforce their boundaries, but I just don't see the beach going "private". What I can see is owners having the right (and exercising it) to ask people not to do certain things on the dry sand and MAYBE getting some assistance. If people will just genuinely follow the customary use SOLE USES and stop trying to find loopholes and/or be agitators, I bet a lot of the beach will go back to how it has been for many years. Net, net, just be respectful. Go to the beach, take the minimal "stuff" you need, use a simple chair and traditional umbrella 7 feet in diameter or less. Leave no trace that you've been there.....no holes, no cigarette butts, no trash or food. Stay away from/out of the dunes, don't throw balls, frisbees, etc. around other people or the dunes. Be courteous. Be a good guest and I'm betting that most of the beach will be good. By the way, if the Governor vetoes the Bill, still be a good neighbor and a good guest. It benefits everyone on the beach. Oh, and don't forget that there are 50ish NEIGHBORHOOD ACCESSES AND 7 (to be 10 when 3 new ones are complete) REGIONAL ACCESSES. We are also fortunate to have miles of STATE PARK BEACHES that are open to the public. REMINDER: The state of Florida GUARANTEES the right to traverse the shoreline.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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  13. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Good post with good points @FactorFiction. Thank you. We need to all protect and care for our beaches either way. Keeping them pristine and beautiful and wide open for beach lovers. I am concerned about vendors and anyone with massive amounts of chairs, umbrellas, tents, loud music trash, etc. more than anything else.
     
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  14. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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  15. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    Understanding that the 50% vendor allocation of public beach accesses has been discussed in the past, can ANYBODY share who is in agreement with this besides the beach vendors and the BCC who voted for this? Seems to me, the public should be fighting like crazy to take back what is unquestionably already theirs / ours, especially considering the finite resource. What is the rationale behind all this?
     
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  16. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    Every one and his brother knows why the 50% beach allocation has stuck around...supporting C. Jones children is a must for taxpayers...just ask her.

    I think if people could actually use what has historically been public access (without having to show up at 6 am in the morning to claim a spot on the beach) the rest of this would actually diffuse itself and you wouldn't see people trying to squat on private property.

    Vendors should only be allowed to set up as they have clients to actually fill the chairs and I think they should actually have to pay a renters fee every year based on the actual number of chairs rented. They should not be allowed to mark their territory either...the beach belongs to all of us.
     
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  17. Suzanne Harris

    Suzanne Harris Beach Fanatic

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    Governor Scott signed into law today.
     
  18. lazin&drinkin

    lazin&drinkin Beach Lover

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    With overwhelming majorities in both House and Senate sending HB631 to Governor Scott and his signing of that bill into law today, perhaps our county attorney and BCC will take the time to read and understand the new law. The County Attorney clearly misunderstood the requirements of the bill when she misinformed the BCC at its last meeting.

    The BCC clearly violated the Constitutional rights of beachfront owners both with the CU ordinance and with the overturned portion of the Beach Activities Ordinance. Fortunately, to date the BCC has not fulfilled Sara's stated intent to spend 40 or 50 million dollars in attorney and court costs if that's what it takes, to only slightly paraphrase her public statement in DFS at BCC meeting before this debacle was voted in.

    Unfortunately, the BCC has squandered many hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney and consultant fees and God only knows how much in staff time in this unfortunate exercise. Let's hope the BCC takes a more informed, cooler and legal look before stepping on its sensitive, gender-specific body parts so publicly again. Every taxpayer in this county deserves much better than we have received from 4 of them.

    The 4 elements of CU remain precisely as they have always been. HB631 did not change those requirements at all. It merely requires that local governments statewide must provide the procedural due process afforded by the CU common law requirement that only a judge may declare CU and only after finding that the local govt petitioning for that declaration has borne the burden of proof in the entirety to the satisfaction of the court. This was the law before the BCC overstepped so badly, and it remains the law now, only now both acc. to case law and state statute.

    Citizens should never have been required to sue for overturning such a clearly unconstitutional act by the BCC. Let us hope this is the last such instance. We have better ways to spend time and money, public and private.
     
  19. BlueMtnBeachVagrant

    BlueMtnBeachVagrant Beach Fanatic

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    I've also have read as much but why in the world would other BCC members vote for this? I can understand why a commissioner would vote for customary use - it's "good business" in terms of getting re-elected. But for a commissioner to vote and take away such a scarce commodity like EXISTING public beach to the tune of 50% just absolutely blows me away.

    If you have to pay a private entity to sit on that half of the beach, then it's no longer public.

    Where is all the outrage? If customary use proponents were to put just a fraction of effort in reversing the public beach vending debacle as they did in getting customary use originally passed, it wouldn't take any time for the commissioners to reverse themselves.

    And the public access vendors sing, "This sand was your sand, this sand is my sand...."

    Danny Glidewell, if you're reading, where do you stand with this? TIA
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
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  20. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    My pet peeve has always been the 50% given to beach vendors FOR FREE! People pay to come, pay to stay, pay to eat and shop but can't cop a squat on the beach they paid to come here to visit and then have to pay for a seat on multi million dollar property that vendors are given FREE!

    Totally absurd logic but hopefully many folks have finally figured out there is no logic with this BCC! The MAJOROTY of them are mentally challenged. Vote them out!
     

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