Customary Use of SoWal Beaches: Contact Governor Scott

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

  1. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Sorry for the length, this started out as a simple observation but like customary use; nothing is simple. One Walton beachfront owner’s perspective.

    As I try to put Walton's customary use of private property in perspective for me as a beachfront owner I think about the young men and women who volunteered to go into harms way, to place their lives in jeopardy, to protect our national and local interests and to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Against radical Islamic terrorism in "Afganisand", Iraq, and other failed states around the world. How their grandparents fought in Vietnam against communism and their great grandparents fought Nazism in WWII, and the millions of American Heroes that died in all the conflicts since 1776 who protected us and our values. That's my bigger picture and perspective of "things".

    It makes Walton's and customary-use advocates claim of public use on private sand seem petty and insignificant in the big scheme of “things”. And I relax and recommit to protecting my property rights; not necessarily just for my exclusive right of private enjoyment, but because local Governments do NOT have the right to declare private property rights void, regardless if the majority feel property should be private or not, without due process or compensation. Especially if custom is based on local government's BCC and TDC failure to manage economic growth and then shifting the burden to private property owners to make their private property available to everyone and anyone without their consent to use their private property they pay taxes on (and I don’t want a tax reduction in exchange for my property rights). It’s not my responsibility to give up my property rights that I paid for and pay taxes on annually to the public unless I choose to. The public paid for and have the rights to more than 32,000 feet of Walton public beachfront and 5,000 acres of public recreational areas with amenities like parking and restrooms. I didn’t authorize the TDC over the past 20(?) years to spend $20,000,000 tax dollars a year to tell the public there is 26 miles of beaches when 75% of the beaches have been private property since 1824 when Walton became a county. There is no legal littoral property rights “status quo” that new rich villainous carpetbagger beachfront owners have tried to change (much of the private beachfront is owned by locals for decades) as some have claimed except the status quo of the Constitution and property deeds.

    That the idea that private property, rights to ownership, and freedom from government police powers abuse and taxation was such an important value that the United States of America ratified a Constitution 242 years ago that protects private property rights as a key part of the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Government can tell me HOW I can use my property but not WHO can use my property. WHO is the jurisdiction of the courts. That it will take extraordinary and exceptional proof for a court to find an exception to your and my personal private property rights. William Blackstone who in the 1700s published Blackstone's Commentary on old English common law that many American courts have relied on since stated; "So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community."

    So when Walton's Tony Anderson, Cecilia Jones, Bill Chapman, Sara Comander, Cindy Meadows, Bill Imfeld, Larry Jones, Dave Rauschkolb, Jacque Markel and the majority of the public who declare customary use of private property based on emotional claims and mismanagement of tax payers money to litigate against 900 Walton property owners and not the exceptional multiple elements to prove customary use, I try to put it in perspective.

    I just want Government and the public to respect the property rights I have had and have today with the title to the property I paid for, pay annual taxes on and the Sheriff to enforce all the laws. Just like you would your property. If the public respects those rights and I can enjoy my property, which is my right, I don’t mind sharing. But the public can’t respect property rights they don’t know about and that’s the responsibility of local the BCC and the TDC or Sheriff. But first the BCC has to respect those property rights and the BCC and staff don’t. Until then I’ll try to keep in prospective the big scheme of “things”, take a deep breath, and recommit to protecting my property rights from all the public misinformation, misunderstanding, or just plain abuse of power from a misguided local Government.

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    Florida statute; 163.035 2. All proceedings under this paragraph shall be de novo. The court must determine whether the evidence presented demonstrates that the recreational customary use for the use or uses identified in the notice of intent have been ancient, reasonable, without interruption, and free from dispute. There is no presumption regarding the existence of a recreational customary use with respect to any parcel of property, and the governmental entity has the burden of proof to show that a recreational customary use exists. An owner of a parcel of property that is subject to the complaint has the right to intervene as a party defendant in such proceeding.

    de novo: When a court hears a case de novo, it is deciding the issues without reference to any legal conclusion or assumption made by the previous court to hear the case.

    Blackstone common-law custom criteria based in many hundreds of years of common law; "[c]ustomary public rights require a showing that the use of land is (1) ancient, (2) reasonable and peaceful, (3) exercised without interruption, (4) of certain boundaries, (5) obligatory or compulsory, (6) not inconsistent with other customs or law, and (7) by a multitudinous number
     
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  2. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    Watching some of the comments on Facebook is comical...for example:

    My response...That's where the argument over customary use should have started. Beach vendors are GIVEN 50% of our beaches to set up their rental business for FREE. Prime real estate property that cost millions of taxpayer dollars so that rental companies can set up their privately owned businesses on our beaches for FREE! What a cushy deal that is. I have a suggestion for ya...go to the BCC and tell them you want to open a business on gulf front property that belongs to the taxpayers and see what they tell you. You'll be laughed out of Walton County.

    P.S. Historically, beach chair vendors can't even claim customary use. Back in the day when many of us landed here (30 or more years ago) there was no such thing as "beach chair vendors". You went to the beach with your own chairs, blankets, towels etc. and you could cop a squat anywhere you wanted to. Not so much today because 50% of our beaches have been given away for FREE to opportunists and the BCC has allowed it because we have a certain BCC member whose son is an opportunist!!
     
  3. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    Afghanisand is a play on words because I was talking about all the huge holes that were dug up and not filled. I was being funny, not stupid
     
  4. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    I think most of us understand but for those that are not familiar, Afghanisand is a dry dusty sandy place to live and be shot at or be blown up too. ;)
     
  5. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I agree that allowing public beach to be claimed as a right is wrong. I am in favor of selling franchises to provide services to the regional accesses and the fees designated to purchase additional beachfront. It is in everyone's best interest for the county to purchase as much beachfront as possible. As a county we also need to diversify our economy so that we are not so dependent on tourism for our economic stability.
     
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  6. Suzanne Harris

    Suzanne Harris Beach Fanatic

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    Wow great perspective.
     
  7. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Beach Lover

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    Things will change here in SoWal after July 1. Once the word gets out among tourists and prospective homeowners that don't have beachfront property I believe "the numbers" will go down. Please, someone, make the case that I'm wrong.
     
  8. Kaydence

    Kaydence Beach Fanatic

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    Why is a drop in numbers a bad thing??

    The problem is the BCC was so concerned about "the numbers" that they completely ignored the fact the infrastructure was not in place to handle the "numbers" AND were willing to take private property to accomplish their agenda.

    Less underage drinking
    Less drunk drivers and/or idiots on our beaches/roads.
    Less traffic.
    Less headaches for law enforcement.
    Less trash.
    Less people texting and driving!


    Less is MORE & BETTER!

     
  9. Wouldnt You Like To Know

    Wouldnt You Like To Know Beach Lover

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    You forgot to say LESS MONEY. I don't think you understand the economic effects thats less tourism will do to the County. Less tourism = less jobs. Traffic does suck but not more than being unemployed.
     
  10. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    You are right, less also means less jobs, less money and less revenue for county government. Less revenue means less funding for desperately needed infrastructure and so our citizens and property owners continue to be harmed. We are too dependent on tourism and will be until our leadership takes economic diversification seriously. You cannot continue to stick your head in the sand and hope for the best. That is a terrible way to run a government.
     
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  11. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    Way over crowded roads, restaurants, and shops is also a turn off to tourists. Why would they spend a good portion of their vacation waiting in lines?
     
  12. Wouldnt You Like To Know

    Wouldnt You Like To Know Beach Lover

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    Doesn't seem to be turning off any tourist yet. Not saying it won't happen but long lines are just part of vacationing to a tourist community. I remember going to Disney world in the summer and boy that was mistake but I still had the time of my life.
     
  13. Poppaj

    Poppaj SoWal Insider

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    Because when a family only has a six to eight week window each year to vacation the good places are going to be crowded. It's normal, it's expected, and the numbers prove this is a popular, beautiful, affordable place to vacation within a one day driving distance for millions of Americans. Seems the only ones who constantly complain about crowds are the locals.
     
  14. gailforce

    gailforce Beach Lover

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    Many people don’t come here because it’s so crowded. I worry about ambulances and fire trucks being able to get through. Also, Disney is a theme park accustomed to crowds.
     
  15. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Danny, I think you are a reasonable conscientious guy. You’ve lived up north your whole life and been around. You should remember what SoWal was like in the 1990s and 2000s and before. I do. Quite, friendly. Beachfront with an old Florida cottage was what $4,000 a linear foot of beach? $200,000 for 50 feet of beachfront. Much more than 75% of the 26 miles of beaches were private property to the MHWL then. If the BCC claim customary use applies now; why wouldn’t the BCC have claimed it apply back then? How did the Walton economy and people survive before the 2000s? I remember Walton had a good economy and good jobs then too. Why is the Walton BCC Chapman, C. Jones, S. Comander, Larry Jones, T. Anderson, and previous commissioners Imfeld, and Meadows only now claiming customary use of private property? Because of beachfront owners threaten women and children on their property according to the BCC?

    Only now shifting the burden to private property owners to make their private property, beachfront owners pay the taxes on, available to every person in America because of these commissioner’s inept management of Walton’s growth and the TDC myth that all Walton beaches are public. Starting twenty years ago when Walton created the TDC and tax tourist millions of dollars a year to promote the area without any plan for infrastructure or regard for the 75%+ beachfront owner’s private property rights. Walton’s BCC failure to manage supply and the demand is not a reason to burden me with litigation to take the property rights I have had and still have.

    I’ve ask you and others before; What if private property owner’s rights prevail? Walton BCC now has the burden of proof in court before passing an ordinance (as it should have been but the FL legislature had to step in to right that wrong) as the Plaintiff against private property rights.

    I don’t know the details but I heard the Goodwins may have won their customary use case. The Goodwins prevailed against Walton for marking the property boundaries and protecting their property as I their right. Beachfront owners prevailed in Federal court against Walton’s sign ordnance. And the BCC will likely have to pay property owner’s attorney fees and court costs. July 1, 2018 Walton will have to start all over again in court as the Plaintiff.

    I know you have said Walton should purchase at fair market value all the beachfront that is available. Walton has over 32,000 feet of public beachfront available. How much beachfront do you think Walton needs to purchase to meet the demand to sustain Walton’s economy? The remaining 20 miles? How much would you tax me and the property owners to buy beachfront AND build infrastructure? Commissioner Comander stated she’d spend $40 or $50 million tax payer dollars just on litigating customary use. Would excessive local taxes hurt the economy?

    I hope you can bring reason to the BCC but pursuing millions of dollars of tax payer’s dollars litigation and shifting the burden to 900+ private property owners is NOT how to do it. Good luck on your campaign.
     
  16. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I've been here 56 years and my family has been here since the 1820's. My great grandparents camped on the beach for a couple of weeks every year and could have bought as much beachfront as they wanted for .50 cents an acre. Up into the 1980's we camped fished and drove on the beach basically anywhere we wanted. No one claimed customary use because it was not necessary.
    Times change and today more people live in South Walton than lived in the entire county 30 years ago. So yes, I support purchasing as much beachfront as possible and support building infrastructure to support our economic engine: tourism. I also support encouraging new business to diversify our economy and bring better paying jobs for our citizens. Economic growth is the only way to build infrastructure and keep taxes low. And if the choice is buy land or pay lawyers I buy land. Ownership is the only guarantee of public access. But until diversification is achieved, our economy depends on tourists and the public having access to the beach.
     
  17. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Thanks Danny. Great politician answer. Why didn’t you answer one question asked. Why did you avoided taking a position that the Walton BCC, you are a candidate for, is or is not justified shifting the burden to private property owners to make their private property, beachfront owners pay the taxes on, available to any person because of previous commissioner’s inept management of Walton’s growth and the TDC myth that all Walton beaches are public. Do you agree or disagree and why? I’d guess you disagree with the premise and/or think the ends (tourists money) justify the means (shifting burden of beach use over owner property rights) but many are interested in your position on customary use and its justification, costs, and risks.

    What if private property owner’s rights prevail? Then what? Walton will have angered those that own 20 miles or 75% of the beach property in Walton.
    How much beachfront do you think Walton needs to purchase to meet the demand to sustain Walton’s economy? The remaining 20 miles?
    Would you be willing to raise Walton County property taxes to buy beachfront AND build infrastructure? If you had to choose one. Which one and why?
    Are taxes too high now for growth? I pay much more in Walton property taxes than even State sales tax and Federal income taxes combined. At least 100% of property taxes are deducible. Or was.
     
  18. Danny Glidewell

    Danny Glidewell Beach Fanatic

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    I answered the questions as best as I can with the information given. Every square inch of Walton County contributes in some form or fashion to the economy of our county. Beach, farms, towns, industrial, residential. Everything counts and everything is needed. Fact is that currently the beach is the #1 economic engine for the county, both for jobs, economic impact and government revenue. Our tax rates are low, but property worth a million is going to pay much more in actual dollars than a property that is worth 100,000. Since property values are growing, then by definition taxes are not too high for growth. As a matter of principle I am opposed to any tax increases. Current revenue levels are sufficient to buy beachfront AND build needed infrastructure. As far as what happens if something does or does not happen in the future, I do not speculate on what ifs. I will say that if I am elected I will carefully examine each and every proposal and I will not be bound by what has been done in the past but will work to find solutions that help as many citizens as possible and protect our economy and way of life. I think that the best practices and best government is one that operates in a manner that does not draw lawsuits from anyone. Currently we are being sued by property owners, citizens opposed to breaking the development rules, employees who are harassed and mistreated and many other issues. Following the law and the rules could have prevented most of these suits. I also believe in transparent government and being responsive to citizens which is why I am here answering your questions in the first place. I certainly do not think what has been done, or the lack of action in many cases, is in the best interests of our citizens or I would not be running. We can do much better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  19. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Thanks Danny I do appreciate your reply. Unlike the current commissioners who ignore constituent's questions. I get the; it depends, I need more information, and I’ll look into that, kind of answers. But you have been involved in this issue and other issues for 56 years. You know the principles being claimed.

    Fact is that currently the beach is the #1 economic engine for the county…
    [and 75% is privately owned property with rights of private enjoyment of their property that owners have had and have today.]

    As a matter of principle I am opposed to any tax increases.
    Since your are talking about your principles. What is your principle regarding (1) Fifth Amendment individual private property rights and (2) common law public customary use for tourist money? You know all the arguments over the years. Based on facts and not opinions which is superior in Walton County and why? What are the costs and the risks to Walton tax payers? What if it was your personal money to litigate and not tax payers money? Do you support litigating the claim of public customary use against 900+ Walton private property owners after July 1, 2018? That's a hard question to any candidate because the majority of voters do, IMO. But what is the right thing to do when given individual rights and claimed public rights conflict?


    Current revenue levels are sufficient to buy beachfront AND build needed infrastructure.
    At some point, maybe not here, you will need to explain that to the voters and property-tax payers how.

    As far as what happens if something does or does not happen in the future [like if property owners prevail?], I do not speculate on what ifs.
    That’s what your duty is as a Commissioner. Lead, plan for the future, have a plan A and plan B, spend/invest tax payers money like it is your own. Protect individual rights and work in the interests of ALL Walton County residents and tax payers. Unlike the current BCC Anderson, Chapman, C. Jones, Comander or staff. What if property owners prevail?

    I will say that if I am elected I will carefully examine each and every proposal and I will not be bound by what has been done in the past but will work to find solutions that help as many citizens as possible and protect our economy and way of life.
    At some point, maybe not here, you will need to explain that to the voters and property-tax payers how.

    I think that the best practices and best government is one that operates in a manner that does not draw lawsuits from anyone. Currently we are being sued by property owners, citizens opposed to breaking the development rules, employees who are harassed and mistreated and many other issues. Following the law and the rules could have prevented most of these suits.
    We agree! How?

    I also believe in transparent government and being responsive to citizens which is why I am here answering your questions in the first place.
    We agree! Thank you. How?

    Thank you Danny for being up front. Wish you luck in your campaign. Hope to see your response and have other discussions that matter to Walton residents and tax payers.
     
  20. FloridaBeachBum

    FloridaBeachBum Beach Fanatic

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    Danny, save your answers for the election. Thanks for your input. If I had to vote between you and (incompetent IMO) incumbent Commissioner Cecelia Jones. I'd vote for you hands down. If the choice is individual Constitutional property rights vs risking millions of Walton tax payer's money to litigate a narrow doctrine of customary use for tourist dollars and maybe getting nothing in return except the prevailing attorney's million dollar bill too? I hope you think hard about your principles and support and defend the Constitution and not just do what's expedient. Good luck.
     

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